If you’ve come from Victoria Falls, or even Epupa in northwest Namibia, you’re likely to be underwhelmed by the Popa Falls Reserve – essentially a series of rapids on the Kavango River that gush over quartzite rocks and scurry their way round banks of reeds and papyrus. Moreover, the reserve is small: it can be explored in under half an hour on foot via raised wooden walkways and viewpoints, unless you book yourself on a river cruise. For all that, Popa Falls is a scenic spot, where the cascading water stretches almost 1km across at its widest, and is set in lush riverine forest frequented by hippos, crocs and a host of water birds. It is also a convenient place to break the journey between Rundu and Katima Mulilo, and a popular stopover for travellers heading to or from the Okavango Delta in Botswana. The varied accommodation in and around the falls also makes the area a good base for exploring the nearby, easily accessible Mahango section of the Bwabwata National Park.

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