Fish River Canyon

The spectacular Fish River canyon, situated along the lower reaches of the Fish river, is one of the most impressive natural beauties in southern Namibia. With a depth of up to 550 metres (1,800 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 not only created by water erosion, but also through 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 the town of 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.

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 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 hiking trail, testing the athlete’s capabilities to the extreme. The current record is held by South African AJ Calitz, at a shade over 8 hours!

Apart from this truly spectacular natural wonder, southern Namibia also boasts several other nearby attractions. These include the Quiver Tree forest near Keetmanshoop, the Sperrgebiet with its incredible sunrise photo opportunities, the historic town of Luderitz, and much more.

Join one of our Popular Safaris to experience this wonderful safari destination with us.