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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We recently travelled to South Africa for a safari led by Wild 4 African Photographic Safaris. To put things simply, we were completely blown away. I had been on safari before, and had expectations that I thought were reasonable, but Wild 4 completely exceeded those expectations in so many ways. First of all, Justyna handled all of our travel and trip details with exceptional professionalism and always responded to even our most basic questions quickly and in a very detailed manner. Once we had arrived in South Africa, we were met by our guide Stu Porter, who I cannot say enough good things about. He is so organised and cordial. Stu was spotting things that we couldn’t believe that he was spotting, which almost always led to an amazing wildlife experience that we never saw coming. His knowledge and understanding of the wildlife and ecosystem was outstanding, and he went to great lengths to insure that we had the best chance of capturing a great photo, without compromising the rules of the park or the integrity of the animals and ecology within it. His understanding and respect for the wildlife and surroundings made the trip so much more than just a “drive around and look at whatever we see” kind of experience. I know that you can never predict what kind of experience you will have when you go out into the wild, and often it’s up to nature to decide what events you will be a part of, but in all honesty, I can’t imagine a better guide than Stu Porter. We will be doing our future trips to Africa with Wild 4, and cannot recommend them highly enough. Thank you so much for what a lot of people call “the trip of a lifetime”, although we feel that this is only the beginning of many trips of a lifetime. Thank you, Wild 4!!
James Smith, USA
I wanted to write this while the trip is still fresh in my mind. This was my first trip to Africa and I did as much online research into photo specific safaris as I could. I was not disappointed with choosing Wild 4. Throughout the trip Stu answered the countless questions as if there wasn't a stupid one in the bunch (and there were many) his knowledge of the wildlife is nothing short of amazing, I can't think of a single bird, mammal or reptile that he couldn't identify and give us some background on. Not to mention his uncanny ability to spot wildlife while moving. Our rangers and accommodations in Ngala and Mala Mala were first rate. While in the Kruger proper, John and Anne took exceptional care us. I would not hesitate to book another trip with Stu. Patrick
Patrick Flora, USA