The Ruacana Falls originate from the River Kunene at the border of Angola and Namibia. The Ruacana Falls fall about 120 meters below into a gorges which has been believed to be about 700 meters deep. On a good day you will find the falls impressive but when the water keeps on reducing, the falls tend to lose their former glory especially after the construction of the two hydro power plants along the water falls. There are two dams that have been constructed on the Ruacana Falls that is one was constructed in the year 1970 by the south African government and it is known to be the biggest of the two dams. The Kunene dam is the smaller one of the two and the water here keeps n fluctuating due to the presence of the Calueque Falls in Namibia that shares the same water source.
The Ruacana falls have been recognized as one of the largest water falls in Africa because of the width and volume of water that it has and although this has reduced due to the dams, it can still be witnessed during the heavy rainy season.
Explore the Ruacana Falls
Carry your camera and enjoy the beautiful cascading water of the Ruacana Falls. The water Falls are the top tourist attraction in the Kavango Delta and although they are no longer as glorious as they were before the dams were constructed but when you visit during the right time then you might get a glimpse of how beautiful and eye catching as they used to be.
Birding around Ruacana Falls
Although there are not so many birds around the Ruacana Falls, the few that you will see are worth your visit to the falls. Most of the birds can be seen lounging at the River banks of the Kunene while other keep on flying in and out of the area. Some of the bird species that you will see when you get to the Ruacana Falls include the olive bee-eater, Rufous tailed palm thrush, the Grey kestrel, Cinderella waxbill and many more others.
Enjoy white water rafting
This is one of the many sports that can be carried out around the Ruacana Falls. It is carried out with the guidance of an experienced tour guide and only when the water levels are a bit high especially after the rainy season. It is however better if you book earlier for the white water rafting.
Canoe rides along the Kunene River
The Kunene River supplies water to the Ruacana Falls and a canoe ride along the River is one of the activities that tourists carry out while on a safari to the falls. There are many boats that are located at the River banks and these are got for hire from the locals at an impressively reasonable fee. You will however need to book in advance and you will have to be ready to get wet when the water falls are at full speed especially during the wet season. While canoeing along the Kunene River you can also carry out fishing, birding and a photo safari at the same time.
Visit the dams
If you have never seen a hydro dam up close, then this is the right time for you to go and also get that experience. The two dams that are located at the Ruacana falls provide electricity to Namibia and some is exported to the neighboring countries and even though they have done more damage to the water levels on the Ruacana especially during the dry season, they are still worth a visit.
There are other tourist attraction sites near the Ruacana Falls that might be of interest to different tourists and these include the following:
The Epupa Falls
The Epupa falls are located in Kaokoland near the Ruacana Falls and next to the Kunene River as well. Epupa was named by the Herero tribe and this can easily translated as ‘Falling water’ and some of the activities that you can carry while here include the following:
- Trekking around the Epupa falls.
- Take a walk to the Himba people who live around the Epupa Falls. These have a unique culture that you should experience and they will also tell you their version of how the falls were made.
- Take a boat cruise along the Kunene River as this is one of the best ways to get a close look at the falls.
- Go for birding around the Epupa falls. These have a recorded number of about 230 bird species and some of the birds that you will see include the rosy faced lovebird, the rufous palm thrush, the kingfishers and many more others.
- Enjoy a white water rafting experience around the Epupa falls.
Explore the skeleton coast
The skeleton coast is just a few kilometers away from the Ruacana falls and it can also be visited as a top up for your safari to the Ruacana Falls. You will find many animals and birds habituating around the skeleton coast but the top tourist attraction here include the seals that cover up almost the whole coast of the coastal skeleton and the shipwrecks that were washed to the coast by the Atlantic Ocean.
This is also located a few kilometers away from the Ruacana Falls and it is one of the best National Parks in Namibia. The Etosha National park is a home to several animals that are best seen during the dry season as animals keep gathering around the different water holes that have been strategically placed around the Park, it is also a habitat for many bird species which are best seen during the wet season, you ca still trek around the National park and take a photo safari and also visit the locals that live around the National park.
When to visit the Ruacana Falls
The Ruacana Falls receive its peak of tourists in the moths of April, August and September and this is because during these months the Ruacana Falls are ate their best with the volume of water is high. When you visit during these months you will have to be ready for the high prices of everything ranging from accommodation, food, transport and in order for you to get some of the best services you will have to book in advance if you want to get the best services and if you want to save. Ruacana experiences its slow period in the month of October and it will be very hard for you to find tourists around the Ruacana Falls during this time
After looking at the above we are also going to look at the different months and what to expect from these months while on a safari to the Ruacana Falls.
- September to November
Between the months of September to November, the area receives rainfall and sometimes snow although the snow cannot easily be noticed. It is a slow season due to the constant rains and therefore all those that are on a limited budget should visit during these months.
- December to February
This is the beginning of the summer in Ruacana and the rains that are received are not as much as those experienced in the months of September to November. It is a busy season for Ruacana Falls and you will a lot of tourists roaming around the Ruacana Falls.
- March to May
The March month brings in the fall season and during this time there is rarely any rainfall received making it a good period for all those who want to visit the Ruacana Falls and also carry out other activities you can do around the falls.
- June to August
It has an extremely good weather and even though it is the dry season, the heat is bearable but it is also considered as a low season for tourists. It is a good month for everyone who is on a low budget and trying to carry out other activities besides visiting the Ruacana Falls.
The Ruacana Falls can be visited all throughout the year but tour will need a tour guide to take you through and around the falls and a four wheel drive especially during the rainy season and you should also try as much as possible to carry the appropriate clothes, shoes and a camera.