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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Shopping for a travel adventure on the Web is somewhat risky, but when I wanted to go on an African photo safari, I really had no choice. I looked around and finally picked Wild4 Photographic Safaris for one reason: the vehicle. It was obvious that this was an outfit that understood photographic details and the needs of serious wildlife photographers. With a capacity for 10 passengers, the vehicle takes just three photographers. The three photographers' benches feature platforms to steady big lenses on both sides of the vehicle, and loads of storage space and pockets for lenses, bodies, accessories, binoculars, field guides, water, etc. I can not imagine a better platform for photography in the bush veldt. What is not as obvious in the on-line description is that the vehicle comes equipped with Stu Porter, the Wild4 owner and guide. Stu, who bears a striking resemblance to movie actor Matt Damon, is a deceptively shy young man with an encyclopaedic knowledge of Kruger National Park, its animals, geography, geology, climate, seasons, and, of course, rules. He also has the eyes of an eagle and is the best leopard spotter in South Africa. Stu's knowledge and patience are seemingly infinite, and he somehow manages to be aware both of his passengers' needs and everything around us. He does everything humanly possible to give you the opportunity to get the best shot. And if you need more than just the opportunity, he can instruct even the most seasoned photographer on technique. Stu grew up next to Kruger National Park, and his mother (who does the meal preparation for the safari) started taking him there as soon as he was old enough. He has been accumulating his knowledge of the park and its animals all his life, and that comes in very handy when you need to know something about animal behavior. In short, Wild4 Photographic Safaris is all about the vehicle, with spacious seats, shooting platforms and Stu Porter as standard equipment. You can't do better. Thank you, Stu!
George Cathcart, USA
This was my third photographic trip to Africa, and I have to say the best! Stu has great knowledge & passion for wildlife and photography that he is willing to share: I certainly learnt a lot. The setup for photography in the vehicles is extremely well thought out. There was an amazing variety of great photographic opportunities and I really enjoyed time spent with the animals, but the unexpected bonus for me was the day spent at the reptile centre (part of the extension). I am very pleased with the results! After coming away with the renewed enthusiasm for photography, I am planning to do another trip with them soon.”
Helen Clarke, AUSTRALIA