In June, I had the privilege of hiking through Fish River Canyon with some pretty neat people. So, yes, this post is coming about four months late. But better late than never. I thought I’d share some of our photos, experiences, and tips for hiking FRC!
Fish River Canyon is the second largest canyon in the world (after the Grand Canyon) and the largest on the African continent. It’s high on the list of tourists’ to-do lists, but most skip the hike and just enjoy the view from the top. This was my first multi-day hike and it was definitely challenging (at times more so than I expected) but an overall incredible experience. And for the most part, it was the people in my group that made it so awesome. I hiked with 5 Peace Corps Volunteers from my group, 3 friends from America (shoutout Mike for making the trip!) and 1 Namibian. We were pretty diverse in terms of our hiking experience and fitness levels but everyone was supportive of even the slowest hikers. Which, let’s be honest, was usually me.
My favorite part of the hike was on day two, when we realized the place we planned to set up camp for the night had a natural hot spring (called “Palm Springs”). The first two days of hiking are definitely the most challenging, with the descent into the canyon and lots of scrambling over boulders. It can also be a bit demoralizing because with the rough terrain you don’t cover much ground these days – which makes the rest of the hike seem daunting in terms of distance. I was also feeling personally betrayed by my body at this point because I had already hyper-extended my knee and developed blisters under my toenails (I’ll spare you the details, but will just say I lost two toenails afterward). But as I slid into the hot spring that evening and passed around some whiskey with friends, all was right in the world. No exaggeration, it was one of the best feelings I’ve ever experienced and much needed at the time. Following the hot spring dip, Mike and I made mac n cheese from scratch which just really put the cherry on top.
My other favorite moment of the trip was the first night at camp when we just layed around talking and star-gazing. That night happened to be the clearest of all the nights we hiked and the sky put on a serious show. Namibia has some beautiful night skies but I’ve never seen anything quite like the stars we saw in the middle of Fish River Canyon. We also used an app (Skyview) to identify different constellations and planets. It was pretty amazing.
Ending the hike is /Ai-/Ais is such a treat, too. Its facilities are built on a natural hot-spring and needless to say we spent a few hours just soaking in the pool. When we got there we immediately went for beers and burgers, both of which exceeded our (very low) expectations. We were dirty, tired, and sick of camp food. I’m glad we made the decision to camp there for the night and just relax.
My good friend Steph wrote superlatives for each person in our group, which I thought I’d share because I love a good superlative 🙂
- Consumed the most Nutella: Ashley
- Most likely to scare off a family of baboons with her laugh: Cybil
- Attitude so positive, it’d put a herd of rainbow unicorns to shame: Zoe
- Most likely to hike an entire day without saying a word: Josh
- Most likely to forget important documents and miss the hike all-together: Spence
- Most likely to purchase faulty camping gear: Mike
- Most selfies taken: Brett
- The unsung hero: David
- Most likely to make it rich doing product demos: Lily
- Most likely to miss giant, really important signs while hiking: Steph
Here are some pictures of us hiking 85km through the world’s second largest canyon. Epic.
PS – some of these photos were taken by me and some were taken by others in my group!