Do I need a 4×4?

We do not have a 4×4? Will we be able to reach you?

This is a simple question with a complex answer.

The straightforward answer is that you do not need a 4×4 to travel the main roads in Namibia. These include the maintained C and D-roads. If you plan to travel deep into Kaokoland (Purros, Marienfluss), then you obviously need not only a 4×4 but also 4×4 skills and experience as these roads are not for beginners. But if you plan on driving to the tourist destinations like Sossusvlei, Swakopmund, Etosha National Park and hopefully Epupa, then technically no. These are all gravel roads that are mostly well-mantained and do not require 4×4.

However, we still recommend a high-clearance vehicle or an SUV. Why? Well firstly, I am a woman and to any other woman out there – it is NOT comfortable to drive in a small car for 300km on a badly corrugated gravel road. Besides comfort, there is also the very technical truth that few people will tell you. A car with smaller tyres will get flats much more often than not. And… after one flat, you might need to buy new tyres… and these small towns charge exorbitant fees for tyres.

So basically the question boils down to this – do you want to save money by renting a small vehicle and pray for 14 days that your wife doesn’t ask for a divorce by the end of the trip (or that you have to change 4 tyres in 3 days and buying a whole new set for the rental company) or do you rather pay the extra bit for a SUV or 4×4 (if you really want to show off), and travel comfortably with no or little hassle and a wife that smiles every time you give her THE look?

The answer is simple lads…

Accommodation en-route to Epupa

Are there any accommodation available en-route to Epupa from Opuwo?

This is a question I get asked very often. And the answer will have to be no. Most of our clients do not overnight in Opuwo, but drive straight through from wherever they are coming and stay 2/3 nights at Epupa Falls Lodge.

However, from Opuwo one can take the C41 & C35 to Ruacana and overnight at Kunene River Lodge – another hidden gem in Namibia. From here, the D3700 will take you in less than 4 hours to us. This road has been rebuilt and can now be easily driven in a SUV or high clearance vehicle.

Is Epupa a Town?

Is Epupa a town?

Epupa is more of a township with three lodges situated along the edge of it on the river bank and one behind the township on a small hill. Apart from the lodges there is a police station, a mobile hospital for the local people and several shebeens. So unless you count a shebeen as a shop, then there are also no shops.

What is a Shebeen?

A Shebeen is basically a shack or tin house modified into a bar or liquor shop. In some cases, you can find a few extras here – goods like chips, chocolates and maybe even a few over the counter medicines.

How far are the lodges, including Epupa Falls Lodge, from the Epupa Falls itself?

Epupa Falls Lodge & Campsites is located right in front of the falls. If you sit on our deck, the spray of the falls will more often than not, cool you down.

Omarunga Camp, is situated on the border of Epupa Falls Lodge – about 500m upstream. Epupa Camp is situated about 1.4km upstream from the falls on the banks of the Cunene river.  Kapika Waterfall Lodge is situated the furthers away about 5km from the falls on a hill overlooking Epupa town and valley.

All three lodges are privately owned and managed by hired managers, making Epupa Falls Lodge the only Lodge with the owner residing in camp and managing his own lodge.

Epupa Town lies to the right of photo with the three lodges hiding underneath the canopy of palm trees.

Epupa Town

©Dieter - Epupa Falls Lodge

Epupa Falls Lodge and Omarunga Camp just visible between the trees.

 

 

A Himba Tour

Reflecting on an earlier piece, Photographing the Himba, Photo Etiquette – I think it is fitting to discuss what a Himba tour entails.

Firstly, when you are staying at Epupa Falls Lodge & Campsite, you can either pre-book your tour or book it in camp. If you book it in camp, please make sure that you have enough cash.

Secondly, Epupa Falls Lodge & Campsite offers two types of Himba tours.

The Traditional Himba Tour

This is the tour that most tourists will go on. You book your tour as per above methods and you will go out with a local Himba guide to a village we frequent.

Although this all sounds very “normal” this tour is also unique. You see, the guides we “use” and highly recommend, are local Himba from the very village you will be visiting. These guides, though English speaking, do not own a vehicle and certainly don’t have a driver’s license. This means that they will go with you in your vehicle to the village. Now don’t stress – these are westernised Himba and very well trained.

This means that you won’t share your Himba Tour with other guests. You will go out alone with your guide on a private tour. You can also decide when you would like to go and for how long. As you are not bound to wait for other guests, this tour offers the most flexibility.

The Himba Alzheimer’s Project

During this tour, you will go out with Lodge owner, Koos Verwey, to visit the Himba Village of Chief Kapika and the Alzheimer’s Village next door.

During this tour you will not only learn about the Himba while visiting Chief Kapika, you will also learn about Chief Kapika’s sister, Ndjinaa and the Himba Alzheimer’s Project. (Read more about Ndjinaa here.) This is quite a fascinating story and a must if anthropology and/or religion fascinates you.

However, this tour must be pre-booked to ensure that Koos is in camp during your stay.

black bean productions

Exceptions

Professional Photographers, anthropologists etc. who wishes to spend more time with the Himba, always need to specify their specific fields of study or interests when booking a tour. These tours are hand-made accordingly and are charged differently.

For more information, please feel free to contact me at bookings@epupafallslodge.com

 

Epupa Falls Lodge | Sundown View

The sundown view from above Epupa.

You can visit this lovely spot on your own – a short hike from the lodge, or you can go up with Epupa Falls Lodge and enjoy a drink in this beautiful spot.

Do you need to book it before arrival – not necessarily. But if you want to travel without cash – better book it when booking your accommodation.

Epupa Falls Lodge | Child Friendly Facts

In light of a recent article whether Epupa Falls Lodge is child friendly or not – here are a few facts:

Epupa Falls Lodge has 5 twin chalets.

These chalets are big enough to allow for one additional stretcher. A stretcher is usually used while camping, but in our case, it allows for a comfortable bed without taking up too much space. However, we only allow children under 12 to make use of this facility. And only one child. If a family is bigger than 3, Epupa Falls Lodge requires the family to split up as the chalets are simply too small to allow for two additional stretchers. That said, if the fourth family member is an infant, we will provide a mattress or cot for the baby. Bedding is also provided for the stretcher and cot.

Any other types of accommodation available?

Other than the campsite where you have to supply your own tent, bed and bedding, no. But, this may change sooner than you think. So keep a close eye on the Epupa Falls Lodge Blog.

We are a family of 5? Can we stay in one chalet?

No, we will definitely need to split you up. I know, not ideal. But email me for more information and options as the split will depend on the ages of your children.

Can you add another bed and not a stretcher?

Unfortunately not. Not only do we not have extra beds, the chalets are simply too small for a third bed.

Epupa_Falls_Lodge_Chalet_Interior

 

Epupa Falls Lodge | Distance to Falls

A lot of people ask me how far are we from the chalets. Well… let me illustrate.

These are the chalets:

We have five of these twin chalets, right on the river bank. Below is the view from one of the five chalets (they share pretty much the same view) and where you see that arrow – that is where the falls are.

So how far are we from the falls – less than 100metres would be a good estimate.

Convinced that you need to stay with us? Book now: bookings@epupafallslodge.com

 

 

 

Is Epupa Child Friendly?

When our little boy was about 11 months old we decided to be brave and take him along on our yearly trip to Epupa. Now first, any parent that travels with children be it babies, toddler or teens… you have my utmost respect. If you have a child that is a born reader – please share your secrets with me!

The road from Otjiwarongo to Epupa is about eight to ten hours – and we drive it in one go with the necessary pit stops in between. To keep a child happy for that amount of time, tied down in a car seat… well, it takes a lot of courage, prayer and conviction that this trip is going to be worth it.

As Epupa lies on the northern boundary of Namibia, it can be incredibly hot. We traveled in September, hoping for cooler weather, but instead we suffered a bit. Our little boy the most as heat is not something an eleven month old boy understands. We would have been better off leaving most of our clothes at home and bring along tons of water toys – as this is where our boy spent most of his time. We filled his bath every morning and he ended up spending most of his day there.

One our first afternoon at Epupa Falls Lodge, we walked to the waterfall view point. We were blessed with a rising river which meant that the water pushed into a small pool where our boy could safely play to his heart’s content. After the long day on the road, this was just what we needed. Perfect. Unfortunately the sluices closed again (The river is controlled by the dam at Ruacana and yet another dam in Angola) and we could not play in the river again. But we improvised and were rewarded for our efforts!

As our boy was still too small to hike with us, we had to split up and make turns to enjoy the scenery around the lodge. This mostly worked very well and when we felt like some family time, we drove the short distance up to the sundown hill overlooking Epupa where our little boy could safely play on the rocks while mom and dad enjoyed a much-needed cold beer.

The restaurant area is on stilts, and though there is a barrier surrounding the deck, a toddler can easily fall through. Children need to be kept under close supervision at all times. But the area between the chalets is perfectly save for children to play. In fact, there are few areas as save as just here. With most of the area covered in the shade of palm trees, the sun isn’t as fell here. The ground is also covered in sand from the river that allows for toddlers to play safely (and softly) and the area allows for ball games under supervision of an adult.

Would I go up to Epupa with our toddler again? Yes and yes. In fact, we are going up in July again, this time during the Namibian winter, hoping for cooler weather. This time around he can walk and run and we’ll probably face a whole different set of challenges but more on that after the trip. Would I recommend Epupa to other parents with children? Yes. Epupa Falls Lodge offers a great opportunity for kids to run around and play freely.

 

 

 

Kaoko Safari – Welcome to Namibia

Every now and then Koos, the owner of Epupa Falls Lodge, is talked into doing a safari. Whether it is a hiking safari or a driving safari, someone turns his pinky far enough to convince him this is the year! In 2011 a group of friends (multiple-return-friends) convinced him to take them into Kaokoland.

After many mails and phone calls, a tour was planned and they arrived by plane at Epupa.

Welcome to Namibia!

Over the next couple of days I will share the photos of one of the travelers with you as they drove through Kaokoland on tour with Koos. Enjoy!

Photos | Dieter © Epupa Falls Lodge

Tour | Kaoko-Himba Safaris