Fish Canyon


If you are a trekker then the 54 miles (86km) Fish River Canyon hike is perfect for you. It winds through magnificent views of the canyon offering superb photographic opportunities. It’s a unique desert environment where you can float in therapeutic hot springs.

The immense, magnificent and breathtaking Fish River Canyon in southern Namibia is second only in grandeur to the USA’s Grand Canyon in Arizona. Purples, pinks and greys stretch along a 100-mile (161km) course and better still the entire package comes as something of a shock when you arrive at the canyon, as you have no idea it is there. It drops vertically by 1,800ft (550m) out of a flat arid plateau without any warning, even though at some points it is 17 miles (27km) wide!

It is down in the canyon floor that hikers pit themselves against the elements on one of Southern Africa’s most famous and popular hiking trails. The hike takes over 5 days in the base of the canyon, with absolutely no facilities whatsoever. You have only what you carry on your back and whatever water you can find in semi-permanent pools. The hike ends at Ai-Ais Hot Springs, where you can dip your weary body in therapeutic hot water.

Ai-Ais is the Nama word meaning ‘burning water’ and you can expect water temperatures of around 60ºC. The sulphurous springs originate deep underground and are rich in minerals which are beneficial for those with nervous or rheumatic disorders.

Springbok and steenbok can sometimes be seen on the plains at Hobas. Klipspringer and troops of Chacma baboons are happy on rocky slopes and mountain zebra favour the rugged ravines but are rarely seen. Some kudu inhabit the densely vegetated lower reaches of the canyon.

Summer is from November to April are the hottest months with average mid-summer temperatures ranging between 97°F and 100°F (36°C-38°C) and reaching in excess of 104°F (40°C) by midday in the canyon. Winter is from  May to September are cooler but you can still expect daytime sunshine and pleasantly warm to hot temperatures. At night it can get very cold with a mid-winter July minimum of 44.5°F (7°C) or less, especially in the canyon. The annual rainfall is highly variable and erratic and varies between 2 inches (50mm) and 4 inches (10mm) per year.

Facts

  • Ais Ais Hot Springs is closed from November to mid-March as it is just too hot.

 

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