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Roadtrip Namibia Part 1 | Keetmanshoop, Fish River Canyon & Orange River

around the country Namibia to get to know it is best to have a big one roadtrip made. This is part 1 of the roadtrip through Namibia starting with Windhoek† We then explore the town of Keetmanshoop and visit the Fish River Canyon. After that, the roadtrip continued along the orange river with final goal Oranjemund. Later a 2nd part of the roadtrip being added!

Also read: Roadtrip Namibia (1) | Keetmanshoop and Fish River Canyon
Also read: Roadtrip Namibia (2) | Lüderitz, Kolmanskop & Sossusvlei
Also read: Roadtrip Namibia (3) | Solitaire and Swakopmund
Also read: Roadtrip Namibia (4) | Cape Cross, Twyfelfontein and Palmwag
Also read: Preparation trip to Namibia | Best travel time & packing list
Also read: Itineraries Namibia 2 to 5 weeks | Example routes

Route round trip part 1
Route round trip part 1

keetmanshoop

The city of Windhoek will be exited from the south on the B1. This is the main thoroughfare to South Africa† After about 400 kilometers the town of Keetmanshoop is located. This usually quiet town is a stopover for many travelers on their way to the Fish River Canyon, although there is more to experience here than many think at first. East of Keetmanshoop is the famous Kalahari desert and near Keetmanshoop are many famous places where many tourists visit.

Quivertree Forest

For example, just under 14 kilometers outside Keetmanshoop, the Quivertree Forest Rest Camp† This area is known for its quivertrees also known as quiver tree. Here there are many close together and these are best visited at sunrise or sunset. It is the largest number of quiver trees in all of Namibia.

Quivertree Forest at sunset
Quivertree Forest at sunset

Giant's Playground

A further 5 kilometers from Quivertree Forest are some beautiful basalt rocks also known as Giant's Playground. They are reminiscent of the Matobo Hills in Zimbabwe† It might be a little less extreme but still interesting to watch. The formations were formed about 180 million years ago. The name Giant's Playground comes from the fact that a group of giants seem to have played in this ancient landscape of blocks of stone.

Giant's Playground
Giant's Playground

Mesosaurus Fossil Site

This place is located more than 42 kilometers from Keetmanshoop where you can see fossils of the giant mesosaurus† It lived 270 million years ago in the freshwater lake of Gondwanaland.

Fish River Canyon

After the Grand Canyon in the United States, the Fish River Canyon is the largest in the world. It is 161 kilometers long, 27 kilometers wide and at its deepest point no less than 550 meters deep. The nice thing is that it is still one of the least visited places in Africa, so you can go here quietly without seeing too many tourists.

Viewpoints

During a visit, you can drive to different viewpoints. The best known is main view point† Here you have a view over the Hell's Bend, it is one of the most photographed points of the canyon. There are information boards, restrooms and a large wooden platform with great views over the canyon. Drive another 3 kilometers to arrive at Hikers' Viewpoint† Here you see the canyon from a different perspective and is also the starting point of the 5-day hike through the canyon, more about this later. Drive back to main viewpoint and turn left of the main viewpoint into the 4×4 path. Here you have a nice view of this part of the canyon over 3 kilometers.

Fish River Canyon main view point
Fish River Canyon from main viewpoint

From the main road you can drive to the left in front of the main viewpoint. Here follows a normal road for the first 7 kilometers to the Sulfur Springs viewpoint. At this viewpoint there is a picnic table with a beautiful view over the canyon. After this viewpoint the road becomes a 4×4 road with many stones. At the end, the Eagle´s Rock viewpoint is the southernmost vantage point of this canyon. From here you can see further south into the canyon. Enjoy the peace and the beautiful view here, many tourists will not make their way here.

5-day hike through Fish river canyon

For walkers who are fit and already have some experience, this 5 day walk is a dream. The walk is known as one of the toughest hikes in southern Africa† With the starting point at Hiker´s viewpoint where you descend into the canyon. After that, we walk for 5 days until the end point of Ai-Ais is reached. In total it is between 80 and 90 kilometers long, depending on how much water flows through the Fish River. The walk can only be started between 1 May and 15 September due to the weather conditions. A maximum of 30 hikers can participate in the hike per day with a minimum of 3 hikers. This hike can only be booked through NWR and must be done months in advance.

5-day hike fish river canyon
Start of a 5-day hike through the canyon

Before the hike can be started, you must submit a medical certificate that you are fit enough to complete the hike. You have to eat, drink and carry all your belongings with you for the entire walk. Remember that it can get very hot in the canyon and there is no possibility to get out in between. All in all, this is a wonderful hike through this beautiful landscape, for those who dare and can handle it.

Ai-Ais

At the end of the walk you will arrive in Ai-Ais, also accessible by car. This small village is located at the bottom of the canyon where the River Fish passes on its way south. The word Ai-Ais in the Nama language means “burning water”. This is because a source comes out that is 65 degrees Celsius warm. This is way too hot to hold in 1 finger at all. They do not let the heat go to waste and the slightly less warm water can be found in the pool. This water bath is an ideal 35 degrees Celsius and open 24/7. The best time to visit this is in the evening or at night during the clear winter. Then the water is wonderfully warm and you can see a beautiful starry sky including the Milky Way.

From Ai-Ais you can take a short walk in the canyon
From Ai-Ais you can take a short walk in the canyon

From here you can take a short walk into the canyon. Between the canyon walls mainly live baboons that are often after your food. Don't give them anything to eat and ignore them! Keep in mind: it is always 5 degrees warmer here than outside the canyon and the sun comes later or sets earlier than outside the canyon. It can also get very cold, especially in winter.

Orange River

In the south of Namibia, the border with South Africa is the well-known Orange River, which flows into Oranjemund. This river is one of the only ones that almost always has water and is therefore an important source of water for the population.

Northower

This village is best known for the border crossing with South Africa and the B1 that passes from Windhoek. It is also known as a well-known boarding point for canoe and rafting trips on the Orange River. Many grapes can be found in this region because water is available here. The village is therefore surrounded by vineyards on both the Namibian and South African side.

Aussenkehr

Most inhabitants of this village work in the nearby grape plantations. Because of this, the number of inhabitants can vary between 5.000 and 21.000 people, depending on the season in which you visit. Here is a small supermarket and a gas station where you can only fill up with diesel. Do not expect too much and especially enjoy the ride along the orange river.

The village of Aussenkehr
The village of Aussenkehr

C13 to Sedlingsdrift

This road is considered one of the most beautiful roads in Namibia. Along the Orange River you drive beautiful mountain passes interspersed with beautiful views over the Orange River and South Africa on the other side. Don't forget to stop and enjoy all the greenery around you. There is still a working mining area on both banks of the river. This road is 80 kilometers long before you return to Sedlingsdrift.

The Orange River with South Africa on the other side
The Orange River with South Africa on the other side

M118 to Oranjemund

From the C13 you are very close and it is best to bend to Oranjemund. This road has recently been remade and of good quality. On the left you look out on the Orange River and South Africa, where on the right you can find the well-known Sperrgebiet. There are still many working diamond mines in the Sperrgebiet and therefore not open to visitors. At the end of this beautiful route is the town of Oranjemund. As can already be traced back, the orange river flows into the atlantic ocean here. There is also a border crossing with South Africa here. The town of Oranjemund is known for the fact that many orxies walk around the city. Furthermore, it is a green town at the very end of Namibia.

Also read: Roadtrip Namibia (1) | Keetmanshoop and Fish River Canyon
Also read: Roadtrip Namibia (2) | Lüderitz, Kolmanskop & Sossusvlei
Also read: Roadtrip Namibia (3) | Solitaire and Swakopmund
Also read: Roadtrip Namibia (4) | Cape Cross, Twyfelfontein and Palmwag
Also read: Preparation trip to Namibia | Best travel time & packing list
Also read: Itineraries Namibia 2 to 5 weeks | Example routes

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Seven

From March 2021 to December 2021 I lived in Windhoek in Namibia for my studies. I would like to tell you more about this beautiful country that is still unknown to many!

Planning 2023: Hungary, Slovakia, Austria, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Rwanda.

In my life I travel a lot, so in 2022 I was on the road in Austria, Germany, Belgium, South Korea, South Africa and Namibia! In the meantime I have already seen 26 countries in this beautiful world that lies at our feet.

Check out my instagram @travel_with_eline for more beautiful photos and stories about my travels.

Quote: "Great times never come from comfort zones!"

Seen a mistake? Ask? Remark? Let us know in the comments!

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