Climbing Fish River Canyon, the second largest canyon on the planet is sort of thrilling, isn’t it? This hike was on our bucket record for a few years and at last, we did it! Some information books say that is the hardest hike in Africa. I’m unsure about it we haven’t finished many hikes in Africa a few routes in South Africa together with the well-known Otter Path and climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Should you like mountain climbing Fish River Canyon is unquestionably the hike so as to add to your bucket record. Even in the event you’re not planning to hike it the canyon remains to be value visiting; it’s one of the crucial lovely locations n Namibia.
The overall distance of the path is 86 km, the river itself is longer however resulting from many shortcuts, your strolling distance is about 14 km much less. This publish is a step-by-step mountain climbing information; Fish River Canyon route map, finances, reserving particulars, lodging choices, shuttle, packing record, and extra.
Fish River Canyon hike route overview
- Distance – 86 km
- Variety of days – 4-5
- Finest time – Might to mid-September
- Place to begin – Hobas
- Ending level – Ai-Ais Scorching Springs
One of the best time for mountain climbing Fish River Canyon
The canyon is open for mountain climbing between the first of Might and the fifteenth of September. Exterior this era hikers are usually not allowed within the canyon resulting from excessive temperatures. We walked Fish River Canyon in the beginning of Might and it nonetheless was extremely popular in the course of the day. If you wish to get extra snug temperatures it’s higher to do the hike in June – July. The nights within the canyon are fairly chilly even in the summertime. In June – July evening temperatures go down to five°C and even beneath. It’s extremely advisable to convey heat garments for sleeping and sleeping bag.
The price of the hike
- The hike itself prices NAD500/US$35 per individual.
- Park entrance price – NAD160/US$11 per individual.
- Shuttle Ai-Ais – Hobas NAD300/US$20 pp.
Complete: NAD960/US$67 pp.
The Namibian Greenback (NAD$) is the same as the South African Rand (ZAR). The present trade charge with USD you could find right here.
Learn how to e-book the Fish River Canyon hike?
Reserving is obligatory. First, you telephone one of many numbers offered to inquire about availability. In Windhoek, Namibia (+264 61) 285 7333 [email protected]. In Cape City (+27 21) 422 3761 [email protected]. If any appropriate in your dates can be found you e-book them over the telephone. After that, you might have 48 hours to pay a deposit (10%) to verify your reserving. You then ship an e mail with a affirmation of the cost. The overall quantity have to be paid 30 days previous to the hike.
Consideration! Based on the foundations you need to be a minimal of three individuals to make a reservation. You possibly can at all times e-book for 3 and present up solely two with some excuses that your mountain climbing buddy bought sick and attempt to hook up with different hikers at first after you may stroll by yourself.
How lengthy beforehand do you need to e-book the path?
We booked in the beginning of April for the second week in Might, after we phoned there have been nonetheless 4 or 5 days with 5 or so spots in Might open so it’s potential to e-book only a month earlier than. However when you’ve got particular dates we’d counsel reserving the hike two or three months beforehand. Solely 30 folks per day are allowed to start out the hike. A French couple we met mountain climbing booked it simply 5 days earlier than and so they nonetheless might get a spot.
You can begin coaching for the hike a few months prematurely to ensure it received’t be too robust. Should you dwell in Cape City or close by there are lots of wonderful mountain climbing trails within the metropolis that you are able to do over weekends. Begin with strolling with a day pack and after a few routes add extra weight and attempt to stroll with a heavier backpack much like the one that you just’re planning to tackle the Fish River Canyon hike. The hardest a part of the route is a steep and lengthy ascent to the underside of the canyon on the primary day. You possibly can stroll down one of many Desk Mountain mountain climbing trails (Platteklip Gorge, Kasteelspootr, or Skeleton Gorge) to see the way you’re doing strolling down with a backpack.
Medical certificates for the trek
Crucial to convey a medical certificates proving you don’t have any well being issues. The certificates should not be older than 40 days. A type can be despatched to you after you make a cost for the hike or you may obtain it HERE. This type have to be crammed in by a health care provider. We don’t know what can occur in the event you arrive with out it very doubtless you received’t be allowed to stroll. At Hobas the very first thing they requested us was our certificates however they didn’t actually look by means of simply took them and put them in a folder. We thought it was ridiculous however really yearly there are folks rescued by helicopter or park rangers (from emergency exit) as a result of they’ll’t proceed the hike. We met a person who spent 2 days ready for the rangers to get to him he bought a warmth stroke and couldn’t stroll anymore.
Learn how to get to Fish River Canyon?
The canyon is located close to the border between Namibia and South Africa, about 200 km north of Noordoewer border management. We drove from Cape City to Ai-Ais, 800 km, in at some point with a few quick stops for lunch and snacks. It took us about 9 hours. If in case you have extra time on the way in which from Cape City to Namibia you may spend a few days on the West Coast particularly in the event you do the journey in August – September when you may see wildflowers in Namaqualand. One other vacation choice is to mix the hike with a Cape City to Namibia highway journey.
Should you’re coming from Windhoek, Ai-Ais is 700 km south of the capital, an 8-hours drive.
Border crossing course of
The border management Vioolsdrift/Noordoewer is open 24 hours although we’ve heard they may not mean you can undergo after the sundown so be certain to reach earlier than the darkish. The border crossing course of is fast, it takes about 20-Half-hour. In spite of everything formal procedures and passport stamps, they search your automobile and allow you to by means of.
To enter Namibia along with your automobile you will have:
- legitimate passports for all passengers
- Legitimate driver’s license
- automobile registration papers
- In case your automobile remains to be being financed, convey a letter of authority from the financial institution (should embody dates of journey) with the car license papers. They may not ask for it but it surely’s higher to have it with you.
- ZA sticker in your automobile, you should buy it at any outside retailer or some petrol stations
- a crammed type that you just get on the border, convey a black pen with you to fill it
- N$320/US$21 price that you just pay to enter Namibia along with your automobile.
After the border management there are two petrol stations, each settle for playing cards, a small store and Wimpy. You possibly can fill your cat at Ai-Ais however they settle for solely money.
Locations to remain earlier than the hike
Mainly, you might have two choices; staying at Hobas Campsite (NAD400/US$28 per campsite as much as 8 folks) or Ai-Ais Scorching Springs (NAD400/US$28 per web site as much as 4 folks). Most individuals together with ourselves keep at Ai-Ais for purpose the campsite there’s nicer; a inexperienced grassy space with bushes for shadow, many bathrooms and showers, electrical stoves for cooking, and naturally the spotlight the recent springs. You possibly can’t think about how good it’s after the hike to calm down in scorching springs!
Ai-Ais campsite amenities
- Scorching bathe – Sure
- Flushing bathrooms – Sure
- Electrical energy – Sure
- Retailers – Sure
- Working water – Sure
- Wi-fi – No
- Braai place – Sure
- Ingesting water – Sure
- Different – electrical stoves, coated space for cooking, indoor swimming pools.
Should you’re planning a Namibia highway journey and like tenting take a look at our publish on the very best campsites in Namibia. We visited many campsites throughout our 2-months journey throughout the nation.
The place to depart your automobile?
You possibly can park your automobile free of charge both at Ai-Ais (scorching springs) or at Hobas (start line). Each locations look equally secure which one to decide on is as much as you. We left our automobile at Ai-Ais and took a shuttle to Hobas within the morning earlier than the hike. That labored out rather well. Once we lastly arrived at Ai-Ais on the final day our automobile with all of the stuff was right here. Consider me, you’ll be drained after 4-5 days of strolling and received’t really feel like driving for an hour to Hobas to get your automobile. Our French buddies parked their automobile at Hobas and needed to look ahead to the shuttle until 5pm.
Learn how to get from Ai-Ais to Hobas?
The path begins at Hobas, you might have two choices; to take a shuttle earlier than the hike or after the hike relying on the place you permit your automobile. There’s at all times a shuttle going to Hobas within the morning at any time after 6am. You don’t must e-book it beforehand we organized it when arrived at Ai-Ais. The shuttle can take 11 passengers without delay.
What to anticipate from the Fish River Canyon hike?
The hike may be very completely different from many of the hikes we’ve finished. The path will not be very simple to stroll; sand, rocks, river crossing and many others.
The climate; it will get extremely popular in the course of the day and really chilly at evening so that you want each solar safety and heat clothes/sleeping bag.
Solar, you stroll within the solar all day you get a little bit of shade right here and there early within the morning and late night however probably the most a part of the day there’s nowhere to cover.
Ingesting water on the path
Water is at all times obtainable because you stroll alongside the river but it surely’s advisable to take some purifying drugs or water filters. You don’t wish to get sick or have abdomen issues within the canyon. We at all times use our LifeStraw Water Bottles when mountain climbing. Their membrane microfilter system removes 99,9% of micro organism and parasites. One filter can be utilized to scrub 4000l of water. It’s very simple to make use of you may drink from a bottle or instantly from a water supply. You should buy LifeStraw by means of Take A Lot or at Cape Union Mart.
Another choice is to make use of chlorine drugs however you need to look ahead to about Half-hour earlier than it’s able to drink and it tastes like swimming pool water, not the most suitable choice contemplating you drink rather a lot on the hike.
The Fish River Canyon hike – our full 4-day itinerary
Day 1. The start line – Palm Sulphur Springs, 5 hours
We began the trek at 10am. The descent to the underside of the canyon took us a bit lower than 1 hour. It was fairly steep however not as robust as we thought. As soon as on the backside in 2km you attain the river and for the following 4-5 days, you’ll simply comply with it. We walked about 20km on the primary day it took roughly 7 hours together with a lunch break. If you wish to take it simple you may camp proper after the descent, on the river, there’s a good sandy seashore.
At the present time we didn’t see any indicators displaying the space or instructions but it surely’s not possible to get misplaced you simply comply with the river. There are not any ups and downs on the route however you stroll on sand and rocks on a regular basis so it’s not very quick strolling. You possibly can camp anyplace you need, simply discover a good sandy spot subsequent to the river. We camped someplace between the primary emergency exit and Palm sulfur springs.
Day 2. Palm Sulphur Springs – Three Sisters, 6 hours
We began at 8.30 and walked for about an hour earlier than we reached the Scorching springs. Really, in case you are walker and begin your first mountain climbing day early sufficient you can also make all of it the way in which and camp right here the primary evening. The new spring is, actually, is a stream that goes into the river and water in there’s extremely popular you need to combine it with chilly river water. We spent about 40min. swimming and chilling right here it was very nice.
On the second day the path goes by means of troublesome terrain; sand and rocks so that you make gradual progress plus we made two lengthy swimming/resting stops. By 4pm we fairly drained and my ft have been destroyed so we determined to camp on a small seashore subsequent to the river. We had a improbable evening sky and the total moon didn’t even want our headlamps. In my view, the canyon at evening time is the very best! At the present time once more we didn’t see any indicators or distance marks.
Day 3. Three Sisters – Von Trotha’s Grave, 6 hours
An early begin at 7.30 or so and possibly the longest mountain climbing day for us, we walked for 8 hours however in a method, it was our personal fault we missed one shortcut. The third day is the principle shortcut day on the hike. There are three vital shortcuts; we missed the primary one the place you climb over the mountain, the second at 50km was simple to identify from far there’s a large phrase “Quick lower” written on the rocks, the third one comes proper after that if you attain the river. For the terrain the third day was in all probability probably the most troublesome as properly some river crossing, rock leaping and sand strolling.
By 4pm all of us have been fairly drained and my ft have been fairly destroyed. We discovered a pleasant spot on the seashore not removed from the emergency exit and camped there. This evening was the coldest of three we spent within the canyon, it was freezing! All of us wakened a few instances in the course of the evening to placed on increasingly garments. By the following morning, I and Campbell have been sporting all the things we had in our backpacks. However the sleeping luggage that we took with us have been very skinny for 11C min. So when you’ve got hotter sleeping luggage at the least for 5C or decrease you’ll be okay.
Day 4. Von Trotha’s Grave – Ai-Ais, 5 hours
The surroundings on the final day was the least spectacular, the canyon reduces considerably it reminds a rocky valley greater than a canyon. On account of a really chilly evening, all of us wakened fairly early at 5am packing didn’t take lengthy and in 30min. we have been able to roll. It was the simplest and the shortest day for us; within the first half you stroll on a 4×4 path, then some sand and rocks, and at last a pleasant simple path all the way in which to Ai-Ais. We arrived there at 1pm and have been completely pleased to take off our footwear and to get a chilly Ginger beer for me and a few beers for guys.
After 4 days in mud, warmth and chilly drained and with blisters we have been completely pleased to calm down within the scorching springs and to eat some steaks! Our mission was accomplished! We walked it in 4 days with none explicit purpose however I’d suggest do it in 5 days you’ll have extra time to take pleasure in, relaxation, take pictures, swim, and many others.
What to pack for the Fish River Canyon hike?
Don’t pack an excessive amount of the extra you pack the extra you carry!
Our most important difficulty on the hike have been footwear, each I and Campbell have been sporting mountain climbing boots and each had horrible blisters throughout our ft and we had hiked in them quite a bit earlier than. In truth, I couldn’t stroll in my boots on the second day and placed on sneakers. Our French buddies that we met had precisely the identical drawback and a woman ended up strolling in her flip-flops with thick socks. Our third hiker was sporting path trainers and had no points in any respect, they have been very snug for strolling on sand and leaping over rocks. We are inclined to blame the warmth it was extremely popular within the boots and so they have been stuffed with sand on a regular basis.
We’d suggest sporting lengthy pants and an extended sleeve shirt it’s the very best safety from the solar and also you’ll be scorching and sweating anyway even in the event you stroll bare.
A hat, sun shades, sunscreen – all must-haves, Namibian solar is extraordinarily sturdy.
Snug garments (e.g. fleece, pants, flip flops) to vary, at all times good to sleep in clear garments.
A towel, there can be a risk for “showering” within the river each day, at some point you even get scorching sulfur springs.
Underwear, socks, what number of pairs to take as much as you.
Most individuals don’t carry a tent neither did we. It provides 2-4kg to your baggage which is rather a lot, it’s undoubtedly hotter to sleep in a tent however a correct sleeping bag solves this drawback. Furthermore, the evening sky within the canyon is improbable it’s good to go to sleep below it.
A mattress, we had self-inflatable small mattresses and have been very pleased with them however in the event you take foam rolled up one you’ll be okay you camp on sand so it’s already smooth sufficient.
A sleeping bag, take one, we had our summer season bag for 11C min and one evening have been freezing in them we needed to placed on all our garments to final until morning. And we hiked in Might in the event you do in In June/July it’ll be even colder. We’d say take a sleeping bag that may go to 0C.
Climbing poles, we by no means use them however many individuals do for me they take advantage of sense for steep downs and river crossings, right here you’ll have each so it’s as much as you to take them or not, they aren’t actually heavy.
A water bottle with a filter or purification drugs
A route map, you should buy it at Ai-Ais or Hobas. Should you hike Fish River Canyon for the primary time it’s essential.
Range, we now have a small moveable fuel range that we at all times take mountain climbing, it’s adequate to boil water, prepare dinner pasta or oats. Fuel depends upon what number of you’re and the way a lot cooking you wish to do however we’d say take 500ml it’ll final for 4-5 days for positive.
Pots, we had a set of two; one for meals one for boiling water in the event you can handle with one solely a bit extra uncomfortable. Swiss knife, we love this factor many useful; opens cans, cuts, slices and many others.
Cutlery, take plastic or bamboo forks and spoons. Cups, we had two very gentle plastic cups. Lighter/matches in your range, no fireplace allowed within the canyon.
It’s as much as you what and the way a lot meals to tackle the hike relying in your weight loss program, preferences, and many others. Right here is our meals record;
- Breakfast – on the spot flavored oat sachets (3 for 2 folks), espresso.
- Snack – vitality bar/nut combine.
- Lunch – biltong/droewors (we at all times take it when mountain climbing), crackers. Don’t lower biltong it’d get moldy within the warmth relatively convey a giant piece and lower it as you eat.
- Dinner – a can of tuna, 250g of pasta, one tomato sauce sachet (for 2 folks).
You can also make your individual first-aid equipment or purchase a preassembled one at any outside retailers.
- Hand sanitizer
- Cleaning soap
- Tablets: Ibuprofen and an antidiarrheal
- Antiseptic wipes