NAMIBIA PHOTOGRAPHY SAFARI
16th to 27th March 2020
COASTAL & DESERT LANDSCAPES, AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHY, RUINS/ABANDONED TOWNS
HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDED IN SAFARI FEE:
- 12 days exploring the best landscapes Namibia has to offer
- Luxury accommodation at each location
- 3 scenic flights (totalling 4 hours) for the best aerial photography (optional extra)
- Expert guides with just a 1:3 client ratio
- Private air conditioned transport to take you in luxury to each location
- Don't visit 3 locations like other safaris - this safari has 7!
Namibia Photography Safari - Namibia is a vast country, even by African standards, covering an area approximately four times the size of the United Kingdom but with a population of a mere 2 million - one of the lowest densities in the world. It is also an 'ageless land’; visible through our heritage of rock art created by stone-age artists and geological attractions such as the Organ Pipes and the Erongo Mountains. Added to the space and silence, these all contribute to a feeling of antiquity, solitude and wilderness.
The climate is typical of a semi-desert country. Days are warm to hot and nights are generally cool. Temperatures are modified by the high plateau in the interior and by the cold Benguela Current that runs along the Atlantic coastline. Except for the first few months of the year, the country is generally dry with very little rain.
You will have your own professional and experienced safari guide who will enhance your enjoyment of this unique country by making it a fascinating and stress-free journey of discovery amidst very dramatic scenery. The knowledge, experience and attitude of our guides are critical to a successful safari which is why we ensure that they are both personable and very professional.
Your guides will have an intimate knowledge of each area and camp/lodge that you visit, allowing them to share the local highlights whilst adding continuity and depth to your safari. It goes without saying that they know exactly what a "True African Safari" is all about. Not only are our guides highly qualified, each has a specific area of expertise. Together they possess the breadth and depth of knowledge to allow them to answer questions and satisfy the particular interests of each of our guests. Your guide swill turn your safari into an experience of a lifetime!
The Namibia Photography Safari HIGHLIGHTS:
- Travel with one of Namibia’s most well-known naturalist guides, Ultimate Safaris.
- Photograph with sunrise and sunset in the famous Quiver Tree Forest.
- Tour the historic diamond mining ghost-town of Kolmanskop.
- Explore the restricted diamond area on a tour of Elisabeth Bay.
- Visit southern Africa’s largest private nature reserve (NamibRand Nature Reserve).
- Sleep in the desert in the luxury dune camp at Wolwedans.
- Photograph Deavlei well before the crowds get there for sunrise
- Photograph and explore Sossusvlei’s massive dunes.
- Fly over the dramatic coastal sand dunes from Sossuvlei to Swakopmund (1.5hours of aerial photography in your own privately chartered plane)
- Visit the spectacular granite outcrop of Spitzkoppen
ITINERARY IN BRIEF
Day 1 Arrive in Windhoek
Day 2 Quiver Tree Forest
Day 3 & 4 Kolmanskop & Elizabeth Bay - abandoned houses
Day 5 & 6 Wolwedans Dune Camp - NamibRand Nature Reserve
Day 7 & 8 Sossus Dune Lodge - Namib Naukluft National Park
Day 9 Swakopmund
Day 10 Spitzkoppe
Day 11 Windhoek
Day 12 Depart from Windhoek International Airport
Today your guide meets you upon our arrival at the Windhoek International Airport. You are then transferred to River Crossing Lodge situated on the outskirts of Windhoek. The rest of the afternoon can be spent relaxing at the lodge recovering from your long flight. This evening you will be met by our guide who will brief you on some of the details of your safari, especially the first few days. Dinner tonight will be enjoyed at the lodge.
Windhoek Capital City: Windhoek, Namibia’s capital nestles among rolling hills, bounded by the Eros Mountains in the east, the Auas Mountains to the south and the Khomas Hochland in the west. It is a meeting place between Africa and Europe, the modern and the old. In the capital’s main street, well-preserved German colonial buildings are in sharp contrast with modern architectural styles, while Herero women in their traditional Victorian dresses mingle with executives dressed in the latest fashions. Located centrally, Windhoek is the starting point of an adventures holiday for many visitors to the country and an ideal base from where to explore the rest of the country. The city’s restaurants offer a variety of meals, ranging from international and continental cuisine to German dishes such as Eisbein with Sauerkraut and African delicacies such as Mopane worms.
Overnight: River Crossing Lodge
Drive from Windhoek to Quiver Tree Forest (5 hours drive)
After a leisurely breakfast you will be collected from the guesthouse where you'll drive south to the famous Quiver Tree Forest area. Traveling through the countryside you'll notice the
After a good 5 hour drive you'll arrive at the Quiver Tree Forest guesthouse, A simple lodging right next to the quiver tree forest. You'll spend both a sunset and sunrise at this location photographing these amazing trees. If the weather behaves itself, you'll get out after dinner to shoot stunning night photos of the trees with the starry sky as a backdrop.
Overnight: Quivertree Forest Rest Camp
Today you'll drive 3 hours to the west to the seaside town of Luderitz, your base for the next 2 nights. Here you'll explore two abandoned diamond towns.
Kolmanskop Ghost Town: Namibia’s most famous ghost town, Kolmanskop, is situated in the Sperrgebiet about 10km inland from Lüderitz. It was named after a transport driver named Jani Coleman, who lived in the settlement of Aus at the turn of the century. During a severe sandstorm he was forced to abandon his ox wagon on the small incline from where Kolmanskop can be seen. It stood there for while; giving rise to the name Colemanshuegel, which eventually became Kolmanskop. In 1908 the railway worker Zacharias Lewala found a sparkling stone amongst the sand he was shoveling away from the railway line near Kolmanskop. August Stauch, his supervisor, was convinced he had found a diamond. When this was confirmed, the news spread like wildfire, sparking a frantic diamond rush and causing fortune hunters to converge in droves on Kolmanskop. It soon became a bustling little centre with a butchery, bakery, furniture factory, soda water and lemonade plant, four-skittle alley, a public playground and even a casino and swimming pool.
The town’s development reached its pinnacle in the twenties, with approximately 300 German adults, 40 children and 800 Owambo contract workers living there. In spite of, or probably because of, the isolation and bleakness of the surrounding desert, Kolmanskop developed into a lively little haven of German culture, offering entertainment and creation to suit the requirements of the affluent colonialists for whom large, elegant houses were built. The well-equipped hospital boasted southern Africa’s first X-ray machine. However, when richer diamond deposits were discovered further south, the CDM (now Namdeb) headquarters were moved to Oranjemund in 1943, in 1950 all mining operations ceased and by 1956 the town was totally deserted. Today the ghost town’s crumbling ruins bear little resemblance to its former glory. The stately homes, their grandeur now scoured and demolished by the wind, is gradually becoming sand. In 1980 the mining company CDM restored a number of the buildings and established a museum for tourist viewing.
The Nest Hotel: The Nest Hotel is situated directly on prime beach front property in Lüderitz. It is an ideal base to explore the many attractions in and around the area. It has everything a visitor might expect of a small German town, such as coffee shops, delicatessens, and Lutheran churches. Facilities at the hotel includes a restaurant, bar deck with ocean view, The Oyster Bar, (cocktails) a terrace with spectacular views of the sea, swimming pool, sauna, conference facilities, foreign exchange desk, Internet cafe, 24hr room service, laundry and dry cleaning services.
Overnight: Lüderitz Nest Hotel
Explore the Diamond Area
After breakfast at the hotel you’ll embark on an outing into the restricted diamond area. We’ll drive with our vehicles, accompanied by a local operator in order to access the restricted Daimond Area. This region has been set aside for diamond mining. Very few visitors ever get the chance to explore these remote areas.
In the afternoon you’ll have another chance to visit Kolmanskop before having a wonderful dinner back at your hotel.
Elizabeth Bay Ghost Town: Located about 30 km south of Luderitz within the Sperrgebiet National Park, Elizabeth Bay ghost town lies on the coast and has therefore eroded much faster than Kolmanskop ghost town. Battering winds and coastal fog that has crumbled the structures into fascinating skeletons of what they once were. The town was built to house mineworkers and their families. Inhabited from 1926 to 1935, it is now being recaptured by the desert and has become a windswept place of fragile ruins. Diamonds were mined off and on at Elizabeth Bay from 1911 to 1948 with major interruptions due to world wars and economic recessions. The mine was reopened nearby the ghost town in 1991 with modern infrastructure, and can be seen on the drive to Elizabeth Bay ghost town. The workforce for this new mine now lives in Lüderitz.
Overnight: Lüderitz Nest Hotel
Lüderitz to Wolwedans, NamibRand Nature Reserve (8-10 hours drive)
After breakfast this morning you depart for the Wolwedans Dunes Lodge on the NamibRand Nature Reserve. You get into Wolwedans in time to take full advantage of your stay there in an area that is rightly known as a landscape photographer’s paradise. This afternoon is at your leisure and you may wish to take part in one of the many activities offered by the lodge.
Feral Horses: An intriguing feature of the Sperrgebiet is the legendary desert horses seen from the road when traveling between Lüderitz and Aus. There are several theories regarding their origin. Some considered that they were descended from farm animals that had escaped, or were horses of the stud belonging to Baron von Wolf, who built Duwiseb Castle north east of Garub and another theory is that they are descended from the German Schutztruppe who abandoned Aus during the South West African Campaign in 1915.
New recent research carried out by Telané Greyling in 2005 suggests that the herd was drawn from all of the above as well as the South African army. About 100km east of Lüderitz, a signpost indicates the turn-off to Garub, a maintained water point where the wild horses can be observed and photographed as they come back to drink.
NamibRand Nature Reserve: The breathtaking NamibRand Nature Reserve, one of the largest private nature reserves in Southern Africa, begun as a conservation initiative in 1984 and now extends over 180,000 hectares of pristine Namib Desert, restoring land that was once used for Karakul sheep farming. The reserve shares a common border of nearly 100km with the Namib Naukluft National Park to the west, while the imposing Nubib mountain range forms a natural border to the east.
The particular attraction of NamibRand is its diversity of different desert landscapes, representing virtually all facets of the Namib Desert where expansive sand and gravel plains and endless stretches of grass savannah alternate with majestic mountain ranges and vegetated dune belts of deep red sand. The variety of flora and fauna is as fascinating as the colour nuances of the landscape, which change continuously as the day progress. Before NamibRand became a private nature reserve, it consisted of sheep farms, surveyed and allocated in the early fifties to ex-soldiers of World War II. Today visitors to the NamibRand can admire nature in its original state, as indigenous animals and plants are flourishing back where they belong.
Wolwedans Dunes Lodge: This 20 bed Lodge is perched on top of a dunes plateau and overlooks panoramic vistas in all direction, capturing the desert in an intimate and memorable way. The building style is a combination of wooden poles and large canvas blinds/windows that open up to the desert beyond. Each of the spacious chalets with en–suite bathroom leads onto a private veranda and stretches of untouched sand.
Overnight: Wolwedans Dunes Lodge
NamibRand Nature Reserve
Full day of memorable activities on the stunning NamibRand Nature Reserve, including a variety of scenic game drives amidst the dramatic scenery of the NamibRand Nature Reserve, as run by Wolwedans. Emphasis will be on early morning and late afternoon excursions in order to be able to take advantage of the light conditions then, but the programme will be confirmed after discussion with your guide from the lodge.
Overnight: Wolwedans Dunes Lodge
NamibRand Nature Reserve to Sossusvlei Area (2 hours drive)
This morning, there is a last chance to get out and catch another sunrise view over the Chateau Plains or any other area selected by the group before returning to the lodge for brunch. Later on you leave the NamibRand Nature Reserve make your way northwards through the Namib Desert to Sesriem where you enter the Namib Naukluft National Park and go on to stay at Sossus Dune Lodge for two nights. The afternoon is spent on visiting the dunes at Sossusvlei to see them while the shadows sharpen as the sun goes down and the light should be ideal for landscape photography.
Sossus Dune Lodge: Built in an environmentally sensitive manner, primarily from wood, canvas and thatch, in an attractive ‘afro-village’ style, Sossus Dune Lodge has been in operation since July 2001. Situated within the Namib Naukluft National Park and close to the Sesriem Canyon, this lodge provides sweeping vistas of the dunes to the west and guests benefit from being able to reach Sossusvlei before sunrise, or to stay until after sunset. Accommodation units are interlinked by elevated wooden walkways, and consist of 23 well spaces en-suite desert chalets, equipped with tea stations and small fridges. All units offer magnificent open vistas of the surrounding landscapes.
Overnight: Sossus Dune Lodge
Sossusvlei / Namib Desert
Today will be yet another full day of exciting activities as you rise early this morning for a magical excursion into the dunes with your guide. As you are already inside the park you can get into Sossusvlei before everyone else and you would even be able to get there in time to see the sun rise to capture the dunes whilst the light is soft and shadows accentuate their towering shapes and curves, if you are prepared to get up early enough. This area boasts some of the highest free-standing sand dunes in the world. Your guide will give you an insight on the formation of the Namib Desert and its myriad of fascinating creatures and plants that have adapted to survive these harsh environs. Once you have explored the area to your heart’s content you can enjoy a relaxing picnic breakfast under the shade of a camel thorn tree. Return to Sossus Dune Lodge in the early afternoon for lunch, stopping off to view Sesriem Canyon if you haven’t already done so the day before. The rest of the afternoon is at your leisure (from experience, this is usually welcomed after an exhilarating morning in the dunes).
The white clay pan contrasts against the orange sands and forms the endpoint of the ephemeral Tsauchab River, within the interior of the Great Sand Sea. The river course rises south of the Naukluft Mountains in the Great Escarpment. It penetrates the sand sea for some 55km before it finally peters out at Sossusvlei, about the same distance from the Atlantic Ocean. Until the encroaching dunes blocked its course around 60,000 years ago, the Tsauchab River once reached the sea; as ephemeral rivers still do in the northern half of the Namib. Sand-locked pans to the west show where the river previously flowed to before dunes shifted its endpoint to where it currently gathers at Sossusvlei. Roughly once a decade rainfall over the catchment area is sufficient to bring the river down in flood and fill the pan. On such occasions the mirror images of dunes and camel thorn trees around the pan are reflected in the water. Sossusvlei is the biggest of four pans in the vicinity. Another, famous for its gnarled and ghostly camel thorn trees, is Deadvlei which can be reached on foot over 1km of sand. Deadvlei’s striking camel thorn trees; dead for want of water, still stand erect as they once grew. They survived until about 900 years ago when the sand sea finally blocked the river from occasionally flooding the pan.
Sossusvlei: This most frequently visited section of the massive 50,000km² Namib Naukluft National Park has become known as Sossusvlei, famous for its towering apricot coloured sand dunes which can be penetrated by following the Tsauchab River valley. Sossusvlei itself is actually a clay pan set amidst these star shaped dunes which stand up to 300 meters above the surrounding plains, ranking them among the tallest dunes on earth.
Overnight: Sossus Dune Lodge
Today you'll explore Deadvlei at sunrise again before all the crowds get there.
The rest of the day you'll spend working on your images. Late in the afternoon, perfect for aerial photography, you'll a scenic light aircraft flight over Sossusvlei and along the Diamond Coast allowing you a bird’s eye view over the dune sea, abandoned mining camps, shipwrecks, Sandwich Harbour and salt pans before you land at Swakopmund Airport. Your guide will drive to meet up with you in Swakopmund later in the day before heading off for dinner at restaurant of choice or it can be enjoyed at a local restaurant.
Swakopmund: Swakopmund resembles a small, German coastal resort nestled between the desert and the sea. It boasts a charming combination of German colonial architecture blended with good hotels, shops, restaurants, museums, craft centers, galleries and cafés. Swakopmund had its beginnings as a landing station in 1892 when the German Reich erected the first building, a barracks for troops on the site. Settlers followed and attempts to create a harbor town by constructing a concrete Mole and then iron jetty failed. The advent of World War 1 halted developments and the town sank into decline until half a century later when infrastructures improved and an asphalt road opened between Windhoek and Swakopmund. This made reaching the previously isolated town quicker and easier and it prospered once again to become Namibia’s premier resort town. Although the sea is normally cold for swimming there are pleasant beaches and the cooler climate is refreshing after the time spent in the desert.
Desert Breeze Lodge: Located on the banks of the ephemeral Swakop River and just a few minutes' drive from the centre of town, Desert Breeze provides the perfect escape to experience space, tranquility and serenity. Desert Breeze offers 12 en-suite, luxury bungalows and one exquisite villa, each with a private sun deck to admire the breath-taking view of the dunes. Expressing sophisticated style and luxury from their accommodation right through to their breakfast facilities, Desert Breeze endeavors to make their guests feel pampered and spoiled. Each bungalow and villa is equipped with wireless internet, mini bar, coffee and tea making facilities and digital safes. We serve only the freshest of produce for breakfast and seating is available indoors or on the deck for guest to enjoy the view and peaceful atmosphere. Big basalt sculptures along with colourful and very unique architecture not only stand in contrast to, yet compliment the desert landscape. The creative luxury bungalows along with the friendly staff will make your stay very special.
Overnight: Desert Breeze Lodge
Swakopmund to Spitzkoppe (3 hours drive)
After breakfast you'll be treated to a stunning helicopter ride of the saltworks at Walvis Bay. The colours of the saltpans are intense from the air and they are truly a sight to behold.
After lunch the route today takes you from the coastal town of Swakopmund to inland granite outcrop of Spitzkoppe. Here we'll photograph the sunset and sunrise with the stunning geological formations.
Spitzkoppe Lodge: The lodge is situated on the northern periphery of the Spitzkoppe inselberg, between huge granite boulders, which were created more than 150 million years ago, with breath taking views onto the Brandberg and Erongo Mountains. The stylish, private accommodation consists of 15 spacious, tastefully furnished chalets, each with private bathroom and outside viewing deck, which connects the guest with the vast stretches of untouched sand and boulders beyond. The buildings are linked with elevated walkways all constructed to be wheel chair friendly and minimise the impact on the environment. The development and operations are integrated with nature. Limited use of concrete with elevated floors and decks and composite materials for walls, which can be dismantled easily, will enable nature to restore itself in just a few months after deconstruction. Sensitivity towards wildlife and heritage was paramount in all the stages of the development. The tented roof shapes simulate the surrounding rock formations and soften the square building plan form.
Overnight: Spitzkoppe Lodge
Spitzkoppe to Windhoek (3 hours drive)
This morning you'll be up at sunrise to photograph first light on Spitzkoppe.
This morning you depart and head south back to Windhoek. Upon your arrival into Windhoek you will be transferred to Galton House where you will stay for your final night in Namibia. Dinner tonight can be enjoyed at the guesthouse.
Galton House: Galton House is named after the famous explorer Sir Francis Galton, it has a relaxed but efficient style which creates a very welcoming atmosphere. A mere ten minute drive from the centre of town and perched on the edge of Windhoek’s northernmost affluent suburb of Eros, guests staying here will be ensured of peace and tranquillity. The nine guest rooms are all equipped with internet connectivity and satellite television, with a coffee/tea station available on request and other general guest amenities. The communal areas consist of a large lounge, dining room, swimming pool and garden. There is also delightful ‘al fresco’ dining area by the pool, serving freshly prepared and very tasty meals. There are also a number of shops, restaurants and supermarkets within easy striking distance.
Overnight: Galton House
Departure (40 minutes’ drive)
This morning you will be collected and transferred to Windhoek International Airport in time to check in for your ongoing flight.
This is officially the end of your Namibian Safari. We hope to see you again soon, Bon voyage…!
Please make sure you:
- Book your own flights - our dedicated travel agent can do this for you FREE of charge.
- Have medical and travel insurance
- Read our Terms and Conditions
- Book your own flights to Arrive and Depart Windhoek, Namibia.
A private 4WD collects you from the airport to your hotel.
EXPERIENCE / DIFFICULTY
- Beginner, Amateur, Enthusiast, Semi-professional, Professional.
- Busy schedule.
- Travel by 4WD.
- 8 hotels across 12 nights.
All our workshops require a good sense of balance and a good level of fitness in order to fully enjoy all the experiences. We regularly walk to fantastic locations for up to an hour at any a time but in one day you could be walking up to 3 to 4 hours in total. This may require walking over uneven ground, rocky surfaces, soft sand, deep snow, up and down hills, rock hopping, hiking to lookouts, etc. Some walks are steep and strenuous, others are on uneven surfaces. To get the best photographs you will be carrying your own backpack with your camera gear, tripod, water and lunch. Whilst we do not look to exclude anyone, being fit is essential to participate fully in the workshop.
WEATHER / SUN
- MARCH - Temperature 16 to 38c Sunrise 649am | Sunset 714pm
TERMS & CONDITIONS
- Full payment required upon booking to guarantee your place.
Terms & Conditions - CLICK HERE.
Me, Tom Putt, award-winning Master landscape photographer - read my biography here.