hell's bend fish river canyon

On the Edge of Fish River Canyon

We were originally going to hike the Fish River Canyon – a five day hike in they canyon’s valley is possible between May and September – but then we learned that it’s really for intermediate hikers (which we are not), that there’s a strict hiking season (which it no longer is), that we might need permits and a medical clearance signed by a doctor in Windhoek (which we didn’t get), and we need at least three people to do it (which we don’t have).

We opted out.¬†In fact, seeing how far south we’d have to backtrack¬†from where we entered Namibia, we almost opted out of seeing the canyon completely. Boy, are we glad we opted back in.

Land Rover at edge of canyon
The Landy at the edge of the canyon

Fish River Canyon

Fish River Canyon boasts to be the second biggest canyon in the world, after the Grand one. We entered at Hobas, and then took the quick 10km drive to see the Main Viewpoint in time for sunset.

The Main Viewpoint is of the extremely photogenic Hell’s Bend. I closed my eyes and Moreno walked me to within a few meters of the canyon rim (no handrails here) so that I could get the full effect. Breathtaking. Stunning. It just looked so surreal that you almost couldn’t appreciate it.

fish river canyon heavens
The canyon expanse all heavenly before us

And it was terrifyingly windy.

kat and moreno at fish river canyon
You can’t really tell, but my hair was all over the place from the wind

A kilometer or two from there is the Hiker’s Viewpoint, where the hiking trail actually starts, and where you can get a much fuller view of the canyon. We opted to walk along the rim to take it all in.

The sunset didn’t bring out as much colour in the cliffs as we were hoping for, but it was still absolutely gorgeous.

sunset at fish river canyon
At least the colours in the sky were magnificent

The next morning, since there were no day hikes allowed, we opted to do the 4×4-ish (see bottom of sign below) trail that veers away from the two main viewpoints, and instead follows the canyon to the east.

4x4-ish trail signage
4×4-ish trail ahead…maybe….

While you should be able to do the trail in a high clearance 2WD, we were pleased with the Landy. The trail took maybe two hours round trip, and was a nice addition since we were in the area. We had no one around us for miles for most of it, and without the wind of yesterday, you could tell how silent it really was.

fish river canyon east view
The 4×4 trail gave us a view of the rest of the canyon

Except when Moreno started yelping into the canyon to register an echo: it bounced immediately off the wall to our left and then went on for a good eight seconds, bouncing off to both the left and the right sides of the canyon in stereo. We’ve never heard such an expansive and long echo!

cactus in fish river canyon
Lone red cactus in the dead of the canyon

I’m hoping all of our posts ends in “we’re so glad we did it,” and I know I’m saying it a lot, but we are!

yellow grass
Just another point of view…

Next up: Ghost towns and forbidden territory in Luderitz!

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