Perched on the edge of Fish River Canyon, within the Canyon Nature Park...
Fish River Lodge: Our full report
Perched on the western rim of Fish River Canyon, Fish River Lodge lies within the Canyon Nature Park, a privately owned reserve of 450km² which includes a 75km stretch along the canyon's edge. The lodge's dramatic location gives spectacular views across the Fish River Canyon.
Surrounded by a grove of kokerboom trees, the lodge offers 20 spacious rooms with stone walls, flat roofs and floor-to-ceiling glass doors, giving fantastic views of the canyon and its intriguing rock formations. The rooms all have large, uncluttered en-suite bathrooms with his-and-hers washbasins, and indoor and outdoor showers so you can 'shower with a view'. Much of the furniture and accessories are made by the local people, giving the lodge an authentic blend of traditional and modern design. Each room also has a veranda overlooking the canyon, perfect for watching the sun set over the sheer cliffs.
When not exploring the park, you can relax in the communal area of the lodge. Cool off from the heat of the day with a refreshing swim overlooking the canyon and a drink in the bar. In winter, dine on delicious home-cooked food in front of a cosy fire. On warmer evenings, enjoy a candlelit dinner or sundowner on the terrace or spend the evening gazing at the stars.
Activities offered from Fish River Lodge include an evening scenic drive to watch the sunset over a glass of champagne, and a full-day canyon drive. This guided excursion starts at 7am, involves descending a very bumpy route into the canyon by 4WD to have a picnic lunch by the permanent rock pools on the Fish River and back to the lodge around 2pm. There are a few short walks available from the lodge. On our last visit here in May 2016 we did a short walk (about 45 minutes there and 45 minutes back) along the canyon rim, and found it to be very enjoyable with lots of photo opportunities. These are well signposted and perfectly easy to do self-guided, however if you would like to learn a little more about the surroundings, then you can take a guide with you for around N$300. However, guests hoping to visit the view points on the eastern side of the canyon rim will find these a very long drive from Fish River Lodge – if you wish to visit these it is better to stay at one of Canyon Village, Canyon Lodge or Canyon Roadhouse.
For the serious walker Fish River Lodge offers a guided three-night expedition into the canyon with your own private guide and chef. Your guide will point out the most interesting features of the canyon and the plants and animals found there.
As well as the spectacular scenery, it is also possible to spot wildlife in the park, including zebra, kudu, oryx, springbok and baboon and many species of bird, including the black eagle.
Our viewFor its location on the edge of Fish River Canyon, Fish River Lodge is unrivalled. While the minimalist style of the lodge may not be to everyone's taste, the views are spectacular, there are photo opportunities aplenty, and the chance to explore the canyon itself is an added bonus.
Ideal length of stay: 2–3 nights, or 5 nights if hiking into the canyon
Directions: Fish River Lodge is signposted from the D463, which joins the B4 past Seeheim. The access track from the D463 is very winding and bumpy, with some steep slopes. We have driven this in a 2WD car and it was fine, but we would advise taking it slowly and allowing plenty of time.
Accessible by: Self-drive or Fly-and-Transfer
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Half Board
Food quality: We found the food at Fish River Lodge to be generally of a good standard.
For breakfast a buffet of cereals, bread, jams, juice, tea and coffee was served, with hot dishes made to order.
The lunch menu consisted of a choice of light meals such as salads, frittatas and light pasta dishes.
Tea, coffee and cake are served at around 4.00pm, depending on the time of year.
Dinner is a three-course set menu. On our last visit in May 2016 we enjoyed a starter of leek and potato soup one evening, and mushroom quiche the second. Mains were lamb and polenta, and on another occasion chicken with cheese sauce, served with rice. Deserts were crème brulee and a Malva Pudding.
Fish River Lodge have a slightly odd set-up of numbering the tables and telling you where to sit, which we found slightly odd. You also tip the waiters separately here (unlike most lodges where they are included in the main staff tips) so you can expect exceptionally friendly and enthusiastic waiting staff!
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Drinks included: Drinks are charged extra.
Walking: For those after more serious walking in Namibia, Fish River Lodge offers a 74km guided canyon hike during between Apr– Oct. With an experienced guide and chef, the first night is spent at the lodge, with 3 nights camping and 4 days hiking.See more ideas for Walking in Namibia
Attitude towards children: Children are welcome at Fish River Lodge.
Property’s age restrictions: There are no age restrictions here.
Special activities & services: None
Generally recommended for children: No
Notes: Expert Africa does not recommend Fish River Lodge for children under 12. It is located very close to the edge of Fish River Canyon, with no fences or barriers between the lodge and the edge, and it thus presents a serious safety risk. The lodge also has a very quiet adult atmosphere.
Power supply: Generator
Communications: There is good cellphone reception at Fish River Lodge, and WiFi in the main area (although not a great connection).
TV & radio: None
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: No
Medical care: The nearest doctor is in Keetmanshoop, which is most quickly reached by plane. A first-aid box is available at the lodge.
Dangerous animals: Low Risk
Security measures: The lodge is remote so there are no guards or gate, but there are safes in the rooms.
Fire safety: A fire extinguisher is located in every room.
Disabled access: On Request
Laundry facilities: A laundry service is available for an extra charge. It is quite expensive due to the limited water availability.
Money: No currency exchange is available at the lodge.
Accepted payment on location: Visa and MasterCard are accepted here.