The Fish River Canyon is located in the south of Namibia. It is the second largest canyon in the World and the largest in Africa, as well as the second most visited tourist attraction in Namibia. It features a gigantic ravine, in total about 100 miles (160 km) long, up to 27 km wide and in places almost 550 metres deep. The Fish River is the longest interior river in Namibia. It cuts deep into the plateau which is today dry, stony and sparsely covered with hardy drought-resistant plants.
The river flows intermittently, usually flooding in late summer; the rest of the year it becomes a chain of long narrow pools. At the lower end of the Fish River Canyon, the hot springs resort of Ai-Ais is situated. Public view points are near Hobas, a camp site 70 km north of Ai-Ais. This part of the canyon is part of the Ai-Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park. The other 90 km of this canyon are privately owned.
The Fish River Canyon Hiking Trail:
The Fish River Canyon hiking trail is one of the more popular hiking trails in Southern Africa. The immense scale and rugged terrain has drawn many visitors from all over the world to experience what hiking or trail running the canyon can offer. Apart from the 2 kilometre descent west of Hobas and some optional short cuts, the trail generally follows 88 kilometres of the Fish River through to Ai Ais and is usually completed within 5 days. Although there are a number of footpaths through the canyon, the trail is not fixed leaving the hiker to decide where and how long to hike.
There are no amenities on the trail and hikers have to carry all their needs with them. Open fires are not allowed on the trail. In times of inclement weather, some shelter in a run-down building can be found at the Causeway but otherwise sleeping is outdoors. The weather is usually mild and typical temperatures vary between 5°C and 30°C with little humidity. Extreme weather, such as flash floods, stormy winds and rain occasionally play havoc during the hiking season.