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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This was my first trip to Africa after a lot of research. Although I spent over 30 days in Africa, my Botswana component was among the most productive and is my favorite country visited. I must say Stu and Justyna's planning and direction for our entire trip is unparalleled and can't thank them enough. Our guides were incredible and the crew that helped us were indispensable. The food during our trip was the best for all of the places visited including South Africa. I still don't know how Pula managed to make his wonderful cuisine with so little resources! Our camp crew, Philemon and Ghoms were delightful and truly made me feel cared for and welcome. I have learned much from Stu and only wish I could have had more time learning from him in the field. Stu made our trip fun by pairing us with Mark, a like minded gentleman who was a joy to photograph with and talented. The entire experience was amazing with many high quality photo opportunities and think I have captured some magical moments and truly feel enriched by the experience. Thank you so much Stu, Justyna and all involved and I will try to one day do another marvelous adventure with Wild4 African Photographic Safaris !.
Georges McNeil, USA
My wife and I have been on three photo safaris with Stu. The first trip was the result of a recommendation from a friend. The second and third trips were because Stu did such a good job on the first. He is a thoroughly professional guide and offers such a terrific experience wherever he takes us. Stu shares his extensive knowledge of photography and has made it possible for us to get better photos and expand our understanding of what it takes to capture more of each photographic opportunity. It takes a special person to guide photographers around Africa, keep them comfortable, provide them with the best photo locations at the best time of the day, manage the schedules, vehicles, drivers, flights and food and still remain calmly in control. I think it would be appropriate to call Stu and ultimate professional. He is supported well by Justyna in the office and we anticipate traveling more with Wild4 in the future. You should book a trip with him as soon as you can!
Larry Jackson, USA