The Fish River Canyon

Said to be the second largest canyon in the world, the scope of the Fish River Canyon takes one’s breath away. Located in Namibia and spanning a total area of 160 km in length and 27km in width, the gaping ravine reaches almost 550 metres in depth.  This is a sight that everyone should witness at some point in their lives – it’s truly a natural marvel and an incredible testament to the raw power of our planet. Those enjoying a luxury train trip through the arid, red landscape of Namibia should make a visit to the canyon a must.

As the longest interior river in Namibia, the Fish River is astounding in its beauty, cutting deep into the plateau and flowing rather sporadically during the late summer.  A loosely interconnected channel of pools dots the otherwise parched terrain, creating a sudden, shocking change in the seemingly predictable rise and fall of the crimson, windswept dunes.

The Fish River Canyon hiking trail enjoys world-wide acclaim, allowing visitors to explore the canyon from a different perspective. The 88km trail is no easy feat, but the phenomenal vistas of the ravine that the route provides make the exertion worth-while and the trip unforgettable.

The canyon was formed due to water erosion and the shifting of the earth’s crust some 500 million years ago. Today, it forms part of the Ai-Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier Park, which boasts an astonishing array of flora and fauna species, remarkably adapted for life in the desert. Hot springs bubble forth from the canyon floor, with the best known examples situated at Ai-Ais. Goliath herons stand majestically in the sun, keen eyes opportunistically seeking fish flitting in the pools, while black eagles and fish eagles circle overhead, high up in the cobalt sky. The red tip butterfly opens and shuts its wings delightedly in the sun, while the sure-footed klipspringer bounds effortlessly up the sheer, rock faces.

The Fish River Canyon is a place of tremendous beauty and a sanctity of solitude, where nature shows off its magnificence and the sheer, gaping cliff-faces evoke overwhelming emotions of awe.