Namibia Off The Beaten Track
A three-week trip that explores some of Namibia’s most remote areas, expect awe-inspiring landscapes and showstopping, iconic wildlife.
Receiving less than one percent of the visitors of the infamous Grand Canyon, Fish River Canyon is just as remarkable and is certainly one of Africa’s lesser-visited wonders. In fact, at certain times of the year you are unlikely to see anyone around at all as you explore this picturesque spectacle.
Formed over 500 million years ago from the tectonic collapse of the valley floor, Fish River Canyon is over 160 kilometres in length, 27 kilometres wide and over 550 metres deep. Walk along the rim of the canyon, following the curves and grooves of this ancient site to see it's multifaceted charm. From it's jagged cliffs made up of a metamorphic rock complex of granite mixed with dark streaks of dolerite dykes, to the gigantic riverine and 360-degree panoramas, there are photo opportunities at every point.
The best way to experience the true serenity of Fish River Canyon is by putting on a good pair of walking boots, grabbing your binoculars and walking into the canyon with your local expert guide. For something more fast-paced, there are several mountain biking tracks or for those preferring a leisurely adventure, scenic drives are on offer. Whatever your ride, remember a flask of coffee and be sure to wake early for sunrise over the canyon, watching as zebra, kudu, antelope, baboons and – if you’re very lucky – leopard waking from their slumber.
With your guide, you’ll learn about the harsh climate on the plateau, making for some interestingly adapted drought-resistant plants colonising the slopes of the canyon, comprising mostly of euphorbias and red aloes. However, the base of the canyon paints a different picture, with sulphur springs and palm trees.
For a truly unique experience, fly over the gorges, ravines and crooked landscapes on an unforgettable scenic flight.
The best time to visit Fish River Canyon is from May to September when daytime temperatures range between 20-25 degrees Celsius and there is low rainfall, ideal for hiking. The rains can be very heavy from November to March and heat can be unbearable from December to February making the multi day hiking excursion near impossible at this time. However, August to September often blooms colourful spring flowers. If you are visiting for birding, October to April is best as there are many migratory birds at this time.
Fish River Canyon is perfect for adventurous travellers and fits perfectly into our Namibia Off The Beaten Track itinerary where you’ll embark on a two-night hiking trip through 1.5 billion years of geological history. Right at the south end of Namibia, Fish River Canyon is easily reached from South Africa on route 7 or the R382 and makes for a beautiful scenic drive. For this reason, it is also a great addition to self-driving itineraries covering the west coast of South Africa.
There are just a handful of lodges in Fish River Canyon area, our favourite being Fish River Lodge. Perched on the western rim of Fish River Canyon, Fish River Lodge is the only lodge situated directly on the rim of the canyon and is the perfect base for those wanting to get off-the-beaten-track in this geological wonder. As well as having one of the best views from an infinity pool we have ever seen, even if it is a bit chilly! Take a fat bike along meandering trails or take a two-day hike where you’ll sleep under the Namibian sky before returning to your chalet back at the Lodge with panoramic vistas from your private deck.