My History With the Fish River Canyon
The last time I was at the Fish River Canyon was possibly in 1995. That was a LONG time ago and I was just a child. At the time, we had driven up in my Dad’s VW Passat, but we were spoilt with a helicopter flight home! Yes, that escalated quickly!
Someone had had a stroke in the canyon and needed to be airlifted out. Once the helicopter was finished with its tour it had to return to our home town – and we were invited to join the flight. Needless to say, it’s a memory of a life time flying back down the Orange river to our humble village.
Before the flight home, the family had taken a trip to the Fish River Canyon. It was always a great memory to think of the gaping canyon, but even better to revisit.
What is the Fish River Canyon?
The Fish River Canyon is the largest canyon in the whole of Africa and is the second most visited attraction in the desert country. The canyon is a popular hiking destination but is quite dangerous as there are no services within the canyon.
The trail from Hobas to the hot springs Ai Ais takes 5 days. Once you are down in the canyon – you can’t turn back! So it is essential to be super prepared and fit enough to complete the trail (a doctor’s certificate is required to prove this).
10 Tips for Visiting the Fish River Canyon
- Tickets to view the canyon are available from the office for about R60 per person (SADC).
- Absolutely no day hiking allowed in the Canyon.
- If your vehicle can not take you there, there is a shuttle from Hobas.
- Visitors are allowed to camp at Hobas where there is a canteen, pool and ablution block.
- There are picnic tables at the canyon to allow for visitors to relax while taking in the view.
- There is a small shop at Hobas for general snacks and cool drinks.
- There is absolutely no mobile reception anywhere near the canyon so do not bank on this.
- Wear closed shoes as it is very rocky at some parts and always wear sunscreen.
- Because of the extreme weather, permits to enter the canyon are only supplied from 1 May and 15 September.
- There are 2 viewing decks, the main one and a smaller one to the north.
Check out Getaway Magazine‘s in-depth article if you want to actually hike the canyon.
Shuttles to Fish River Canyon
We attempted to reach the canyon in our Corsa, but there was just no way it was going to make it. Frustrated, we turned back to the Hobas and spoke to the office. They then informed us that there was a shuttle to the canyon!
We paid R80 per person and rode like happy Larry’s to the viewing deck.
Our driver was super informative and helped us learn about the canyon as well – added bonus. He is not allowed to stay at the canyon and must return to Hobas, although you will be able to confirm a collection time with him (we didn’t stay as we were happy with what we saw).
Beautiful Fish River Canyon
It is totally worth visiting the canyon, impressing even Mr John who was neither here nor there about the visit. Watch out for the birds nesting and swooping off the rock face, they give you a better sense of the scale of the canyon.