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Photo Safaris - Namibia 2014

 

Bill Gozansky in conjunction with Ultimate Safaris, an adventure tour operator based in Windhoek, Namibia, will be offering a photographic safari itinerary to Namibia in 2014.  In a private or small group setting, learn field techniques of professional wildlife photography and capture amazing images of African landscapes and wildlife as you travel to one of the most unique areas in southwest Africa.

Designed to suit photographers of all levels, the photo safaris will enhance your photographic skills and introduce you to professional field techniques focused on capturing Namibia's endless landscapes, incredible wildlife, and the stunning Himba people.  Your African photo safari actually begins well before you board your plane to Africa.  Bill will personally email you to discuss your photographic goals, equipment resources and knowledge of photography to help ensure that your photo safari is optimally structured to target the subject matter that interests you the most. It is our hope that the photo safaris will not only enable you to capture stunning images of Namibia, but will also provide you with an incredible experience of a lifetime.

To make a reservation or for more information regarding this photo safari, please contact Tristan Cowley at tristan@ultimatesafaris.na or Bill Gozansky at info@billgozansky.com.

PHOTO SAFARI INTINERARY:  OCTOBER 2014

    Day 1 –  Arrive Windhoek

    Day 2 -   Namib Naukluft National Park

    Day 3 -   Namib Naukluft National Park

    Day 4 -   NamibRand Nature Reserve

    Day 5 -   NamibRand Nature Reserve

    Day 6 -   Swakopmund

    Day 7 -   Damaraland

    Day 8 -   Damaraland

    Day 9 -   Grootberg Area

    Day 10 - South Etosha National Park Boundary

    Day 11 - East Etosha National Park Boundary

    Day 12 - East Etosha National Park Boundary

    Day 13 - AfriCat Foundation

    Day 14 - Departure Windhoek Int'l Airport

 

DAY 1 – After arrival at Windhoek International Hosea Kutako Airport, situated 40 km outside of Windhoek, you will be welcomed by your private Ultimate Safaris guide who will transfer you to the Galton House. Take the rest of the afternoon to relax and settle into your charming accommodation or take a short city tour to photograph and explore Windhoek's attractions, shops and craft market. Dinner tonight at the guesthouse. 

Photography Focus: City, Architectural, Street Photography

Accommodation: Galton House  - B/D

Windhoek Capital City: Windhoek, Namibia’s capital nestles among rolling hills, bounded by the Eros Mountains in the east, the Auas Mountains to the south and the Khomas Hochland in the west. It is a meeting place between Africa and Europe, the modern and old. In the capital’s main street, well-preserved German colonial buildings are in sharp contrast with modern architectural styles, while Herero women in their traditional Victorian dresses mingle with executives dressed in the latest fashions. Centrally located within Namibia, Windhoek is an excellent starting point for an adventurous holiday for many visitors to the country and an ideal base from where to explore the rest of the country.

DAY 2 - This morning Ultimate Safaris will collect you from your accommodation and you then depart Windhoek in your safari vehicle with your personal guide and drive southwest through the scenic Khomas Hochland highlands before you head down the Great Escarpment into the Namib Desert below. A picnic lunch will be served at a scenic location en-route. You will arrive at Sossus Dune Lodge in the late afternoon where you will stay for two nights while you photograph and explore the remarkable sights of the Namib Desert with your guide.

Photography Focus: Amazing Dune Landscape Photography

Accommodation: Sossus Dune Lodge - B/L/D 

Sossusvlei: This most frequently visited section of the massive 50,000 km² Namib Naukluft National Park has become known as Sossusvlei, famous for its towering apricot colored sand dunes which can be reached by following the Tsauchab River valley. Sossusvlei itself is actually a clay pan set amidst these star shaped dunes which stand up to 300 meters above the surrounding plains, ranking them among the tallest dunes on earth. The deathly white clay pan contrasts against the orange sands and forms the endpoint of the ephemeral Tsauchab River, within the interior of the Great Sand Sea. The river course rises south of the Naukluft Mountains in the Great Escarpment. It penetrates the sand sea for some 55 km before it finally peters out at Sossusvlei, about the same distance from the Atlantic Ocean. Until the encroaching dunes blocked its course around 60,000 years ago, the Tsauchab River once reached the sea; as ephemeral rivers still do in the northern half of the Namib. Sand-locked pans to the west show where the river previously flowed to before dunes shifted its endpoint to where it currently gathers at Sossusvlei. Roughly once a decade rainfall over the catchment area is sufficient to bring the river down in flood and fill the pan. On such occasions the mirror images of dunes and camel thorn trees around the pan are reflected in the water. Sossusvlei is the biggest of four pans in the vicinity. Another, famous for its gnarled and ghostly camel thorn trees, is Deadvlei which can be reached on foot over 1 km of sand. Deadvlei’s striking camel thorn trees; dead for want of water, still stand erect as they once grew. They survived until about 900 years years ago when the sand sea finally blocked the river from occasionally flooding the pan.

DAY 3 - This will be a full day of photography as you rise early this morning for a magical excursion with your guide. As you are already inside the park you can get into Sossusvlei before everyone else and you would even be able to get there in time to see the sun rise to capture the dunes while the light is soft and shadows accentuate their towering shapes and curves.

 

This area boasts some of the highest free-standing sand dunes in the world. Your guide will give you an insight on the formation of the Namib Desert and its myriad of fascinating creatures and plants that have adapted to survive these harsh environs. Once you have explored to your hearts content you can enjoy a relaxing picnic breakfast under the shade of a camel thorn tree. Return to Sossus Dune Lodge in the mid-afternoon for lunch and then return to the dunes to capture the late afternoon light.

Photography Focus: Amazing Dune Landscape Photography

Accommodation: Sossus Dune Lodge - B/L/D

DAY 4 - This morning you will have the option to go into Sossusvlei again for some sunrise photography before continuing south to the NamibRand Nature Reserve where you will stay at Wolwedans Dune Camp for the next two nights. You arrive at Wolwedans Dune Camp in time for lunch (depending on whether or not you go into Sossusvlei again and how much time you spend in the Namib Naukluft Park) and the rest of the afternoon can be spent at your leisure, taking part in one of the scheduled activities offered by the Camp or a late afternoon photo game drive.

Photography Focus: Landscape, Wildlife, Desert Critter Photography

Accommodation: Wolwedans Dune Camp - B/L/D [Fully Inclusive w/ Drinks] 

NamibRand Nature Reserve: The breathtaking NamibRand Nature Reserve, one of the largest private nature reserves in Southern Africa, began as a conservation initiative in 1984 and now extends over 180,000 hectares of pristine Namib Desert, restoring land that was once used for Karakul sheep farming. The reserve shares a common border of nearly 100 km with the Namib-Naukluft National Park to the west, while the imposing Nubib mountain range forms a natural border to the east. The particular attraction of NamibRand is its diversity of different desert landscapes, representing virtually all facets of the Namib Desert with expansive sand and gravel plains and endless stretches of grass savannah alternate with majestic mountain ranges and vegetated dune belts of deep red sand. The variety of flora and fauna is as fascinating as the color nuances of the landscape, which change continuously as the day progress.

DAY 5 - Full day of memorable activities, including a variety of scenic game drives amidst the dramatic scenery of the NamibRand Nature Reserve, as run by Wolwedans. Emphasis will be on early morning and late afternoon photo excursions in order to be able to take advantage of the light conditions. Program will be confirmed after discussion with your guide and group's photographic interest.

Photography Focus: Landscape, Wildlife, Desert Critter Photography

Accommodation: Wolwedans Dune Camp - B/L/D [Fully Inclusive w/ Drinks]

DAY 6 - The fascinating drive today takes you northwest through awesome and ever changing desert landscapes of the Namib Naukluft National Park, including the impressive Gaub and Kuiseb canyons. You will meet the coast at the port town of Walvis Bay and then continue north to Swakopmund where you can enjoy the pleasant seaside location and cooler coastal air. There will be time this afternoon to wander and photograph around town and along the waterfront, before heading off for dinner at the popular Tug Restaurant by the jetty which specializes in fresh seafood.

Photography Focus: City, Architectural, Street, Coastal Landscape Photography

Accommodation: Hansa Hotel - B/L/D

NOTE: As an alternative to the drive from Wolwedans Dune Lodge to Swakopmund you may like to take a scenic light aircraft flight over Sossusvlei and along the Diamond Coast (optional extra at additional cost), allowing you a bird’s eye view over the dune sea, abandoned mining camps, shipwrecks, Sandwich Harbor and salt pans before you land at Swakopmund Airport. Your guide will drive to meet up with you in Swakopmund later in the day. The cost per private aircraft is NAD/ZAR $18,500 (*Approx. USD$1,850) for a maximum of 4 passengers.

DAY 7 - Continue on your safari, heading north and east into the wonderful and diverse region of Damaraland. You will pass Namibia’s highest mountain, the Brandberg which peaks at 2,573 m above sea level, and take time to view game and absorb the vastness of the scenery along the way. Damaraland is typified by displays of color, magnificent table topped mountains, rock formations and bizarre-looking vegetation. The present day landscape has been formed by the erosion of wind, water and geological forces which have formed rolling hills, dunes, gravel plains and ancient river terraces. It is the variety and loneliness of the area as well as the scenic splendor which will reward and astound you, giving one an authentic understanding of the word 'wilderness'. If time allows this afternoon your guide will take you to photograph the nearby attractions and geological sites of Twyfelfontein rock engravings, Burnt Mountain and the Organ Pipes - if not there is plenty of time to do so tomorrow.

Photography Focus: Landscape, Twyfelfontein Ancient Rock Engraving Photography

Accommodation: Mowani Mountain Camp - B/L/D

Twyfelfontein: Strewn over a hillside amongst flat-topped mountains of red sandstone, Twyfelfontein’s boulders and slabs of red sandstone hold some 2,500 prehistoric engravings that depict wildlife, animal spoor and abstract motifs. It is perhaps the largest and finest collection of petroglyphs in Africa. The engravings show animals such as elephant, giraffe, kudu, lion, rhinoceros, springbok, zebra and ostrich that once used to drink from a fountain at the bottom of the hill. In some cases footprints were engraved instead of hooves or paws. Stone tools and other artifacts found at Twyfelfontein suggest that hunter-gatherers occupied the site over a period of perhaps 7,000 years. These days a local guide accompanies visitors to showcase the rock art. The engravings lie along two circular routes, one an hour’s climb and the other 40 minutes longer. Twyfelfontein is one of Namibia’s key National Monuments and has recently become a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

DAY 8 - After an early breakfast you will be treated to an exciting 4x4 excursion along the ephemeral Aba Huab River valley to explore this remarkable region and to search for game, including the elusive desert-adapted elephants if they are in the area. Damaraland is home to a variety of desert-adapted wildlife and hidden desert treasures. You will return to Camp for lunch and this afternoon you may photograph Twyfelfontein and other nearby attractions if you haven't already done so, or take a walk with your guide into the local area around Camp, or relax and enjoy some well deserved leisure time. A second vehicle will be available today if 4, 5 and 6 pax participating.

Photography Focus: Desert-Adapted Elephant, Twyfelfontein Ancient Rock Engravings, Boulder-Strewn Landscape, Desert Critter Photography

Accommodation: Mowani Mountain Camp - B/L/D

DAY 9 - This morning you will head a few kilometers north to the Grootberg area traveling through the Grootberg Pass. Here you will stay at the beautiful Grootberg Lodge overlooking the Etendeka Plateau. En-route to Grootberg Lodge your guide will take you to photograph and visit a local Himba settlement – perhaps having to search for a while as the semi-nomadic Himba people sometimes move location with no notice. They are one of the last most traditional peoples of Namibia and have little time for conventional practices. You will have the opportunity to photograph and learn about the customs and traditions of this very proud nation, and will be given insight into their beliefs, way of life and everyday routine. Lunch is had en route.  You arrive at Grootberg Lodge in time for dinner after a full day photographing the Himba and the surrounding landscape. Grootberg Lodge is the only wholly-owned community lodge in Namibia, and is an example of changing times when it comes to business ownership.

Photography Focus: Himba Cultural and Landscape Photography

Accommodation: Grootberg Lodge - B/L/D

Himba: The Himba are semi-nomads who live in scattered settlements throughout the Kunene Region. They are a tall, slender and statuesque people, characterized especially by their proud yet friendly nature. The women especially are noted for their unusual sculptural beauty, enhanced by intricate hairstyles and traditional adornments. They rub their bodies with red ochre and fat, a treatment that protects their skins against the harsh desert climate. The homes of the Himba of Kaokoland are simple, cone-shaped structures of saplings, bound together with palm leaves and plastered with mud and dung. The men build the structures, while the women mix the clay and do the plastering. A fire burns in the headman's hut day and night, to keep away insects and provide light and heating. A family may move from one home to another several times a year to seek grazing for their goats and cattle. Men, women and children wear body adornments made from iron and shell beads. A Himba woman spends as much as three hours a day on her toilette. First she bathes, then she anoints herself with her own individually prepared mixture which not only protects her skin from the harsh desert sun, but also keeps insects away and prevents her body hair from falling out. She uses another mixture of butter fat, fresh herbs and black coals to rub on her hair, and 'steams' her clothes regularly over the permanent fire. Men, women and children adorn themselves with necklaces, bracelets, anklets and belts made from iron and shell beads.

DAY 10 - Today after breakfast you depart and head to Etosha National Park where you will stay at the state owned Okaukuejo Resort, located in southern Etosha National Park. You will arrive into Okaukuejo Resort in time for lunch and the afternoon can be spent on photo game drives inside Etosha National Park. Return to Okaukuejo in time to enjoy the sunset over the resorts excellent floodlit waterhole before dinner.

Photography Focus: Etosha Wildlife and Landscape Photography

Accommodation: Okaukuejo Resort (Premier Waterhole Chalets) - B/L/D

Etosha National Park: Large enough to be classified as a saline desert in its own right, the Etosha Pan lies in the Owambo Basin, on the north-western edge of the Namibian Kalahari. Until three million years ago it formed part of huge, shallow lake that was reduced to a complex of salt pans when the major river that fed it, the Kunene, changed course and began to flow to the Atlantic instead. If the lake existed today, it would be the third largest in the world. Etosha is the largest of the pans, 4 760 km in extent, or about half the size of Lebanon. It is nowadays filled with water only when sufficient rain falls to the north in Angola to induce floods to flow southward along the Cuvelai drainage system.

DAY 11 - Today you game drive and photograph your way across the Park in an easterly direction, stopping off at selected waterholes for photographic opportunities. You will exit the park through the Von Lindequist Gate to arrive at Mushara Outpost in the afternoon. Lunch will be taken en-route at either Halali or Namutoni. After your arrival at the Mushara Outpost the rest of the afternoon is spent at your leisure (very often this is welcomed since you have spent most of the day in the vehicle game driving in the park).

Photography Focus: Etosha Wildlife and Landscape Photography

Accommodation: Mushara Outpost - B/L/D

Day 12 - Today is available for a full day of exciting game viewing and photography within the eastern section of Etosha National Park. After discussion with your guide you can either opt to go into the Park in the morning and the afternoon and return to the lodge for lunch and an early afternoon rest; or you can head back west across to spend more time in the area around Halali; or you can head north past Fischer’s Pan and up into the Andoni Plains if you prefer. Either way, you will return to the comforts of Mushara Outpost by sunset.

Photography Focus: Etosha Wildlife and Landscape Photography

Accommodation: Mushara Outpost - B/L/D

DAY 13 - After breakfast you make your way to the AfriCat Foundation, stopping off to visit Lake Otjikoto along the way. You should arrive in time for a lunch at Okonjima Bush Camp, which is located at the base of the Omboroko Mountains near Waterberg. This is a wonderful highlight with which to conclude your safari. Here you can enjoy the welcoming atmosphere, superb accommodation and fantastic activities; starting with a guided afternoon excursion learning about the mission of the AfriCat Foundation and perhaps a game drive tracking leopard or cheetah. Additionally we will have an opportunity to visit a night hide to photograph nocturnal animals.

Photography Focus: AfriCat Foundation Leopard/Cheetah, Birds, Nocturnal Wildlife

Accommodation: Okonjima Bush Camp - B/L/D

AfriCat Foundation: Okonjima is home to the AfriCat Foundation, a wildlife sanctuary which focuses on the research and rehabilitation of Africa's big cats, especially injured or captured leopard and cheetah. Close encounters with leopard and cheetah are an unforgettable highlight. Activities include leopard tracking by vehicle, a visit to the cheetah welfare project and a visit to the night hide where nocturnal animals such as porcupine, caracal, honey badger and even leopard may be seen.

DAY 14 - You will rise early this morning for another memorable guided activity before you return to Bush Camp for a sumptuous breakfast. After freshening up you will depart for Windhoek in the late morning, via the town of Okahandja, to arrive back at roughly 2pm. Upon your arrival into Windhoek you will be transferred to Galton House to freshen up and relax there before being transferred to Windhoek International Airport to check in for your outgoing flight. This is officially the end of your Namibian safari. We hope to see you again!

Photography Focus: AfriCat Foundation Leopard/Cheetah Photography

Accommodation: Departure - B/L

Prices:

If 3 People* - $80,000 ZAR/NAD (**Approx. USD $8,000) per person sharing

If 4 People* - $78,700 ZAR/NAD (**Approx. USD $7,870) per person sharing

Single Supplement - $8,000 ZAR/NAD (**Approx. USD $800)

Important Notes:

*We are trying to keep group size to 3 photographers for a small-group, intensive photographic experience.  Please inquire as we may be able to accommodate an additional traveler under certain circumstances.

**Payment must be made to Ultimate Safaris in ZAR/NAD, thus payment will be subject to currency fluctuations based on your home currency exchange with ZAR/NAD and time of payment.

Includes:

  • Accommodation & meals as stated above.
  • Transportation in luxury air-conditioned safari vehicle.
  • Services of a registered and experienced safari guide.
  • Photography Guide and Field Instruction.
  • Entrance Fees and Excursions as described above.
  • Airport Transfers in Windhoek
  • Mineral Water onboard Safari Vehicle and local beverages while staying at Wolwedans Dunes Camp - excluding premium brands.

Excludes:

  • International Flights to and from Namibia and airport taxes.
  • Any meals not included in above itinerary.
  • Any entrance fees and excursions not included in above itinerary.
  • All beverages with the exception of mineral water onboard safari vehicle.
  • Laundry (laundry service available at lodges at extra cost)
  • Gratuities
  • Items of personal nature (telephone expenses, curios, medicines, etc.)
  • Entry Visa Fees
  • Travel and Medical Insurance
  • Bank Charges (as per bank or 3.5% commission for VISA/MASTERCARD and

        4.5% commission for AMEX)

Notes:

  • Services subject to availability at the time of booking.
  • Rates subject to change without prior notice due to circumstances beyond

        our control, e.g., fuel increases, currency fluctuations, etc.

  • Terms and Conditions apply.

To make a reservation or for more information regarding these photo safaris, please contact Tristan Cowley at tristan@ultimatesafaris.na or Bill Gozansky at info@billgozansky.com.

   
 

Bill Gozansky is a freelance photographer based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
He specializes in travel, nature and wildlife images for stock photography and fine art prints.