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 conservation area. 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 160 km long, 500 m deep in places and 27 km across at its widest, it is the largest canyon system in Africa and the second largest in the world after the Grand Canyon in Colorado – and is certainly one of Africa’s least-visited wonders.
Although the canyon extends for 160 km, the most spectacular section is 56 km long, starting a few kilometres upstream of the northernmost viewpoint and ending at the southernmost lookout point.
Several viewpoints along the western rim of the canyon afford visitors splendid vistas of the dramatic canyon. These are particularly attractive early in the morning and at sunset, when the steep cliffs are awash with colour. The two most popular vantage points, the main viewpoint and the northernmost lookout, reveal dramatic views of Hell's Corner, while the Sulphur Spring viewpoint, about 10 km south of the main viewpoint, and the southern most viewpoints, 12 km further on, offer visitors a different perspective of the canyon.
Downstream from Hell's Corner, a few kilometres upstream of the northernmost viewpoint, the river meanders so widely that a straight-line distance of 32 km is more than doubled by the river-course. These meanders were probably incised by the mature Fish River when it flowed over the broad, level plain which today forms the floor of the upper canyon.
From these viewpoints visitors can gain a clear insight into the forces which shaped the canyon.
If you're driving from Keetmanshoop, take the B4 south-west for about 44 km before turning off left onto the C12, and then continue 77 km before taking a right and following the signs to Fish River Canyon. This final part of the approach is across undulating ridges and spectacular semi-desert plains, leaving the visitor in suspense until the very last moment about the spectacle he is about to witness.
Hobas caters only for campers, and overnight facilities are limited to twelve beautifully shaded camp sites with fireplaces, a field kitchen and ablution facilities.
A field kitchen and ablution block. Hobas is situated 10 km from the canyon. There are 10 camp-sites available for a maximum of 8 persons (fire-place, water-tap and communal facilities). There is a kiosk with basic supplies as well as a swimming-pool. Reservations must be made in advance No pets allowed. Canyon may be viewed at any time.
FISH RIVER CANYON HIKING:
Hiking may be undertaken from May to end of September. Groups (3 - 40 persons maximum) wishing to undertake hiking trips must apply well in advance. Medical certificates of physical fitness, issued within 40 days prior to hike, must be submitted at Hobas before commencing the hike. Hikers must arrange their own transport before and after the tour. You are advised to camp at Hobas the night before the hike begins. An indemnity form must be completed at Hobas. Please note: No Transport is supplied to and from the starting point of the hike.