Sunday, 3 March 2013

Namibia – An African Gem

photo courtesy of our tour operator in Namibia
Positioned in between the Kalahari Desert and the Skeleton Coast in the South Atlantic, Namibia, one of the youngest countries in Africa offers travellers the striking diversity of cultures and national origins. The country is a photographer’s dream. From fantastic seascapes, rugged mountains, lonely deserts, the African wildlife one would expect on an African safari and more importantly; the elbow room photographer’s desire so they are not stacked one on top of another. You should seriously consider putting this country on your bucket list.

Namibia can be divided into four main topographical regions: (1) the Namib Desert and coastal plains in the west, (2) the eastward-sloping Central Plateau, (3) the Kalahari along the borders with South Africa and Botswana and (4) the densely wooded bushveld of the Kavango and Caprivi regions. Namibia has some of the world’s most awe inspiring national parks, ranging from the wildlife-rich Etosha National Park in Northwestern Namibia, to the dune fields and desert plains of the Namib-Naukluft Park in Western Namibia. Windhoek, in the Central Highlands, is the country's geographical heart and commercial nerve centre, with an ethnic mix of welcoming people.

Lonely Planet said, “Namibia is one of those dreamlike places that make you question whether something so visually orgasmic could actually exist. Time and space are less defined here. Landscapes collide. Experiences pile up. Watch a lion stalking its prey on a never-ending plain in Etosha. Fly down a giant dune on a sandboard. Spend a night alone in the desert under a sky so thick with stars you can’t differentiate between constellations.”

The Photographers Lounge will be taking a few groups of photographers to experience Namibia in early 2014. One of our tours will focus on wildlife. We will be spending time in the Etosha National Park as well as time to experience the skeleton coast to visit flocks of pink flamingos and massive gatherings of sea lions; not to mention the stunning seascapes and scenery. In Etosha, it will be as simple as waiting in our safari vehicles by a water hole to photograph the never-ending parade of animals that are forced to visit the water holes every day for survival. Gripping predator/prey dramas unfold in front of you near the water’s edge. In Etosha virtually every water hole has a different mix of animals that frequent it, so exploration of a number of them over several days will be on our schedule.

This spectacular "winter" gathering of animals at the evaporating water holes and artesian springs on the Etosha Pan constitutes some of the greatest diversity of mammal species seen anywhere. One of the first Europeans to visit Etosha described the sight as “a menagerie turned loose.” Throngs of remarkable animals, such as greater kudu, gemsbok, springbok, southern giraffe, zebras and the endangered black-faced impalas, come to drink at the small desert pools dotting the park. Etosha is famous for its huge elephant herds; black rhinos are still observed regularly, and predators such as lions, leopards and cheetahs are seen frequently.
On the day the first tour ends, the second photo tour will begin. The second group will experience the immense red Sossusvlei sand dunes at Namib-Naukluft National Park, the highly photogenic “quiver tree” forest and sculptured rock formations of the “Giants' Playground” on the south coast, the haunting turn-of-the-last-century “ghost town” of Kolmanskop—engulfed by encroaching coastal sand dunes. Due to its demographics Namibia is one of the most sparsely populated nations in the world—Namibia is very wild and starkly beautiful, and you will experience some of its most interesting features on this photography workshop.
The stunning desert landscapes of Sossusvlei (at the southern end of Namib-Naukluft National Park) produce sensuous, undulating sand dune images. The towering Sossusvlei Dunes are the worlds highest—several world famous photos of gemsbok (oryx) walking across these rolling red dunes were made here.
If you would like to discuss one or both of these tours please contact me through the Photographers Lounge. There you can check out all out tours we are running in addition to this photo tour.