Highlights and main attractions of Fish River Canyon

Dimensions have never seemed as dizzying as that of Africa and the southern hemisphere’s largest canyon - Fish River Canyon. It can be somewhat of a shock to those who arrive and witness the flat plateau suddenly plummet at the canyon’s rim, but this shock is soon overpowered by the sheer beauty of the place, where sands of kaleidoscopic colour that have been formed over millions of years form a magnificent sight.

A staggering 160 kilometres long, 27 kilometres wide and 500 metres deep, this is second only to the Grand Canyon in Arizona, United States of America.


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Where is Fish River Canyon?

Location and Activities

Slightly off the beaten track in the southern half of Namibia in the Karas Region, the canyon was formed by the erosion of the Fish River, the country’s longest interior river, which started 500 millions years ago. If the canyon itself wasn’t impressive enough, visitors are also treated to a variety of animals that roam the nearby plains in modest supply, such as antelope, zebra, kudu and baboons.  It is also a deserted region with little vegetation except for some drought-resistant flora, adding to the atmospheric feel, which makes it appear far removed from any threat of tourist hordes.

One of the highlights of the canyon is the hike into its basin, which is a five day adventure covering a total distance of 86 kilometres, so mainly for keen hikers only.  Facilities here are non-existent, and you carry all belongings with you, collecting water from natural pools as you go, making it only recommended for those who are confident they can complete it!  It is one of Africa’s most intense hikes, but it culminates in the Ai Ai Hot Springs where you can bathe weary limbs in its naturally heated waters. The hike is only possible from April to September and requires proof of fitness beforehand to secure your space.

Many visitors to the canyon will decide to combine with a visit to the Ai-Ais hot springs or as part of a self-drive itinerary to Windhoek  or Sossusvlei, and flights to the area can be costly, making the self-drive option more feasible.

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