The Fish River Canyon is located in the south of Namibia. It is the second largest canyon in the world and the largest in Africa, as well as the second most visited tourist attraction in Namibia. It features a gigantic ravine, in total about 100 miles (160 km) long, up to 27 km wide and in places almost 550 metres deep.
The Fish River is the longest interior river in Namibia. It cuts deep into the plateau which is today dry, stony and sparsely covered with hardy drought-resistant plants. The river flows intermittently, usually flooding in late summer; the rest of the year it becomes a chain of long narrow pools. At the lower end of the Fish River Canyon, the hot springs resort of Ai-Ais is situated.
Public view points are near Hobas, a camp site 70 km north of Ai-Ais. This part of the canyon is part of the Ai-Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park. The other 90 km of this canyon are privately owned.
Due to flooding and extremely hot summer temperatures reaching 48°C in the day and 30°C at night, permits are only issued between 1 May and 15 September.
Prior to arriving at Hobas a hiking permit must be obtained from Namibia Wildlife Resorts for groups not smaller than 3 and not larger than 30. All hikers must be older than 12 years and a certificate of fitness, completed by a medical doctor must be presented at the offices of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism at Hobas.
In recent years the trail has become popular, particularly during School holidays and long weekends, and permits should be obtained timeously. Bookings for the following year’s season open 1 May.