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Review of Fish River Canyon

Fish River Canyon
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7-Day Southern Namibia Tour from Windhoek: Namib Desert, Swakopmund, Fish River...
Ranked #10 of 171 things to do in Namibia
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Reviewed September 6, 2013

Gorgeous canyon! We visited in the afternoon and spend about 90min there, we took a look at 3 points of view and we walked around to take the best pictures. We haven't see Grand Canyon yet so this was great, also foor our teenagers. Make sure you leave the place before sunset and don't drive in the dark.

2  Thank Pitchounette20
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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140 - 144 of 251 reviews

Reviewed July 27, 2013

Background: Fish River Canyon sits between the Namib and the Kalahari Deserts. It is claimed to be the 2nd largest canyon in the world, after the Grand Canyon in Arizona (USA) but, as there are other claimants to this title (most notably the one in Ethiopia and one in Mexico), I shall leave it at that. Claims notwithstanding, it definitely holds its own, rivaling even the Arizona one. There is evidence that it has been inhabited by people for thousands of years, dating back to the Early Stone Age, and stories from the Kalahari Bushmen explain how the canyon was formed... The great serpent-god Koutein Kooru, after preying on local livestock, was being chased by hunters across the dry wasteland. To try to escape its pursuers, the serpent slithered off into the desert, and, in doing so, its body gouged the great gash in the desert floor.

PROS: The canyon is so distant, remote and inhospitable that it is rarely visited and, hence, not crowded. The very few visitors we encountered that day were a handful of cars and perhaps an overland group (like us) twice a week. There is a covered observation platform at the eastern rim of the canyon, from which to view the breathtaking landscape and stunning sunset. The platform has toilet facilities on site.

CONS: Unfortunately, the road to the site is long, gravelly, dusty and unforgiving. Best to use a sturdy 4x4 truck with high ground clearance. Even our own overland truck broke down en route. Roadside assistance is non-existent and passing vehicles are sparse. We had to wait for 6 hours after our driver hitched a ride from a passing car to the nearest town hundreds of km away to get help.

Entrance permits are required and only issued between May to mid-September. Hiking trail permits are obtained separately, for which a medical certificate of physical fitness is required. The searing heat, too, can be torturous, with temperatures peaking at the low 40 deg C -- in the shade. The site has no cell phone reception, no available WiFi or emergency aid. The WC (toilets), though available, may sometimes be closed. If so, there are no toilets for hundreds of kilometers. Imagine that.

Tip: If you go for the hike, allot about 4-5 days, have a modicum of physical fitness, start very early in the day to avoid the searing sun, bring lots of water and take your time. Maybe get a guide.

Verdict: No doubt Fish River Canyon can easily vie for the next New 7th Natural Wonders of the World. You just need to be prepared. Bring food, gas, lots of drinking water and sun shade. Recommended. Grade A-minus.


1  Thank Eternal_Nomad_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 8, 2013

This is a MUST view when in the vicinity... We stopped at the Fish River Canyon on our way from Ai-Ais and took a flask with coffee, some finger snacks for breakfast - and blankets - to view the sunrise over the Canyon. It was SPECTACULAR. I will never ever forget those views, very humbling experience.

1  Thank TruPassion
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 19, 2013

The road to Fish River Canyon is long and dusty, so best to rent a 4x4 vehicle. We did not know that, so our visit was very limited. However, the Canyon is well worth seeing and "Local folklore tells of a giant snake that preyed on the livestock of ancient herders in the region. Finally subdued by the arrows of the tribe's bravest warriors, the monster's death throes tore giant furrows in the earth, creating the mightiest natural canyon in the southern hemisphere." The disappointing part is that, without a 4x4, one cannot go beyond the observation deck... and, when we were there, the washrooms were out of order, which after such a long and arduous drive, this is not acceptable, considering one must pay to get onto the grounds in Hobas. Some desperate person defecated on the observation deck, which was most unpleasant. However, all in all, we were glad we took the time to view the canyon.

1  Thank TorontoOceanBaby
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 14, 2013

This is one of the natural wonders of the world.
It's a tough gravel-road drive; therefore please take care and drive safely.
But the scenery and the beauty of this magnificent place is more than worth-while.
I you're brave and fit enough, the world renown hiking-trail is a must!!

Thank EBotes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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