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We do not do any book­ings, the con­tact num­ber is in the table, next to Tel no, on the page that you are refer­ring to

Typical view of the Fish River Canyon

We left at 04H00 and it was rain­ing. Not one of us was feel­ing to perky and I think the most sleep that any one had for the night was about 4 hours. About an hour and a half hour later we stopped at Piket­berg for our first cup of coffee.

It was still rain­ing. Judg­ing by the land­scape it looked like this is the most rain this area ever had. Late morn­ing we got to Spring­bok and bought refresh­ments. The rain stopped shortly, just to con­tinue a few min­utes later. While dri­ving fur­ther we dis­cussed what we should have done and that is .… we should have left the day before, straight after work, and trav­eled till 20h00 and sleep over some­where. The next days trav­el­ing would be much less, and if if you get your plan­ning right, one can get into the Canyon on the same day. (When we got into the Canyon we saw that this idea has been thought of a long time ago.)

This has a huge advan­tage as you don’t have to take any more leave, and you can start walk­ing at sun­rise on your first day of the hike.

Finally 660 km and 7 and a half hours later we got to the bor­der. The bor­der cross­ing was a breeze. Just one tip, take a pen, as some­times this can cause a queue.

Namibia is breath­tak­ing coun­try. Straight after the bor­der you have the desire to stop all the time because the oppor­tu­nity to take a per­fect pic­ture just gets thrown at you all the time. Unfor­tu­nately one is often pressed for time, as it was in our case.

We took the first Ai Ais turn left, and imme­di­ately turned onto a dirt road that puts many of South Africa’s tarred roads to shame. Late that after­noon we dropped one of the vechiles at Ai Ais, and we then squeezed into the dou­ble cab and went on to Hob­bas. Along this road you have the first sight­ings of the Canyon.

HOBAS
At 15h30 we finally arrived at Hob­bas. Hob­bas is another spec­tac­u­lar camp­site, but there is no lawn as with many camp sites in Namibia. When I asked the recep­tion why this camp­site is specif­i­cally here, I was told that the gov­ern­ment bought this farm and are build­ing on the exist­ing infra­struc­ture. The camp site has lots of shade and has plenty of sites to choose from. Elec­tric­ity is avail­able on some of the sights and is sup­plied by a gen­er­a­tor that shuts down around 22h00. Note, in win­ter the Namibian’s work on day light sav­ing hours. This means that they are one hour behind us. For those hot days, there is a small enclosed pool to cool you down.

At first I thought this camp­site was mainly used for an overnight for the Canyon hik­ers, but it seems this camp­site is even more pop­u­lar with the over­seas tourists (that comes by the bus loads) and 4 x 4 enthu­si­asts. That night we slept under the stars, (no tents) and to our sur­prise we were vis­ited by two fairly tame jack­als. See­ing that I was not pre­pared for this sur­prise, I did not take any pho­tos, but make sure you keep your food packed away.

Sadly I must say the ablu­tion blocks was not nearly up to stan­dard. The taps were not drip­ping, but run­ning, and no mat­ter how hard you tried to close the tap, it just turned in cir­cles. I could almost live with the drip­ping taps, but the stench was hor­ren­dous.
I checked all the toi­lets to find the cause, but there was no obvi­ous rea­son for the stench.

On our return trip 5 days later to take pho­tographs of the canyon, the stench was sorted out, but the taps was still run­ning. One would think that in such an arid coun­try like south­ern Namibia with water scarcity, fix­ing the leak­ing taps would have been a pri­or­ity for Hob­bas man­age­ment.

Day 1

We awoke at 05h30, because we were for­tu­nate enough to get a lift from one of the rangers at 6h30 to the start of the hike. After a few pho­tographs we ascended while it was still quite dark. The decent is quite steep, but if you are of rea­son­able of fit­ness it should not take more than an hour and a half to get to the river.

It is about a 2 km descent and then the hike starts at 0 km. On the morn­ing of our sec­ond day we met a group of peo­ple that took so long with the 2 km descent, that they had to overnight on the descent. What were they thinking?

The first day we cov­ered 11.4 km, exclud­ing the 2 km descent. The ter­rain was very hec­tic for the first few kilo­me­tres. We reached our overnight spot (from when we walked the Fish 2 years ago) at 12h15. This was mostly due to us start­ing ear­lier and hav­ing a evenly fit group. We started walk­ing from the view point at 07h10 and stopped walk­ing at 16h30. Our aver­age walk­ing speed was 3.2 km an hour, and our mov­ing time was 3 hours and 6 min­utes. This is accord­ing to the GPS reading.

We were lucky enough to have a “scout” in our group that could walk ahead the last hour to find us a nice overnight spot. The spot was a bril­liant spot, with sandy beaches, plenty of wood and close to the water Wash­ing up and set­ting up was done at high speed, so that we could pour our first wine. A mis­con­cep­tion about the Fish is that the first 2 km down­hill is dif­fi­cult and the rest of the hike is easy – this is not true!!! Day one we found much harder than the 2 km down­hill.

Day 2
We started walk­ing at 7h40 and set up camp again at 16h45, and we cov­ered a dis­tance of 16.7 km. On day one we had no river cross­ings, and on day two we had four river cross­ings. Roughly one and a half hours after leav­ing camp we got to Palm Springs(S27 39.607 E17 37.095).

You could smell the sul­phur about a km away. We crossed the river for the first time at the first cor­ner after Palm springs, which was a unnec­es­sary cross­ing as we had to cross back 800 metres later. The whole day we were aim­ing to get to the same camp­site where we camped two years ago on day 3. This was a awe­some site. We even named the camp Hawaii, but sadly when we got there it did not nearly resem­ble what it looked like 2 years ago.

So don’t bar­gain on the river look­ing the same every year.

Day 3

We started walk­ing at 7h30 and we were hop­ing to cover 2025 km for the day. Unfor­tu­nately the river rose con­sid­er­ably dur­ing the night and this made all the river cross­ings much more dif­fi­cult, and so we could only man­age 14.8 km. Almost every time we crossed the river we had to put our ruck­sacks in sur­vival bags and float them across. If you do not have a sur­vival bag, it would be extremely dif­fi­cult to cross the river with­out get­ting your ruck­sack wet. The group ahead of us had no sur­vival bags and came up with an inge­nious plan to float their bags across the river on their inflat­able mattresses.

To float the bags across the river is very time con­sum­ing, and at one time one of our sur­vival bags got ripped up on the rocks beyond repair. This meant that the front guys had to cross the river with whole sur­vival bags, then take their ruck­sacks out of the sur­vival bags,then swim back with the empty sur­vival bags, put the other peo­ples ruck­sack into the sur­vival bags, and swim across again. That wasted a lot of time.

We found that duck tape does not work well on repair­ing the plas­tic sur­vival bags , box tape will be a much bet­ter option.

At one stage dur­ing the day, the river flow was calm enough, and we then decided to float down with the river on top of our sur­vival bags for about a kilo­me­ter. Relax­ing in not a good enough word to describe the feel­ing while float­ing effort­lessly. If we do this hike again we will try and do this float­ing thing again. At 15h50 we called it a day.

Day 4
We had a long day as we cov­ered 22.5 km and had 9 river cross­ings. We were on the path at 07h30 and our day ended 17h15. The river cross­ings, as always, took most of our time as we had to float our bags across the river at most of the cross­ings. To make mat­ters worse, we were down to 2 sur­vival bags only.

To give you an idea of how how high the water was, when we reached the low water bridge (usu­ally on day four),the water was flow­ing about 35 cm high over the “bridge”.Usually the water is way lower than the bridge.

The absolute high­light of our day was spot­ting four wild horses at close range. We savoured every moment of this rare oppor­tu­nity. and we must have taken a hun­dred photographs.

The day ended on another high­light, by us find­ing an amaz­ing camp­site, again with soft sand, a stun­ning view, and plenty of wood.

Day 5

The morn­ing we started walk­ing at 6h50 and fin­ished at 8h15. The last few kilo­me­tres is a slog in a fine pow­dery dust next to an unsightly pipe. When you reach the dam, you are 100 m from Ai-​Ais. We had plenty of time on our hands and we decided to have break­fast here. The whole hike we were still work­ing on South African time, and this meant that we were at Ai-​Ais at 07h15(Namibian time). Sur­pris­ingly, when we walked into the resort there was quite a bit of activity.

The first thing we did when we reached Ai-​Ais, was to have an ice cold beer, although it was still early in the morn­ing. We highly rec­om­mend that you keep your last day as short as pos­si­ble, and book in at Ai-​Ais. Need­less to say we were fed up with rough­ing it up, and we were pleased that we had booked a room with air con and all the lux­u­ries of mod­ern day life.

Before lunch we had to fetch the other vechile at Hob­bas. We then decided to go back to the view point to take more pho­tos of the canyon. This view point is a big tourist attrac­tion and there are bus loads of tourists all try­ing to get the per­fect photo.

After return­ing to Ai-​Ais we sat down to a decent meal at a rea­son­able price, but we found the alco­hol very expen­sive. After lunch we had to do the stan­dard tourist thing and “chill” in the hot springs with a few well deserved ice cold beers.

At the end of the hike we were left with mixed emo­tions. On the one hand we were relieved to be fin­ished, and in the other hand we didn’t want this absolutely amaz­ing adven­ture and expe­ri­ence to fin­ish. As the old say­ing goes, all good things comes to an end.

We all agreed that this must be one of the most beau­ti­ful hikes that we have ever done. If you are a keen hiker, this hike must go on to your “100 things to do before I die” list.

Co-​ordinates for our “camp­sites” along the route. (Also see the .KMZ file lower down the page)

2008-​CAMP-​1

S27 36.593 E17 35.118

2008-​CAMP-​2

S27 37.803 E17 36.566

2008-​CAMP-​3

S27 43.531 E17 34.719

2008-​CAMP-​4

S27 49.649 E17 34.366

2010-​CAMP-​1

S27 38.434 E17 35.408

2010-​CAMP-​2

S27 42.033 E17 34.768

2010-​CAMP-​3

S27 45.804 E17 35.079

2010-​CAMP-​4

S27 52.784 E17 30.429

2010-​CUT-​A

S27 41.410 E17 36.184

2010-​CUT-​B

S27 45.467 E17 35.343

2010-​CUT-​C

S27 46.525 E17 35.548

2010-​CUT-​D

S27 47.611 E17 35.293

2010-​CUT-​E

S27 50.962 E17 32.677

2010-​RVR-​X0

S27 53.873 E17 30.512

2010-​RVR-​X1

S27 39.855 E17 37.212

Ai-​Ais

S27 55.369 E17 29.405

GRAVE

S27 48.440 E17 35.147

PALM­SPRINGS

S27 39.607 E17 37.095

START

S27 35.272 E17 35.887

Vespa

S27 36.819 E17 35.910


hiking_trails
Suit­able for hik­ers, this com­pre­hen­sive South African trail direc­tory describes more than 500 trails.
kmz
Click the icon to see the map that we walked. You must have GoogleEarth installed on you pc.

facebook_icon_sI hiked the Fish River Canyon

Click here for Namibia weather

Click here for Med­ical Certificate

Click here to see how the vespa scoot­ers got into the Canyon

Fish river Canyon, Hobas,Namibia
Con­tact Details
Tel no G.P.S. 27.577145,17.608681
Cell no Email This email address is being pro­tected from spam­bots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Fax +264 61 244558 Web­site Click here
Hike Details
Near­est Town Hobas Max Per­sons
Dis­tance from Town 12km, 13 mins Overnight Shel­ter None, sleep under the stars
Map to start of hike View Map Brochure
No of days 56, depend­ing on your pace Trail Type Lin­ear
Walk­ing distance 85km(+-68 km if you take the short cuts)
Some more read­ing, click here
Tips and things to do

These tips will prob­a­bly apply to many camp sites, but this is what we thought should not be forgotten

1. Def­i­nitely carry a flota­tion or sur­vival bag with you, as this will help to make any river cross­ings much eas­ier.
2. Use elas­tics to seal the bags, not cable ties, because one tends to dam­age the bag when try­ing to get the cable tie of.
3. A walk­ing stick will be of great assis­tance while try­ing to cross the river, this gives you a “third leg” that really helps
with your bal­ance, as the rocks under­foot are very slip­pery.
4. Although duct tape is the stan­dard fix it all tape on a hike, I will rec­om­mend box tape to fix or patch your sur­vival bag.
5. We often use two way radios, espe­cially when we are a big group. This also helps a lot if you have a scout up ahead look­ing for an overnight spot.
6. When cross­ing the river, try and make sure that it is absolutely nec­es­sary, often we wasted a lot of time cross­ing unnec­es­sar­ily.
7. Although blis­ter plas­ters are quite expen­sive it is money well spent.
8. Cut the cor­ners as close as pos­si­ble, make sure well ahead which way the river is turn­ing, and then plan your route, and usu­ally there is a well trod­den short cut.
9. Take a small towel with and keep it in one of your side pock­ets of your ruck­sack, close at hand to dry your feet with after every river crossing.

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