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Fish River Canyon
Wilderness hiking in Namibia

 

Gericke's Point

 

Celebrating 20 years of hiking tours

In celebration of 20 years of guided hiking tours, we hiked the iconic Fish River Canyon Trail in Namibia, descending on the 1st May 2024. The plan was to hike the trail over 5 days, possibly even taking 6 days to enjoy the remoteness of the canyon. The ethos of the hike is to simply enjoy a multi day hike with people that love hiking.

 

Wild Hiking.

The epitome of wild hiking in Namibia, the Fish River canyon hiking trail takes you through Africa's deepest canyon. The 160km long and 26.7km wide canyon cuts through a dry, stoney and sparsely vegetated plateau, eventually joining the Orange River on the border between Namibia and South Africa.

 

Fish River canyon

 

Fish River Canyon Trail

The trail starts from the canyon rim west of Hobas and finishes at the campsite of Ais Ais. The distance hiked varies depending on your routing and can vary from 68km to 85km. Depending on how fast you aim to hike, the trail can take between 3 and 6 days. The trail is fixed over the first 45km, after which, with some good map reading and planning, you can detour from the official route and explore more of the meandering loops.

 

The first two stages are considered to be the hardest, with the descent from the rim to the canyon floor a steep 460m over 2.4km, followed by approximately 24km of boulder hopping.

 

There are no fixed campsites along the trail, allowing hikers the freedom to select where to overnight, though there are some popular and preferred locations that are regularly used, with the first night camp being either when you first reach the canyon floor (at 2.4km) or at the more popular resting site of Vidi, the surviving Vesper scooter used in an attempt of a challenge in 1968, roughly 9.2km from the start of the trail.

 

From the scooter area, the next day and a half is demanding with constant boulder hopping and river crossing, which depending on the water level in the river can be easy or difficult. Thereafter, the canyon levels out and the trail is easy going, still with a few river crossings along the way. By contrast, the last section is open and flat, allowing for an easy, steady hike of between 20 and 25km depending on where you camped the night before.

 

Fish river canyon hiking

 

Back country Challenges

Located in the desert country of Namibia, the environment is hot, dry and cloudless most of the time. Due to the heat of the region, the trail authority restricts hiking in the canyon to the relatively cooler winter months between May and the end of September. During the firs week of may 2024, day temperatures exceeded 40Deg Celsius.

 

From mid morning to mid afternoon, the canyon floor is bathed in sunlight with little to no vegetation for cover. Water is sourced from the river, though the 2024 season was in the grips of a severe two year drought and the canyon authority, Namibia Wildlife Resorts, had to arrange for water supplies at 10km intervals for hikers.

 

Garden Route Coastal Trail

 

Equipment

As with all wild hiking, each hiker has to be self sufficient for food and equipment.

 

Essential gear for the hike :

  1. 60l to 75l backpack
  2. Sleeping bag or similar
  3. Hiking mattress
  4. Comfortable hiking shoes / boots or trail running footwear. Flip flops or Crocs for camp.
  5. Good hiking socks
  6. Sun protection - hat, sunglasses, sun screen
  7. Comfortable hiking apparel, inclusive of warn clothing for the evenings.
  8. Hiking cutlery and crockery
  9. Water bottle / bladder
  10. Toilet paper and trowel
  11. Eco friendly soap and shampoo
  12. Sarong - for bathing and shade
  13. First aid kit
  14. Satellite communication device for emergencies - Mark will have a Spot Tracker for emergency transmission.

Suggested gear

  1. Hiking stove with sufficient fuel
  2. Tent without fly sheet - to offer protection against dust and spiders.
  3. Hiking poles - they assist with the descent on the first day and balance over the rocky sections as well as reducing exertion by 20% on long stages.
  4. Water filtration. Depending on the condition of the river, water filters can block after filtering only 500ml. A Steripen is a viable alternative

 

Nutrition :

As a wilderness hike, each person will be responsible for their our food, beverages and recovery supplements to meet their energy needs. Menus should structured for 5 days hiking plus one extra day supply for emergencies.

 

Fish river canyon 20

 

 

 

 

 

Mail Mark for more details : email now

 

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