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Fish River Canyon


The Fish River canyon, situated along the lower reaches of the Fish River, is one of the most impressive natural beauties in the southern part of Namibia. It developed predominantly during the pluvial time estimated to be formed about 500 million years ago. With a depth of up to 550 metres, the Fish River Canyon is the second largest canyon in the world, before the Grand Canyon in America. The enormous gorge roam along a distance of approximately 160 kilometres through the fissured Koubis massif all the way down to the Ai-Ais resort. The canyon starts near Seeheim.

The Fish River Canyon spectacular gorge drops vertically from the immense desert flats into the lower reaches of the Fish River. The largest canyon in Africa and is absolutely breathtaking in its sheer size and mysterious desolate beauty. However, the gorge was not only created by water erosion, but also through the collapse of the valley bottom due to movements in the earth's crust.

Because the Fish River is being dammed in Hardap near Mariental, it only contains a small amount of running water. In winter, during the dry season, the riverbed is often dry or reduced to only the occasional puddle.

The canyon is part of a Nature Conservation Park, and its gate is situated at the rest camp Hobas. From there, you have to drive another 10 kilometres to the actual Canyon which offers a stunning view of "Hell's Bend".

Visitors can find overnight accommodation or at the Ai-Ais Hot Springs Resort which also offer facilities such as tennis courts and a swimming pool, a wonderful venue for relaxing after a gruelling hiking experience.

The canyon is also home to some of the most poisonous snakes in Africa as well as several species of wildlife and birds. Take delight into drives to the rim of the canyon or take a scenic flight to get a bird’s eye view of the immensity of the gorge. The place is a real paradise for wildlife and nature lovers, a photographers’ dream come true and is undoubtedly a natural wonder that leaves visitors gasping at its pure magnificence. It is fair to say that when you arrive at the canyon though, its location is a bit of a mystery as the 500 m vertical drop from the flat dry plateau is completely out of view.

Self-drive tourists, hikers, photographers and nature lovers world-wide are attracted to this long, thin, meandering river. It has over 1600 different plant species. Other outstanding and gratifying points are at Hell's Corner and Sulpher Springs. The environment of this spectacular scenery embraces a number of habitats bringing together several species of mammals, an abundance of reptiles, insects and fish that live in natural pools and the Fish River itself.

Apart from its outstanding natural beauty and diverse and unique flora and fauna, the Fish River Canyon Hiking Trail is on of the main highlights. It is one of the most famous hikes in southern Africa, covering a distance of 86 km in the base of the canyon and takes about 5 days. However, hikes require good physical health and should only be undertaken during the cooler winter months (between May and September). A permit from Namibia Wildlife Resorts in Windhoek must be obtained. Keep in mind that the river is seasonal and generally only flows in the rainy season from January to April. Water can be drank from the semi-permanent pools scattered around the route. The start point is at Hobas and ends at Ai-Ais and there are only 2 emergency exits along the trail. Guided hike at the Fish River Canyon can be arranged.



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Etosha National Park   Sossusvlei
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Fish River Canyon   Spitzkoppe
The Fish River canyon, situated along the lower reaches of the Fish River, is one of the most impressive...more   The Spitzkoppe is a group of rounded granite mountains situated north-west of Usakos, en route to Swakopmund. A favourite destination for... more
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Maltahöhe lies 110 kilometres west of Mariental atthe end of the tarred part of the C19 Pad, quite easily...more   Keetmanshoop lies on the B4, 500 km south of Windhoek. It is the traffic junction and the economic centre for the...more
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