Fish River Canyon Slingsby Map – A Review

Fish River Canyon Slingsby Map – A Review


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My wife, Belinda and I had the privilege of hiking through the Fish River Canyon for the second time from 21 – 26 May 2018. We have written a separate blog on our adventure along the Fish which you can read here.  If you have ever hiked through the canyon you will know that there has never really been a map available that depicted the trail in any sort of accurate detail. This made orientating oneself in the canyon or planning the next day’s hike rather difficult. I have included a typical example of one of those maps here to illustrate my point.



The Slingsby Map Team

Peter Slingsby and his team have already built up a strong reputation for map making and they have done it again with the Fish River Canyon map. Let me be quite frank and say that I never thought that I would be writing a blog about a hard copy ‘old school’ map. In the midst of the 4th Industrial revolution and the lightning fast pace of technological advancement, I half expected to be reviewing the latest Garmin GPS device to take along with me into the canyon rather than a map that you can fold 4 times. Perhaps it is just prudent to take along a good map in case your electronic device(s) fail or get left behind on a rock after a short snack break!





Useful Features of this Map

  1. The map depicts the hiking distance of the entire route, indicating each kilometer. totaling 65 kilometers – not the popularly advertised 90 kilometers.
  2. It depicts the most popular ‘which river bank’ routes, based on GPS tracks over 4 years.
  3. It shows footpaths or beaconed routes, usually visible only on canyon short cut routes.
  4. It indicates the river course distance, as measured down the centre line of the riverbed, which totals 87 kilometers.
  5. It shows the locations of notable features and historical features in the canyon.
  6. It indicates the kilometer distance markers painted on the rocks along the hiking route, which are actually quite inaccurate.
  7. Crucially it tells you as the hiker where you can expect to find seasonal pools of water along the hiking route.
  8. The back of the map shows the geology of the Fish River Canyon which is fascinating.
  9. It is waterproof which is a useful feature to have when hiking along the canyon route that has around 28 river crossings.
  10. The map is well made and comes in a protective plastic pouch.


Why do You Need a Slingsby Map?

What brought the need for a detailed and accurate map sharply into focus was that during our second hike through the Fish River Canyon, one of our hiking party became gravely ill and needed to be extracted from the canyon by helicopter. With the aid of the Fish River Canyon Slingsby map, I was able to inform the Rangers in Hobas, via satellite phone, of our exact position in the canyon. I was also able to work out where the safest location was to us to perform a land based rescue. In the end, where we were was simply too dangerous to mount a land based rescue and I ended up contacting the Namibia Medical Rescue 24/7 for a helicopter medivac. Again I was able to explain to their control room where we were in the Canyon, with the aid of this map, in order to expedite the rescue.



Where Can you Get One?

To order a Slingsby Fish River Canyon map visit their online shop, at a cost of R190. While you are visiting their shop, do yourself a favour and have a look at the other fantastic maps on offer to take along with you on your next hike.


The Fish River Canyon map can also be purchased in a six map special that includes a two map set, Hike the Cederberg, and their three-map set for the Table Mountain National Park, at a total cost of R810. The Slingsby Fish River Canyon map is also available for purchase as a digital map.



The Slingsby Team proudly claim that this is the best and most definitive hiking map of the Fish River Canyon ever produced. I couldn’t agree more!



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