The Fish River Canyon, Africa’s answer to the Grand Canyon, is one of the best places in Namibia to stand in awe of the raw power of nature. Measuring 27 kilometres wide, 550 metres deep and 160 kilometres long, it’s the largest canyon on the continent and Namibia’s greatest geological wonder. The canyon lies in different nature reserves: its southern stretch (the deepest section) is in the |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park, while its northern reaches are protected by private reserves. The main viewpoint for the canyon is in the |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park and it’s where you’ll get the best outlook, with views of the Hell’s Corner riverbend.
Stunning vistas from Fish River Lodge
One of southern Africa’s most popular treks and the best way to experience the canyon, the Fish River Canyon Hike covers 85 kilometres – half the length of the entire canyon – in five to seven days. It’s a tough self-guided camping hike but the rewards include soaking up spectacular canyon scenery, soaking in hot springs, cooling off on swims in the river and sleeping under the stars. If you want do some easier hikes, lodges in the area offer shorter and easier walks.
Ai-Ais natural hot springs
Whether you do the Fish River Canyon Hike or not, soaking your body in the healing waters of Ai-Ais natural hot springs at the southern end of the canyon is a real treat. There’s a resort at the hot springs where you’ll find indoor and outdoor thermal baths and spas on the banks of a river surrounded by mountains.
In terms of lodging options for the Fish River Canyon, there’s a range of choices from campsites to luxury lodges located in both the national park and in private reserves.
You need to book a year in advance to do the Fish River Canyon Hike, which is only open during the cooler winter months of May to September. It’s a gruelling hike and you may experience temperatures of over 40 degrees, so it’s essential that you are fit, strong and healthy before you decide to tackle it.