Namibia Photographic Safari
4th – 17th June 2021 – Fully Booked
Group Size: 6
Tour Leaders: Tom Way and Richard Peters On Behalf Of Natures Images
Tom is a regular guide for the UK’s leading photographic tour company Natures Images. This trip which he is leading for them is to one of the most unique destination on the African continent. The sweeping dunes, rocky outcrops and huge skies that make up the iconic landscape are a draw enough to this corner of Africa, but the wildlife that with patience can be found as well makes it a truly engaging and inspiring place to visit. These landscapes will of course be on our agenda, but with desert-adapted Elephants and Giraffe, the fascinating reptiles of the dunes including Namaqualand Chameleon and Palmato Gecko, barren coastlines bursting with Flamingo or teeming with Fur Seals alongside the traditional game to be found in the country’s flagship Reserve of Etosha, this will be a truly immersive experience in one of the driest and dramatic corners of the African continent.
Day 1: We will leave Europe this afternoon for overnight flights to Windhoek in Namibia. Precise route recommendations will as always be provided nearer the time.
Day 2: We will arrive in Windhoek during the morning and look to collect our vehicles for the long drive north to Etosha National Park and our base for the first 3 nights which is the Mokuti Lodge based just a few minutes outside of the Eastern end of the park. It will have been a long time travelling until this point so the chance to catch breath and acclimatise in the comfortable surroundings, be fully briefed on the Etosha leg of our schedule with the local guides and drivers and get a good night’s rest will be the main priority.
Days 3-4: We have arranged to have use of a specially adapted VW transporter for the duration of our time in Etosha. These unique vehicles (along with drivers and guide) have rotating seats that allow everyone their own station to photograph using tripod heads in through large open windows: the perfect solution to working as a small group in this amazing park. This vehicle can accommodate 4 photographers and with the remaining individuals joining myself and Richard for more conventional car window photography. Everyone will get plenty of opportunity to work in these unique vehicles. For each of these 2 days we will explore the Eastern part of the park around Namutoni, entering at dawn and basing ourselves at the best waterholes for good periods of time to allow the activity to happen and photographic opportunities to develop. A short break for lunch when the light is at its harshest will be taken back at Mokuti each day. Etosha is excellent for all the main herbivores (elephant, zebra, wildebeest, oryx etc) as well as holding good numbers of lion, leopard and cheetah so there is plenty of excellent potential. We are visiting during the heart of the dry season when all of these will look to come and drink each day hence the waterhole staking strategy.
Day 5: Our morning schedule will be the same, but during the course of the day we will be making our way to the west of the park (visiting new waterholes en-route, one of which is excellent for elephants bathing in white mud!) and basing ourselves for our final night here inside the park itself at the Okaukuejo rest camp. The floodlit pool here is the main attraction as it provides the opportunity to photograph black rhino most nights when they visit, and with suitable white balance and ISO’s good images of these shy animals can be achieved.
Day 6: On our final morning in Etosha the camp waterhole is an excellent place for sunrise as the light works perfectly for reflections of all the visiting animals so we will spend our morning session here before packing up and leaving the Etosha area to head west to Damaraland and our base for the next 3 nights near the settlement of Sesfontein.
Days 7-8: The river valleys of this area, in particular the Hoanib, will be dry at this time of year save for a few waterholes. These valleys though are home to the desert-adapted elephant and giraffe, as well as a small population of lion the former unique to this area of the continent. We will leave early each morning (for best light) in our private vehicles and driver guides to search the river valleys for these specially adapted mammals and some very different settings for these much photographed species. The river valleys here are truly striking in terms of their landscape and with barely another vehicle around this is an amazing experience as well as setting to photograph. Both days will be full days in the field.
Day 9: After breakfast we will head off to the aptly named Skeleton Coast region. En-route we will be visiting the world’s largest breeding fur seal colony (the sight, sounds and smells are extraordinary) for a full photography session before the final leg of our journey to the coastal town of Swakopmund and our comfortable guest house accommodation.
Day 10:Our morning will be taken up on a private tour into the sand dunes of the surrounding Namib Desert with a local guide and expert in the so-called Little 5, which includes namaqua chameleon, Peringuey’s adder and palmato gecko. We will have the opportunity to photograph all of this close-up and the macro (as well as wide-angle) opportunities are superb. In the afternoon and through to sunset we will visit the lagoons of nearby Walvis Bay where huge numbers of both greater and lesser flamingos gather providing flight, portrait and group photographic opportunities aplenty.
Day 11: After an early morning return to Walvis Bay we will head south within the Namib region to the internationally renowned Sossusvlei area, and will enjoy a first afternoon exploring the grasslands and iconic red sand dunes of the area before retiring to our hotel near the Sossusvlei National Park and where we will be based for 2 nights.
Day 12: We will be up for dawn to allow us to visit the iconic Dead Vlei and Sossusvlei. You will know the images from here as they are quite unique locations, and they are both amazing locations to work in photographically: a real landscape photographers dream. From a wildlife perspective oryx are reasonably common in the area and we have photographed avocet of all species in a dried up part of Sossusvlei itself one year too so there’s still plenty of wildlife to add to the landscape opportunities. With a break in the middle of the day we will explore the area for the full day under our own steam.
Day 13: Dependant on final flight times/schedules we hope to have a final early morning session in the park before heading back to Windhoek and our evening flights back to Europe: a perfect Namibian location on which to finish the trip for sure.
Day 14: Arrive back in UK/Europe in the morning after our overnight flights.
Our accommodation throughout is clean and very comfortable with all bedding and towels provided. If you have any special dietary requirements – please let us know if there’s anything you can’t/will not eat in advance. In terms of clothing you’ll obviously need lightweight and potentially shower-proof clothing with a fleece or warm outer layer for the early morning drives and evenings around the camp. Footwear needs to be just of the sensible outdoor variety. Please liaise with your doctor as to whether they recommend Malaria tablets for the trip based on the geographical areas we are covering.
In terms of camera kit it very much depends on your style of photography. Lenses in the 400mm/500mm (assuming a full frame body) will suffice for 90% of your needs. For general bird photography while you are here a 500mm lens will definitely be required though. Supplementary lenses for other opportunities such as a 24-70mm or even wider for wide-angle opportunities (a must for Sossusvlei) and definitely an intermediate zoom (70-200 or 100-400) so that you don’t miss the chance for some images that put subjects in more of a setting are also recommended. A macro lens 100mm– 180mm range) is also recommended for the Namib desert safari. A very full bag but there’s very little walking on the trip and the chance to pick and choose before we go out for each day/session too. Tripod heads and mounts will be provided for the vehicles in Etosha, for other vehicle based photography then a beanbag is a good idea (bring an empty one and we will fill it up on day one) and a tripod too for early morning landscape opportunities and possible night star trail images too. If you have and wish to use a monopod then this is a further option. Bring plenty of compact flash cards with you as well because you will take a lot of images!
During any mid-day rests when we are not travelling and evenings we will have a chance to critique and look at individuals work if you so wish so feel free to bring anything you’d like to share on either a laptop or memory pen/CD. If you have any questions or concerns during the trip please ask, we are here to help.
Namibia is one of our absolute favourite countries to visit and photograph in – we are at a quiet time of year in an already empty but stunning series of locations that have been carefully selected to give an array and diversity of wildlife photographic opportunities that most trips here simply don’t cover in our view. There is plenty of travelling time but it is well worth it.
Cost includes: All transfers/travel to/from Windhoek airport, accommodation, all meals and park fees
Cost excludes: International flights, sundry items and all alcohol and tips/gratuities for camp staff and drivers where applicable.
If you have any questions at all about this trip please do not hesitate to get in contact with either Tom (07876 333787) or the team at Natures Images (01952 411436). You are able to book this trip directly through this link: https://www.natures-images.co.uk/holiday/namibian-deserts-wildlife-2021/