Spectacular waterfalls when the Kunene River is in full flood. Dries up to a trickle during the dry season.
This is where Namibia’s hydro-electrical power is generated.
Ruacana is the site of an important hydroelectric-power station and a diversion dam directly above the Ruacana Falls, on the Kunene River at the border between Angola and Namibia. The Ruacana Dam and power station, together with the Calueque Dam (completed in 1976) 25 miles (40 km) farther upriver in Angola, are designed to provide irrigation water for southern Angola and the Owambo region of northern Namibia as well as to provide electricity for most of Namibia.
Ruacana Falls are not the destination they once were. The Calueque Dam in Angola has stopped any flooding and the steady stream that does come though is deviated through the hidden turbines of the hydroelectric power station. However, this corner of the country is still worth a visit; the Kunene River continues to flow, there is a range of water sports including excellent white water rafting and canoeing, beautiful riverside accommodation and the chance to see the photogenic Himba and their villages. Ruacana Falls are 15 km from Ruacana, well signposted from the C46. The falls can still be spectacular, but this requires consistent heavy rains (i.e. summer). For views of the falls, March to April is your best bets to see water crashing over the rocks. Year-round, the flow of the river is increased with demand for electricity (weekdays in the morning and evening) and it takes roughly four and eight hours for the flow to reach Kunene River Lodge (for rafting) and Epupa Falls respectively.