NAMIBIA - Landscapes and Wildlife of the Namib Desert TRIP REPORT - April 2017
Posted by Wild4 Photo Safaris on 19th Apr 2017
This years Namibia trip focussed on the Namib desert and its wonderful and unique landscapes, as well as the wildlife that amazingly manages to eke out an existence in this extreme environment.
Kolmanskop Ghost Diamond mining town near Luderitz was our first stop and we enjoyed a sunrise and a sunset photo shoot in the town capturing the derelict houses in various degrees of collapse. The rooms, now filled with piles of sand offer lots of photo opportunities and this was a great way to get the tour started.
Our next stop was a visit to the Namib Rand Nature Reserve, here we stayed at 3 different locations and were able to capture some of the spectacular scenery that this reserve offers. This is certainly one of the main highlights on the tour and the landscapes are breathtaking. Sweeping vistas that seem endless are dotted with Zebra, Giraffe and Oryx, this is where the rugged mountains meet the red dunes of the Namib.We also visited a large Quiver Tree Forest here and photographed these most unusual trees.
Sossusvlei, deadvlei and a helicopter ride over the dunes were next on our list. This part of Namibia is perhaps the most well known of all and the sheer size of the dunes, the beautiful apricot colours, deep blue skies and the ancient dead Camel Thorn Trees of "Deadvlei" are a photographers paradise. A 45 min Helicopter ride over the dunes offers a very different view of this enormous "sand sea" and the shapes and patterns formed by the early morning light and the shadows cast by the dunes will fill your memory card in no time !
We left Sossusvlei for the coastal town of Walvis Bay where we stayed at an old lighthouse that has been converted into a lodge. Pelican Point Lodge has a real charm to it and is within walking distance of a Cape Fur Seal colony numbering 35 000. Black Backed Jackals also frequent the area around the lodge.
From our base here we went on a 4x4 adventure through the massive coastal dunes to Sandwich Harbour. This is where the Atlantic meets the great sand sea and the young dunes here are a beautiful light gold colour. This is where the dunes of Sossusvlei started 1000's of years ago and over time they have blown inland where oxidization has taken place, causing the iron content in the sand to rust, turning the dunes into the red / apricot colours that we now see in that area.
Our final photo shoot was the private living desert photo tour in the Dorob National Park near Swakopmund. A huge thank you goes to Dane from Batis Birding, an incredible guide and expert in finding and describing the lives of some of the amazing desert critters that live in the dunes. We got to photograph a beautiful female Namaqua Chameleon feeding, Peringuey's Adder, Shovel snouted Lizard, Black Hairy Thick-tailed Scorpion and the fantastic Namib Web-footed Gecko.
Special thanks must go to our expert driver / guide, Usko, always very helpful, accommodating and incredibly knowledgeable, he made our trip really come to life describing the geology and history of the Namib Desert. He also made sure that we arrived safely and on time at all the places we visited, thank you Usko !!
Many thanks also to all the staff at Ultimate Safaris for making our trip such a great success.
Thank you Michael for joining us on this Namibian adventure, it was a great pleasure to meet you and travel with you.
Here are some images from the trip... enjoy
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I wanted to thank you so much for the best safari I have ever been on and for your tremendous help both with the photography and Lightroom. I understand more about both in relation to wildlife than I ever have. Everything was brilliant. We were extraordinary lucky with what we saw but being able to take better photo’s and then edit them with more knowledge means I will have memories that will last for ever. Your (Wild4) attention to detail means that things run smoothly in a part of the world not always known for that. I really can’t thank you and Justyna enough for that.
Rita Daubeney, UK
I was fortunate to be on Wild4's "Best of Botswana" trip in May 2014. It could well be the Best of Africa. This trip featured two expert guides (Stu Porter himself and Nkosi from Letaka Safaris) and the abundant wildlife of four different Botswanan hot spots, with relatively few other vehicles around. Those features alone are worth the price of admission, particularly since they include Stu's vehicle modifications that ensure the best possible photographic experience. But if that isn't enough, we spent the first ten nights in expedition style mobile camps, roughing it with bucket showers and drop toilets, and listening to the leopards, elephants and hyenas wandering in and around the camps at night. But don't worry about the "roughing it" part. The expert staff prepares perfect meals, including fresh baked breads and cakes, and ensures that the camp is safe and clean. We finished the 12-night trip in a luxury lodge on the Chobe River, where we photographed from a boat customised to accommodate serious photographers (i.e. people with lenses bigger than their legs) and a waterway full of hippos and elephants and lined with Africa's most iconic birds. If you can only go once to Africa, go to Botswana with Wild4 Photographic Safaris. They will take care of every detail of your safari to ensure that everything is just right. If you are an old Africa veteran, ditto. You just can't go wrong with Wild4.
George Cathcart, USA