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Fish River Canyon in Namibia, the second largest canyon in the world

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Fish River Canyon


Nowhere else in Africa will you find anything quite like Fish River Canyon. Whether you're getting a taste of the sheer scale and beauty of the place from one of the lookouts, or hiking for five days to really immerse yourself in its multi-faceted charm, Fish River Canyon is a special place.

At one level, the numbers don’t lie: the canyon measures 160km in length, up to 27km in width and the dramatic inner canyon reaches a depth of 550m. But as impressive as these numbers are, it’s difficult to get a sense of perspective without actually experiencing the enormous scope of the canyon, something best done on the monumental five-day, 85km hike that traverses half the length of the canyon and follows the sandy bed of the river (it should contain water in May or June). The reward is nothing less than an unforgettable relationship with one of Africa’s greatest natural wonders.

Fish River Canyon is part of the |Ai- |Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier Park, one of an increasing number of ‘peace’ or cross-border parks in Southern Africa. Straddling southern Namibia and South Africa (and measuring 6045 sq km), it boasts one of the most species-rich, arid zones in the world. It also encompasses Richtersveld National Park (in South Africa) and the Orange River valley.

At the northern end of the national park, there's the Hobas Information Centre, picnic sites, campgrounds, walking trails and access to some of the best viewpoints in the canyon.

From Hobas you can walk the five-day Fish River Hiking Trail to Ai-Ais, at the other end of the canyon. At the southern end, Ai-Ais is a pleasant hot-spring oasis. The springs, which are piped into swimming pools and spas, apparently relieve rheumatism and nervous disorders. Ai-Ais has campsites, bungalows and caravans.

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