G-NDYWG9DC1KSkip to content
2 December 2022
Epupa Falls presents a spectacular sight of jaw-dropping beauty on the Kunene River, forming the border between Namibia and Angola. In the local language of the Ovahimba people that live here, Epupa means “falling water” while also known as the Monte Negro falls in Angola.
A column of spray can be seen and felt at the peak of its grandeur when the Kunene overflows its banks. Floods occur following heavy rains within the catchment area, and serious flooding occurs when these coincide with heavy rainfall in the Angolan highlands. In March 2011, a high of 1750 m³ /s was measured at Ruacana (but the record was broken again in 2021), but peak flows are usually in the range of 350 to 450 m³ per second. Floods, when they occur in the wet period of the year, from December to June, with rainfall peaking in the months of February and March.
The Kunene River markedly changes its course as meanders from Ruacana to Epupa. Here at the falls, the flow is contained within a deep and narrow valley – the result of a tectonic fault – characterised by steep sides, a straight channel, and a narrow floodplain. Here, just before the falls, the river is about 500 m wide before it drops a series of waterfalls spread over 1.5km, with the greatest single drop being 37 m, before reaching a more thorough-shaped watercourse.
Travelling many dusty kilometres from Opuwo through a dry and barren landscape, the scenery that awaits at Epupa is completely unexpected. Makalani palms stretched out on the banks of the Kunene creating an almost unreal desert forest, baobabs that guard the gorges watching the Kunene River as it tumbles down steep cliffs create an unmatched beauty and form the crown of Namibian waterfalls.
Our special vantage point or deck at Epupa Falls Lodge & Campsites, where guests and visitors alike can have the finest view of the top of Epupa Falls also offers a bar and restaurant. This allows for plenty of interesting conversations as weary travellers discuss their days and finds while enjoying the beauty that enfolds in front of them as the sun sets on the falls.
The Kunene River has its origin in the highlands of Angola and feeds a few dams before it reaches the Calueque dam at Ruacana. Where Ruacana is a controlled waterfall, the Epupa waterfalls are not. Even when the Kunene River is at its lowest during the dry months from August to January, the falls always have water. Though not as spectacular as the Kunene River overflowing its banks, the Epupa Falls is still beautiful, year-round.
In 2003, all the measurement devices at Ruacana were upgraded to programmable controllers, system controllers and software that would allow for data acquisition.
As with most attractions, accommodation establishments will always pop up as the need arise. Epupa Falls Lodge started out as Epupa Campsite in the early 1990’s. Epupa Camp was erected to accommodate the growing number of engineers in the area investigating the possibility of dam here at Epupa Falls. Soon afterwards Omarunga Camps arrived with Kapika Waterfall lodge only arriving on the scene in the early 2000’s.
All the above camps and lodges are owned by a bigger group of people and run by a manager. It is only Epupa Falls Lodge & Campsite that is owned and run by the same man, Koos Verwey.