I’m excited about today’s guest post, as it introduces a continent I haven’t covered on Traveling German before. Alya and Campbell share their tips on hiking Fish River Canyon in Namibia. I’ve only been able to explore small parts of Northern Africa myself, and Namibia is high up on my bucket list. Sounds like Fish River Canyon will go on my Namibia itinerary!
Hiking Fish River Canyon
We often travel for hiking and have been to many amazing places around the world, but hiking Fish River canyon in Namibia was a very different experience. Namibia is famous for its desert, red sand dunes and national parks, but not many people know about some amazing hikes you can do here. Hiking in Namibia is a completely different experience compared to traditional hiking regions e.g. the Himalayas, Andes, Alps etc. There are no mountains, no snow, not even trees and water is scare. Add to this the dry and hot climate of the desert and you’ll get an idea about Namibia hiking experience. Fish River canyon hike is considered to be one of the toughest and most beautiful hikes in Africa.
The canyon is located in the South of Namibia. It’s the second largest canyon in the world after the Great Canyon and the biggest in Africa. The idea to walk for days on the bottom of this giant is quite thrilling, isn’t it? When you look down from the view point you can’t even imagine it’s possible! The most amazing thing about hiking Fish River was sleeping at night under the darkest sky and the brightest stars we’ve ever seen, most people don’t bring tents and sleep just on their mattresses and sleeping bags. What could be better for real outdoor lovers than sleeping under the stars!
Hiking Conditions at Fish River Canyon
Due to the weather conditions and difficulty to access the canyon (in some places only by helicopter) to do the hike, you need a medical certificate confirming that you don’t have any chronical diseases, heart problems etc. The hike is not technical; anybody relatively fit and used to walking can do it. Our friends’ parents did it recently and they’re over 65 years. Most people do the hike in 5-6 days; if you’re fit, you can finish in 4 days or take your time and walk for the whole week. The trail is easy to follow. You basically follow the river, look out for shortcuts – there are quite a few and they will make your walk a bit shorter and easier.
Our advice for those who want to hike the canyon would be “Don’t take too much stuff”, especially food and pack your backpacks as light as possible. In fact, it was so hot, and we were so thirsty all the time that we didn’t really eat much. The main problem for us on the hike was the ground. It’s mostly sandy or rocky so our heavy leather hiking boots didn’t work well in the end. Most of the trail I walked in my sneakers or flip flops. The essential thing on the trek is sun protection, most of the time there is no shade in the canyon, you walk under the burning African sun, and chances to get heatstroke or sun burn are quite high. We’d recommend wearing long sleeves and long pants, a big hat, sunglasses and always put sunscreen and lip balm on.
Things not to miss when hiking Fish River are the sunsets and sunrises when the canyon changes from dark purple to bright pinkish (sunrise) or amber colour (sunset), it’s truly magic! If you’re lucky to hike Fish River canyon on Full Moon, sleeping can be difficult as the Moon is so bright and big that you don’t need any torch to see everything around.
The hiking trail finishes at Ai Ais hot spring resort/campsite where you can chill in a hot spring pool at night sipping an ice-cold drink and thinking of the past adventure.
Fish River Canyon Review Scores
Thrill level: 3 out of/5
Chill level: 3 out of/5
Skill level: 4 out of/5 – no special skills but need to be healthy and fit.
Verdict: We really enjoyed Fish River canyon hike and can recommend it to all adventure seekers and hiking lovers.
About the author & adventurer
Campbell and Alya an adventurous travel couple based in South Africa We’re camping addicts and road trippers and like exploring the world’s best hiking and diving destinations and of course doing all the above on a tight budget.
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