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Fish River Canyon and the far South

The Fish River Canyon lies in the far south of the country and is the second largest canyon in the world.

Certainly off the beaten track (two days drive from Windhoek), visiting here should not be a big priority for those with limited time but the canyon itself is absolutely spectacular. Set in a harsh, stony plain, scantily covered with drought-resistant succulents and the distinctive quiver tree or ‘kokerbom’, the canyon represents a spectacular natural phenomenon which took hundreds of millions of years to evolve.

The full length of the canyon is 160 kms with a depth of up to 550 metres. Hiking is available in the winter months (May to September). It is possible to walk through the gorge on a five day trail although a permit is required from the Namibia Wildlife Resorts authority. Day walks and guided overland tours into the canyon are more readily available from some of the lodges in the region. Walking in the canyon is hard work and only suitable for confident walkers.

Much of the south-east of the country borders the Kalahari Desert and includes areas such as Bushmanland. There are some limited game viewing and San culture opportunities, particularly around the town of Mariental.

Luderitz on the coast has changed little since the early 1900’s when the nearby ghost town of Kolmanskop was a bustling diamond centre. The town is still largely surrounded by the Sperrgebiet (the forbidden territory) where a lot of alluvial diamond mining takes place but in essence, it’s no more than a small laid-back trading town. Today, other than visiting Kolmanskop where the Namib sands sift through the dilapidated buildings to create interesting photographic opportunities, there is little reason for going ‘out of your way’ to visit the region.