It is one of the most impressive natural beauties in southern Namibia.
Yes, we are talking about the spectacular Fish River Canyon, situated along the lower reaches of the Fish River. With a depth of up to 550 metres/1800 feet, the Fish River canyon is the largest canyon in Africa and the second largest in the world. The enormous ravine meanders along a distance of 100 miles/160 kilometres and is up to 17 miles/27 kilometres wide in some places.
The Fish River canyon probably formed about 500 million years ago during the rainy pluvial times. The gorge was created by water erosion and the collapse of the valley bottom due to movements in the earth’s crust.
Because the Fish River is being dammed further north at the Hardap dam near Mariental, it only contains a small amount of running water. In winter the river bed is often completely dry or reduced to just some puddles here and there. However, after rainfalls in summer the river can, incredibly, become a raging torrent.
A trip to the Fish River canyon can also be combined with an Active Safari with our sister company, Nature Travel Active. This truly memorable experience includes paddling down the Fish River during certain times of the year.
The Fish River canyon has also become a popular hiking destination. However, the strenuous hike requires good physical health and can only be undertaken during the cooler winter months (between May and September). The hike is 86 km in length and takes about 5 days. Unofficial running through the canyon has subsequently evolved into the annual Fish River Canyon Ultra Marathon which held its inaugural race in 2011. This technical marathon follows most sections of the current hiking trail, testing the athlete’s capabilities to the extreme. The current 100 km record is held by South African AJ Calitz, at a shade over 8 hours!
To see this incredible natural wonder, join us on a Southern Namibia safari. This safari also includes visits to the Quiver Tree forest near Keetmanshoop, the Sperrgebiet with its incredible sunrise photo opportunities, the historic town of Luderitz and the iconic Sossusvlei.