On the Gamsberg Pass route west of the Khomas Hochland, Kuiseb Canyon contains the ephemeral Kuiseb River, which is no more than a broad sandy riverbed for most of the year. Although it may flow for two or three weeks during the rainy season, it only gets as far as Gobabeb before seeping into the sand. At Rooibank, drinking water for Walvis Bay is pumped from this subterranean supply.
It was in Kuiseb Canyon that the famous geologists Henno Martin and Hermann Korn went into hiding for more than two years during WWII, as recounted in Martin’s book The Sheltering Desert. Today, the canyon’s upper reaches remain uninhabited, though there are scattered Topnaar Khoikhoi villages where the valley broadens out near the north river bank.