The excitement starts building up once we turn off from C12 in direction of Klipspringer Base Camp. The next 22km will be a bumpy fun ride and having your car climb up the rocks of the last hill before Klipspringer Camp comes into view is simply exhilarating.
I can’t wait to unpack our car and repack all our luggage and food supplies into the hiking trunks before I can poor our first sundowner drinks that officially opens the upcoming canyon hike.
The group at a vintage Land rover
We prepare our first dinner planning to have leftovers for early breakfast the next morning. There is nothing more delicious than a cold piece of boerewors and “choppie” with a steaming mug of coffee enjoyed at 06:30 in the morning.
Our trunks are being loaded onto a vintage Land rover and we jump on the back of the Cruiser which takes us to the drop-off point. First, we feel like canned sardines but soon enough the cold morning breeze just gets too cold and we all huddle up to preserve a bearable temperature.
The Group starting their journey
We are dropped at a small ravine that feeds the Löwen River, the last group photo is taken and off we go, jumping from stone to stone in the riverbed. Our bodies are still somewhat cold and our muscles not quite awake yet, but slowly our bodies awaken, picking up a faster walking pace. We follow the trail marks and are in awe of how much water must have run down this way. Sand is washed away, revealing new rock formations. It feels like a walk through time - throughout millions of years’ water streams have washed out the path that we are walking on today.
After approximately an hour, we reach a big step taking us deeper and closer to the Canyon. We just follow our instincts, climb down, down, down. By noon, we have reached the confluence of the Löwen and Fish River. The landscape is once again shaped by erosion and water, we sit down for our lunch snack and enjoy the peace of the moment, listening to the water flowing over the rocks and pebbles. Are we still in Namibia? It surely does not sound like it.
Before our eyes close for a nap, we force ourselves up and look for a way to cross the water ahead. Are we really crossing or should we rater walk around?. These questions will stay with us for the next three days. This time, we decide to walk around the pools and cross when the and cross when the water is shallow allowing us to hop from pebble to pebble. We are not ready to brave icy water or risk a full-body dip. We follow the riverbed around the bend and enjoy some barefoot walking on the damp beaches for about two kilometers.
Group walking in the river
Just before we have to take a sharp left and climb out of the Canyon, we decide to have a refreshing swim in the pool ahead and let the waterfall soothe our aching muscles and overheated bodies. It looks so inviting but (“mamma mia)” did we get a shock when we dipped our toes!. The water is so cold that it burns and takes your cuts your breath away. Slowly we adapt to the cold stream and finally sit down in the pools with waterfalls cascading down our backs. Knowing what is awaiting us shortly, we linger at the pools, mentally preparing for the effort that is required from our legs.
And then it is time to dry off, put the shoes back on, backpack on the shoulders and off we go working our way up the ravine that takes us onto the plateau.
Watch this space for the exciting second part of: "The Fish River Canyon is calling"
Author: Sigrid Emser