Landscapes and wildlife in Namibia

(November 16-24, 2024)

 

Namibia: the land of magical landscapes, overwhelming emptiness yet brimming with life! In collaboration with Backroads Africa we organize this great 9-day photo trip.

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Namibia

Namibia: the most sparsely populated country in Africa, and among the ten driest countries on earth. The result: beautiful landscapes! Many people think of deserts as endless sweeping sand plains. But in Namibia you can see that desert sometimes also means rocks, mountains, and here and there a bush or a thin tree. And in all color gradations you could possibly imagine! 

These places are dry and they might seem very inhospitable, yet they are teeming with life. From small species of reptiles, insects and birds, to – for example in Etosha National Park –  elephants, lions, zebras and giraffes. All of them have adapted to the dry climate.

Together with those special landscapes, this results in truly unique photo opportunities! 

Geography

Namibia is located in the south west of Africa, sandwiched between Angola to the north, Botswana to the east and South Africa to the south. The west coast is formed by the Atlantic Ocean. Here the desert and the ocean meet; a very special combination of water and dryness.

In the villages and towns you can still find a lot of recent history. Namibia was first colonized by Germany and later became part of South Africa. You can see half-timbered houses, you can eat Sauerkraut and most people also speak Afrikaans.

A tour with variety

This photo tour is not only about wildlife, but also about the different landscapes. That is why it is not a trip to one specific area, as we do in the other photo tours, but a tour where we’ll visit a variety of area’s.

Everyone is welcome

This trip is for everyone who loves nature, likes to take pictures and has the patience to quietly observe and wait for that one great moment! Even though it is a photo tour, you really don’t have to be a professional photographer or be very experienced with doing safari trips.

We simply want you to enjoy all that Namibia has to offer. And we want to give you plenty of opportunities to take great photos, at any level. Photographing landscapes and wildlife sometimes requires different skills than what you may be used to, but we can definitely help you with that.

Please note: there is only room for 6 people on this trip, so don’t hesitate to book! This is a really great offer for a super cool and exclusive safari!

“Thanks to the experienced rangers and trackers and Simone’s knowledge of the bush and the animals that live there, we saw and learned a lot. I came home with many fantastic pictures.” (Wim Blom)

Kalahari conservancy
Kalahari conservancy
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a selection of my ‘best of’ images from Namibia & Botswana

Details

Accommodation

We sleep in different types of accommodation. Sometimes this can be a lodge or hotel where you have a (shared) room, but we also occasionally sleep in a luxury tent, with our own en-suite bathroom.

Sleeping in a tent may sound a bit adventurous, but the animals absolutely respect it. And it’s great to lie in your bed at night listening to the sound of the cicadas and a hyena in the distance!

Below you will find an impression of the various places where we’ll stay. 

Zebra Plains Camp
Zebra Plains Camp
Zebra Plains Camp
Zebra Plains Camp
Zebra Plains Camp
Zebra Plains Camp

Transport

In Windhoek, where the tour starts, we’ll depart with a local driver/guide and our own transport in the form of a mini safari truck! The windows can all be opened, the roof can be raised (allowing us to photograph in all directions from above) and there is enough space for luggage. The photo below is from January 2023, but because there’s some time between the publication of this page and the departure of the trip, it may have been upgraded by then.

Your photography hosts

As mentioned, we have a driver who will drive us around. However, this person is also a professional guide and therefore also has the final responsibility for our trip.

In addition, we will accompany you as a photographer. This means we can teach you a lot about wildlife photography. Think for instance about the perfect camera settings (wildlife acquires different things than for instance wedding or portrait photography), how you can perfectly use the existing light, and how you can create creative wildlife images. We’ll do this during the drives, as well as in camp where we can also help you with some tips about editing or the use of Lightroom. 

Evert Doorn

Evert kicked off his Africa experience with a seven month overland trip from the UK to Cape Town. He has experience as a wildlife photographer in South Africa, Zambia, Botswana, India, and mostly Kenya. The big cats are definitely his favorite, but small animals and landscapes also interest him. In the Netherlands Evert has been a professional photographer for weddings and business assignments for many years. He’s also a photography teacher at the Gooische Fotoschool. You can find his work on Instagram: @thewildsite.

Simone Janssen

Simone has worked as a (camping) tour guide in Southern Africa from 2004 to 2007. During that period she did a full-time one month course at Eco Training to learn more about the bush: its animals, trees, tracks and everything else that is part of the great African circle of life. In addition, Simone has worked as a trainer and coach. In the Netherlands, Simone is a very experienced professional photographer, especially for weddings, but as soon as she has the opportunity, she will travel to Africa again! Her work can also be found on Instagram: @simone_afrika.

Kalahari conservancy
Kalahari conservancy
Kalahari conservancy

Equipment

It’s recommended to bring a camera you know well. We recommend a wide-angle lens to take beautiful landscape photos and a zoom lens to get closer to animals. Consider a 400, 500 or even 600 mm lens. An extender is certainly useful, although you’ll probably want to take it off early in the morning or at night to make your lens a bit brighter. Renting equipment is also an option! A tripod is a good idea for nightscapes. If you are not sure whether your items will be sufficient, please contact us.

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Extras

This tour departs and finishes in Windhoek, the capital of Namibia. If you want to extend your holiday with a visit to Botswana (the Okavango Delta) for example, or want to fly to Cape Town or Johannesburg, then that is of course perfectly possible.

Backroads Africa can help you with all this (with a small discount)!

wildlife photography

 

Why is this specifically a photo tour?

  • we have sufficient space in the car, no one has to sit in the middle
  • as wildlife and landscape photographers we can help you take the best picture (and tell you something about most animals)
  • there is no rush or need to tick off boxes; we take pictures as long as we want and no one asks ‘are you ready yet?’
  • once we get to our accommodation for the night, there is plenty of time to view and edit photos, learn from each other and talk about photography for hours!
Kalahari conservancy
Kalahari conservancy
Kalahari conservancy

Dates and costs

Travel dates: Saturday 16th to Sunday 24th November 2024

Costs: ZAR 49300 per person (based on the exchange rate in January 2023 this is approximately € 2700)

The total costs are based on a single room in Windhoek and shared accommodation for the remaining nights. Would you rather not share a room? That is of course also possible. You then pay ZAR 3800 extra as a single supplement. A 20% deposit is required for reserving your spot on this trip. The payment and price is in ZAR because you book directly with Backroads Africa, which is based in South Africa.

 

The daily schedule in short:

Day 1: arrival in Windhoek, first meet with our group
Day 2: Early departure to Sossusvlei
Day 3: Sossusvlei
Day 4: Departure for Swakopmund
Day 5: Departure for Damaraland
Day 6: Damaraland
Day 7: Departure to Etosha, evening drive
Day 8: Etosha
Day 9: After the morning drive, departure to Windhoek, arrival late afternoon

What is included?

  • all transport from Windhoek to Windhoek
  • eight nights of accommodation based on double rooms/tents
  • English speaking local guide
  • two Dutch and English speaking professional photographers
  • meals as described in the daily schedule below
  • all entry fees to national parks and such
  • drinking water

What is not included?

  • international flights
  • all drinks and snacks and meals not mentioned in the daily schedule below 
  • any travel vaccination
  • travel and cancellation insurance
  • personal expenses such as tips and souvenir
wildlife photography

The daily schedule in full: 

Day 1: arrival in Windhoek

It is now possible to fly directly from Europe to Windhoek, but you can also do this via Johannesburg or Cape Town (and possibly stay a few extra days there). We expect you somewhere during the day in Windhoek where we will pick you up from the airport. We’ll spend the night in a nice hotel and will have our first meeting there in the evening. We can get to know each other a bit and we will tell you more about what you can expect.

Day 2 (breakfast, dinner)

After a good night’s rest and early breakfast, we depart with our vehicle to Sossusvlei. You might remember that Microsoft Windows screensaver with the red sand dune against the beautiful blue sky – that’s here! Sossusvlei (with the sand dunes) and Dead Vlei (also a very famous scene with the white limestone soil and dead trees) are located in a National Park and we sleep inside the park, at Dead Valley Lodge. This allows us to get to the most beautiful place the next morning, in time for a great sunrise.

 

Day 3 (breakfast, lunch, dinner)

This is going to be a long but fantastic day! We’ll get up very early to photograph the sunrise from one of the most beautiful and famous dunes in the world: Dune 45. After that, we will drive to Dead Vlei where everyone can walk around freely to take the most beautiful and creative photos. Of course we will be there to help you with that. The temperature can get very high here, so the motto is ’take it easy’ and bring enough water.

After lunch at the lodge, there is an opportunity to visit Sesriem Canyon in the afternoon. A small, mostly dry canyon that also offers great photographic opportunities.

Day 4 (breakfast)

After breakfast we leave for Swakopmund, a small and very cozy coastal town. The difference in temperature can be big today, so make sure you keep your fleece at hand! On the way there we will stop at Solitaire for coffee and world-famous apple crumble (there is a great book written about this by the Dutchman Ton van der Lee) and we will stop at the Tropic of Capricorn.

Just before we arrive at Swakopmund, we’ll stop in Walvis Bay. In this port town you can often find a large colony of flamingos and pelicans. The rest of the day you have the opportunity to discover Swakopmund, buy some souvenirs and enjoy a nice meal. Our accommodation for the night is Hotel a la Mer.

Day 5 (breakfast, dinner)

Today we continue north, to Damaraland. But before we get there, we first have a stopover at a huge colony of sea lions at Cape Cross (be prepared for a lot of noise and a lot of er… smell!), our first real wildlife encounter!

Along the way we will slowly see the landscape change into a fairytale image, with special round rock heads, a bit more vegetation and beautiful pink, red and lilac colors. We also encounter more and more people from the Himba and Herero tribes on this route. The Himbas cover themselves with a mixture of fat and red ocher and hardly wear any Western clothing. The ladies of the Herero are particularly recognizable by their long, almost medieval-looking dresses and large hats.

At night, we’ll sleep in the wonderful luxury tents of Twyfelfontein Adventure Camp.

Day 6 (breakfast, dinner)

Today we have the whole day to further discover the beautiful Damaraland. In the morning we leave early in a fully open car in the hope of seeing the desert elephants. There aren’t many left so we must be lucky to see them, but who knows!

In the afternoon we’ll visit Twyfelfontein. Very early petroglyphs (actually, they are more engravings) have been found here by Bushmen, which we will see during a tour. Besides that, it is a beautiful rocky landscape with beautiful colors. And if you are fond of small lizards and insects, you can indulge yourself here.

Day 7 (breakfast, dinner)

We are now really going to shift our attention from landscapes to animals. Today we’ll drive to Etosha, the national park in northern Namibia. You’ll recognize photos taken here almost immediately, because of the near-white color of the soil here. In the middle of the park you will find the Etosha Pan, a salt flat of about 4,700 square kilometers in size. Again a great opportunity to take some very special photos here!

In the area of the Pan, there’s also more vegetation than other parts of the park, and you’ll find a water hole here and there. This is where you will see the animals. In Etosha you will find four of the so-called big five (elephant, lion, rhinoceros and leopard) and many zebras, giraffes, gemsboks, springboks, wildebeests, cheetah, brown hyena and much more. The large, open plains are particularly very photogenic.

At the end of the afternoon we’ll do our first game drive here and then we sleep in Okaukuejo, one of three large campsites in Etosha. There is a renowned water hole here, allowing you to take photos from drinking animals from within the camp!

Day 8 (breakfast, dinner)

Today we have a full day to enjoy Etosha and look for the animals. We’ll determine our plan for the day on the spot, based on what has been spotted here and there the day(s) before. 

Day 9 (breakfast)

That’s it unfortunately!. In the morning we make one last game drive and then we leave for Windhoek, where we will arrive late afternoon. Because everyone might have different plans from here, no overnight stay is planned here.

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Bookings

You book directly with Backroads Africa. The first deposit must be received within six weeks of booking to confirm your spot. The remaining part must be paid 60 days before departure. You are expected to arrange travel and cancellation insurance yourself. 

A safari is a special journey and we offer you the opportunity to join us on a fantastic photo tour in Namibia. You certainly won’t be disappointed. Don’t think too long, just join us!

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via the general form, DM/PM on Insta/Facebook or Whatsapp me on +31 (6) 55121414.

Booking form

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