Tourism activities came grinding to a halt after a state of emergency was declared and subsequent lockdown. The Covid-19 pandemic has changed all of our worlds, and not just in the short-term. Domestic travel is the lifeline the industry is hanging its hopes on for the foreseeable future. The Namibian tourism industry, adversely affected by the pandemic, is looking at the domestic market to revive.
I fulfilled a bucket list experience of hiking 90km through the geological marvel that is the Fish River Canyon. With only a heavy backpack to carry, I was thrown into a hyper state of awareness as I descended into the steep canyon which forced me to become intertwined in the deeper narrative of woman vs nature vs self, in union with one of Africa’s greatest natural wonders.
This hike, through the world’s second largest canyon is as challenging as it is unforgettable. Situated in the far south of Namibia, the startlingly beautiful Fish River Canyon is 550m deep, 27km wide and 160km long. The intense hiking trail through it, which took me through 1.5 billion years of geological history, hold secrets and raw natural beauty that hide within its massive landscape.
Serene. Magical. Mystical. Extraordinary. Breathtaking. Immense. Nowhere else in Africa will you find anything quite like the Fish River Canyon, and it’s difficult to get a sense of perspective without actually experiencing the enormous scope, which is best done on the monumental five-day hike. It is a gruelling hike and should not be attempted by the frail or the lazy. A good pair of shoes is an absolute must and a healthy pair of lungs will help, however, it is essential that you are fit, strong and prepared before you decide to tackle it.
My Fish River Canyon hike was nothing short of glorious and left me with a sense of empowerment and accomplishment. I can appreciate that recommending hikes is a terribly subjective affair, so I will include Gondwana Collections’ relatively new canyon experience. Their 30km Klipspringer Trail takes you through the northern areas of the Fish River Canyon without any heavy loads. Luggage and equipment are conveyed between the overnight camps, so hikers only need to pack water and snacks for the day’s hike.
Nonetheless, the awe of being gifted with this incredible vessel that is our human body is a phenomenon that must be embraced for the miracle that we are. Don’t ever underestimate how much control and power you have to shape the narrative and legacy that is your life story. Mine is one of an explorer. A seeker. A life adventurer in search of significance.
So for all the adventurous souls looking for a domestic travel experience that will truly enrich you, your answer is this self-propelled journey through the mighty Fish River Canyon. While large-scale travel will be one of the last facets of normal society to recover from the pandemic, domestic tourism will be the first signs of it. Solutions lay in being informed and using the right tools to empower ourselves to act the right way, at the right time as we travel through the magical Namibian landscapes of never ending wonders.