Ai-Ais meaning ‘burning water’ in the local Nama language, refers to the sulphurous thermal hot water springs found at the base of the mountains at the southern end of the Fish River Canyon. The Ai-Ais (pronounced “eye-ice”) springs originate deep under the riverbed and form an oasis in the extremely arid area. During the Nama uprising of 1903–07, when the local Herero and Nama people rebelled against German colonial rule, the hot springs were used by German military forces as a base camp. In 1915, the area was again used as a base by South African troops who were recovering from wounds during the South-West Africa Campaign. In the 1960s the spring was proclaimed a national monument and became a conservation area and on 16 March 1971, the camp was officially opened. The thermal water, rich in sulphur, chloride and fluoride, has an average temperature of about 60 degrees C and is said to be therapeutic.