Namibia Photographic Safari - Northern and Central Namibia

May 9 - 19, 2009

Trip leaders: Andy Biggs and John Paul Caponigro

Please see our Safaris and Workshops section for the 2nd safari in this series: The Southern and Central Namibia safari, or for more workshop and safari dates.


About The Namibia Photographic Safari

In May 2009, Andy Biggs and John Paul Caponigro will be co-leading a group to Namibia, Africa. The goal of this safari is to photograph the breathtaking desert landscapes of Namibia, the Himba tribe, as well as the amazing desert wildlife. This will be a flying safari, and we will maximize our time out on safari by flying from location to location. This will enable us to carry an adequate amount of camera baggage, as well as eliminating unnecessary long drives. This will be an instructional safari with casual teaching along the way.


– This private flying safari covers fascinating attractions in Namibia while enjoying much of the stunning landscape from the air.

– The safari will have two trip leaders, Andy Biggs and John Paul Caponigro.

– We will fly to three amazing destinations in central and northern Namibia: Sossusvlei, the Skeleton Coast and Serra Cafema.

– The Namib Desert may well be the world's oldest desert. The apricot-colored dunes at Sossusvlei are some of the most beautiful landscapes on earth. Herds of mountain zebra, gemsbok and springbok roam the area.

– In all the parks you will have the opportunity to spend quality photographic time.

– Finish on a high note in the magnificent sand dunes of Sossusvlei.


It's About Photography — Lots of it!

This workshop will be very informal and fun. Andy Biggs will be shooting alongside you at all times. This workshop is about shooting. Lots of shooting. There will be no classroom sessions, no lectures, no slide shows, and most importantly, no unnecessary egos. We will all work closely together, sharing our knowledge and experience.

Because of the unique location of this workshop, and the comfortable accommodations, this workshop adventure is open to spouses as well as photographers. Even non-photographers will find the locales visited and the wildlife viewing opportunities to be thrilling. The cost for non-photographers is the same as for active participants.

The Namib desert may well be the world's oldest desert. The Namib-Naukluft Park has five main regions; the Namib, Sandvis, Naukluft, Sesriem and Sosussvlei. The apricot-colored dunes at Sosussvlei are breathtakingly beautiful. Herds of mountain zebra, gemsbok (desert oryx), springbok and ostrich roam the area.

The Skeleton Coast is an extremely unique ecosystem, and we will have ample time to photograph its subtleties.

Serra Cafema is one of the most remote camps in all of the safari world, as it lies along the banks of the Kunene River in the most northwestern corner of Namibia. This is where we will photograph the Hartmann Valley, as well as the local Himba tribe.

The Schedule

May 9 - Windhoek, Namibia

On arrival at Windhoek you will be met and transferred to your hotel.

The Olive Grove is situated close to the city center in a quiet, peaceful area. There are 9 en-suite rooms all featuring; direct dial telephone, private safe, multi-channel satellite television, and air conditioning.

One of Olive Grove's main features is the large veranda in front of every room, with tables and chairs for al fresco dining. The open air lounge, spa bath, plunge pool and tranquil garden all invite the visitor to unwind and relax under Namibia's open skies. The inside lounge is decorated with comfortable chairs and a fireplace in front of which to relax and read a magazine. A guest computer is available, for people to check their emails and stay in touch with family and friends back home.

Services and facilities available include; laundry service, plunge pool and tranquil garden, "honor" bar, dinner and lunch on request, spa bath on open air deck.

May 10 - Windhoek to Skeleton Coast

Today you will be transferred to the airport by road for your private charter scenic flight to the Skeleton Coast. On arrival, you will be met and transferred to your camp. Overnight Skeleton Coast Research Camp.

PLEASE NOTE* There is a luggage limit of 44lbs (20kg) per person on the charter flight so please pre-pack your luggage accordingly in soft-sided bags. These restrictions should be strictly adhered to. As this is primarily a landscape photography trip, you will not need a large selection of lenses. Laundry service is available at all lodges and camps on this safari.


May 11 & 12 - The Skeleton Coast

We will have two additional days to photograph the Skeleton Coast in all of its glory. The Skeleton Coast Research Camp is situated in the heart of a private concession area of the 16,400 square kilometer Skeleton Coast Park, one of the planet's most inhospitable, but hauntingly beautiful places. It is wild, desolate and uninhabited. It has everything from roaring sand dunes and windswept plains, to towering canyons and salt pans, seal colonies and remnants of shipwrecks. Fresh water springs and the early morning mist off the Atlantic Ocean sustain a surprising amount of life, from large mammals to the extraordinary welwitschia plant. Secret water seeps attact wildlife, so we can see desert adapted elephant, oryx, springbok, giraffe, ostrich, Hartmann's mountain zebra, and if very fortunate the brown hyena. The terrain is rugged and harsh, hence this camp will be enjoyed by those who are looking for a true wilderness experience, in some of the most spectacular scenery in southern Africa.


May 13 - Skeleton Coast to Serra Cafema

Today morning you will take a scenic flight over the Namib Desert, Sossusvlei and the Atlantic Ocean. When you arrive in Serra Cafema you will be transferred to your camp.

This region is shared with the wonderful and colourful Himba people who are some of the last true nomadic people of Africa. The Kunene River is the only permanent source of water and creates an oasis along its banks surrounded by rugged mountains and sand dunes.

The Serra Cafema Camp is situated in the remote northern area of the Skeleton Coast . Spend the next three days exploring one of the planet's driest deserts. Activities include traversing the sand dunes in 4x4 Landrovers enjoying the breath-taking landscape scenes with Springbok, Ostrich and Oryx dotted here and there, and boating on the Kunene River where you can watch for the Kunene crocodiles.

Walking in the remote mountain and river valleys are also a highlight. Serra Cafema is often visited by the native Ovahimba families who live in the nearby vicinity, which gives you the opportunity to learn about their lifestyle and traditions. One of the highlights of Serra Cafema is the optional carefully guided quad-bike excursions that tread lightly on the dunes.

Serra Cafema Camp is set under big shady Albida trees overlooking the Kunene River and comprises 8 canvas and thatched chalets that are raised off the ground, each with its own en-suite bathroom. There is a small swimming pool, dining room and bar.

May 14 & 15 - Serra Cafema

Full day of photography in and around the Serra Cafema area.

May 16 - Serra Cafema to Sossusvlei

Transfer by road to the airport for your scenic private charter flight to the Namib-Naukluft National Park southwest of the Naukluft Mountains. Your excess luggage will be flown directly to Kulala in separate plane.

The Namib-Naukluft Park covers 19,215 square miles (50,000 km2) of desert savannah grasslands, gypsum and quartz plains, granite mountains, an estuarine lagoon, a canyon and huge, drifting apricot-colored dunes. The five main regions of the park are the Namib, Sandvis, Naukluft, Sesriem and Sossusvlei areas.

The Kuiseb River runs through the center of the park from east to west and acts as a natural boundary separating the northern grayish-white gravel plains from the southern deserts. Herds of mountain zebra, gemsbok, springbok and flocks of ostrich roam the region. Many small, fascinating creatures have uniquely adapted to this environment and help make this one of the most interesting deserts in the world. The dunes are home to numerous unique creatures, such as the translucent Palmato gecko, shovel-nosed lizard and Namib golden mole.

Sossusvlei, in the southern region, has the highest sand dunes in the world, exceeding 1,000 feet (300 m). The base of the second highest sand dune in the world can be closely approached by vehicle. The hike along the knife-edge rim to the top is strenuous, requiring 60–90 minutes of taking two steps up and sliding one step down. The view from the top into other valleys and of the mountains beyond is marvelous. Even up there, colorful beetles, ants and other desert critters roam about. Sunrise on these magnificent and colorful dunes is spectacular. Ballooning safaris are offered.

Kulala Desert Lodge is situated on the boundary of Sossusvlei. Each "Kulala" offers en suite facilities and a private veranda with stunning views of the famous Sossusvlei dunes. In addition, your own rooftop sleeping area allows you a unique opportunity to enjoy a night under the spectacular desert sky.

May 17 - Sossusvlei

Early entrance into Sossusvlei park for a sunrise at Dead Vlei (special early entrance to the park has been requested).

May 18 - Sossusvlei

You have the option of doing a balloon safari the morning. Those taking the balloon safari will be driven to and from the balloon launch site by the balloon operator. Those not taking the balloon safari will have another visit to Sossusvlei (early entrance has been requested).

May 19 - Sossusvlei to Windhoek

Take a private charter flight back to Windhoek. Connect to your onward scheduled flight.


The Cost

The cost of this all-inclusive trip is U.S. $11,990 per person (but not inclusive of airfare to Windhoek, Namibia). The same rate applies for each participant regardless of whether they are doing photography and participating in the workshop, or not. This fee includes all in-country ground and air transportation as well as hotel accommodation (double occupancy) and all meals. Accommodations are two person to a room. Hot air balloon option is $475.

For an additional fee you can choose to have the both the safari *and* your flights to Namibia booked for you through the agency that we are working with. Please inquire if you would like a quote. We encourage this service if you are departing from North America, as we will all be able to arrive in Namibia on the same flight at the same time. It is our experience that this service eliminates many scheduling headaches, and the cost is at or slightly below the average market rate for such a flight.

A deposit of U.S. $2,500 (per person) will be required when you register. A second payment of $2,500 will be due on May 1, 2008 and the balance of $6,990 will be due no later than December 1, 2008. If you need to cancel before August 1, 2008, you'll get a full refund (less $750), but the refund will be possible only if a replacement for you can be found. If you need to cancel after August 1, 2008 but before March 1, 2009, we will refund your trip cost less $3,000 if a suitable replacement can be found. If you cancel after March 1, 2009, no refunds are available.

If we have to cancel the trip for any reason you will receive a full refund of all monies paid to that date.

Please note: This trip is designed for photographers. Though non-photographer spouses are of course welcome, and alternate activities will be scheduled if possible, our primary emphasis will be traveling to the best locations for the best light, and this will often mean long days of both travel and shooting.

You should therefore only consider joining this expedition if you are a passionate photographer willing to put yourself out a bit. This is not a vacation sightseeing trip, but rather is a safari designed for those who'll go the extra mile (or kilometer) to get the images they've been dreaming about.

We will attempt to adhere to this itinerary as much as possible. However, certain conditions (political, climatic, environmental, cultural, or wildlife migrations) may necessitate changes in the itinerary. We reserves the right to alter any itinerary at any time, if necessary. We will attempt to notify participants of changes as far in advance as possible. Costs incurred by such changes will be the responsibility of the participant.

What's Included?

- All Park fees
- All accommodations, based on double occupancy
- All meals inclusive of restaurant staff tips
- Services of guides and drivers
- Airport transfers to and from hotels
- Internal chartered aircraft in Namibia

What is Not Included?

- Additional tips for staff such as guides and camp staff
- Fees for passport, visas, immunizations, insurance and airport taxes
- Alcoholic beverages and sodas
- Laundry, phone and other items of a personal nature
- Cost of hospitalization and evacuation if necessary

What Do I Do Next?

Our groups are small, so space is limited. If this exciting trip has your name on it; if you're excited by the thought of becoming a member of this trip, then now is the time to register. Remember, there will be limited space available for this workshop. When they're spoken for, that's it. If you have any questions before registering, send us an e-mail with any inquiries to

Andy spends a few months each year in Africa, teaching workshops and sharing his enjoyment of the wildlife, landscapes and people of Africa. If you are interested in joining him on one of his trips, you can contact him at, view his workshop schedule on this site, or visit his website at