Holidays to Fish River Canyon, Namibia

The memory of visiting Fish River Canyon stays with you long after you've left. It is the definition of a "take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints" kind of experience. 

Beginning in the Naukluft mountains in central Namibia, the Fish River flows 650 kilometres through desert, until joining the Orange River at the South African border. On this journey, since time immemorial, the waters have slowly and steadfastly eroded the ground and over hundreds of millions of years nature has sculpted the Fish River Canyon. At 160 kilometres long, up to 27 kilometres wide and 550 metres deep in places, the sheer size is difficult to get your head around at first. 

If you're a bit pressed for time or here to see some scenery, then the main viewpoint is the best place to go. Despite having the word "main" in the name, it's pretty likely that you'll be amongst just a handful of other people up there. Bring a picnic basket and sit under the shade of a nearby tree, taking in the vastness before you. 

If you're packing your walking shoes, then get ready for one of the most unforgettable hikes of your life. Most visitors here opt for the shorter, less intensive two or three-day hikes. These are no small feats themselves and be sure you're in shape. The more adventurous will choose the full five-day hike that takes in 86 kilometres of stunningly sparse terrain and deep canyon. It's a monumental experience, and it's necessary to obtain a permit before, but those who do it will be rewarded with unforgettable scenery and untouched landscape in this natural African wonder. Note that hiking trails are only open during the cooler winter months, from April to September. 

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I adore Africa and have lived and worked in South Africa as well as travelling across the wider region. Spotting a leopard during a night safari at Nambiti Private Game Reserve is definitely an experience I'll remember forever.

Map of Fish River Canyon