Ai-Ais Resort – Fish River Canyon

To break our trip to Ai-Ais we decided to overnight in a small town called Mariental. After a long day in temperatures up to 41 °C we finally arrived in Mariental. Mariental is one of those places that only continue to exist because of the passing traffic through it and the best thing it has got going for it is the petrol station on the outskirts of town. We spent a hot night before leaving at the crack of dawn the next day for Ai-Ais and the Fish River Canyon.

The road ahead...

The road ahead…

After another long hot day we finally arrived at a little oasis in the desert which was the resort and hot springs of Ai-Ais. Sulphur springs bubble out of the ground at various points along the Fish River and this resort is built around one of these natural springs. All the hot water for the resort is provided by the hot spring which sounds fantastic until you want to cool down in the swimming pool and find that the temperature in the pool is above 40°C. The pools however are very relaxing and the long road now behind us slowly faded into a distant memory. Although popular, hiking needs to be done very early in the morning during the summer months as the temperature soars in the canyon as the day wears on.

Our footprints on the dry Fish River bed

Our footprints on the dry Fish River bed

After the hiking we again relaxed in the indoor hot springs readying ourselves for the return trip home the next morning.

The indoor hot pools

The indoor hot pools

The next morning it was up early to pack the car, take in our last hearty buffet breakfast and hit the road. It was here that my normally trustworthy car decided to give us a few more grey hairs. About halfway to our overnight stop in Kimberley the car started to shake and vibrate quite badly. I assumed that one of the shocks had finally given up and limped home to Durban at a painful max speed of 100 km/h. On arriving home I got the car checked out and was relieved that the shocks were fine. The cause of the vibration was a tyre that had a bubble in it due to being over-inflated at one of the filling-stations we stopped at. This was a lesson well learned for future travels.

All in all, the 12 days we were away were some of the best times I have had on holiday and I look forward to my next Namibian trip.

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