Fish River Canyon, Namibia

STOP 30 | Day 92 to 93 |

Just when we thought we had seen all the beauty Namibia had to offer, we were in awe of our next stop – Fish River Canyon. After a long 500 kilometers drive we reached the main viewing point at the rim of the canyon. Fish River Canyon is said to be the second largest canyon in the world (after the Grand Canyon), it was formed by water erosion and the collapse of the valley due to movements in the earth’s crust over 500 million years ago. The canyon measures 160 kilometers long, is up to 27 kilometers wide and at its deepest point 550 meters. We spent 45 minutes walking around the rim of the canyon and much to our surprise aside from a few other couples we were the only group of tourists at the canyon. With all the beauty and sights of Namibia tourism will definitely increase over the next few years, it has been a country not at the top of our bucket list but given our trip we would recommend highly.

Our campsite that night was at the Ai-Ais Hot Springs Spa at the floor of the southern end of the canyon. It was an impressive campsite with the rocky face of the canyon towering on either side. Ai-Ais means “burning water” in the local dialect, which is fitting for the thermal hot springs found in the area with a temperature of approximately 60 degrees Celsius. The campsite has indoor and outdoor pools which takes water directly from the hot springs. After dinner we spent time relaxing in the outdoor pool under the stars.

The following day was a short drive, of only 150 kilometers, to Orange River. As the river forms part of the border between South Africa and Namibia, we could see South Africa from the riverbank of our campsite. Orange River is the longest river in South Africa, extending about 2,200 kilometers from its origin in Lesotho. We relaxed at the campsite that afternoon before the last dinner our chef would cook for us on this trip! Surprisingly without a proper kitchen we have been more than well fed during our tour. We have enjoyed dinners featuring proteins such as kudu steaks to snoek (a fish found in the Southern Hemisphere). In addition to pap (staple food in Africa made from maize meal), we have had umngqusho a dish made of samp and beans, apparently Nelson Mandela’s favorite dish. Samp is a dried corn kernels that have been stamped and chopped until broken. Another popular South African (Cape Malay) dish which our chef made was boboti, which consists of spiced minced meat baked with an egg based topping, a concept similar to a Shepard’s pie. It is amazing what can be cooked in a cast iron pot with hot coals, from homemade bread to carrot cake, it’s not surprising that we both need to hit the gym. Along our travels we have also been introduced to biltong which is similar to jerky, a form of dried, cured meat.

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