Windhoek, Namibia - All four tourists that were reported missing in the Fish River Canyon have been accounted for, Namibia’s Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism executive director The Nghitila said on Tuesday.
According to Nghitila, the tourists were never missing but could not be reached due to no network in the area.
He said the tourists were also senior citizens, who move at a slower pace, and were thus only delayed.
AFP reported earlier in the week that the missing tourists were South African citizens, who were part of a group of ten, who sent out a distress call on Saturday when they could not find their way out of the canyon, prompting a helicopter and ground search-and-rescue operation.
Six managed to get out on their own, but four remained missing by Monday afternoon in the canyon, 600km south of the capital Windhoek, Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR) spokesperson Nelson Ashipala said.
The NWR “is aware of the four tourists that have been reported missing in the Fish River Canyon,” he said.
It's not the first time that people have got lost in the rugged iconic and treacherously steep terrained canyon.
In 2016, two German nationals, a 47-year-old woman and her 28-year-old daughter, went missing and died in the Fish River Canyon, after they visited Namibia to collect cremated remains of two family members who had perished in a car crash.
In 2001, a French tourist died after a fall in the canyon, while hiking in scorching conditions.
The canyon, located next to the border with South Africa, is the largest on the continent and constitutes a 160km long ravine, spanning 27km in width and dropping around 550m deep.
Tourists flock to the area for its majestic but ragged hiking trail, considered to be one of the most popular in Southern Africa.
In the meantime, the ministry, Nghitila said, will improve communication and reporting protocols, to ensure those who leave the canyon report as such.