Photographer's Note

The Kunene River, which constitutes the border between Namibia and Angola, is the confluence of several rivers, which rise in the highlands of Angola, i.e., the Kunene, and later becomes Namibia’s fastest-flowing river as it descends rapidly westwards through narrow gorges and steep ravines to the Atlantic Ocean.

The Epupa Falls are created by the same Kunene River on the border of Angola and Namibia, in the Kaokoland area of the Kunene Region. The river is 0.5 km wide and drops in a series of waterfalls spreading over 1.5 km, with the greatest single drop (as depicted in the picture) being 37 m. The name "Epupa" is a Herero word for "foam", in reference to the foam created by the falling water. (For more info on this nomadic people see: Hereros & Himbas )

With its richly coloured rock walls and dense variety of trees such as fig trees, baobabs and makalani palms, the Epupa Falls are one of Namibia’s prime scenic destinations. The rushing water, which is clearly audible from Epupa Camp where we stayed, has a seasonal peak flow of more than 500 000 litres per second and occasionally 1 million litres per second.

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. 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.

Many people prefer to stay out of Epupa Falls because it is far away from the main roads linking Sossusvlei-Etosha and the Capri Strip and it is perceived (due to non-updated versions of guide books) to have very bad roads necessitating 4x4. Our experience was much different: The roads seem to have been renovated and seemingly, except the rainy season, reaching Epupa Falls is considerably easier, even a non-event.

Besides its natural beauty, Epupa Falls has been the centre of much controversy in recent decades because of a large hydroelectric dam project, which seemingly will not materialize.

Sources: 1 , 2 , 3

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Additional Photos by Erdem Kutukoglu (Suppiluliuma) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 266 W: 105 N: 604] (3931)
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