Fish River Canyon Hike

Fish River Canyon, Namibia – the second largest canyon in the world and one of the best treks in Africa.

The following is a little description of my adventures along the Fish River Canyon hike. Kobus Alberts, Director Wild at Heart Safaris – Namibia

The trip started at Okahanje Lodge, 70kms north of Windhoek, at 0430 on the 23rd august and we travelled more then 700kms south to reach Hobas at about 1530 and start the first part of the Canyon hike.

The food bags were organised, backpacks loaded up and we got a lift to the main look out which was also the start of our hike.It was an impressive awesome sight and i was bubbling with excitement. There were folks there admiring the views and i remember feeling how lucky i was to get the chance to go to the bottom and walk 85kms following the meandering course of the river to Ai-Ais.

The first part of the descent was very steep but plenty of chains to hang onto and guide you down,at times it was a bit awkward with a big pack and “short” legs but all you had to do was stop and gaze around you at the magnificence of it all.

We got to the base as darkness fell and set up camp beside the river,which was to be our water supply for the next five days.I cannot come close to describing how wonderful it was to sleep under the stars every night…..we were lucky to have clear skies and no interference from any artificial light sources and the impressive southern cross was a friendly sight every night.

Our first full day had us doing lots of boulder hopping and along the way spotted some wildlife including Oryx, Klipspringer and a family of  curious baboons.The rock formations were truely spectacular and looking up you could sometimes see where the lookouts were,550metres above!

On a few nights when the wind was gentle we enjoyed sitting around the campfire, this added to the atmosphere and probably kept the bugs away too.   Arriving at the Palm Sulphur Springs was a wonderful surprise and a welcome relief for tired feet.  A lot of the hiking was along the sandy river bed and we had no problems when it came to crossing over.  The daytime temperatures were perfect for hiking and as the days went by the packs got lighter as the food got eaten.

We had quite a few opportunities for having a swim in the river,which wasn’t as cold as i expected and a welcome opportunity to freshen up.  The path was easy to follow and every now and then we would come across an arrow made from animal bones pointing us in a particular direction, lots of scattered stone cairns did the samething.

Along the way we passed a small motorbike, intact but a bit rusted and a skeleton next to it……i thought it was human and some poor soul had come to their end but i was reassured that it was a baboon skeleton.A lonely pair of well worn hiking boots were abandoned on a massive boulder. Always there were hundreds of footprints around but we only ever met up with one other group,the vastness and solitude was fabulous.

We passed the German soldiers grave and as the height of the canyon started to get smaller were lucky enough to spot a lone wild horse.  It was with some sadness that on thursday 28th i woke up to my last morning of the hike,the sunrises and light changes were superb and the first sound of the “outside” world was of the workers at Ai-Ais who were busy doing renovations.  Suddenly we had toilets again and many other people around and trucks and bottled drinks.

The Fish River Canyon Hike was more than i could ever have imagined,it was a fantastic experience all topped off by seeing zebras on the way back to Hobas on the bus. We also revisited all of the look outs and were able to peer down on where we had walked the previous five days.I thoroughly recommend this hike to other visitors to Namibia.

Author: Kobus Alberts   | Find out more about Wild at Heart Safaris in Namibia. Wild at Heart Safaris is a young Namibian-owned and based Safari Company, that specialises in Adventure and Luxury Safaris for small groups and families.

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