Namibia Overland Photographic Journey
March 29 - April 7, 2014 (sold out)
April 8 - 17, 2014 (sold out)
About The Namibia Photographic Safari
In March 2014, I will be co-leading a group with Joshua Holko to the Namibia desert in Namibia, Africa. The goal of this safari is to photograph the breathtaking desert landscapes of Namibia in a different way than how I have offered my Namibia trips in the past: in an overland fashion. This will be an overland photographic journey, and we have complete flexibility to stop to take photographs at any time along the way. We wanted to put this trip together that has a good balance between flexibility, photographic opportunities and comfortable accommodations. This approach will also enable us to carry more than enough amount of camera baggage, so bring what you need!
On the South Western Coast of Africa, where the icy Atlantic ocean meets the world’s oldest desert lies a place that is known for its landscapes as much as the Serengeti is known for its abundant wildlife. The unique combination of desert, grassland and cold ocean current form a one-of-a-kind terrain found only here. For this reason landscape photographers from all over the world flock to the Namib Desert to try and capture its ethereal beauty.
In this captivating region of Namibia lies a maze of mountainous valleys that look like they were carpeted from slope to slope by ivory colored grass, criss-crossed by ancient riverbeds and dotted with a collection of photogenic acacia trees. The final unique touch is added by the large snake like dunes that rise from the grasslands like the roof of some subterranean world. These stark and compelling landscapes are something to behold with the human eye, but when it’s sweeping meadows, barren mountains and blood red dunes are captured and transformed into a two dimensional image, it becomes obvious why this place is so beautifully addictive to photographers.
– This private overland safari covers fascinating attractions in Namibia while enjoying a relaxed pace along the way.
– We will enjoy four amazing destinations in central and southern Namibia: Sossusvlei, the Namib Rand, the deserted mining town of Kolmanskop and the ancient quiver tree forest near Keetmanshoop.
– 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 gemsbok and springbok roam the area.
– In all the locations you will have the opportunity to spend quality photographic time.
– Finish on a high note in the magnificent sand dunes of Sossusvlei.
– Limited to only 10 participants.
It's All About Photography
This workshop will be very informal and fun. Andy Biggs and Joshua Holko 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.
March 29 - Windhoek, Namibia
On arrival at Windhoek you will be met and transferred to our hotel for the evening.
Galton House is one of Windhoek's newest accommodation establishments. Named after the famous explorer Sir Francis Galton, it has a relaxed but efficient style which creates a very welcoming atmosphere. Impressive wildlife photography adorns the walls whilst the rest of the interior is a combination of modern minimalistic and understated decor. A mere ten minute drive from the center of town and perched on the edge of Windhoek's northernmost affluent suburb of Eros, guests staying here you will be ensured of peace and tranquility. There is Wi-Fi throughout the property and the eight guest rooms all have wired internet connectivity and satellite television. The communal areas consist of a large lounge, indoor and outdoor dining areas, a swimming pool, an early arrival/late departure day room (including toilet, shower, changing and re-packing facility) as well as understated garden areas.
There is also a delightful 'al fresco' dining area by the pool where freshly prepared meals are served (including lunch and dinner).
March 30 - Windhoek to Keetmanshoop
An easy 5 hours' drive south of Windhoek brings us to the small town of Keetmanshoop. We will arrive in time to settle in to the guesthouse and then head straight out into the town’s main attraction: the Quiver tree forest for which this area is quite famous. These ancient trees are in a protected reserve where you are able to walk freely amongst them, photographing their intricate forms from every angle. There will be opportunity to photograph the trees at night crating beautiful silhouettes against the night sky.
March 31 - Keetmanshoop to Lüderitz
We will be early for another early morning session in the quiver trees. After breakfast we will head off towards Lüderitz, visiting the wild horses of Aus along the way. Drive time is 4 hours. At Lüderitz we will stay at the Nest hotel, situated perfectly on the edge of the ocean. There is good landscape photography right in front of the hotel and also the architecturally styled town. The main reason for our visit is to photograph the deserted mining town of Kolmanskop.
April 1 - Lüderitz
Early morning shoot at Kolmanskop, as well as an afternoon shoot. Today the ghost town's crumbling ruins bear little resemblance to its former glory. The former stately homes, their grandeur now scoured and demolished by the wind, are gradually being enveloped by the encroaching sand dunes. These scenes make for wonderful photography. Expect soft lines, old ruins, ripples in the sand, light shafts and scenes of a time gone by. We will have special photographic permits to enable you to be in at sunrise before regular visitors. The same applies for the afternoon where we will be allowed to stay until sunset.
April 2 - Lüderitz to Namib Rand Reserve
After a morning breakfast we head north into the famous NamibRand Reserve and to Drifters Desert Lodge. Drive time is approximately 5 hours. Located on a private 20 000 ha wilderness reserve within the Namibrand Nature Reserve, this lodge is designed to offer the ultimate wildlife and desert experience. The Lodge itself offers 6 spacious, comfortably furnished, en-suite rooms and a generous central lounge / dinning area all built of local stone - ensuring warmth in winter and cool in summer. A west facing terrace and small sparkling swimming pool complete the package.
We will be spending 2 nights in the heart of the Namib rand amongst the dunes, grass and camelthorn trees for 4 twilight shoots and some nighttime light painting below a milky way so bright that it casts a shadow below the African trees. Here we have full freedom of movement. With the reserve being exceptionally photogenic you will be led to some of its most scenic locations to capture truly classic desert scenes.
The open grasslands are stunning for photographs. Use the mountains as backgrounds, or one of the large camel thorn trees that seem to dot the plains in an almost always-picturesque spot. These provide perfect subjects in amongst the grass fields, especially if you have a dramatic sky behind them. Due to the heat of the desert land, rain often falls from the sky but does not make it onto land, getting caught in updrafts of heated air. This often happens once a storm’s intensity has just passed or the following morning when most of the storm has dissipated but there is still rain in the atmosphere. The phenomenon that occurs is called “ghost rain” and happens when the sunlight catches the rain in the air, painting it beautiful colours of pink and orange. Coupled with this, it almost guarantees a rainbow in the sky. During the rainy season ghost rain and rainbows a regularly seen after storms and are quite a climatic feature of the area. Photographically this is like winning the lotto and you need only “place a subject in your frame” in such instances to make a stunning image.
Many of the rocky mountains and hills are very dark brown/black in color. This contrasts very nicely against the color of the grass. You can either photograph these from the grasslands themselves, or walk up onto the hills to get some perspective over the whole area. Either way, the color contrast works very well.
One of the highlights of the area is the large camelthorn trees. These often grow along the water drainage lines, but sometimes are free standing. Their large form and graphic shape make them excellent photographic subjects- either as the main interest in a photo or just as part of a scene. Being in a reserve where you can stay out at night these trees, due to their graphic and well-defined branches also become perfect subjects for night-time star images. You can either ‘paint’ the trees with a torch to bring out the detail in the tree, or photograph them as a straight silhouette against the night sky. Their striking shape often then makes up for the lack of detail the light paints in. Night skies here can only be described as remarkable. If no moon is about, you will not see better stars anywhere else in the world. With subjects such as camelthorn and quiver trees to use as subjects, you have a great ability to capture the beauty of the night skies in all their splendour.
April 3 - NamibRand Reserve
Full day of photographic activities in the desert. Overnight Drifters Desert Lodge.
April 4 - NamibRand to Sossusvlei
A short morning drive to Sossusvlei after our last photo shoot in the NamibRand.
At Sossusvlei we will stay at Sossus Dune Lodge, which is located near the entrance gate of the Namib Naukluft Park. Shaded by ancient camelthorn trees, the lodge bears testimony to the ingenuity of an eco-friendly design. Accommodation is in en-suite bedroom units, each sleeping two. After an exciting day in the desert, you can shake off the desert dust with an ice-cold local lager in the unique bar, take a refreshing dip in the sparkling pool or browse through our curio shop. Excellent cuisine under the guidance of our executive chef is the order of the day in the restaurant and on our al fresco terrace.
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.
April 5 - Sossusvlei
Today we will rise out of bed early and head towards one of my favorite shooting locations in Namibia, Dead Vlei. The camethorn trees contained within the dry lake bed of Dead Vlei are reported to be more than 800 years old, and they make for fantastic photographic subjects in the early morning light. As the sun rises in the sky the shadow from the towering sand dunes rake across the desert floor. The photographic drama is always a highlight of a Namibia trip! In the afternoon we will continue our photography amongst the tallest sand dunes on our planet.
April 6 - Sossusvlei
Another full day of photography amongst the smaller dune areas. These provide excellent miniature landscape opportunities as well as abstract type images.
April 7 - Sossusvlei to Windhoek
After a last breakfast in Sossusvlei we head back to the town of Windhoek and onwards to the Airport for the international flight back home. Additional nights can easily be arranged if you would like to fly home at a later time. This is unfortunately the end of a fantastic landscape safari.
The cost of this all-inclusive trip is U.S. $7,950 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.
A 30% deposit of U.S. $2,325 (per person) will be required when you register. A second payment of $1,500 will be due on October 1, 2013 and the balance will be due no later than February 1, 2014. 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.
- 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
- 3 guides / drivers
- 3 Toyota Land Cruisers or similar with 2 trailers
- Bottled water in the vehicles
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.