Water filters for Fish River Canyon

Hey guys! We are a trio about to hike the Fish River starting 27 June 2019. Can anyone suggest an effective water filter or purification system?

Sawyer mini filter: http://www.mountainmailorder.co.za/sawyer-mini-filter/

Also check out this existing thread on water filters: Water Filtration systems

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The sawyer stuff is great, but can be a bit slow if you are filtering a bunch of water for a group. Also the standard pouches that come with them are a bit small, I would say order some larger ones off Amazon but not sure that would arrive in time for you.

The trick I have found with the sawyer bags is to carry the cut off top half of a litre plastic water bottle. The mini kit fits nicely in side this roled up with the bags, and then you use that as a scoop to fill the sawyer bags, as they can be a nightmare to get water into…

For something like the Fish I would also take the backwashing plunger for the filter along, I don’t bother in the mountains but if there is a lot of sediment in the river it is useful to clean the filter.

Enjoy the hike!

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Thanks to reply Arno! So helpful!

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Thank you Jax!

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We were there in May and the water levels were concerningly low. I suggest that you perhaps just phone to check if the situation has improved at all. We had water and didn’t need special filters, but I was worried about it all the way.
Hope you have fun!

I hiked the Fish River Canyon on 30 May, we used the Sawyer filter, the plastic refill bags both broke on the edges. We ended up drinking straight from the river, no one got sick. Take water purifying tablets with, incase your filter malfunctions. Was very dry, no need for water shoes, didn’t use them once.

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Thanks everyone. I’m doing the trail on 19 June 2019. I called Namibian Tourism and they confirmed the water level is a bit low for the latter part of the hike but that they are monitoring the level and will have water drop off points in the canyon should the water become undrinkable. no hikes have been cancelled. I’m taking mini sawyer along, just in case.

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Thanks everyone for your thoughts on this! Someone from our tribe will buy the Sawyer filter, I’m gona test out the LifeStraw Water Bottle Filter Adapter (found it today at Drifters) - seems to work well so far? My only concern is the filter part ‘popping’ out from the ‘drinking bit’ of the adapter.

Ah, will be interesting to hear how that works out. Have a booking for early August, so a little worrying! I got the impression somewhere that the water levels are set by what they let out of dams up stream, and so therefore they can compensate if it gets too low? But no idea if that is true.

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I was so happy to find out that the attachment fits onto my current bottle without leaks (which is not on their list of bottles) :slight_smile:

Nice, let us know how it works out. Haven’t seen a lot on the lifestraws in practice. Spoke to Namib tourism yesterday and they told me they should start to have an answer about the water situation in the canyon next week.

Hi Guys

We completed the Fish River Hike on 24 June 2019. The water levels on the 2/3 days were okay. I’d say you get a water spot at least every hour or two. I used drops with every refill. From day 4 we still found water but the water was very muddy and in certain places there were lots of algae in the water that made it a mellow yellow colour. From day 5, the water spots are dry and the water quality is very bad even with water enhancers (game, rehidrat, etc) Luckily most of our group carried at least 2 litres clean water from day one and used it on the last day. I carried my water in a spare bladder in my back pack. Hope this helps.


Thank you for the update, helpful indeed…

Appreciate the update. Just heard from the tourism board folks and they say they are likely to put in two manned water points in going forward in July.

I spoke to NWR on wednesday and they did confirm that the 2 water points have been added to the hike.

Can anyone who has done the hike this month comment on the sunrise/sunset time in the canyon?

Sunrise and sunset times are similar to South Africa, ct. I finished the hike last week. We started hiking at about 7 in the morning and cooked supper by 5pm in the evening so that we use minimal batteries.

Finished the Fish 4 days ago. Tough but truly epic experience! Water levels are very low with sections of collection pools. We used a water pump with droplets. Most people just used chlorine tablets or droplets, drinking straight from the river but the water is poor quality. I suggest packing some coffee filters as they help to filter out sediment and any other impurities. Would def take next time. There were no water drop-off points when we were there so this must be very new? It starts getting light in the canyon from 8am and dark from 7pm. Try get hold of the ‘Slingsby Maps: Fish River Canyon - The Hiking Map’. It was very helpful! Have the best time!


Yes they Installed this 1 July.

I was lucky to find a Slingsby map at Hikers Paradise in Centurion.

Thanks for the coffee filter tip, will definitely make use of that. I am also taking a Sawyer Mini Filter. Also taking some drops with. Just incase the filter decides to stop working.

Is it maybe not light enough earlier in the mornings say around 7am?

From 7:30 it should start getting lighter. We packed up in the dark and waited for it to get light before heading out. You can start with headlamps but boulder crossings in the dark might not be so fun. Good thing to take drops and a water filter. Lookout for shortcuts to avoid lengthy river bends (your map should have them all! Someone in our party had a compass which helped to orientate each time). I’d also suggest camping ‘off the beaten track’ and taking a light pair of water shoes to relieve feet in the evenings (crocs has great water shoes on special now - two of us had and they were so light and comfy and not your typical ‘croc-looking’ :wink: either). Alcohol swabs, muscle rub and anti-inflam tabs were also nice to have in the kit. Spare bottles helped too for when you find good quality water and want to store up.

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