Fish River Canyon, Namibia
Fish River Canyon is the second biggest canyon in the world, just beyond the Grand Canyon. It is the largest canyon in Africa and the second most popular tourist destination in Namibia. Located in the south of Namibia, it is easily accessible from South Africa.
Traveling to Fish River Canyon, Namibia
In comparison to most other attractions in Namibia, Fish River Canyon is quite easy to get to! From Cape Town (like us!) take the N7 all the way up to the border of Namibia. You will then cross the border at Vioosdrif. At this point, the same road will turn into the B1. Take the B1 to the C10 or C12, depending on where your destination is along the canyon. Personally, we took the C12 and it was easy to navigate, because the road essentially ends right into the canyon. This is the same for the C10, you will run right into the canyon!
Camping and Accommodation at Fish River Canyon, Namibia
There is limited accommodation in this area. From the southern end (C10) you may stay in the /Ai /Ais-Richtersveld Transfrontier Park. We went to the northern part of the canyon and stayed at Hobas campsite. Hobas is the most popular site and it is often difficult to get a camping spot if you are traveling in the high season. As with any campsite in Namibia now, book ahead of time!
The Hobas campsite is situated perfectly for Fish River Canyon, which is its appeal. With only about a 20 minutes drive to the best view of the canyon- this great spot! The camp store is limited but has the basic camping supplies. The price for a site was reasonable equating to around $15USD per person. The ablutions are adequate and they have a great outdoor kitchen area for doing dishes! There is a nice new pool, but our trip was fast and we did not get a chance to partake. There is a new bar and restaurant there as well, but do know that they need advance notice (day of is fine) about dinner reservations. The campsite is unfenced which adds an element of excitement for me!
Activities in Fish River Canyon, Namibia
The most popular thing to do at Fish River Canyon is just to take in the sights. There are several outposts that make it easy to get several views of the enormity of the canyon. Obviously, because it is a chasm in the earth, you will have to chose which side you see it from. My recommendation would be to go to the canyon at sunset and sunrise (pictures below). This was you are able to see the variety of points of geological interests. Please note that even just viewing the canyon is a part of Namibia Wildlife Resorts and costs a conservation fee.
The other main activity to do is to hike into the canyon. This does require a lot more time and planning than we had. Depending how extreme you want your hike, it is typically a 5 day trip. There are no fires allowed in the canyon so hikers need to bring in all of the items they need. The river often floods at various parts of the year, so do your research! If you have done this hike, let us know! We want to read more about people’s experiences with this!
Game Viewing near Fish River Canyon, Namibia
Fish River Canyon is definitely in the desert so game is limited. There are a lot of smaller animals that we just did not have time to see as we had a strict time frame. Some larger animals right near Fish River Canyon would be ostrich, oryx, springbok, and kudu. These are the first animals that you see if you are driving from Cape Town which is still exciting!
Overall Thoughts on Fish River Canyon, Namibia
Fish River Canyon is special and just plain beautiful. Never having been to the Grand Canyon, neither of us had seen anything remotely like this. One of the best aspects of this site is the utter silence and stillness. Nothing seems to move at all as you look out over the canyon. It is truly awe inspiring to see at all times of day. I also hold this place (and Hobas!) dear as it was my first night of camping ever and I did it all for Max. This is where I fell in love with the outdoors and discovered a new side of adventuring. Fish River Canyon holds beauty but is not overwhelmed with tourists. This place is worth visiting and hopefully you are filled with the excitement and wonder as we were.
This particular trip to Namibia was completed with our two friends, Courtney and Tyler. It was both of their first times in South Africa/Namibia so it was an obvious choice to do our 10 day trip with both of them! It was great to see Fish River Canyon from their perspective and show them where we fell in love and why we always talk about Namibia!
This was night 1 of 9 nights on the itinerary. This day was Cape Town to Fish River Canyon. Though it is a long drive, starting in one country and ending the day for sunset in another country is completely worth it!
You will see pictures and stories of Courtney and Tyler throughout this Namibia series. Courtney is a blogger as well- check her website out: https://awanderingbroadabroad.wordpress.com/