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Namibia » Fish River Canyon

The Fish River Canyon is situated in the far south of Namibia, almost on the border with South Africa and is part of the Ai-Ais / Richtersveld Transfrontier Park. Ai-Ais is the name of the lower rest camp, near some hot springs at the bottom of the canyon and means 'very hot' in the local Nama language.

The Fish River Canyon is reputedly the second largest canyon in the world (the larges being the Grand Canyon in the USA). There is a lot of debate as to whether or not this is indeed the second largest canyon in the world, most of the arguments seem to hinge on how one actually measures the 'size' of a canyon. Regardless of its ranking in the world of big canyons the Fish River is absolutely magnificent and breathtaking in its immensity. The Fish River Canyon probably formed about 500 million years ago. However was not only created by water erosion, but through the collapse of the valley bottom due to movements in the earth's crust.

The canyon is part of a nature conservation park; the Ai-Ais / Richtersveld Transfrontier Park. The gate to this park is at Hobas campsite and from here it is a further 10 kilometres to the main viewpoint for the canyon which offers a stunning views. When you arrive at the canyon, as you have no idea it is there. It drops vertically by half a kilometre, out of a flat arid plateau without any warning. As with most rivers in Namibia the Fish River is generally dry however in the raining season (January to April) the river can become a raging torrent.

In early times the Fish River Canyon was a haven for the local inhabitants of Namibia. The area is extremely arid with virtually no rainfall and the river provided food and water for human and animals alike.

The Fish River Canyon Hiking trail is one of the most famous hikes in Southern Africa. The hike covers a distance of 86km in the base of the canyon, over 5 days with absolutely no facilities, hikers are required to carry everything and find whatever water you can in semi-permanent pools. We also offer a guided hike of the Fish River Canyon which is a better option for less expereinced hikers.

Accommodation in and around the Fish River Canyon

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