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Three days inside the canyon - the Experience Klipspringer Trail

Avatar of inke inke 06. October 2017 - Environment, Discover Namibia


To see the second largest canyon with your own eyes is always an exciting experience. To stand in front of that huge gorge in the middle of the crimson landscape, which cleaves in endless curves and turns, makes you feel small and unimportant. Within a second, there’s no space for stress or worries – all that counts is the calmness and dignity of this great canyon. A truly unique experience. Well, that was my opinion until I got the chance to hike inside the Fish River Canyon for three days and to learn that no viewpoint could ever show you the true face of that beautiful landscape.

The first day in another world

It’s morning at the Klipspringer Base Camp. The air is cold and clear; there’s nothing around us but the sparse, hilly landscape of the Gondwana Canyon Park. It’s high time for our three day hike, the Canyon Klipspringer Trail. We get on the pick-up and jolt down the 4x4-route. The Base Camp gets smaller and smaller in the middle of nowhere before disappearing behind another hill. As we jump off the load floor it feels as if we were the only people on the planet. There is nothing to see other than the wide landscape, nothing to hear than our crunching footsteps. Every step brings us deeper into this peculiar atmosphere. As if time has stopped in view of the majestic rock walls, there is no movement at all. Even the leaves of those little plants who fought their way through this deadly environment are stock-still. We are the only ones who break this absolute motionlessness and who bring life to the canyon even if just for a few days. At least it feels that way. But all the tracks of antelopes, zebras and baboons show that we aren’t alone at all. Though we won’t see even one of them.

Only the gurgling and sputtering of the river, which emerges a few times during our route, breaks the peculiar atmosphere. In the dry season, there are only a few sections left of the huge torrential river, but those sections seem to us like blooming oases in the motionless world of rocks. Suddenly we are surrounded by the ripple of the water, by the deep green of all those plants that cut through the muted colours of the world around us, ducks and geese clamour, fussing about the disturbance. It’s the perfect place for our break, to sit down and relax with our feet in the ice-cold water.

After a few hours of hiking in this impressive world, we finally reach the point where we have to leave the canyon again.  We vault our way over some rocks, which poke out of the water onto the other riverbank – fortunately without any unintended bathing – and can start our ascent. It is quite exhausting but definitely worth the trouble since there is a beautiful camp on the edge of the canyon with the most amazing view waiting as a reward. To our surprise there are even little huts for every one of us. After the 14km hike through the lonely but wonderful nature all of this – the main building with the kitchen, the bathroom, the little huts with camp beds – seems to us like incredible luxury. 

Experiencing the canyon from a whole new perspective 


As we sit in front of the main building and watch the world becoming gold and deep orange as the sun sets, I realize how unique this hike is. Not only that you literally get to the bottom of the canyon but also all the impressions after the hikes, which could never be replaced by anything else. When you sit on the edge of the canyon after a long hike, watch the shades of the sunset and don’t have anything in mind but the next route, you really experience the canyon from a whole new perspective. The fact that I thought I knew the canyon after a visit at the viewpoints seems almost ridiculous now. At the end of the day, all of us sit there at the edge of the canyon, looking up into the starry sky. We stay like that for a few hours, watching the million stars and counting shooting stars. There couldn’t be a better end for this day. 

The many faces of the canyon

The next two days, we plunge even deeper in the world of the canyon. In distances of 8km and 9km we climb big rocks with any shade of colour, find several ways to pass the river, tramp through deep sand, crunch on pebbles, make our way through small forests and walk across the dry river bed which looks like big, grey waves. We follow trails of antelopes and zebras, overcome some rock ledges. We are surrounded by steep rock walls and in the middle of big, open plains. The many faces of the canyon turn every single day into a whole new experience which ends far too early. The evenings at the camps with a campfire, grilled meat and the view of millions of stars make everything just perfect. On the third day, every one of us is totally relaxed and even happy that the guys from the Base Camp are a little late. That way, we have a little bit more time to enjoy the majestic canyon und keep the normal world waiting just a little longer.  

Jana Kucharczyk

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