White Water Adventure on Namibia's Kunene


Whether you are looking for relaxing game viewing opportunities, or all the thrills and spills of white water rafting a trip down one of Namibia’s rivers is for you. In this post we will be covering a variety of rafting adventures that you can experience in the land of the brave.

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Rafters preparing to set out on an adventure.
(Image courtesy of Kunene River Lodge)

There are two major rivers that are used for rafting in Namibia: The Kunene in north and the Orange River in the south. Each body of water offers something a little different to the willing explorer and no matter what kind of a water-born adventure you are looking for you're sure to find it in Namibia.

Namibia’s northernmost river

Today we look to Namibia’s northern border with Angola and will be giving you all the information you need to plan a river expedition down one of Namibia’s most under-explored rivers: The Kunene. 

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The river is situated in the north west corner of Namibia.
(Image courtesy of Reconstruction)

The Kunene begins in the Angolan highlands and ends in the north west of Namibia along the Skeleton Coast. Massive variance in flora and fauna along the river’s lateral trail mean that you will get to see a wide variety of animals and surroundings on your trip.

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The unspoiled beauty of the Kunene.

(Image courtesy of Africa Geographic)

What the Kunene offers

This river is known to be one of the most exciting rivers to travel down on and if you are an adrenaline seeking adventure tourist then this could be the perfect place for you to strap on your helmet, grip your paddle and fly down some rapids.

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Don’t forget to wear your helmet!
(Image courtesy of White Water Rafting)

If, however, you would rather take it easy and sit back in your craft and simply paddle past some remarkable landscapes and wildlife then you can do that too, as several lengths of the river are calm and completely flat. The Kunene’s banks are also teeming with animals and an eagle-eyed traveller will be able to spot many an animal, including crocodiles and hippos lounging on the banks of the river.

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You won’t be using an engine so you may get up close to some of the wild animals.
(Image courtesy of Africa Geographic)

The banks of the river are often lined with trees so if there are any ornithologists with a hankering for some river adventure then they too can take in the beautiful and varied birdlife the river’s edge has to offer.

 

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Slightly less heart-pumping than a crocodile, but equally beautiful,
the Rufous-tailed Palm Thrush is endemic to this part of Namibia and Angola.

(Image courtesy of Wilkinson’s World)

The river also has two sets of waterfalls: The Ruacana Falls and the Epupa Falls. The lengthier river trips will take you to the Epupa falls which are situated 190km upstream from the mouth of the Kunene, while the Ruacana Falls are further upstream. To get to Ruacana, where many of the river trips on the Kunene begin, you will have to temporarily leave Namibia and cross into Angola.

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The Epupa Falls-
The river and the falls are in peak flow in April and May.
(Image courtesy of Wikimedia)

Operators on the Kunene

If you wish to go on a river trip down this unspoiled river than there are a few companies that you can use.  Below is a bit more information on some of the different rafting adventure packages the operators have on offer.

African Rafting

African Rafting offers a 10 day trip down the Kunene and for the first three days of your trip, and before you get to the river, you will be treated to a short stay in Etosha National Park’s Okaukuejo rest camp. Here you will be given the opportunity to do a safari drive and after two days you will make be driven upstream to Raucana where your watery adventure begins in earnest.

Read more about this trip here.

Felix Unite

Felix Unite are probably the biggest tour operator on the Kunene and they offer an adventure packed 11 day trip. This trip begins in Windhoek where you will meet up with your river guides either at an agreed upon place (if you have driven to Windhoek) or at the airport. As with African Rafting this trip includes a stay in Etosha, but with Felix Unite you will be staying at the Halali rest camp.

Read more about this trip here.

Kunene River Lodge

The Kunene River Lodge is situated on the banks of the river and offers several activities and styles of accommodation to adventurers looking to be based in the thick of the trees that line the banks of the Kunene. The Lodge offers half-day, two-day, and four-day rafting adventures and anyone, no matter what their experience level is, can find something in these trips to satisfy.

Check out the rest of their website to find out exactly what they have to offer.

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The lodge overlooks the mighty river.
(Image courtesy of Kunene River Lodge)

The adventure of a lifetime

A trip down the Kunene is unlike any other rafting trip in Namibia; the lush vegetation, teeming wildlife and relative ease of navigating down the river make this an absolute must for anyone who has the desire to get some wind and water in their face.

Have a look at a personal account by Jacques Marais to get an even better sense of what this extraordinary part of Namibia has to offer.

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With friends or family a river trip is always a good time.
(Image courtesy of Africa Geographic)

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