Fish River Canyon
In Southern Namibia there is one of the most incredible natural wonders of Africa, the Fish River Canyon.
The Fish River Canyon is a huge gorge formed by a combination of natural events, on one hand the action by water erosion of the river, on the other the collapse of the bottom of the valley, that occurred in a period between 650 and 500 million years ago, as a result of violent movements of the earth’s crust. The size of this canyon is impressive, it extends for a length of 160 km, 27 km width and the walls of its deep gorges reach a height of 500 meters; these dimensions mean that the Fish River Canyon is the second largest canyon in the world after the Grand Canyon in the United States.
The gorge carved by the Fish River, a tributary of the Orange river, is one of the major tourist attractions in the country; the tortuous path of the canyon is dug into the ground of a flat and arid plateau; approaching by land it remains hidden from the view until you reach the edge, leaving visitors amazed by its beauty and size. The canyon is part of a national park for nature conservation, the Ai-Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier Park.
The Fish River begins its journey in the mountains of Naukluft and flows up to the Orange River in the South; this river flows along the path initially calm and then falls into two waterfalls before reaching the Löwen River then plunging into the canyon with its serpentine path until the end of the Ai-Ais gorge. Sometimes, the Fish River is calm and quiet, and at other times impetuous flowing through the canyon walls; usually for the most part of the year the river is dry and has some semi-permanent pools of water that guarantee the survival of flora and fauna; during the rainy season, from January to April, the Fish River becomes impetuous with a considerable water flow.
The Fish River Canyon is known to man since primordial times and the San and the Nama, two indigenous populations of the Namibian desert, attribute the creation of the canyon to a giant snake.
From the lookout near Hobas, the deep canyon can be admired in all its majesty and you can see the river flowing forming a horseshoe curve, known as the “Hell’s Bend”. On the edge of the escarpment, as well as interesting information panels, you can find a luxurious resort that organizes excursions to the bottom of the gorge where there are sulfur hot springs.