Day 18: Bethanie - Fish River Canyon - Ai-Ais

Fish River Canyon Travel Blog

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Fish River

The Fish River Canyon is the second largest canyon in the world. With a length of 160 km, a width of 27km and a depth of 550 km it certainly doesn't look any less than the Grand Canyon in the USA. One big difference becomes immediately clear though: the blissful absence of infrastructure and tourists!

Even though the Fish River Canyon is Namibia's most visited tourist destination, the sheer size of it makes that you feel as if you have the place virtually to yourself. We walked a couple of kilometres along the northern rim of the canyon, which boasted spectacular views of the canyon with the Fish River deep down below.

It is no longer allowed to hike down in the canyon, after too many tourists have died over the years when they tried to climb the 500 metres back up again in temperatures soaring over 50 degrees.

Fish River Canyon
The only way to visit the canyon floor is to climb down and then do the 5-day hike out of the canyon, to where the canyon finally peters out at the Ai-Ais oasis. For this you need a permit and a doctor's certificate of fitness.
Earlier this year the first stage of the annual Race The Planet Marathon was held here.

Riaan and Juliana had decided to change the itinerary a little. Instead of staying at the camp-site at the entrance of the Fish River Canyon National Park, we would drive another 100 kilometres to the Ai-Ais hot springs where there would be a much nicer camp-site, and it would save us time the next day.

Well, they didn't lie. The Ai-Ais camp-site is absolutely beautiful. It lies at the end of the canyon, at the site of some natural hot springs.

Fish River Canyon
It has been set up as a very luxury spa and health resort and this has by far been the most luxury place we stayed at all trip.
The hot water is piped into several indoor baths and jacuzzis as well as the outdoor pool. Aand while swimming in a hot pool doesn't seem all that attractive when it is 42 degrees out, it turned out to be surprisingly relaxing.

A few days earlier Juliana had asked if anyone in the group felt like cooking dinner one night, since she had run out of ideas what to cook. So my dear sister Robbel immediately volunteered that I would make a Thai curry one night - do I have any say in any of this at all??

At the start of the trip the whole group had been divided into four groups for rotating chores: washing up, cleaning, packing and cooking.

Ai-Ais hot springs
So I got to boss around four people to create my famous Crab Curry. I tried to do my best Gordon Ramsey impression (you're here to cook the food, not fuck it, you cunts!) and not before long the huge pile of vegetables had been nicely cut and diced. So I would ask the person who was grating carrots "everything ok, grate chef?" or the person responsible for unpacking the crab sticks "how's it going, crab chef?" (say it out loud, it's funny...)

Cooking for 18 people is quite a task, and I gained a lot more respect for Juliana who had done it 12 nights already. I had had no idea how much ingredients we would need. I usually make it for two or three people, so I had simply multiplied my normal ingredients by 9. This caused that we had way, way too much.

cooking my world famous Crab Curry
After dinner we had even more than half left. Not to worry, as Riaan would remind us every day: "what you don't eat tonight, becomes lunch tomorrow".
I didn't hear anyone complain, so I took it as a compliment that my creation had succeeded. 

In the evening Riaan set up his DVD player and projector and we watched the film "The Gods must be crazy". This mockumentary/slapstick film was filmed in Botswana and Namibia and turns a really good premise (isolated bushmen who live deep in the Kalahari have their first encounter with the outside world via a discarded coke bottle) into an absolutely horrible film.
Nonetheless it was a great ending to our stay in Namibia. Tomorrow we will be heading into South Africa for the final leg of our tour.

sarahsan says:
Crab Curry! You forgot to invite me! Just yummy! It´s funny, I did the same trip - Livingstone to Cape Town - last year and took many of the same photos you have taken! I enjoy reading your blogs! Thanks for sharing!
Posted on: Oct 17, 2009
edsander says:
The crab curry ! Why didn't you tell me ?! I would have flown over ! ;-)
Posted on: Oct 17, 2009
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Fish River
Fish River
Fish River Canyon
Fish River Canyon
Fish River Canyon
Fish River Canyon
Ai-Ais hot springs
Ai-Ais hot springs
cooking my world famous Crab Curry
cooking my world famous Crab Curry
bridge over the Fish River
bridge over the Fish River
Fish River
Fish River
Fish River Canyon National Park
Fish River Canyon National Park
Fish River Canyon
Fish River Canyon
Fish River Canyon
Fish River Canyon
loo with a view
loo with a view
Fish River Canyon
Fish River Canyon
Fish River Canyon National Park
Fish River Canyon National Park
Fish River Canyon
Fish River Canyon
Fish River Canyon
Fish River Canyon
less fortunate overlanding truck
less fortunate overlanding truck
near Fish River canyon
near Fish River canyon
Ducky goes for a swim
Ducky goes for a swim
cooking my world famous Crab Curry
cooking my world famous Crab Curry
Fish River Canyon
photo by: Biedjee