LIGHTSTALKER’S JOURNEY – NAMIBIA JUNE 2021August 23, 2018 1:25 pm
Lightstalkers Journey – Namibia Destination summary A travel photography experience exploring every aspect of the destination with a maximum 3 photographer guests only. The Namib desert, the world’s oldest is host to some of the planet’s highest dunes. Further north Etosha National Park, is a vast salt pan and surrounding plain is home to a vast array of wildlife that’s adapted to Namibia’s dry desert conditions. Prepare for elephant, Rhino, Springbok, Zebra, Lion and more. This affordable Namibia Photo Tour will leave a lasting impression on your memory and one that is well suited to photo safari exploration. Spitzkoppe in south Damaraland is range of high granite peaks that light up at dawn and dusk, Swakopmund with its German colonial past sits where the desert meets the sea and Skeleton coast. The World Heritage Namib Sand Sea features two of the trip highlights in Sossusvlei and Deadvlei and these will give you more creative photo opportunities than you can handle. The option of flying above them in a small helicopter at dawn creating aerial compositions will literally take your breathe away. To the south The Namib Rand reserve will give you a sense of wonder and peace, gazing across plains and dunes dotted with Oryx and Springbok to the Naukluft mountains and its here the dark sky makes the Milky Way really sparkle. Ludertiz and the sand consumed diamond mining town of Kolmanskop are a mixture of decay, the bizarre and flaky but pastel coloured beauty. Making our way back to Windhoek our final night night on the road of this Namibia photo tour takes place at the Quiver tree forest where the soft dusk light makes the trees come alive with colour and texture. This is a photographic journey that’s bursting with amazing locations and experiences. Namibia Photo Tour – On Location Namibia ( formally South West Africa ) was a German colony from 1884 until 1915 when it was “passed on” to South Africa. It fought for its independence for over 20 years, finally achieving it 1990. This mix of history, culture and amazing geography creates a fascinating experience. First stop is Etosha National Park. Namibia’s premier wildlife Park is one of the best places in Africa to view and photograph Rhino, Elephant, Giraffe, Lion and Zebra as they congregate around water holes during the dry winter season. Springbok, Wildebeest and Namibia’s iconic Oryx also roam the park and the Kalahari and Namib deserts. Spitzkoppe is a group of granite peaks in the Namib desert formed over 100 million years ago. The high domes reach into the cobalt blue sky in winter but its at dusk and dawn that we’ll capture these majestic mountains when the warm sunrise and sunset brings them to life. Camping out under the clear skies we’ll also photograph the night sky.. the Milky way seems within touching distance as the air is so clear. From Spitzkoppe we’ll travel to the town of Swapkopmund on edge of the Namib desert at the southern end of the Skeleton coast. Here we’ll re-stock, get a few shots of the Germanic architecture and catch a sunset from the beach at the legendary Tiger bar. In the morning we’ll have a short session in nearby Walvis bay photographing a flock of Flamingos. The drive to Sossusvlei takes us across the Namib Naukluft National Park which extends all the way south to the South African border. Our base here for 2 nights is Sesreim, as close as we can get to the giant dunes and salt / clay pans. Dunes 45 sits close to our base and we’ll scale its heights to photograph a sunset over the surrounding desert. Deadvlei is one of the star attractions for photographers from all over the world. Its dramatic dead camel thorn trees contrasting against the morning shadows and warm hues of the dunes. We’ll tackle this location in post sunrise light so we can make use the shadows rising up the sand walls. The giant red dunes around Sossusvlei are said to be the highest in the world. We’ll walk up one of the smaller dunes making a circuit to capture the surrounding landscape from above. After a bush breakfast at the foot of Sossusvlei dune we’ll head back to our base. Later that afternoon we’ll explore nearby Sesreim canyon. At dawn the following morning there will be the option of a fantastic 1 hour helicopter ariel session over Sossusvlei. With the doors off, our pilot is briefed on the best flight path to take in arial shots of the red dunes, Deadvlei, fairy circles and any wildlife that may be wandering the desert. From Sossusvlei, we head south on gravel roads to the privately owned Namib Rand Reserve. With just a handful of visitors this is one of the unexpected highlights to Namibia. A mixture of open plains, surrounding mountains, wildlife and some of the darkest skies your ever likely to see. From our remote and *private camp we’ll capture the area at dusk and dawn, make a drive through the dunes and breathe in the awesome beauty of this special place. The night sky will again offer the chance to create some magical Milky Way imagery. Luderitz, a small port town Luderitz again has a weird mix of Germanic colonial architecture and isolation. Nearby is the slightly weird and wonderful deserted mining town of Kolmanskop. Now long since deserted the sand has slowly taken its toll on the derelict ruins, creating interest and fantastic photography. Ever changing patterns of sand against pastel shades of colour and worn textures are great to experiment with. Windows, doors and shafts of light all combine to create hours of rich photography. Quiver tree forest Stopping on the western edges of the Kalahari desert the iconic forest will provide our final location. The Quiver tree is seen all over Namibia, but here near the town of Keetmanshoop, they’re concentrated and surrounded with rocky terrain and various critters. A colourful subject at dawn and dusk. From here we make for the drive back to the capital Windhoek and the end of our Namibian photo adventure Trip Information Start date TBA June @ 4pm 2021 meet up Vondelhof guest house – Windhoek Ends TBA June @ 6pm in Windhoek ( final night is included ) You may wish to leave at any point on the day of the TBA. This Namibia Photo Tour is an overland photo adventure that travels from north to south and back to the capital Windhoek by 4 wheel drive vehicle. It’s fully equipped with safari roof tents, fridge, water and all the supplies we need to travel overland. We will be covering around 3000km over 12 days mostly on gravel roads, some days will have minimal distances and some longer up to 500km. You will see the landscape first hand through your own window as we make our way to each location, stopping when we like, where we like.. Accommodation* is a mixture of guest houses, lodges and comfortable roof top safari tents. Accommodation Standard trip fee – 5 nights lodge rooms ( single occupancy ) 7 nights safari camp Windhoek 1 night – single occupancy room Etosha – 2 nights twin share safari roof tent ( chalet upgrade may be available ) Spitzkoppe – 1 night twin share safari roof tent Swakopmund 1 night – single occupancy lodge Sossusvlei 2 nights – inside gate – safari roof tent Namib Rand 1 night – twin share safari roof tent Luderitz 2 nights – single occupancy lodge Quiver Tree Forest 1 night – twin share roof tent /or room upgrade if available. Windhoek 1 night – single occupancy lodge Upgrade made be available to 8 nights lodge rooms ( 5 nights single occupancy / 3 twin share) and 4 nights safari camp – supplements applies and subject availability. It’s a photo tour full of endless stunning locations with the added experience of camping out under the African night sky by camp fire. Please read the testimonial by a previous client for a participant perspective. Meals These will be either buffet style meals or at local pubs and restaurants. When at camp, our meals will be freshly prepared by ourselves at our camp kitchen / open fire ( approx 4 camp meals ). As mentioned, this photo adventure covers a large part of Namibia by road in a 4×4 vehicle. Distances can be around 500km on a coupe of the days but we do stop for occasional breaks and photo opportunities between locations. Remote camping with limited facilities at some camps is also part of the itinerary, this enables us to access some of the best locations in Namibia under on our own terms and schedule. Basic toilets and shower facilities are available at all the camps and towels are provided as are sleeping bags. Sossusvlei – our camp is inside the main gate for accessing the park which means we can reach Deadvlei before many of the other travellers and tourists. Please ensure that this trip meets your requirements and abilities before booking, if you would like to discuss any of the logistical factors involved please just get in touch. At the moment there is a maximum of only 3 or 4 participants with an emphasis on creating a intimate group dynamic on location. This makes location on shooting more manageable which helps you get the shots you want. At camp it’s all hands on deck and guests are asked to participate in meal preparations and maintaining the camp while we are in remote areas. Toilets, showers and clean running water is available at every camp. When you arrive in Namibia’s capital Windhoek you’ll make the 40 minute drive from the airport by shuttle / taxi to our guesthouse where I will meet you. This is the day before we depart. What to expect It’s winter in June in the southern hemisphere but the days are settled and sunny, temperatures range from mid to high 20s to 5 or 6 degrees during the night (centigrade). So it can feel pretty warm during the day and cooler at night the further south we go. It very rarely rains. Namibia has good infrastructure / wifi at lodges but not much outside of towns. This is Africa but Namibia’s parks and reserves are well organised as long as you stick to the rules. Wildlife is plentiful but patience is still needed to wait and spot each animal if and when they decide to make an appearance. Its random but always an exciting event when they appear. Fitness – mostly short walks with the exception of two dune accents but nothing too strenuous. Recommended Equipment DSLR with wide angle 16-35 / 50 or 24 -70 / 70 -200mm / a 150 – 600mm long telephotoor similar, I use this lens as much as any other to get up close for wildlife. Nikon, Sigma or Canon contact me for advice Good solid tripod / minimum 5 camera batteries / Plenty card storage (example 240 – 320gb if your not backing up ) / good head torch / bean bag for resting a long lens . Quality camera back pack with good zips seals to prevent dust / sand entering. Lens cleaning kit / sensor cleaning kit (not essential).