RICHTERSVELD NATIONAL PARK - ACTIVITIES: HIKING THE FISH RIVER CANYON  
     
 

Hundreds of hikers are drawn to this ancient, stark canyon every year.
Only participants of the 80 km hiking tour from Hiker’s Point to Ai-Ais are permitted to climb down into the canyon. The tour takes four to five days and can either be done in a private group (medical certificate required, minimum three participants, bookings at Namibia Wildlife Resorts) or with a guide (medical certificate required, bookings at 'Trailhopper').

Canyon hikes (mid-April to mid-September)

Hiking The Fish River Canyon is an amazing experience however it should not be attempted by inexperienced hikers as the area is very rugged. Once you are in the canyon it is impossible to get out - and in the case of serious emergency hikers have to be airlifted out of the canyon. This is one of the reasons why a medical certificate is required from all hikers before they are allowed to enter the canyon. Water is normally available in the canyon, but purification tablets are recommended. Hikers are required to be entirely self sufficient on this hike, and a medical kit is also recommended.

A minimum of three people is required to book the Fish River Hike - if there are only one or two of you wanting to complete the hike you should consider joining a guided Fish River Hiking Trail.

This guided hike is also an excellent option for less experienced hikers - as the equipment needed to complete the hike is included and the services of an experienced guide make the hike a more enjoyable experience.

 
 

The Descent
The trail starts from the view point about 12kms from the camp site at Hobas. The steep descent into the Fish River Canyon takes between one and two hours and most consider this to be the most strenuous section of the trail.
It is recommended to arrive at Hobas early enough to do the descent on the first afternoon of the trail. At the bottom of the descent, there is a large sandbank that makes an ideal campsite for the first night of the trail.

From Hobas to Palm Springs
This section of the trail should take two days to complete (if you are expecting to complete the Fish River Hike in 5 days) The terrain is rugged marked by large boulders and rock pools and you will find you require plenty of time to negotiate the obstacles.
Palm Springs is the site of a sulphur spring that gushes out of the earth at a constant temperature of 57 degrees. There are Date palms that grow around the spring which give rise to the place name.

Palm Springs to the Causeway
From Palm Springs, the hike starts becoming easier, although by this time it is likely you will have several blisters to contend with. The walls of the canyon start to widen and their are less obstacles. You will find yourself crossing the river several times - and the terrain is dominated by small rocks and sand. Just before reaching the causeway you will find the grave of Lieutenant von Trotha, a German officer killed in a skirmish between the Germans and the local Nama people in 1905.

The Causeway to Ai-Ais
This last part of the trail takes about four to five hours. The canyon is much wider and the hiking is easier - the thought of a cold beer and a dip in the hot springs at Ai-Ais should be all the motivation needed to see you home

 
 


Facilities

* No facilities for hikers

* Tents are optional - summer rain fall region ( hiking in the winter months only. )
* Water can be taken from the pools - need purify tablets for water.

* A medical certificate is required from hikers by the Parks Board.

Conclusion

Hiking The Fish River Canyon is an amazing experience. It should not be attempted by inexperienced hikers as the area is very rugged and a certain amount of skill is needed, especially should an emergency arise.