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FISH RIVER CANYON SOUTH NAMIBIA. Second only in size, to Arizona's Grand Canyon, this is one of Africa's "Must Sees"


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Fish River Canyon Namibia

Second only in size, to America's Grand Canyon is one of Africa's "Must Sees"



General location of Fish River Canyon
Karas Region
2773'S - 1756'E
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Fish River Canyon

 National Heritage Site






Fish River Canyon Namibia

This is one of Africa's most impressive sights. Its formation began some 350 million years ago and the canyon cuts down 550 meters deep through layers of rock dating back 1000 million years. This presents the visitor with a unique opportunity to view some of the oldest rock formations on the planet.


Fish River Canyon - The Formation:

Towards the end of the Mesoproterozoic Era , about 1,000 million years ago the earth's surface where the Fish River Canyon is now situated was dominated by a huge mountain range. This range of rocks, belonging to the Namaqualand Metamorphic Complex are some of the oldest rocks in Namibia. Some 200 million year later these mountains were subjected to enormous pressures as sub-volcanic magma forced its way to the surface creating dolerite dykes. The earth in this region then experienced a long period of inactivity other than ongoing erosion that by about 650 million years ago had virtually reduced the mountain range to, the then, ground level.



The formation of the Fish River Canyon could be said to have commenced about 350 million years ago when tectonic activity caused an enormous and lengthy block of rock to subside creating a valley along which the off-flow of surface water formed a great river. The waters have since cut a meandering path through the softer rock to the depths can can be seen today, 550 meters at the 'Main View Point'. At its widest point the Canyon is over 28km across. The canyon is the second largest in the world, coming after the Grand Canyon in the USA.


Fish River Canyon Hiking Trail:

For the adventurous, there is a hiking trail along the bottom of the Canyon that starts from the Hikers Point near to the main view point. It takes 4-5 days and ends at Ai-Ais. Hiking groups allowed are a minimum of 3 people to a maximum of 40. Children under the age of 12 are not allowed. You are not allowed to descend into the Canyon without a permit to hike the trail and you are subject to the terms and conditions.


Acknowledgements and further reading: G1, G2, GV1, GV6, P1


The Fish River Canyon lays within a National Park area, so there are entrance fees payable to the Ministry of Environment and Tourism. The camping facilities at Hobas are operated by Namibia Wildlife Resorts.

Local Area Attractions & Articles of Associated Interest:


Ai-Ais Hot Springs

Giants Playground Mesosaurus Fossils



Fish River Canyon

Quiver Tree Forest Naute Dam  

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