Kunene River Lodge
At a glance
Kunene River Lodge is situated in Kaokoland, the wild and remote north-western corner of Namibia, overlooking the mighty Kunene River. Unlike most of the country, water
is plentiful here all year round, so the lodge is surrounded by lush undergrowth and shaded by magnificent Leadwood and Jackalberry trees.
We have accommodation to suit any budget and our wide variety of facilities and activities allow guests to do as little or as much as they like whether it is sighting our endemic birds,
testing their strength against the white water rapids in the nearby Ondorusu Gorge or a gentle dip in the pool.
Whatever you require, you can be certain of the warmest welcome, and you will leave one of the last unspoilt wilderness areas with a multitude of unforgettable memories . . .
What is unique at Kunene River Lodge
Kunene River Lodge began life as an impromptu rest camp on the long, arduous 4×4 trail from Epupa to Ruacana. In 2005, Pete and Hillary Morgan fell in love with the Lodge,
took it over and have since devoted themselves to improving its facilities and reputation. White-water rafting activities contribute significantly to the success it now enjoys as
one of the most desirable tourist destinations in this remote corner of Namibia.
In addition to its idyllic setting, facilities and in-house activities, the Lodge also serves as an ideal gateway for those setting out to explore the rugged and beautiful Kaokoland region
of Namibia to the north-west – indeed many ardent 4×4 drivers enjoy tackling the notorious river road to Epupa Falls.
But there is a more peaceful and tranquil side to Kunene River Lodge and birding enthusiasts find a wide range of endemic and visiting species to enthral them during their stay – including
the diminutive and secretive Cinderella Waxbill whose range is limited to just a short stretch of the Kunene River.
In conjunction with the local Conservancy, of which the Lodge is a prominent member, the World Wildlife Fund has re-introduced a limited range of mammals to the region and some
might be lucky enough to spot kudu, zebra, black-faced impala or giraffe while driving in the area.
Accommodation & Facilities
Kunene River Lodge offers eight spacious, air-conditioned Deluxe Rooms with verandah and comfortable cane chairs overlooking the lawn. Each room features two large double
beds or three single beds/bunks, an ensuite shower room, WC and washbasin, together with wardrobe, dressing table/desk and ceiling fan.
Four A-Frame Rustic Chalets are set individually in the beautiful Lodge grounds, reflecting hints of the rugged landscape and the pioneering life-style here, but they sacrifice neither
comfort, convenience nor amenities. Each is equipped with en-suite shower room, WC and washbasin, overhead cooling fan, wardrobe and storage area. Recently each has been extended
to include a covered outside seating area. Three of the Chalets have a double bed, one has twin beds.
Twelve campsites are laid out in the shade of the old trees and overlooking the river. Equipment includes a power point, water point and braai (barbecue) area. Separate
male and female communal ablution blocks each have 4WCs, 4 hot and cold showers and washbasins. Although most Campers prefer to self-cater, they may order restaurant meals
in advance (subject to availability).
A laundry service is available for Guests in Deluxe Rooms and Rustic Chalets, as are high power battery lamps. The Lodge has no mains electricity supply so power is only available for
approximately three hours in the morning and four in the evening.
The lodge serves excellent meals in its Restaurant which shares with the Bar a delightful wooden deck overhanging the river – ideal for sundowners or evening meals, and bright and
sunny for breakfast in the morning. The swimming pool is located in a secluded lawn with seating and hammocks under the trees.
Activities & Attractions
With the river close by, there are several water-based activities at Kunene River Lodge. As one of Namibia’s foremost rafting operations we can offer a thrilling taster through the rapids
of the Ondorusu Gorge, a day long adventure or a tailor-made expedition to Epupa Falls, camping under the stars. All with full backup and under the expert supervision of our resident Guides.
Kunene River Lodge is a Birder’s dream! With the discovery of the first two Cinderella Waxbill nests in the wild, we usually achieve high success rates with sighting this elusive species.
There are many other species of great interest to be found in the area including the rare Grey Kestrel which is resident nearby. Or what better way to start the day than to steer silently
along the river at dawn with a knowledgeable guide pointing out – who knows what? Includes welcome refreshment.
Africa’s fabulous sunsets are legendary – and they look even better from the water during one of our Sundowner Cruises – especially with an ice-cool sundowner in your hand!
During the day, you can take the opportunity to experience first-hand a way of life which dates back centuries. Visit a traditional Himba family living as they always have – and as
they wish to continue.
Other activities available to you during your stay at Kunene River Lodge include Walking, Hiking, Swimming, Canoeing or Fishing. A wealth of opportunities await you, so make sure you
stay long enough to enjoy them all!
There are three road routes to Kunene River Lodge:
From the south via Opuwo – a beautiful drive between the Zebra and Ehomba Mountains. Follow the C35 (from Kamanjab) then the C41 to Opuwo (both tarred).
From there it takes about 2.5 hours to drivethe 135 km to KRL along the D3700 to Epembe, then along the D3701 – both good gravel roads, passable most of the time.
From the east via Ruacana – driving past Ruacana Falls and parallel to the Kunene River. Ruacana is accessible by tarred roads only from the south-east via the B1 and C46.
The C35 is not tarred to Ruacana. The first 13 km of the road from Ruacana to KRL are tarred, followed by 47 km of gravel road.
NOTE: This road is fine in the dry season, but if the river floods, the diversions demand 4 wheel drive.
From the south or west via Epupa and/or Epembe – taking the easy scenic route. There is a very good gravel road from Epupa Falls to Epembe, then from Epembe to KRL,
totalling 165 km (3-4 hours driving time). Both roads are graded regularly, so driving them is straightforward.
NOTE: The 100km riverside road from Epupa to KRL should only be tackled by experienced 4×4 drivers in a high clearance 4×4 – preferably with another vehicle (allow 8-10 hours).