Fish River Canyon

Fish River Canyon:

The Fish River is, at 650 kilometres, the longest river in Namibia. Its source lies in the eastern Naukluft Mountains and flows south-west of Ai-Ais into the Oranje. The Fish River canyon, situated along the lower reaches of the Fish River, is one of the most impressive & spectacular geological feature in the southern part of Namibia. It developed predominantly during the pluvial times – a rainy climatic epoch – many millions of years ago. With a depth of up to 550 metres, the Fish River Canyon is the second largest canyon in the world, after the Grand Canyon in America. The enormous gorge meanders along a distance of approx. 160 kilometres through the fissured Koubis massif all the way down to Ai-Ais. The canyon starts near Seeheim, is 161 kilometres long and ends at Ai-Ais. The Fish River Canyon probably formed about 500 million years ago. 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 river bed is often completely dry or reduced to only the occassional puddle. However, after rainfalls in summer the river can become a raging torrent.

The canyon is part of a Nature Conservation Park. The gate is situated at the restcamp Hobas. From there, you have to drive another 10 kilometres to the actual Canyon which offers a stunning view of “Hell’s Bend”. The Fish River Canyon has become a popular hiking destination. 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. The hike is 86 km in length and takes about 5 days. Much easier hikes, no less beautiful, are offered in the bordering private “Canyon Nature Park”. The adjacent and also private “Gondwana Canyon Park” offers scenic hikes.

Tours visiting Fish River Canyon:

Extended Namibia Tour (19 days) 

Namibia South Tour (8 days)

Namibia – Botswana – Victoria Falls Tour (28 days)