Day 1: Arrive in Ais Ais and check into the chalets where you’ll be staying overnight. After dinner have a short briefing and make some final checks before getting an early night’s rest.
Day 2: An early start, check out of your chalet and meet at reception for your transfer to Ais Ais. Remember taking your medical certificate with you, as this will need to be presented at the Hobas office at the start of the hike. After a brief stop at the viewpoint, the transfer will drop you at the start of the hike. The decent into the canyon is approximately 500m but is very steep and rocky terrain. Once at the bottom of the canyon, depending on water levels in the river, you can have a relaxing swim before continuing further up the canyon to Dolerite Dykes which is a distance of approximately 10 kms. Camp on a beach near the Dolerite Dykes.
Day 3: Rising before sunrise to take advantage of the cool morning temperature, the route takes you further down the river. Most of the day is spent clambering over boulders and smaller rocks along the bank of the river. Keep an eye out for the Vespar which was abandoned in the canyon after a disastrous attempt to ride down the canyon. Continue onto Palm Springs, a natural sulfur spring which is the next good overnight campsite. Although there are many good beaches near the spring it’s best to camp slightly upstream as the smell can be quite overpowering.
Day 4: Another pre-dawn start takes you up Klipspringer ridge as the canyon starts broadening out. Rather than following the river there are a number or shortcuts which are commonly taken. Boulder hopping gives way to rocky paths and depending on how strongly the river is flowing, numerous wet crossings. Although with the hot daytime temperatures, a swim is a perfect way to cool down. There is no designated campsite, and it will be decided on depending on the group’s progress.
Day 5: Yet another early start, you break camp and start down the river, following the rocky trail which criss-crosses the rocky riverbed following the shortcuts. If good progress is made you can camp near the causeway for the last night in the desert. Just before reaching the causeway you can visit the sight of the German soldier’s grave, who was killed in a skirmish with the local Nama people in 1905.
Day 6: An early start, the home stretch to Ais Ais is easier walking with the canyon broadening out further and the trail somewhat becoming flatter. There are still several river crossings, but with the promise of the best tasting ice-cold beer, the trail is soon burnt up and left behind. After arriving back at Ais Ais and enjoying some welcome refreshment, relax in the warm pools at Ais Ais where you’ll be staying overnight. After five days in the canyon the basic chalets seem like luxury in comparison.
Day 7: After breakfast the tour ends. Depart from Ais Ais.
Also see tour packages in:
Africa Namibia Outdoor: Land Rambler Hiking & Trekking Camping