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The Fish River

Rivers of Namibia

If it wasn't for the Fish River carving out a huge gorge for millions of years, there would be no Fish River Canyon. The Fish River is the longest interior river in Namibia and it cuts deep into the plateau, which in these modern times is dry, stony and sparsely covered with hardy drought-resistant plants such as succulents. Upstream, the river runs through a horizontal dolomite strata. These layers formed part of the canyon about 650 million years ago, when underground plate movement cracked the surface of the earth, in what was the first process in the formation of the Fish River Canyon.

This river typically flows between March and April, and from April to June it has normally diminished to a mere trickle, before being just a chain of remnant pools along the canyon floor in the winter. There is good ground water though, beneath and around the riverbed. Two dramatic waterfalls, where the water plunges several hundred metres can be admired during the rainy season.

The Fish joins the Orange River, 70km south of its more famous counterpart, Fish River Canyon. The sulphur and fluoride-rich hot springs at Ai-Ais, situated on a scenic stretch of the Fish River, is an important tourist drawcard. The Fish River Hiking Trail follows the sandy riverbed beginning at Hikers Viewpoint and ends at the hot-spring resort of Ai-Ais. (1st May – 30th September.)

Rivers of Namibia

  • Fish River: Fish River Canyon
  • Fish River: Fish River Canyon
  • Fish River: River Runs Through It
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Ai-Ais Resort

Fairly basic accommodation at the famous hot-springs near the southern end of the Fish River Canyon

Canyon Lodge

Probably the most popular lodge in the area. Friendly staff, interesting rooms and an emphasis on growing all local produce make for a wonderful stay

Canyon Roadhouse

The smaller sibling to the Canon Lodge & Village, this fun establishment boasts loads of character

Canyon Village

Supposedly laid out like an African village - this tends to be second choice to the Lodge but still offers good value

Fish River Lodge

On the opposite edge of the canyon to all the other lodges, Fish River Lodge offers a unique perspective, excellent service and stunning views


Campsite close to the main viewpoint over the Fish River Canyon

Nambian Hotels

Car Hire | Namibia