Your first look into a canyon will likely become seared into your memory, as you gaze in awe at the varied levels of the landscape that are exposed. These incredible features, which are created by earthquakes, river contours, and other natural phenomena, force the land to split open and leave multi-coloured waves in the terrain. Depending on the time of day you come, you will find shadows that run along the plateau, slopes, or even floor of the canyon, that take on a life of their own.
- Largest: Grand Canyon, Arizona
Known as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, the Grand Canyon is the largest canyon to have been found to date, and is home to the Colorado River that, over the centuries, ate away at the rocks to form the chasm at its depths. The Grand Canyon is within an area controlled by the Hualapai Indian tribe. Here, you can try a tour along the unique skywalk, which takes a maximum of 180 people at a time. Visitors will walk along a man-made horseshoe-shaped outcrop which has a glass centre, to allow visibility of the canyon floor.
- Second Largest: Fish River Canyon, Namibia
Within the bone-dry province of Namibia, lies the second largest canyon in the world, of which a whopping 90km is privately owned. At the Fish River Canyon, visitors can marvel at the sand mounds of dusty reds and burnt yellows which surround it, while watching the turquoise waters of the Fish River, cut its way through the twisting canyon floor. It should be noted that the Fish River is the longest river in Namibia. Around the canyon are popular hiking and trail-running pathways that both local and international visitors get to enjoy annually from May – September, when the permit office is open.
- Green Canyon – Blyde River Canyon
Within the world’s third largest canyon, and the earths largest Green canyon, lies a unique rock formation called Bourke’s Luck Potholes. The almost-black waters of the Treur River that rush and swirl through here have cut a striking shape into the landscape, leading many original visitors to the conclusion that the delicate ivory rock shapes were fairy towers. The canyon is a part of the Panorama Route, which also includes God’s Window, the Three Rondavels, and the Pinnacle.
|A beam of light in the Upper Antelope Canyon. By Lucas Loffler|
- Unbelievable Walls – Antelope Canyon, Arizona
The incredible walls of the Antelope Slot Canyon, in Arizona, were only revealed to the mainstream public in 1997 when the Navajo Indian tribe opened the area as a part of the Navajo Tribal Park. There are two distinct portions within the slot canyon, referred to as the upper and lower sections, and both reveal different views to visitors. In the upper canyon visitors can view incredible beams of sunlight which illuminate the walls, while in the lower canyon you get a better chance to traverse the sandstone cliffs. Both canyons lay claim to the incredible fabric-like ripples which can be found on the various walls.
Author Bio: Roseanna McBain is a writer for TravelGround, a Drakensberg booking and accommodation website. She enjoys the Cape Town summer season by exploring outdoors, and in winter curls up with a hot chocolate, and a good novel.