The Fish River Canyon (Afrikaans: Visrivier Canyon or Visrivier Kuil, German: Fischfluss Canyon), is located in the south of Namibia. It is the largest canyon 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 meters 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.
|Fish River Canyon - Fischfluss Canyon|
Panorama from Main View Point
|Area||5,900 km2 (2,300 sq mi)|
|Governing body||Ministry of Environment and Tourism|
The Fish River canyon consists of an upper canyon, where river erosion was inhibited by hard gneiss bedrocks, and a lower canyon formed after erosion had finally worn through the gneisses. Both parts have been declared a national monument in 1962.
Upstream, the river runs through horizontal dolomite strata; these metamorphic rocks formed part of the canyon. About 650 million years ago (Mya), plate movement formed a north-south graben, or lowered area, along which the ancient Fish River could flow and eventually erode a flat plain, which is today's upper canyon. Glaciation at around 300 Mya, part of the Dyka glaciation during the Karoo Ice Age, further deepened the canyon. About 60 Mya, South America and Africa separated (due to continental drift) and Africa rose significantly; the consequentially increased gradient of the Fish River enabled it to erode the lower canyon into the hard gneisses, forming the current deeply twisting, meandering system of the lower canyon.
|Fish River Canyon Hiking trail|
Wild Fig Bend
|Length||90 km |
|Location||Fish River Canyon|
|Trailheads||Hobas / Ai Ais|
|Use||Hiking / Trail running|
|Elevation gain/loss||620 m (Loss)|
|Highest point||840 m|
|Lowest point||220 m|
|Season||Winter in Southern Hemisphere|
|Months||1 May - 16 Sep|
|Sights||Spectacular scenery, wildlife|
|Hazards||Steep descent, boulders, rocks, deep sand, slippery river crossings, baboons, snakes, scorpions|
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.
Due to flooding and extremely hot summer temperatures reaching 48 °C in the day and 30 °C at night, permits are only issued between 1 May and 15 September.
Prior to arriving at Hobas a hiking permit must be obtained from Namibia Wildlife Resorts  for groups not smaller than 3 and not larger than 30. All hikers must be older than 12 years and a certificate of fitness, completed by a medical doctor must be presented at the offices of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism at Hobas.
In recent years the trail has become popular, particularly during school holidays and long weekends, and permits should be requested well in advance. Bookings for the following year's season open 1 May.
Hobas ( offices as well as Namibia Wildlife Resorts offices and a little shop for curiosities and basic necessities. Camping underneath Camelthorn trees with ablution blocks is available for hikers who plan to overnight at Hobas.) houses the Ministry of Environment and Tourism
The trail ends at Ai Ais where a resort with hotel rooms, chalets and camping grounds can be found.
The trail starts from the car park ( Thereafter the unmarked path follows a gravel trail to the beach at the bottom ( ). On the descent some misleading game trails lead to the north and should be avoided.) 13 kilometres west from Hobas. The descent is steep and chains are provided to assist hikers over the first 100 meters.
The trail can be divided into three notable sections:
Optional short cuts are available. They offer little in beauty but may be a welcome change of scenery and terrain. Popular short cuts are found at:
The river flows stronger early in the season and by September usually dries up to form a chain of stagnant pools. Water is safe to drink, however the use of water purifying tablets are recommended.
River crossings are a notable feature with more than 20 crossings over the course of the trail, and crossings may become a major consideration when water levels are high.
There is no mobile phone reception in the canyon and only two emergency exits are available. Evacuation from the deep canyon is done via stretcher on foot or helicopter and vehicles in the later parts of the trail. Emergency exits can be found:
Documented running through the canyon started in 1990. A group of hikers in running gear attempted to complete the 5 day, 90 kilometer hiking trail in 24 hours. They achieved their goal in a time of 11hrs 42min. In August 2003 this time was lowered to 10hrs 54min. Then in August 2012, after a previously abandoned attempt in 2011, Ryan Sandes completed the course in 6hrs 57min.
|13 July 1990||11hrs 42min||Bruce Mathews, Ronnie Muhl||South Africa|
|16 August 2003||10hrs 54min||Russell Paschke, Charlie du Toit, Coenraad Pool and Tommy van Wyk||Namibia|
|3 August 2012||6hrs 57min||Ryan Sandes||South Africa|
|18 June 2016||6hrs 39min 52sec||AJ Calitz||South Africa|
Unofficial running through the canyon has subsequently evolved into the annual Fish River Canyon Ultra Marathon which held its inaugural race on 27 August 2011.
The route starts close to Hobas and after a short section on the rim of the canyon steeply descends 500 meters to river level. Thereafter the contestants mostly follow the river to Ai Ais. They are allowed to plan their own routes and take short-cuts through the canyon provided they reach a number of predefined checkpoints. Shortcuts may greatly reduce the total distance of the race but may also cost the contestant dearly in effort.
Due to the remoteness of the trail, all competitors are required to be self-sufficient for the duration of the event and are expected to have adequate nutrients as well as the stipulated survival gear. Water is generally sourced from the river which is always close by.
Previous trail runners have commented on the difficulty of the terrain: "The canyon is one of the most beautiful places I have seen but at the same time is one of the harshest environments I have run in. I really battled in the canyon due to the extreme heat and terrain and running in there was one of the toughest days of my athletic career." "This canyon is not for the faint hearted and an attempt to run it should not be taken light-heartedly."
Aloidendron dichotomum, formerly Aloe dichotoma, the quiver tree or kokerboom, is a tall, branching species of succulent plant, indigenous to Southern Africa, specifically in the Northern Cape region of South Africa, and parts of Southern Namibia.Blyde River Canyon
The Blyde River Canyon, officially the Motlatse Canyon is a significant natural feature of South Africa, located in Mpumalanga, and forming the northern part of the Drakensberg escarpment. Located in the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve, it is 25 kilometres (16 mi) in length and is, on average, around 750 metres (2,461 ft) deep. The Blyderivierpoort Dam, when full, is at an altitude of 665 metres (2,182 ft). The canyon consists mostly of red sandstone. The highest point of the canyon, Mariepskop, is 1,944 metres (6,378 ft) above sea level, whilst its lowest point where the river leaves the canyon is slightly less than 561 metres (1,841 ft) above sea level. This means that by some measure the canyon is 1,383 metres (4,537 ft) deep.
While it is difficult to compare canyons world-wide, Blyde River Canyon is one of the largest canyons on Earth, and it may be the largest 'green canyon' due to its lush subtropical foliage. It has some of the deepest precipitous cliffs of any canyon on the planet. It is the second largest canyon in Africa, after the Fish River Canyon, and is known as one of the great wonders of nature on the continent.
Possibly the best view in the whole of the Blyde River Canyon is of the "Three Rondavels", huge, round rocks, thought to be reminiscent of the houses or huts of the indigenous people, known as rondavels. This canyon is part of the Panorama Route. This route starts at the town Graskop and includes God's Window, the Pinnacle and Bourke's Luck Potholes.Canyon
A canyon (Spanish: cañón; archaic British English spelling: cañon) or gorge is a deep cleft between escarpments or cliffs resulting from weathering and the erosive activity of a river over geologic timescales. Rivers have a natural tendency to cut through underlying surfaces, eventually wearing away rock layers as sediments are removed downstream. A river bed will gradually reach a baseline elevation, which is the same elevation as the body of water into which the river drains. The processes of weathering and erosion will form canyons when the river's headwaters and estuary are at significantly different elevations, particularly through regions where softer rock layers are intermingled with harder layers more resistant to weathering.
A canyon may also refer to a rift between two mountain peaks, such as those in ranges including the Rocky Mountains, the Alps, the Himalayas or the Andes. Usually a river or stream and erosion carve out such splits between mountains. Examples of mountain-type canyons are Provo Canyon in Utah or Yosemite Valley in California's Sierra Nevada. Canyons within mountains, or gorges that have an opening on only one side, are called box canyons. Slot canyons are very narrow canyons that often have smooth walls.
Steep-sided valleys in the seabed of the continental slope are referred to as submarine canyons. Unlike canyons on land, submarine canyons are thought to be formed by turbidity currents and landslides.Diabase
Diabase ( ) or dolerite or microgabbro is a mafic, holocrystalline, subvolcanic rock equivalent to volcanic basalt or plutonic gabbro. Diabase dikes and sills are typically shallow intrusive bodies and often exhibit fine grained to aphanitic chilled margins which may contain tachylite (dark mafic glass). Diabase is the preferred name in North America, yet dolerite is the preferred name in most of the rest of the world, where sometimes the name diabase is applied to altered dolerites and basalts. Many petrologists prefer the name microgabbro to avoid this confusion.Euphorbia virosa
Euphorbia virosa, the Gifboom or poison tree, is a plant of the spurge family Euphorbiaceae. It has a short main stem, usually twisted, from which 5–10 cm branches emerge. These leafless branches have 5 to 8 edges. Paired thorns grow in regularly spaced intervals from the edges.Euphorbia virosa is commonly distributed from the Orange River in South Africa to Southern Angola, occupying mainly arid areas in Namibia. The plant contains within the branches a milky and creamy substance with carcinogenic properties. This substance is very poisonous and is used by San (Bushmen) to dip the tips of their hunting arrows. Contact with it causes skin irritation, and if the eyes are afflicted, blindness may occur.Ficus cordata
Ficus cordata, the Namaqua fig, is a species of fig that occurs in two disjunct populations in Africa, one in the arid southwest of the continent, and a second in the northern subtropics. In the south it is often the largest and most prominent tree, and is virtually restricted to cliff faces and rock outcrops, where it has a rock-splitting habit.Fish River (Namibia)
The Fish River (Visrivier in Afrikaans, Fischfluss in German) is a river in Namibia. It is 650 km long, flowing from the Naukluft Mountains 150 km to the Hardap Dam near Mariental. From there the flow is entirely blocked, all further flow downstream coming from tributaries downstream from the dam. The flow of the river is seasonal; in winter the river can dry up completely. Despite this, the river is the site of the spectacular Fish River Canyon, a canyon 160 km long, and at points as much as 550 m deep.
The outflow of the Fish River joins the Orange River at the border with South Africa about 100 km from the Atlantic Ocean.Geology of Namibia
The geology of Namibia encompasses rocks of Paleoproterozoic, Mesoproterozoic and Neoproterozoic and Paleozoic to Cenozoic age. About 46% of the countryʼs surface are bedrock exposure, while the remainder is covered by the young overburden sediments of the Kalahari and Namib deserts.
The country is famous for its mineral deposits of Tsumeb, as well as many geological sites of interest, from paleontological, geomorphological and volcanic character. Due to the exposure of the formations in a desert climate and the former German colony, the geology of Namibia is relatively well studied compared to the more tropical less exposed northern neighbors.List of canyons
This list of canyons includes both land and submarine canyons with the land canyons being sorted by continent and then by country.List of national parks of Namibia
This is a list of national parks in Namibia.Massimo Baistrocchi
Massimo Baistrocchi (August 17, 1942 – January 22, 2012) was an Italian writer, artist, freelance journalist and diplomat who served as Italy's Ambassador to Namibia from 2001 to 2004, as well as Ambassador to Ghana, Togo, Nigeria, and Benin.Baistrocchi was born on August 17, 1942, in Karuizawa, Japan. He worked as journalist, and wrote articles for Italian and overseas magazines and other publications. His books and articles focused on numerous subjects, such as travel, culture and socio-economic issues. His books were often influenced by his diplomatic postings, including "Namibian Elegy," which included poems focusing on key Namibian geographical features, including the Spitzkoppe, the Orange River, the Fish River Canyon and Sossusvlei. He held art exhibitions around the world including Spain, Japan, South Korea, Ghana, Portugal, Egypt, and Hong Kong.He joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as a press officer in 1970. He was appointed as Italian ambassador to Ghana and Togo in May 1996, holding that diplomatic post until 2001. Massimo Baistrocchi was appointed Ambassador to Namibia from 2001 to 2004. He was reportedly so fond of the country that he purchased a Namibian home. Baistrochhi returned to Italy following the end of his posting in Namibia, where he served as President of the Interministerial Commission for the Recovering of Works of Art. During the late 2000s, Baistrocchi was once again sent to Africa, serving first as Italy's ambassador to Nigeria and then as ambassador to Benin. He then retired from the diplomatic corp, but returned to their home in Windhoek, Namibia, once a year.Baistrocchi died from a heart attack in Windhoek, Namibia, on January 22, 2012, at the age of 69. He was survived by his wife, Adriana, and his daughter Allegra. An exhibition of his art was held at the National Art Gallery of Namibia on January 27, 2012, as a tribute.Ryan Sandes
Ryan Nicholas Sandes "Hedgie" (born 10 March 1982 in Cape Town), is a South African trail runner. In 2010 he became the first competitor to have won all four of the 4 Deserts races, each a 6/7-day, 250-kilometer (160 mi) self-supported footrace through the Atacama Desert in Chile, the Gobi Desert in China, the Sahara Desert in Egypt, and lastly Antarctica. His achievement prompted Mary Gadams, founder and CEO of RacingThePlanet and organiser of the event, to state “Ryan Sandes is clearly one of the top endurance athletes in the world - to have won all 4 Deserts is a remarkable accomplishment.” To date only 81 individuals have completed all four trails. 11 competitors have managed the 4 Deserts Grand Slam, that is, completing the four trails in a calendar year (from 1 January to 31 December of the same year). In 2010, Time magazine included the 4 Deserts Challenge on a list of the ten most demanding endurance races in the world.Sandes was winner of the Sahara Race in 2008, the Gobi March in 2008, second in 2009 RacingThePlanet Namibia, and winner of the Jungle Ultra Marathon in Floresta Nacional do Tapajós in Pará, Brazil, setting a new course record.
Sandes won the 2011 Leadville Trail 100 in a time of 16:46:54, more than half an hour ahead of runner-up Dylan Bowman. He won the 2012 North Face 100 in Australia in a time of 9:22:45, and had placed 3rd in 2011.
In August 2012, Sandes bettered Russell Pasche's record for the 90K Fish River Canyon hiking trail from 10:54 to 6:57.
Sandes won the second race in the Ultra-Trail World Series Tour, The North Face Transgrancanaria, on March 1, 2014. After winning, Sandes was temporarily disqualified after a misunderstanding relating to his failing to produce the mandatory emergency blanket from his kit at the finish. Sandes appealed the disqualification and was subsequently reinstated as the winner.Sandes attended the South African College Schools (S.A.C.S.) where he took part in cricket, rugby and water polo. He was awarded a BSc degree in Construction and later an Honours in Quantity Surveying at the University of Cape Town. In addition to trail running, he is an active mountain biker, paddler and surfer.Having finished runner-up in the 2012 Western States Endurance Run, Sandes won the race five years later in 16 hours 19 minutes 37 seconds.The trail running pair set a fastest known time (FKT) on the Drakensberg Grand Traverse (DGT), an unmarked and self-navigated route across the main Drakensberg escarpment between South Africa and Lesotho. The route included approximately 204km of distance and 9000m of elevation gain/loss. This FKT was set between 00:00 on Monday, 24 March 2014 and sunset on Tuesday 25 March 2014, with a finish time of 41 hours and 49 minutes. The pair slept only a few minutes during the middle-part of the race, and famously reported of hallucinating from tiredness and hearing helicopters during the night, although there weren't any.
Running a total of 1,504 km in 24 days 4 hours and 24 minutes, Ryan Sandes and Ryno Griesel set a new FKT during March 2018 for the Great Himalaya Trail (GHT).Seeheim
For the German municipality, see Seeheim-Jugenheim.Seeheim is a settlement in the ǁKaras Region of southern Namibia. The only notable structures in Seeheim today are the hotel and the railway station; only a handful of people live there. Seeheim belongs to the Keetmanshoop Rural electoral constituency.Tourism in Namibia
Tourism in Namibia is a major industry, contributing N$7.2 billion to the country's gross domestic product. Annually, over one million travelers visit Namibia, with roughly one in three coming from South Africa, then Germany and finally the United Kingdom, Italy and France. The country is among the prime destinations in Africa and is known for ecotourism which features Namibia's extensive wildlife.In December 2010, Lonely Planet named Namibia 5th best tourist destination in the world in terms of value.Wildlife of Namibia
The wildlife of Namibia is composed of its flora and fauna. Namibia's endangered species include wild dog, black rhino, oribi and puku.ǀAi-ǀAis
ǀAi-ǀAis (Khoekhoe: fire-fire, meaning 'hot as fire' or 'scalding hot') is a Namibian holiday resort with hot mineral springs in the bed of the Fish River. It is situated in Southern Namibia's ǁKaras Region at the base of the Great Karas Mountains, 128 kilometres (80 mi) west of Karasburg and 224 kilometres (139 mi) south-west of Keetmanshoop.
ǀAi-ǀAis features sulphurous thermal hot water springs and forms part of the ǀAi-ǀAis/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park. The springs are a national monument since 1964.ǀAi-ǀAis/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park
The ǀAi-ǀAis/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park is a peace park straddling the border between South Africa and Namibia. It was formed in 2003 by combining the Namibian ǀAi-ǀAis Hot Springs Game Park and the South African Richtersveld National Park. Most of the South African part of the park forms part of the buffer zone of the Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape World Heritage Site, which measures 5 920 km2 . The Fish River Canyon is located in the park, the largest canyon in Africa . A Memorandum of Understanding was signed on 17 August 2003 by the presidents of South Africa and Namibia, which formalized the establishment of the park .
The Sendelingsdrift tourist facilities were opened in 2007 to enable tourists and locals to travel between Namibia and South Africa within the boundaries of the park. Immigration offices were set up on both sides of the Orange River . It’s also known for being a biodiversity hotspot, which means it is under constant threat from human encroachment .ǁKaras Region
The ǁKaras Region, also spelled !Karas Region, is the southernmost and least densely populated of the 14 regions of Namibia; its capital is Keetmanshoop. The name assigned to the region reflects the prominence of the Karas mountain range in its southern part. The ǁKaras region includes the magisterial districts of Keetmanshoop, Karasburg, Bethanie, and Lüderitz.
The name of this region was Karas Region (without the alveolar lateral click of the Khoekhoegowab language) since Namibian independence in 1990. In an effort to consolidate spelling, it was renamed to ǁKaras Region in August 2013.ǁKaras' western border is the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. Its location in Namibia's south means that it shares a long border in the south and east with the Northern Cape Province of South Africa. Domestically, it borders only the Hardap Region, to the north.