Commonly known as Fish River Canyon National Park – but officially called Ai Ais National Park – the park makes up part of the larger Ai Ais Richtersveld Transfronteir Park with South Africa. With a total area of 6,045 km sq, this park provides wilderness on an unimaginable scale. Despite being a large desert area, the park takes in the “Succulent Karoo” biome and is thought to encompass one of the richest botanical hot spots in the world.
The rugged, boulder-strewn landscape is home to 100 endemic succulents and over 1,600 other plant species (some quite bizarre), as well as a range of larger mammals – including the recently reintroduced rhinoceros.
Day entry is $11 per 24 hour period, with an additional $1.50 fee per car.
Standing on the rim of Fish River Canyon – the world’s second largest canyon.
Activities at Fish River Canyon National Park:
- The five-day hike through Fish River Canyon is the big activity here at the park between May-Sept. Permits must be applied for in advance to NWR and cost $35. Natural hot springs end the hike, but can be visited by car without doing five days of walking!
- Some of the best 4X4 driving anywhere comes with your entrance, if you have the right vehicle, and want to take some of the smaller tracks.
- Guided drive & walking excursions are available from the Hobas office for $55.
Getting to Fish River Canyon National Park:
There’s no public transport to anywhere near any of the Fish River Canyon national park entry gates, so private transport is the order of the day. A 2WD is fine year-round, as long as you don’t mind a bumpy ride on gravel, rock and dirt roads – otherwise, a 4WD is recommended.
Staying at Fish River Canyon National Park:
There’s a campsite with 12 spaces at Hobas, the start of the Fish River Canyon hiking trail), as well as further campsites along the Orange River section of the park. For a more luxury stay without blowing the budget, there’s a hotel complex built around the Ai Ais hot springs. All bookings should be made in advance with NWR.
Photos of Fish River Canyon National Park: