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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The wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm Stu shared was priceless, from identifying birds and pointing out animal behaviours, to stories about Kruger Park past, and of course, answering photography questions day in and day out. You were so patient! I really appreciated the custom safari vehicle and thoughtful design and extra space it afforded, and the advantage and flexibility of travelling with such a small number of people. I learnt so much, and I look forward to sorting through the images and enjoying remembering all the things we did during our busy safari.
Helen Cruickshank, Australia
Any aspiring photographer who has not yet been on a wildlife safari should join a WILD4 with Stu and Justyna Porter. You will be guided by a graduate professional photographer who is also a highly-qualified South African field guide. Stu's knowledge of photography and his understanding of African wildlife are exceptional. He is also blessed with an amazing spotter's eyesight. I often thought to myself, how on earth did he see that! As each day begins all these talents are passed on with sincerity and quiet enthusiasm to each photographer's needs. Nothing is ever too much trouble and his positioning of the vehicle for the best light and animal profile is always his first consideration. On our tour there were times for laughter and many times when action and adrenalin ran high. Any successful safari is only as good as its backup team. This family company is most ably supported by Stu's wife Justyna who is the drive behind the scenes and efficiently arranges the accommodation and all the logistics. Stu's mother, Ann Porter provides excellent food for the day in the park and around the campfire at night. Both are qualified field guides and their spotting abilities add greatly to each day's safari. This particular trip was most rewarding in both personal and photographic terms and one of the best we have ever enjoyed. Sincere thanks to you all.
Slim & Barbara Callaghan, UK