Fish River Canyon
Travel to Fish River Canyon – Namibia’s Spectacular Grand Canyon
The canyon of the Fish River is one of the main attractions in southern Namibia, measuring 161km in length and, in places, 27km wide. Many call it the second largest canyon on earth and compare it to the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River in the US. Some argue that the Fish River Canyon is only the second largest in Africa, after the narrow valley of the Blue Nile.
As is typical for Namibia, the Fish River is a seasonal river which only carries water after rainfalls in its catchment area. This occurs during a few weeks each year, usually between January and April and in some years not at all. The famous canyon is located downriver. It cuts through a seemingly endless, stony semi-desert, dominated by shades of brown and beige which are only occasionally interrupted by green euphorbia or tall quiver trees.
The Fish River Canyon Park including the Ai-Ais Hot Springs Resort and Huns Mountains are incorporated into one conservation area. The Huns Mountains section is not yet open to the public.
The gorges were originally formed with the break-up of the ancient continent of Gondwana about 130 million years ago, as a result of which the rim of the African landmass was lifted.
The Fish River’s source is in the Eastern Naukluft Mountains and joins the Orange River in Richtersfeld after traveling some 650km through Southern Namibia’s deserts. The lower parts of the river, between Seeheim and Ai-Ais, form the Fish River Canyon.
Some 80 km of the canyon are accessible for visitors: the part between the Ai-Ais rest camp at the southern end and the main viewing point at Hobas in the north. Travelling between these points you will get a good grasp of the dimensions of the Fish River Canyon. The road along the eastern side of the canyon climbs several hills from which you can enjoy panoramic views of this magnificent landscape.
The Fish River Canyon Trail is by far the most popular hike in Namibia and one of Southern Africa’s top five. The 85km route takes hikers through an ancient landscape of rock and utter silence, 4-5 days are needed to complete the trail.
Visit Ai-Ais Hot Springs Resort at the end of the hiking trail for a relaxing thermal bath.
View points of the Canyon are accessible by car. There are several airstrips in the area used by private and charter planes.
- See one of the natural wonders of Africa.
- Visit excellent viewing sites along the edge of the canyon.
- Hike the demanding Fish River Canyon Trail – ranked as one of Southern Africa’s best routes.