Fish River Canyon and South Holidays
Whilst Southern Namibia is not normally the first port of call for visitors to Namibia, it is nevertheless a region with a lot to offer. Home to impressive desert scenery, wild horses, an anachronistic German colonial town and the second largest canyon in the world, a visit here adds another dimension to a trip to Namibia.
Fish River Canyon
The impressive Fish River Canyon is the biggest attraction in southern Namibia and arguably the country’s most spectacular geological phenomenon. At 27km wide, 550m deep in places and 160km long, it is reputed to be the second largest canyon in the world after the Grand Canyon in the USA. However, it attracts far fewer tourists meaning you can often experience complete solitude here. The canyon, which takes its name from the 650km long Fish River, is over 500 million years old, with part of the strata formed as far back as 650 million years ago.
The eastern rim of the canyon is said to have the best vistas but for a room with a view book a night or two on the western rim, staying in lodge accommodation just metres away from the canyon edge. Hiking opportunities abound with a number of day walks available, as well as the more strenuous five-day trail best suited to experienced hikers only.
The German colonial town of Luderitz lies dramatically sandwiched between the barren Namib Desert and the windswept South Atlantic Coast. Unchanged for many years, the town is full of German art nouveau architecture reminiscent of a Bavarian dorfchen (small village), with churches, bakeries and cafes. Luderitz is well-known for its fresh crayfish and oysters, even hosting an annual crayfish festival, as well as for the abundant wildlife of the Lüderitz Peninsula which includes flamingo and penguin colonies.
In the early 1900s, Kolmanskop was a thriving town, home to hundreds of diamond workers and boasted a theatre, casino and ballroom. However, the slump in diamond sales after World War I and the discovery of a richer diamond area further south at Oranjemund meant that the inhabitants started to leave, resulting in Kolmanskop being completely deserted by 1956. Uninhabited since then, the buildings have been overtaken by the shifting desert sands, lying knee deep in places and resulting in an eerie ghost town that is a photographer’s paradise.
Located about 100km inland from Luderitz, Aus is known for its spectacular scenery and wild horses. The latter roam the sparsely vegetated plains of the Namib Desert in small groups. Nobody is sure about how they originally came to be there, but over time they have adapted to survive in the harsh desert environment.