The Daily Dozen: Fish River Canyon

Twelve photos from each day of our Africa adventure.

Today we drove from the bottom of Fish River Canyon at Ai-Ais to the top at Hobas.

Kudu female, Namibia

Mama kudu.

Shortly after we left the Ai-Ais Hot Springs Resort, we happened upon a female kudu. Normally, kudu dash away, but this one lingered, albeit anxiously.

Kudu baby behind fence, Namibia

Kudu baby stranded behind a fence.

She was on one side of the road having cleared or gotten through two fences, while her young’un was stranded and trapped on the other side of the road. It paced along the fence, calling to Mom.

I wondered how Mom had gotten past the fences and if/how the baby would, but I hate stressing out wildlife. We didn’t stick around to satisfy my curiosity.

Fish River Canyon, Namibia

Fish River Canyon. Click for a larger image. Use your back button to return here.

It didn’t take long to get to the northern park entrance and the campground at Hobas. We spent most of the day driving to viewpoints along the canyon rim. The first few are accessed by a decent 2WD gravel road, but then there’s just a 4WD track over the natural, rocky terrain.

Fish River Canyon, dry riverbed, Namibia

Dry riverbed in Fish River Canyon. Click for a larger image. Use your back button to return here.

Fish River Canyon vies for the title of the World’s Second-Largest Canyon after the Grand Canyon. A canyon on the Nile is the competition, and the winner depends on how one measures, whether by length, width, height, or volume.

It makes no difference to me whether Fish River Canyon is second- or third-largest. That it is up there with the largest is impressive.

Fish River Canyon, waterholes, Namibia

Puddles in Fish River Canyon. Clickable pic.

Does it matter to anyone that Fish River Canyon got to this size with intermittently running water rather than constantly flowing water like the Nile has? Hmmm . . . does anyone consider that?

Although, for all I know, water might have run constantly here for thousands or millions of years. Now, however, it does not. Currently, there are a few puddles in the canyon.

Fish River Canyon, Namibia

Fish River Canyon. Clickable pic.

It is a 4-day hike through the canyon, starting here and ending in Ai-Ais. However, the canyon is closed to all hiking during the summer—which is right now—because officials have deemed it’s too hot. Signs along the rim indicate it’s against the rules to wander down into the canyon even for a short day hike.

I don’t understand that. There are several places where it’s possible to walk safely down into the canyon, and it’s not terribly hot before noon. I imagine the rule simply means “If you want to do it, you’re on your own.” However, the park has built overlooks, and I think it would be nice if they’d build a couple of short trails—or at least not forbid use of existing ones.

Fish River Canyon Rim, Namibia

Driving along the rim. Okay, the track wasn’t actually this close to the rim; we just parked here to freak Mom out. Clickable pic.

The map didn’t indicate the 4WD track went all that far, but it took us all day nonetheless. I’m not sure if the track now goes farther than it once did or if it was just super slow going. Or, perhaps, we dawdled. We had nothing else on our agenda.

Quiver Tree at Fish River Canyon, Namibia

Quiver tree, an aloe.

We finally got up close to a quiver tree, close enough to touch and inspect it. It looks rather Seussian to me. It’s an aloe, indigenous to southern Africa, and all three subspecies are on the red list of threatened species.

Euphorbia, Fish River Canyon, Namibia

Euphorbia at Fish River Canyon.

I also inspected bushes that look like catci but I now believe are another Euphorbia, like the slate-pencil bushes we noted in Palmwag. As these plants die, the ribs with spines outlast everything else. I got several in my flip-flop. Clearly, the plant doesn’t like being scrutinized or admired; I was punished for getting too close. I can respect that.

Ostriches and Springbok at Fish River Canyon, Namibia

Ostriches and at least five springbok. See them? Clickable pic.

We saw some wildlife here: zebras, springbok, and ostriches. See the ostriches? How about the springbok? There are no zebras that I can find, but I do see at least five springbok in this photo. Click it for a larger version and see how many you can find.

Sunset at Fish River Canyon, Namibia

Sunset at Fish River Canyon. Clickable pic.

Sunset at the canyon overlook is a big daily event, the hyped thing to do. Tour buses offer a sunset dinner at the overlook. Ooooooo.

Sunsets in general are over-rated and anticlimactic, if you ask me. Here, the sun goes down across the canyon, so there’s little interesting light play on the canyon walls that we can see from this side. Sunset is just the sun going down below the horizon as it does everywhere else, too.

The sun rising behind us should be more interesting, but then visitors would have to get out of bed early, and that’s something many people cannot bear. Silly people.

Fish River Canyon, Namibia

Fish River Canyon. Clickable pic.

The canyon is much prettier at any other time of day. But that’s just my (often contrary) opinion.

Categories: Africa, Africa, Travel