The Canyon Nature Park
Covering an area of 45 000 ha, the Park is a vast and rugged landscape of flat-topped rocky mountains and dry plains. A myriad of washes and side ravines have carved deep furrows down to the main canyon.
The lodge offers a comfortable and unique opportunity to relax and enjoy the canyon with friendly and attentive Namibian service.
Spanning a vast area, Canyon Nature Park encompasses an expansive and untamed landscape. Within this vast expanse lies a sanctuary for the Kokerboom, scientifically known as Aloe Dichotoma, alongside a diverse array of plant and animal species. The rugged terrain is adorned with a multitude of washes and side ravines, sculpting deep furrows into the canyon's sides, adding to the dramatic beauty of the surroundings.
Two farms, the Soutkuil and Vergeleë, border the /Ai/Ais Game and Richtersveld National Park. With several privately-owned farms to the northeast and southwest that no longer actively engage in agriculture commercially, you are surrounded by protected areas, including Namibia’s first trans-boundary conservation collaboration. The focus of this joint venture is a broad-based approach to conservation, sustainable natural resource management and socio-economic development.
The closest towns include Keetmanshoop, Rosh Pinah and Aus, where you should fill up with fuel before your journey to Fish River Lodge. Below you will find a list of the towns and their distances from the lodge. There are a number of fascinating things to see while in this area, so do your research to make the best of your holiday.
We are committed to regularly reassessing our practices to minimise our impact on the surrounding environment. As part of this commitment, we actively participate in the Namibian Eco Awards Programme, an initiative designed to ensure that we operate in a manner that has the least possible impact on the delicate and arid ecosystem.
Sustainability guides our development practices; be they structural or environmental, which includes water-saving measure and solar-powered energy.
For more detailed information about our eco-friendly initiatives and our participation in the Eco Award Programme, we encourage you to visit www.ecoawards-namibia.org
Local Flora and Fauna
This southern corner of Namibia is largely undeveloped, and the spectacular landscape evokes a real sense of undiscovered wilderness. True silence in our over-crowded world is a rare privilege.
Please see some interesting facts on the area below:
- Rainfall in the Canyon Nature Park is predominantly during the summer months but can occur in winter.
- Over 100 endemic succulents are found in the park, as well as an additional 1,600 other plant species. The largest is the Aloe Dichotoma, locally known as the Kokerboom or Quiver Tree. Some of these have been recorded at over 300 years old.
- Wildlife sightings have included Hartmann’s Mountain zebra, springbok, kudu, oryx, steenbok, klipspringer, Chacma baboon, leopard, caracal, brown hyena, cheetah and honey badger. Occasionally you might even see a Cape clawless otter at the rock pools.
- Although the river only flows in summer, the permanent rock pools are home to Small- and Largemouth yellowfish, Sharptooth catfish and water monitors.
- There are over 240 species of birds that make the canyon and its immediate surroundings home, including the Black Eagle, Olive Thrush, Cape Robin-chat, White Pelican, Fish Eagle, Grey Heron and African Black duck. There are a host more not noted, so ensure you have your bird atlas and binoculars at the ready.
The Fish River Canyon is divided into two parts: the upper and lower. The upper consists of hard gneiss bedrock, which inhibits the ever-constant erosion, and can be referred to as a tectonic trough, the result of the shifting of the plates 350 million years ago.
Around 120 million years ago, when the continent of Gondwana separated, Africa rose and the gradient of the Fish River increased, enabling it to erode the lower canyon even further. Few environments reveal the earth’s layers as dramatically as the Fish River Canyon.
Towering rock faces of dolomite and granite stand sentinel while the river, the longest in Namibia, curves in the deep ravines below after heavy rainfall. In minutes, washes can turn into turbulent rivers and gushing waterfalls, continuing the eternal process of erosion.
Our qualified guides will share this amazing phenomenon and more information with you on a trip into the 550-meter-deep canyon.
Nomadic San hunter-gatherers roamed the area and have left their mark on the landscape. Archaeological findings relating to the San in southern Namibia have provided fascinating insights into their ancient history and culture. These discoveries, still ongoing, contribute to our understanding of their long presence in the region and sheds light on their way of life.
Rock art and engravings are among the most significant archaeological findings in various locations across southern Namibia. They depict rituals, wildlife and interactions with their surrounding environment. Rock art discovered on a farm south of the Fish River Canyon has been dated from 23,000 and 27,000 B.C., although historical opinion seems to differ somewhat.
More ‘recent’ abandoned stone lammerhuisies (shepherd ‘hut’s), cattle kraals and farmhouses provide a glimpse of the harsh reality of farming in the 1950’s in this arid environment.
Guests are requested to adhere to the protocols when they visit any archaeological site in Canyon Nature Park.
Canyon Nature Park collaborates with local and international research institutions to increase knowledge and understanding of the area. Students from the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) in Windhoek, have conducted research on the Aloe Dichotoma (Kokerboom) as well as water consumption at the lodge.
A pioneering project is currently underway, involving the installation of 45 live cameras spread across a vast 300-kilometer radius. Anticipation is running high as these cameras hold the potential to capture and unveil extraordinary revelations. Despite the challenging desert environment, the area has already yielded intriguing sightings of various species, sparking curiosity about the frequency and permanence of their presence. Surprisingly, seventeen mammal species, including the magnificent cheetah, have been identified, defying expectations for this region. Each animal sighting within the park is meticulously documented in an event book and added to a comprehensive national database, further enriching our understanding of the remarkable wildlife thriving in this area.
Flying into the Fish River Lodge from Windhoek is a comfortable alternative to the 7-hour drive of 764 kilometres. Guests will experience a bird’s eye view of the Fish River, the canyon and its maze of side ravines and gullies.
Please direct enquiries regarding flights to Journey’s Namibia.
Namibia’s south is one of the least populated in the country, with massive tracts of arid deserted land, parks, and protected areas devoid of human habitation. Bordered in the west by the oldest desert in the world, the Namib encompasses much of the coastline, made up of shifting sand dunes and bisected by ancient dry riverbeds that seldom have surface water.
In the southeast, you will find the Kalahari Desert, that merges with the Namib, making this region dry, hot, and with little visible wildlife. On closer inspection, however, you will find a great deal of desert adapted animals that make this area home, both large and small.