Hiking Namibia’s Fish River Canyon

The Fish River Canyon is the second largest of this formation in the world after the Grand Canyon in Colorado, USA. The hiking trail is popular among tourists and a highly recommended African destination for adventure seekers. The trek lies in the 180-kilometer stretch from Seeheim to Orange River that borders Namibia from its neighbor, South Africa. The natural wonder of Southern Namibia gets flooded every year by the Fish River which flows 550 meters below the plateaus of the canyon. Years of intermittent flooding in the late summers has led to the formation of the majestic ravines.

Visitors will cover 90 kilometers and 5 days of unguided hike and camping. There are no amenities or inns available along the trail so hikers will have to carry their camping essentials. Trekkers have to travel to the canyons’ nearest South African town called Springbok. The sleepy African town has a flourishing tourist industry. Remnants of its Dutch heritage are still evident in Springbok’s monuments. There’s also the Geogap Nature Reserve that Springbok is proud of for its collection of antelope species and spring flowers. It’s also where tourists can get themselves energized, gather camping supplies before taking off for a Namibian adventure.

Once in the Nambian border, the Fish River Canyon hike officially starts. The camping site at Hobas is the last real convenience that the hikers will have. A steep descent to the side of the Canyon will take about two hours. This will be the most difficult part of the trail. The first leg of the trail ends at Palm Springs where the second night camp is set. The journey continues early the next day at the extremely rugged terrain where boulders and crossing brooks becomes a usual thing. Amazing fossilisations will become visible in the rocky layers of the mountains which gives a sense of how old the canyons are – 650 million years to be geologically precise. The seclusion within what seems like the middle of nowhere places the trekkers in a kind of meditative state. Every now and then herds of animals can be seen grazing at a distance against backdrop of a red South African sunset. The last part of the nature trip is a five-hour trail to Ai-Ais Hot Springs. Here, the trekkers celebrate their achievement and get pampered at the resort. The water is naturally rich in sulfur, chloride and fluoride. The spring often visited by people seeking treatment for rheumatism and skin ailments but for the trekkers, it’s simply a place to relax and relish their canyon experience.

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