A 2D numerical flow model, developed at the Research unit of Hydrology, Applied Hydrodynamics and Hydraulic Constructions at ULg, has been applied to flows in a macro-rough channel. The model solves the shallow water equations (SWE) with a two length scale, depth-integrated k-type approach for turbulence modeling. Data for the comparison have been provided by experiments conducted at the Laboratory of Hydraulic Constructions at EPFL. In the experiments with different non-prismatic channel configurations, namely large-scale cavities at the side walls, three different 2D flow characteristics could be observed in cavities. With the used numerical model features, especially regarding turbulence and friction modeling, a single set of bottom and side wall roughness could be found for a large range of discharges investigated in a prismatic channel. For the macro rough configurations, the numerical model gives an excellent agreement between experimental and numerical results regarding backwater curves and flow patterns if the side wall cavities have low aspect ratios. For configurations with high aspect ratios, the head loss generated by the preservation of important recirculation gyres in the cavities is slightly underestimated. The results of the computations reveal clearly that the separation of turbulence sources in the mathematical model is of great importance. Indeed, the turbulence related to 2D transverse shear effects and the 3D turbulence, generated by bed friction, can have very different amplitude. When separating these two effects in the numerical models, most of the flow features observed experimentally can be reproduced accurately.