Africa’s largest natural gorge, some of the world’s oldest rock paintings, one of the richest botanical hot spots on earth and Namibia’s most popular hiking trail – it’s all at /Ai/Ais Hot Springs.
Proclaimed in 1968, the rugged and relatively unexplored Huns Mountains were added in 1988, vastly extending the boundary of the park. The park borders directly on the Richtersveld National Park in South Africa. A treaty was signed in August 2003 between Namibia and South Africa, creating the /Ai-/Ais-Richtersveld Transfrontier Park (ARTFP).
/Ai-/Ais means burning water in the local Nama language and refers to the sulphurous hotwater springs found in the park along the Fish River. The park is dominated by the Fish River Canyon – the second largest in the world – that took over 600 million years to evolve. It also contains some hidden treasures such as the little-known Apollo 11 Cave, containing animal images more than 25,000 years old.
Covering an area of 4 611 km² the park is dominated by Desert/Dwarf Shrub Transition, Succulent Steppe, Dwarf Shrub Savannah, Karas Dwarf Shrubland, Riverine Woodland. Quiver tree (Aloe dichotoma) maiden’s quiver tree (Aloe ramosissima), giant quiver for the Fish River Hi tree (Aloe pillansii) and halfmens (Pachypodium namaquanum).
Notable wildlife includes Hartmann’s mountain zebra, klipspringer, kudu, leopard, brown hyena, grey rhebok (rare). The 202 bird species recorded in the park include Little Bittern, Black Stork, Black Harrier, Malachite Sunbird and African Pied Wagtail.