Our time at Fish River Canyon was a wonderful experience. As the 2nd largest canyon in the world it was really awe-inspiring.
A view of the canyon facing from the Main View Point.
It was a long drive from the border to our hotel at the canyon along a straight, well maintained dirt road but the scenery was a fascinating to look at. It was not all sand but there were hills made of what appeared to be slate and there were plenty of rock formations, some quite interesting in shape. The one common factor was the lack of water. It was very dry.
A rocky hill on the road to Fish River Canyon
On arrival at the hotel, Canyon Roadhouse, we could not believe what we saw. All around the grounds were old cars which looked as if they had been driven there and then abandoned. They were, in fact, placed deliberately as decorative pieces for the hotel and that there were more found inside the hotel. The theme of the hotel was everything linked to motor cars of the 50s and 60s. We were very glad to find that there were no shells of cars in our room which was large and very inviting.
Reception area at Canyon Roadhouse
The canyon was another 25kms up the road so we enjoyed a perfectly beautiful evening just admiring the starry sky and gentle sounds of the desert all around us. This was such a different and illuminating experience for us. It brought back memories of the night we spent in Augrabies where the Milky Way was stunningly clear in the night sky. So different from living in a city.
In the morning we were served an excellent breakfast in a dining room with a couple of old cars in it. The pub was at one end of the room and was in the form of an old red aluminium maintenance garage decorated with advertising signs for all and fuels. More memories were evoked of our childhoods when these were the cars and fuels of the day.
One of the cars in good condition in the hotel grounds
We drove the 25kms to the canyon quite comfortably and once out of the car and standing on the edge of the canyon itself we were in awe. Something of such natural beauty one could not imagine. It is very deep and wide and there were lots of warning signs about not descending into the ravine without permission. I am always amazed at how some people seem to think that this type of warning or instruction does not pertain to themselves. One young man suggest that his girlfriend go down the steps which were actually roped off. She was not keen at first but he did convince her to do it. After descending about 15 steps she got nervous and tried to return but it was very difficult to turn around. She was screaming in fear and in anger at him. He was at a loss and it was fortunate that there was a gentleman who knew how to handle the situation. Why must someone else risk their life for another person’s stupidity?!
Fish River Canyon from Hikers’ Point. The small amount of water at the top of the picture is from earlier floods
We spent a number of hours at the canyon walking up and down just admiring the vista. The power of water is shown so magnificently in a place such as this. We saw a tour group being led through the bottom of the canyon having entered at an approved spot. We also came across a tall cairn of local stones. We learnt that most visitors would add a stone to leave something behind. I added a stone but Trevor said that it would be enough for the 2 of us. I also added a stone to those I had collected in Kimberley and Upington to take home for my rock pool at home. I have done this all over the world. Picked up just one stone from a spot and, even though I cannot tell you from where each one has come, I know that they are a sign of having done a lot of travelling and visiting many special places.
The cairn of stones at the Canyon
We ended our time at the canyon by taking a drive a bit further down the road and saw another holiday resort built into the rock formations all around. It was so well done that it did not really look as if much excavation had been done at all. That evening we had a lovely tasty and well-presented dinner and then an early night. It had been a fairly hot day and the effect of all the walking was taking its toll. We left early the next morning for the next leg of the trip to Marientall via Keetmanshoop.
A natural rock formation on the canyon