Epupa Camp offers three kinds of accommodation, namely tented rooms, self-catering tented-campsites and traditional campsites, where you do the do-it-yourself-roughing-it, or the city-sleeker caravan or rooftop camping.
The ten comfortable safari-style tents consist of eight twin tented rooms, one honeymoon tented room with a queen-sized bed and a four-bed family tented room, all with en suite bathrooms. The tents have electrical lights and mosquito netting at the windows and doors. Shaded patios in front of the tents overlook the Kunene River on its flow to the Atlantic Ocean.
Apart from our private island and swimming pool with a river view, our facilities include an outdoor bar with free wifi, lounge with small library and dining room.
Activities include guided cultural tours, sundowner drives, rafting on the Kunene River and several nature walks.
Activities are offered to all guests, taking into account weather conditions and the availability of guides and vehicles.
Join one of our local Himba guides to visit a Himba village and learn how one of Africa’s remaining semi-nomadic people, live, work and worship. Through the guide’s interpretation you will be able to exchange information and be allowed to take photographs and film the Himba family as they go about their daily lives.
The activity is offered on a daily basis and normally departs after breakfast in one of our safari vehicles. Depending on your interests, you will be taken to a traditional Himba graveyard and the local primary school. Guests are back at about 11:30 in time to freshen up for lunch.
The Epupa Falls, a series of cascades that drop a total of 40 m over a distance of about 1,5 km, is just 800 m west of Epupa Camp, an easy walk. Originating from the Herero word for the spume created by falling water, Epupa is a fitting name for this fascinating sight.
To quote the Bradt Travel Guide, "Epupa Falls don't compare to Victoria Falls in scale, they are all the more beautiful for occurring in such an arid region." Nowhere else in the world do you find a waterfall contrasted with such wild arid desert landscape. Watching the Epupa Falls and its white mists of water against the red colours of the surrounding desert and mountains during sunset, with a sundowner drink in one hand and your camera or binoculars in the other, is likely to make up one of the most beautiful and memorable experiences during your trip to Namibia.
Every evening approximately one hour before sunset, we take you in our safari-style vehicle to the Epupa Falls and then to the top of one of the hills overlooking the waterfalls for a sundowner. Enjoy a gin and tonic or one of Namibia’s excellent beers while watching as the surrounding desert landscape explodes in colours and fascinating shadows. We return to the lodge in time to freshen up for dinner.
For those of our guests who want more than just to gaze at the Kunene River, we offer seasonal rafting trips twice daily, namely after breakfast and lunch between May and November. After taking you upriver in our open safari vehicle, our qualified guide will provide you with the equipment needed and brief you on the day's expedition. He will then lead you on a gentle cruise down the river with ample time to stop and enjoy the scenery, watch the birds and the crocodiles sunbathing on the banks, and take photographs. En route we will stop at one of the islands for refreshments.
For those who do not want to paddle or are a bit wary of the water, we have 8-seater rafts where our guides do the paddling and manoeuvring for you The greatest fun, however, is the 2-seater crocs, where you and your partner do the paddling. No advance rafting experience is required. Our guide will instruct you and also give you a safety briefing. Helmets, safety jackets and dry bags for cameras and other personal belongings are provided.
For bird lovers, we offer river birding trips where our expert guide will point out some of the 238 recorded species that inhabit the Kunene region, including Rufous-tailed Palm-Thrush (a permanent resident at our camp), Monteiro’s Hornbill, African Paradise-Flycatcher, Goliath Heron, African Fish-Eagle, various bee-eaters, kingfishers ranging from the Giant to the tiny Malachite Kingfisher, bulbuls, rollers (Purple, Lilac-breasted and European), Rosy Faced Lovebird, Golden, Spectacled and Lesser Masked-Weaver, and sunbirds, to name just a few. This is as close to nature as you will get, and truly a soothing way to spend your morning or afternoon.
Exclusive birding trips need to be booked well in advance.
Our guides can take you along the river or into the surrounding hills to explore the flora and fauna of Kaokoland and enjoy stunning views of the Kunene snaking its way through the dry desert landscape. During your hike you are likely to come across Bushman’s poison bushes with their beautiful but deadly pink flowers and large Euphorbia bushes, of which the poisonous milky-white latex has been used by the San and Himba for hunting for centuries. Also easily recognisable are the makalani palms, mopane scrub and the flat-topped umbrella thorn with the almost Mexican name: Acacia tortilis.
Depending on your interests, we offer guided walks to one of the following:
To and around the Epupa Falls down to a white beach below the Epupa Falls. The walk will take you through the village to the main fall where the Himba people often come to wash their clothes, bathe, or play in the shallow pools.
Into the surrounding hills to explore the fauna and flora of this riverine area and beyond.
The crocodile trail, a 3 km walk meandering eastwards along the Kunene River bank.
Birding walks at Epupa Falls and the surrounding area.
These walks can take up to three hours. In summer these are best undertaken in the early morning hours. The starting time depends on the guests and their interests.
Our guides can take you along the river or into the surrounding hills to explore the flora and fauna of the Kaokoland and enjoy stunning views of the Kunene snaking its way through the dry desert landscape.
During your hike you are likely to come across large Euphorbia bushes (whose poisonous milky-white latex has been used by the Himba for hunting for centuries), rose quartz crystals, mopane scrub, and the flat-topped umbrella thorn with the almost Mexican name: Acacia tortilis.
Epupa Camp joined the Straw Wars and now invites all Kunene Region lodges to join us in this plastic straw combat.
Bar staff and waiters agreed, although a plastic straw seems like a small piece of plastic, one does not really need it.
More important is to focus on our rivers and oceans to eliminate plastic as far as possible.
Even if this is just a drop in the ocean, our aim is to create awareness for the sake of our children’s planet.
Although we are a small remote tented camp, we meet many international travellers who can help us spread the message.
Our guests, once we have explained why we do not serve a rock shandy with a straw, appreciate our efforts.
So do not wait to draw the last straw!
From the Epupa Camp Team - in peace
More than anything, Kaokoland and Epupa is the land of the fascinating Himba people, one of world's last nomadic tribes.
The Himba are a traditional, pastoral people, relying upon herds of drought-resistant cattle, hunting, and gathering for their survival. They look and live like no other people in Africa.
One of the most striking things about the Himba is the colour of their skin and hair and their unique way of dressing. They smear their skin with a mixture of cattle fat, ash, and ochre to protect themselves from the harsh desert climate and the merciless sun above. As an additional bonus, the paste gives the Himba a deep red colour that is a highly desirable look in the Himba culture and is very striking to look at. The women wear small skirts made of goat skins adorned with shells and jewellery made of iron and copper. The men and boys wear goatskin loin cloths.
Their houses are simplistic cone-shaped structures made with saplings covered in mud and dung.
Until the late 1980's, people living in the area relied entirely on a hunter-gatherer existence, using only stone implements. For the most part, the Himba people are still unaffected by modern civilization and are a rare and unique people to experience.
Epupa Camp offers daily, guided tours to some of the different seasonal Himba settlements in the region. To avoid disturbing or ruining the Himba's way of life and their fragile culture, we visit different settlements on a rotation basis and only with a knowledgeable Himba guide - all depending on the whereabouts and seasonal migration of the Himba.
Just a few minute's walk downstream from Epupa Camp—but out of earshot—you will find the Epupa Falls, a series of cascades that drop a total of 60 m over a distance of about 1.5 km, reaching a maximum width of 500 m. Originating from the Herero word for the spume created by falling water, Epupa is a fitting name for this fascinating sight.
To quote the Bradt Travel Guide, "Epupa Falls don't compare to Victoria Falls in scale, they are all the more beautiful for occurring in such an arid region." Nowhere else in the world do you find a waterfall contrasted with such wild, arid desert landscape. Watching the Epupa Falls and its white mists of water against the red colours of the surrounding desert and mountains during sunset, with a sundowner drink in one hand and your camera or binoculars in the other, is likely to make up one the most beautiful and memorable experiences during your trip to Namibia.
However, Epupa Falls is not just a great place to see and photograph. It is also a great place to go for a dip in one of the hundreds of natural pools gradually carved out of the rocks over millennia by the torrents of the falling water.
And even if you don't feel like a dip yourself, sitting back and watching the Himba people bathing, washing, and playing in the water is an experience in itself.
Despite its seemingly harsh desert climate, Kaokoland has an intriguing array of flora and fauna.
While many of the big game were sadly killed during the independence war, particularly elephants, rhinos, and hippos, these charismatic creatures, including the fascinating desert elephants, are slowly returning to the region. Other animals includes kudu, zebra, baboons, black-faced impala, crocodiles, and porcupines. The Kunene River also enjoys a rich bird life. More than 240 different bird species have been counted so far, of which about 10 are endemic to the region. At our camp, 2-meter-long water monitors can almost always be seen on our beach. The charming cape otter resides close to the dining area, on the other side of the river, and crocodiles are often seen basking in the sun (but prevented by the steep river banks from entering the camp area).
Flora typical for the region include the makalani palm trees as well as ficus and anna trees, mopanis, boababs, and maroelas. Endemic plants include the kaoko kobas, the Kunene black thorn, slender corkwood and brown-stem corkwood which has traditionally been used for magic medicine by the locals. The trumpet thorn and the purple-pod terminalia are also found in the region, as is the famous hoodia plant, which has become a popular slimming remedy in recent years and has been used for centuries by the bushmen to suppress hunger.
In addition, you will find Euphorbia as well as Bushman poison. From February through April, the latter blossoms with beautiful pink flowers.
Snaking its way through the arid desert landscape of northern Namibia, forming a natural border to Angola, the Kunene River is perhaps one of the loneliest rivers in Africa. And one of the most enticing.
Flowing steadily from the Angola highlands south to the border with Namibia and then west along the border until it reaches the Atlantic Ocean, it is one of the few perennial rivers in Namibia.
With its constant flow of water it creates a lush, slim oasis along its banks that acts a natural magnet to people and animals alike from all over the region. Whether meandering along the river on foot or gliding down the river in one of our rafts you will likely see Himba men, women, and children coming down to the river to collect water, bathe, play, or wash their clothes.
Set right on the riverside, Epupa Camp offers you a rare opportunity to kick back, relax with a good book, a pair of binoculars, or perhaps a cool drink from the lounge and enjoy the dozens of rare birds building their nests in the treetops, the gurgling sounds of the passing water, and the feeling that time has ceased to exist.
Along its course, only a few minute's walk from Epupa Camp, the Kunene tumbles through the Epupa Falls - another highlight of your visit to Epupa.
Kaokoland is one of the last remaining wilderness areas in Southern Africa with some of Namibia's highest mountain ranges. It is a world of incredible serenity and hauntingly beautiful mountain scenery that stuns the eye and touches the soul. It's vast. Silent. Magical.
Bordered on the south by the Hoanib river and by the Kunene River in the north, this is where the real Africa begins. Journeying here is like journeying back in time, before the time of cell phones, automobiles, electricity, and television, where life goes on undisturbed and unimpressed by modern civilization. It is one of the last refugees for the black rhino, and home to the famous desert elephants that roam freely in this region.
The area surrounding Epupa Camp consists of richly coloured rock walls, and the lush Kunene River that snakes through the landscape creating a thin green oasis that gives life to a variety of exotic trees including the wild fig, baobabs, and waving makalani palms. Spectacular sunsets and the river's perennially flowing waters mean that the area offers much to see and experience.
Completely untouched, this landscape has remained the same for thousands of years and yet always seems to change. From the soft pastels and deep shadows of the early morning and late afternoon to the harsh and rugged landscape of the midday sun, you will find that what at first seems devoid of life, slowly begins to come to life, as if the mountains themselves are breathing and have a soul of their own.
Kaokoland is simply magical. There is no better way to describe it, and no other way but to experience it.
Recommended reading about the area includes: