Namibia Photographic Safari - September 2010

September 20-30, 2010

Safari Leader: John Paul Caponigro

Please see our Safaris and Workshops section for more workshop and safari dates.


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In September 2010 John Paul Caponigro will lead a private group of photographers into Namibia's untamed wilderness areas. The goal of this safari is to photograph the breathtaking desert landscapes of Namibia, and we’ll see the Himba people and desert wildlife along the way. This will be a flying safari and we will maximize the time out on safari by flying from location to location. This will enable us to carry an adequate amount of camera baggage, do some aerial photography of scenic locations, and eliminate time-consuming, long drives. This will be a serious instructional safari with a strong focus on teaching in the field.

Safari Highlights
• This private flying safari covers fascinating attractions in Namibia, while enjoying much of the stunning landscapes from the air.
• The safari will be led by John Paul Caponigro.
• We will fly to three amazing destinations in central and northern Namibia: Kolmanskop, The Namib Desert / Sossusvlei, and the incredible Skeleton Coast
• Kolmanskop is a famous ex-diamond mining ghost town which today is fighting a losing battle against the winds and sand dunes that are enveloping it... the photography here is striking and we will make two separate visits to the ghost town to make images. Truly a photographer's dream location.
• 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.
• The Skeleton Coast is one of our planet's most remote locations. It is wild, desolate, uninhabited and stunningly beautiful. This is a place the will rival anything in Africa for those who enjoy the excitement of wild and remote places.
• In all the areas we visit, you will have the opportunity to spend quality photographic time.
• Personalized instruction with John Paul throughout the safari.
• Safari is limited to 11 participants.

Here are some key points to help you decide:
1. We welcome photographers of ALL levels. This safari will be conducive to learning from one another and include instruction that will suit everyone’s photographic needs. No question is off limits, no inquiry too basic.
2. We are BIG on photographing in the field. We spend most our time and effort on safari activity and making images. We do meet daily to review images and discuss technique, but this is not a “classroom-intensive” trip. This workshop is about shooting. Lots of shooting..
3. Non-photographer or videographer spouses / travel companions will love these safaris. Because of the unique location of this workshop and the comfortable accommodations, this workshop adventure is open to spouses/partners 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..


20-21 September 2010; (1 night)

On your arrival at Hosea Kutako International Airport in Windhoek, you will be met by our local representative, who will transfer you by road to the hotel. Dinner will be at the hotel and will be on your own account.

The Kalahari Sands Hotel has a total of 173 rooms and all rooms are air-conditioned, equipped with satellite TV, radio, telephone, shower, electric shaver plug (220 volts AC), hairdryer, mini-bar, butler tray for tea and coffee, email connection and international adaptor. 24-hour room service is available.

The hotel has two restaurants...
Dunes Restaurant is an excellent, yet informal buffet-style restaurant, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner and enhanced with an à la carte menu. The terrace, shaded by an awning, overlooks Independence Avenue.

The hotel also boasts a sophisticated privé-style casino with slot machines, Roulette, Blackjack, and Poker tables.

The group will transfer to Eros Airport the next morning, where we catch our private charter flight south to Lüderitz, a small harbor town along the Atlantic Ocean coastline. This will be a scenic flight via Brukkaros, an extinct volcano.

21-23 September 2010; (2 nights)
NEST HOTEL - Lüderitz, Namibia

On arrival at Lüderitz Airport, our group will be met and transferred to our hotel for lunch and the afternoon will be free to relax and explore the town at our leisure.

The Nest Hotel is situated directly on Lüderitz Bay with its own private beach. All rooms are sea facing. A variety of fresh seafood, including the famous Lüderitz oyster and lobster, is served in the Penguin Restaurant. Outstanding and personalized service is a matter of course at this four star Hotel.

Our reason for visiting this area is to photograph the ghost town of Kolmanskop, which lies a few kilometres inland from Lüderitz. Kolmanskop was a small diamond mining village which developed after the discovery of diamonds in the area in 1908, to provide shelter for workers from the harsh environment of the Namib Desert. Driven by the enormous wealth of the first diamond miners, the village was built like a German town, with facilities like a hospital, ballroom, power station, school, skittle-alley, theater and sport-hall, casino, ice factory and the first x-ray-station in the southern hemisphere

The town declined after World War I as diamond prices crashed and operations moved to Oranjemund. It was abandoned in 1956 but has since been partly restored. The geological forces of the desert mean that tourists can now walk through houses knee-deep in sand. Kolmanskop is popular with photographers for its scenic settings of the desert sands reclaiming this once thriving town. Due to its location within the restricted area (Sperrgebiet) of the Namib desert, a permit is necessary to enter the town.

We have acquired permits for two visits to this photogenic town, one on the morning of the 22nd and again the next morning of the 23rd September.

We will photograph the town for several hours on our first morning and then have a nice lunch followed by an afternoon tour of Lüderitz town. The tour will include some or all of the following, depending on the groups wishes and time: Goerke Haus - Diamantberg - Berg Street with a number of colonial houses - Shark Island - Waterfront and surrounding area - Felsenkirche with its beautiful stained-glass windows. The inside of the old power station is extremely popular with some photographers, whereas others may wish to go to the beach and see flamingos.

Our next morning we will return for a second visit to Kolmanskop, after which we will head to the airport for our private charter flight to Kulala.

23-25 September 2010; (2 nights)
KULALA DESERT LODGE - Namib Rand Nature Reserve and Sossusvlei, Namibia Jump to Kulala Desert Lodge

Our flight from Lüderitz to Kulala will be another scenic flight, allowing us to photograph Spencer Bay en route to Kulala and the Namib Desert.

On arrival, we will be met and transferred to the lodge, where we have lunch and quickly settle in before heading out on our afternoon activity and more photography.

Situated on over 46,000 acres of the private Kulala Wilderness Reserve, bordering the Namib Naukluft Park, Kulala Desert Lodge lies in the heart of the Namib. It offers magnificent views of the famous red dunes of Sossusvlei as well as spectacular mountain scenery and vast open plains. Kulala Desert Lodge comprises 15 thatched and canvas "kulalas" ("to sleep" in Oshiwambo) with en-suite bathrooms and verandas. Each room is built on a wooden platform to catch the cooling breezes and has a deck on the flat rooftop where bedrolls are placed for guests who wish to sleep under the myriad stars that Namibia's clear skies portray.

The main area, with décor inspired by northern Africa, has a lounge, pub, dining area, plunge pool, and wrap-around veranda overlooking the waterhole - a perfect location to view and photograph the desert vista. The overall setting is a true delight to the senses, bringing together the rhythm of Namibia, wholesome meals and intimacy. A waterhole in front of camp attracts a number of local wildlife (such as gemsbok, springbok, ostrich and jackal) and provides a perfect location to view and photograph the desert scenery.

Early morning guided nature drives to the spectacular dunes of Sossusvlei are through a private gate on the Tsauchab River. World-famous Sossusvlei is an enormous clay pan, flanked by the famous red sand dunes that stand out starkly against the blue sky. These dunes have developed over millions of years, the wind continuously transforming the contours of this red sand sea. The 'vlei' itself only fills after rare heavy rainfall when, in a complete turn-around, it becomes a spectacular turquoise lake.

Nature drives and walks are also offered on the private reserve with those incredible views, and to catch a glimpse of the denizens of the desert. Another option, at an extra cost, is early morning ballooning, beginning at first light. The balloon safari offers a truly unique experience to soar silently above the magnificent sand dunes and desert, with a champagne breakfast being served at your landing site.

Sossusvlei itself means 'the gathering place of water' in the local Nama language, and, odd as it may seem, in good years seasonal rains in the foothills of the Naukluft and Tsaris Mountains succeed in reaching the vleis, creating temporary lakes that mirror the sand dunes surrounding them. The vleis have evocative names such as Hidden Vlei and Dead Vlei, while the dunes rise up to 300 metres above the valley floor with razor-sharp edges that stand out against the blue sky. Its huge red dunes and flat valley floors make up the archetypical view of the Namib that is world famous.


25-29 September 2010; (4 nights)
SKELETON COAST CAMP - Skeleton Coast Park, Namibia Jump to Skeleton Coast Camp

Our morning flight from Kulala will be yet another scenic flight, taking us over Swakopmund and up along the Atlantic coast, including passes over shipwrecks along the way

On landing at Khumib Airstrip, we will be met and transferred to the camp.

The camp is built on an island in the dry Khumib riverbed, about 20km inland from the coastline and comprises six Meru-style tented rooms on raised wooden decks with en-suite bathrooms, providing flush toilet, hand basin and shower. The rooms are attractively furnished incorporating locally found natural materials and all rooms have overhead fans and 12v lighting. A central area is made up of an open-plan lounge, bar and dining area with sweeping views of the desert. Weather permitting, evening meals may be served in the open-air 'dining room' under an old, gnarled leadwood tree.

The typical routine at Skeleton Coast is quite different from that of most other safari camps. There is an incredible amount to see and do. Breakfast is enjoyed in camp and guests then head out all day into the Park. A picnic lunch is packed and the safari only returns at sunset. The days are full, rewarding and enriching. This area has everything…from soaring sand dunes that roar, wonderful, vast, pastel-coloured plains, towering canyons and mountains, salt-pans and seal colonies and shipwrecks. Add to that the game viewing! Guests will also visit authentic Himba (the nomadic local people) settlements, just outside the park, for an incredible cultural experience.

Because of the uniqueness and vastness of this area, most activities are done in 4x4 vehicles that are closed to the elements, although all vehicles have pop-top roofs and sliding windows to enjoy the fine weather. However, we will spend a lot of time outside of the vehicles and photographing on foot in the many otherworldly landscapes on offer.

Activities include full-day nature drives or walks with a picnic lunch, returning to camp in the evening. Due to the pristine nature of this area many parts are accessible only on foot, as vehicle tracks can damage the environment. Many specially-adapted plant species such as Lithops and Welwitschia can be visited in this way.

Other excursions comprise visits to the clay castles of the Hoarusib River, Rocky Point, the roaring dunes, lichen fields, Cape fur seal colonies, Himba villages, and birding. Shipwrecks, now fast being devoured by the salty and vigorous coastline, can be viewed on request. This area is not teeming with big game species, but rather offers a cultural journey exploring the smaller desert wonders. Freshwater springs permeate through the barren sands to create rare oases in the desert that sustain pockets of wildlife. Springbok, gemsbok (oryx), the rare desert-adapted elephant, brown hyaena, black-backed jackal, and occasionally even lion and cheetah enter this rugged domain. The famous Cape fur seals are present in their thousands on the beaches, attracting predators as well.

The area has fascinating desert-adapted vegetation such as welwitschia and lithops, the succulent "flowering stones", and the bizarre elephant's foot found in rocky crevices. More than a hundred species of lichen are found on the gravel plains and hot west-facing mountain slopes, which change color as they absorb moisture when the coastal fog presses inland.

29 September 2010; (1 night)
Today we fly from Skeleton Coast Camp back to Windhoek, where we will be met and transferred back to the Kalahari Sands Hotel for a one night stay.

This evening a private group dinner has been arranged at the hotel, including the use of a projector for a farewell slide show of some of our images.

30 September 2010
Today the trip ends and everyone will be transferred to Hosea Kutako International Airport in Windhoek at the appropriate time to catch their homeward or onward flights.

Please also see the note below regarding travel extensions.

NOTE: Customized extensions to this safari, including Cape Town and other destinations may be arranged through Eyes on Africa as desired. Ask us for further information.

The cost of this all-inclusive safari is $12,500 per person (but not inclusive of airfare to Windhoek, Namibia). This fee includes all in-country ground and air transportation as well as hotel accommodation (double occupancy) and all meals. Accommodations are two persons to a room.

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.

Due to the limited number of spaces available, if a solo guest is willing to share and we can match with another guest of the same gender, we will do so. If a solo guest is unwilling to share, then a single supplement will be charged (up to, but not exceeding the full sharing cost). As long as a guest is willing to share, no single supplement will be charged, even if no match is available.



• Accommodation on a shared basis
• Air charters between all hotels and camps in in the itinerary
• 30 kg (66 lbs) of luggage per person allowance, including all carry-on and camera equipment
• 1 x Professional photographer leading the trip (John Paul Caponigro)
• Private activities at all locations for our group
• Services of the lodge guides & staff
• Relevant park fees
• All meals and drinks while in Namibia (excluding dinner on 20-Sep at Kalahari Sands Hotel)
• Daily laundry (except in Skeleton Coast, where the is a water scarcity)
• Airport transfers to and from all hotels and lodges
• The current Tourism Levies and all relevant Value Added Tax or Government Sales Taxes

• International airfare and/or other transportation between your home and Windhoek, Namibia
• Visas
• Travel Insurance
• Personal purchases (including curios, spirit liquors, telephone calls etc.)
• Optional gratuities for camp staff and guides
• Optional extra activities (balloon rides, etc.)
• Pre- and post- safari tours
• Meals or accommodation before or after the safari (except as noted in the detailed itinerary)

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