(PO Box 2012, Karasburg; tel: 063 262045; fax: 063 262047/8; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; web: www.namibiawildliferesorts.com) is open all year and recently renovated. The large restcamp in Ai-Ais Hot Springs
, sits at the bottom of the canyon, at the end of the C10 road. This is towards the southern end of the conservation area, and is the finishing point for the canyon's hiking trail.
Ai-Ais means 'burning water' in the local Nama language, a reference to the hot, sulphurous springs which well up here, the original reason for the siting of the restcamp. It's very much a little spa, with a large, naturally hot, outdoor pool and private hot tubs as well as the usual restcamp facilities that give it the air of a holiday camp.
Ai-Ais is best reached from Keetmanshoop by driving south on the main B1, and then turning west on to the C10. (Try to avoid this in the late afternoon, as the sun is directly in your face.)
Alternatively, from Lüderitz, reach Seeheim on the B4 and take the gravel C12 south. Then turn right on to the D601 towards Hobas, left along the D324, and right on to the C10. Coming from the south, you can turn left off the B1 on to the D316 – though this road is quieter and perhaps less well graded than the C10.
However you reach it, the final few kilometres of the C10 spirals down, cut into the rock layers of the canyon's side, until it reaches the bed of the Fish River. It's a marvellous road, though steep in parts, with some sharp corners – so drive carefully. You can arrive at any time, so do not fear being locked out if you are late.
There's a choice of simple, clean restcamp accommodation here: luxury flats (two beds), flats (four beds), and huts (four beds). All have a fridge, kettle and hot-plate for self-catering, and bedding and towels are provided. The flats also have en-suite shower and toilet, whilst the huts or 'bungalows' share their ablutions with the campers. The luxury flats have a bath as well as a shower, plus air conditioning.Rates: luxury flat N$360 (2 people), including entrance to the spa, standard flat N$300 (4 people), hut N$220, room only. Additional people are charged at N$85 each. Camping N$125 per site for up to four people, two vehicles and one caravan or tent. Additional people are charged at N$10 each, up to a maximum of eight. Park fees are applicable on top. Camping all year, but flats and restaurant open second Friday in March to October 31.
The restcamp has a basic shop, post box and fuel station, as well as a restaurant that serves breakfast 07.00–08.30, lunch 12.00–13.30 and dinner 18.00–20.30. These are à la carte, but are still like school dinners.
Entrance to the pool or hot tubs is N$15 per adult, and N$10 per child, except where costs are included with your accommodation. The more active might bring tennis racquets, to play on the courts here, or wander off on a walk up the canyon – which is beautiful.