Before the Kunene River empties into the Atlantic on the Skeleton Coast, it fans out across a broad valley, forming numerous channels that skirt round islands and trip, tumble and cascade over a series of cataracts, before plunging into a chasm. This is Epupa Falls – Epupa meaning “falling water” in Otjiherero. The main cataract is a mere 35m and only captures a third of the river’s flow, but the whole scene is truly magical: set against the backdrop of the Baynes Mountains, lofty Makalani palms interspersed with majestic jackalberries and sycamore figs fringe the riverbank, while stout baobabs and silvery moringa trees balance precariously on the rocks above the ravines. Though at their fullest and most impressive in April and May, when the water thunders and the spray obscures your view, the falls are picturesque even in the dry season, when expanses of attractive reddish-brown rock and tiny grassy islets are exposed.

Birdlife is abundant – including the localized endemic Cinderella waxbill and rufous-tailed palm thrush – and a walk upriver from the falls is likely to yield sightings of watchful crocs half submerged in the shallows, or lazing on the riverbanks. One of the most delightful places to camp in all Namibia, Epupa also attracts visitors whose main aim is to interact with the semi-nomadic Himba, one of Africa’s most resilient – and most photographed – indigenous peoples.

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