Photography Tour Itinerary
You will be collected from Windhoek airport in the morning and taken straight to the dunes of the Namib Nauklufts National Park. The journey will take us through most dramatic and scenic countryside. En route, we will make a few stops to take our first pictures of this desolate landscape. We will have a break for lunch at a restaurant where we will also test its reputation for the best Namibian apple pie.
We should reach our safari lodge, on the edge of the national park, by late afternoon. There will be enough time to relax at the bar or a swimming pool before our alfresco dinner under the sky full of sparkling stars.
We will undertake an early morning trip in a game-viewing vehicle to spectacular Sossusvlei, site of the oldest sand dunes on Earth. An early start is necessary while the temperature is still low and the dramatic light of the desert is at its best. As the sun rises, the changing light and shadows create the variety of shapes and colours providing a true feast for the camera. We will stop at the world’s most photographed Dune 45. We will also take a walk to Dead Vlei, where the dead tree stumps in the background of the gigantic dunes provide a popular photo motif. From the upper ridges of “Big Daddy”, one of the tallest dunes in the world, a sweeping view of Dead Vlei and the surrounding sand dune sea stretches for miles. Our sumptuous lunch will also be served here, under the canopy of a gigantic Camel Thorn Tree.
The tour will also include a visit to the Sesriem Canyon, one of the few permanent water sources in the area, where we will take a short walk. We will be back at the camp in time to watch (and photograph) the sunset over the desert.
Another early morning visit will be taken to the dunes to take full advantage of the morning light.
Later, we will head north through the gravel plains of the Namib Desert with the aim to reach the intriguing foggy coastal desert town of Walvis Bay by late afternoon. Our lodge is conveniently situated within walking distance of Walvis Lagoon, where spectacular sunsets and birdlife will provide a rewarding photography subjects.
We will spend two full days to explore the Walvis Bay and the surrounding areas. The Walvis Bay Lagoon and the adjacent saltwork pans support up to 200,000 migratory birds every year and we will be there to witness this spectacle. The lagoon also hosts over 40,000 Greater and Lesser Flamingos at its peak in mid-winter (July). We will not be able to see such big numbers, but a view of some of them in the crimson sun setting over the Atlantic Ocean will be a memorable experience and great photo opportunity.
We will undertake an eventful cruise, where particular close encounter with White-backed Pelicans flying around the boat and Cape Fur Seals swimming alongside it, are guaranteed. Heavyside and Bottlenose Dolphins, frolicking playfully in the surf, are also possible encounters, as well as a plethora of birds, performing for us, both on the shore and in the air. We will conclude our cruise onboard with champagne, fresh oysters and local snacks.
The Namid Desert is home to an intriguing array of desert-adapted animals and plants which are nourished by condensation from the sea mists rising off the ocean. The area hosts some animal and plant life unlike that found anywhere else on Earth, including a high diversity of localized reptiles (30 endemic species) and insects. The Namib speciality, the Welwitschia mirabilis, is one of the most bizarre plants in the world and is often referred to as a living fossil, because the age of some largest specimen has been estimated at 2,000 years old. In the specially adapted Land Rover, we will take a superb dune drive into the Namib Desert, in search for those amazing inhabitants. Several stops will be made to take landscape pictures and close-ups of numerous highly desert adapted species, including the sand-dancing Shovel-snouted Lizard, Namaqua Sand Lizard, FitzSimmons Burrowing Skink, photogenic Palmato Gecko, numerious Tenebrionid beetles and, possibly, secretive Namaqua Chameleon and fierce Black Scorpion. I can guarantee that cameras will be clicking away from every conceivable angle.
The area is famed for the best seafood in the country and we will conclude each day with a lovely meal at the best seafood restaurants in town.
Today, we will undertake a drive along the Skeleton Coast, a much-photographed desert coastline. The attraction of the Skeleton Coast lies essentially in its landscape and with rusty shipwrecks emerging eerily through the lingering fog, there will be plenty of opportunity for atmospheric shorts. However, our aim is to reach the Cape Fur Seal colony at Cape Cross by mid morning. The Cape Fur Seals are endemic to the coast of southern Africa and the colony here is reputed to be the largest breeding colony of this species. The cubs are born during November and December so, we will be at the right time to witness the real spectacle and have plenty of opportunity for action pictures.
After lunch, we will leave the coast and head inland through the barren Damaraland, one of the most interesting and dramatic regions in Namibia, often referred to as very beautiful but arid and unforgiving. Our lodge is situated ideally to explore all the attractions in the area and we will spend two nights here.
In the morning, we will visit Twyffelfontein, amid flat-topped mountains concealing one of Africa’s greatest concentrations of rock art. The area was designated a World Heritage Site in 2007 and we will have a guided tour around this spectacular site. Closeby, the 120 million year old dolorite formation known as the Organ Pipes, and the glowing mountain side known as the Burnt Mountain, are not only interesting geologically, but also an inspiring subjects for photography.
We will come back for lunch to our lodge and a short rest, before embarking, in an open-safari vehicle, on a drive in search for legendary desert-adapted elephants in the afternoon. Gemsbok, Greater Kudu, and Springbok, are likely to be spotted as well.
In late morning, we will head north to the Etosha National park, one of the best game viewing places in Africa, where we will spend the next three days exploring it. The most striking feature of the park is the Etosha Pan. About two milion years ago, this area was an enormous lake. Today, it is a vast, shallow depression that, for the greater part of the year, is a bleak expanse of white cracked mud, which shimmers with mirages. There are, however, a number of waterholes scattered throughout this area that attract a large diversity of mammals and birds. The park is home to 144 mammal species, including Black and White Rhinos, Giraffe, Burchell's Zebra, Elephant, Lion, Leopard, Cheetah, Spotted Hyena, Warthog, Blue Wildebeest, Red Hartebeest, Eland (the largest antelope), Gemsbok (Oryx), Greater Kudu, Damara Dik-dik, Black-faced Impala and plethora of others. Springboks are especially numerous. At least 20,000 of them roam the reserve, and often, they can be seen in herds of several hundred.
Three-hundred and forty bird species inhabit the park. The majestic Kori Bustard, the world’s heaviest flying bird, and an intriguing, if not comical, Secretarybird, are just a few that we will encounter.
In the morning and in the afternoon, we will undertake drives to explore the park and visit a number of waterholes in search for game, birds and photo opportunities.
We will spend the first two nights in the Okaukuejo camp, famous for its floodlit waterholes. The waterhole is frequented by numerous animals throughout the day and night and we should be able to get close views of wonderful game, big cats and Rhinos just a few metres away from us.
We will continue exploring the area by driving towards the Namutoni camp in the eastern part of the park and visiting various waterholes en route. We will stop for lunch in Halali, the middle camp of the park. The Mopani forest in the camp is home to a number of birds and we will spend some time photographing them. Close encounters with roosting owls, such as Southern White-faced Scops Owl, African Scops Owl, Pearl-spotted Owlet, as well as three species of hornbills and a very photogenic Green Wood-hoopoe are all likely here.
We should reach the historic fort at Namutoni camp by late afternoon. The fort, is a national monument, dating back to 1903, but now transformed into shops and a restaurant. We will stay one night in the camp, situated close to the waterhole and the park amenities.
The very early morning will be devoted to further game viewing in the park, including a visit to the ‘Fisherman’s Pan’ as well as the north-eastern side of the park.
We will be back at the camp for lunch and soon after, we head south to a luxurious private game reserve, just north of Okahandja. The reserve has a lot to offer and we will spend two nights here.
The reserve comprises an amazing array of diverse landscapes, from golden savannah to dense bush with mountains, natural waterholes, grasslands and pans. The predator diversity here can only be matched by a few other wildlife destinations – an endangered species of Leopard is being conserved here and Lion and Cheetah reside in good numbers. In addition, the reserve hosts rare Black Rhino, African Wild Dog and Brown Hyena. Our early morning and afternoon game drives in an open safari vehicle will provide endless encounters with those animals and great photo opportunities. The waterhole in the middle of the camp attracts elephants, rhinos, giraffes and crocodiles coming to drink and we will be able to view them either from a comfort of our own rooms or a viewing terrace.
Friendly staff and gourmet food will add to the splendour and provide unforgettable experiences that we will take with us of this amazing country.
After breakfast, we will head south towards Windhoek. We will break our journey for lunch before finally heading off to the airport to catch our overnight flight to Britain.
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