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Kuiseb Canyon

   

Kuiseb Canyon

There are not many places left in the world that have not been fully explored but the Kuiseb Canyon located deep within Namibia Namib-Naukluft is one such place.

The Kuiseb Canyon, located on the gravel road (C26) from Windhoek to the Namib Naukluft Park can be viewed a short hike down river from where the road crosses the Kuiseb River below the Gamsberg Pass before it ascends the Kuiseb Pass over the final ridges of the plateau. The Kuiseb Canyon is carved by the Kuiseb River, and is well known as the area in which two German geologists, Henno Martin and Hermann Korn, lived for more than two years in order to avoid internment during World War II. Henno Martin’s book “The Sheltering Desert” gives a vivid account of this experience and is well worth reading. The Kuiseb River seldom flows on the surface and even more seldom does it reach the sea, but it plays a very important role in preventing the northward march of the sand dunes closer to the coast.

Its remoteness, inhospitality and lack of water have stopped easy travel though its hidden folds and preserved a landscape little influenced by outside influences.

However, recently an expedition to traverse its most inaccessible sections was mounted by former Namib Park Ranger Kobus Alberts from Namibia and veteran explorer and director of adventure travel company Across the Divide Expeditions, Mark Hannaford. Starting at the Kuiseb Bridge and finishing at the Topnar settlement at Homeb its aim was to be the longest ever journey through the canyon and to record via video and photography the interior this remote area.

The main challenges to the expedition were expected to be very high temperatures within the canyon itself, expected to be in the region of 50 C, hyenas, a lack of water, the nigh time presence of marauding hyenas and the physical challenge of trekking 110 kilometers over difficult terrain. Preparation for the journey started the year before with special permission being kindly granted by the Namibia National Park Authority and the incumbent park manager Manie Le Roux and the preparation of the comprehensive route and safety plan.

Given the lack of any sort of road in the area of the canyon - the impossibly of landing a helicopter within the narrow confines of the canyon itself the safety plan ended up being pretty simple - don’t get injured and if you do break a leg be prepared to wait four days before getting out.

   
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