Fish River Canyon
At 160 kms long, 27 kms wide and over half a kilometre deep, the scale of the Fish River Canyon has to be seen to be believed. It is said to be the second-largest canyon in the world and is one of Africa’s greatest natural wonders. The rocks that have been cut by the flow of the river can be dated back as far as one billion years.
About Fish River Canyon
The Fish River begins in the Naukluft Mountains and flows south to the largest reservoir in Namibia, the Hardap Dam. From here the river is seasonal, flowing continuously as the rains fall, but reducing to isolated pools in the dry season. 800 kms from its source in the mountains the river meets the Orange River within the boundaries of the Ais-Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier Park. The surrounding rocky landscape is spectacular, and you’ll be wanting to stop for photographs every five minutes during a holiday in the Fish River Canyon area.
A small number of hardy mammals call the canyon home including rocky hyrax, baboon and klipspringer antelope. Leopard and mountain zebra are also present but rarely seen. Birdlife is a little more pronounced, with species such as hammerkops, Egyptian geese and herons often spotted.
What to Do in Fish River Canyon
A full day or two in the area is enough time to visit some of the viewpoints for sensational panoramas of this tremendous feat of nature, and many people come here just for a day trip to Fish River Canyon. For those wishing to go trekking in Fish River Canyon, a usual itinerary requires a minimum of five days to cover the 86 km route, which is arduous and known as the toughest hike in Africa. The trek finishes at the Ais Ais hot springs which are perfect for soothing tired feet and restoring the soul.
Those visiting the canyon for a day are not allowed access into the canyon itself, and due to heat, the canyon is closed during the Namibian summer.
Best Places to Stay at Fish River Canyon
There are a number of excellent lodges that offer great views over the surrounding area for anyone on a tailor-made Fish River Canyon holiday. Most lodges organise activities into and around the canyon and are ideally located for access.
Best Time to Visit the Fish River Canyon
The best time to go hiking in the Fish River Canyon is between May and August, when it’s dry and the temperatures are more agreeable, although it can become very warm around midday.
During the summer months from October to March it can be rather hot and humid with unpredictable rainfall, so the canyon is closed to visitors.