Photo Safaris - Namibia 2017

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 2017. 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 Itinerary: Dates September thru November

Day 1 – Arrive Windhoek
Day 2 – Windhoek
Day 3 & 4 – East Etosha National Park Boundary
Day 5 & 6 – South Etosha National Park Boundary
Day 7 – Grootberg Area
Day 8 & 9 – Damaraland
Day 10 – Swakopmund
Day 11 & 12 – Namib Naukluft National Park
Day 13 & 14 – NamibRand Nature Reserve
Day 15 & 16 – Kolmanskop | Elizabeth Bay | Luderitz
Day 17 – Fly Luderitz to Windhoek
Day 18 – 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 is a full day to relax in the comforts of Galton House and recuperate from the very long journey to get to Namibia. There is also the option to go out and photograph and explore the town if this appeals and there are plenty of shops offering interesting arts and crafts products if these interest you.

Photography Focus:

City, Architectural, Street Photography

Accommodation:

Galton House – B/L/D

Day 3

This morning you will have to leave quite early for the drive north via Okahandja and Otjiwarongo to reach the luxurious Mushara Bush Camp which is situated on the Eastern Boundary of Etosha National Park. You will also pass through the town of Tsumeb on the way and you have the option to stop and visit the museum there if that appeals, as well as viewing the sink hole of Lake Otjikoto on the way in to Mushara Bush Camp in the late afternoon. If time allows you can enter the Etosha National Park for some exciting game viewing, returning to the Bush Camp before sunset and in time for dinner.

Photography Focus:

Etosha Wildlife and Landscape Photography

Accommodation:

Mushara Bush Camp – 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 4

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 Bush Camp by sunset.

Photography Focus:

Etosha Wildlife and Landscape Photography

Accommodation:

Mushara Bush Camp – B/L/D

Etosha National Park Wildlife: Game-viewing centers around the numerous springs and waterholes where several different species can often be seen at one time. The Park boasts some 114 mammal and over 340 bird species. Wildlife that one might see includes elephant, lion, giraffe, blue wildebeest, eland, kudu, gemsbok (oryx), zebra, rhino, cheetah, leopard, hyena, honey badger and warthog, as well as the endemic black-faced impala.

Day 5

Today is spent on an extended game drive from the eastern side of Etosha National Park to the southern boundary. You make your way across the park via the resorts of Namutoni, Halali, and Okaukuejo, having lunch en-route at one of these state owned resorts. You also stop off at a variety of waterholes where the game presence is normally prolific, including the famous Okaukuejo waterhole towards the end of the day before exiting the park through the southern Andersson’s Gate. You then enter the Ongava Game Reserve which borders the southern boundary of the Park and go on to stay at the exquisite Anderson’s Camp. The drive today can take you most of the day, depending on how much time is spent game viewing at the different waterholes along the way. This evening you can relax by the camp’s excellent floodlit waterhole where game comes and goes throughout the night.

Photography Focus:

Etosha Wildlife and Landscape Photography

Accommodation:

Andersson’s Camp – B/L/D

Day 6

Today is available for a full day of exciting game viewing within the central section of Etosha National Park. After discussion with your guides you can either opt to go out in the morning and the afternoon and return to Andersson’s Camp for lunch and an early afternoon rest; or you can head east across the Park to spend more time in the area around Halali. Either way, you will return to the comforts of Andersson’s Camp by sunset and an evening watching game come and go from Andersson’s busy floodlit waterhole.

Photography Focus:

Etosha Wildlife and Landscape Photography

Accommodation:

Andersson’s Camp – B/L/D

Day 7

After an early breakfast this morning you will depart from Anderson’s Camp and head into the heart of Damaraland, travelling through the Grootberg Pass to Grootberg Lodge where you will stay for one night. En-route to Grootberg Lodge your guide will take you to visit a local Himba settlement – we may have 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. We will 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.

We arrive at Grootberg Lodge in the late afternoon. Grootberg Lodge is the only wholly owned community lodge in Namibia, and is an example of changing times when it comes to business ownership. The afternoon is spent on a guided walk along the top of the breathtaking Grootberg Plateau and also learning about the trials and tribulations of this unique community project.

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 8

After breakfast at Grootberg Lodge we depart and head south deeper into to the picturesque region of Damaraland. Damaraland is typified by displays of colour, 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 created 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 visit the nearby attractions and geological sites of Twyfelfontein rock engravings (recently declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site), Burnt Mountain, the Organ Pipes and the Damara Living Museum – 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 9

After an early breakfast you will be treated to an exciting 4×4 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.

Photography Focus:

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

Accommodation:

Mowani Mountain Camp – B/L/D

Day 10

Today’s journey takes you south past Namibia’s highest mountain, the Brandberg, and via the small mining community of Uis before heading west to meet the coast at Henties Bay. You will travel along the coastline up north to Cape Cross to visit the seal colony at Cape Cross Seal Reserve before continuing with your journey to Swakopmund. You then continue south to reach the coastal town of Swakopmund where you can enjoy the pleasant seaside location and cooler coastal air. There will be time this afternoon to wander around town and along the waterfront on foot if appeals, 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 & Wildlife Photography

Accommodation:

Hansa Hotel – B/L/D

Day 11

The fascinating drive today takes you south-east through awesome and everchanging desert landscapes via the impressive Gaub and Kuiseb canyons to meet the dunes at the settlement of Solitaire. You then continue south to Sesriem where you enter the Namib Naukluft National Park and go on to stay at Sossus Dune Lodge, the only lodge that affords you prime location within the boundaries of the Namib Naukluft National Park. If there is still time today, your guide will take you to visit Sesriem Canyon and Elim Dune, a nearby geological attraction, or you can relax and soak in the scenic and tranquil surroundings at Sossus Dune Lodge.

Photography Focus:

Landscape Photography

Accommodation:

Sossus Dune Lodge – B/L/D

NOTE: As an alternative to the drive from Swakopmund to the Sossus Dune Lodge you may like to take a scenic light aircraft flight along the Diamond Coast and over Sossusvlei (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 near Namib Naukluft National Park. Your guide will drive to meet up with you later in the day. The cost per private aircraft is NAD/ZAR $24,670 (*Approx. USD$1,900) for a maximum of 4 passengers.

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 12

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 13

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 14

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 15

Today after breakfast you will depart Wolwedans Dune Camp and head further south to Luderitz where you will go on to stay at the unique Luderitz Nest Hotel. You head south through spectacular scenery of the Tiras Mountain Conservancy to reach the small settlement of Aus. From Aus you will head west to Luderitz, keeping a lookout for the legendary feral desert horses along the way. A picnic lunch will be enjoyed at scenic location en-route and arrival at Luderitz Nest Hotel is in the late afternoon. This afternoon your guide will take you out for your first photographic appointment around Luderitz to the deserted “Ghost” Diamond Mining town of Kolmanskop (afternoon photographic permit included). When you have finished taking series of photographs you will be taken back to the hotel in time to freshen up for dinner.

Photography Focus:

Ghost Town, Urban Decay Photography

Accommodation:

Nest Hotel – B/L/D

Kolmanskop Ghost Town: Namibia’s most famous ghost town, Kolmanskop, is situated in the Sperrgebiet about 10km inland from Lüderitz. It was named after a transport driver named Jani Coleman, who lived in the settlement of Aus at the turn of the century. During a severe sandstorm he was forced to abandon his ox wagon on the small incline from where Kolmanskop can be seen. It stood there for while; giving rise to the name Colemanshuegel, which eventually became Kolmanskop. In 1908 the railway worker Zacharias Lewala found a sparkling stone amongst the sand he was shoveling away from the railway line near Kolmanskop. August Stauch, his supervisor, was convinced he had found a diamond. When this was confirmed, the news spread like wildfire, sparking a frantic diamond rush and causing fortune hunters to converge in droves on Kolmanskop. It soon became a bustling little centre with a butchery, bakery, furniture factory, soda water and lemonade plant, four-skittle alley, a public playground and even a casino and swimming pool.

Day 16

This morning you will be collected from the hotel and taken off on a fascinating tour to visit one of the old diamond processing centres at Elizabeth Bay where you can see giant sorting machines as they gently decay in the sea air as well as some of the other machinery that has been rehabilitated as the result of re-opening part of the town. When you have finished at Elizabeth Bay, you will be taken on back to Kolmanskop where the management of the whole “Forbidden” diamond area (Sperrgebiet) used to live so that you have an opportunity to capture images of this fascinating place.

Afterwards you will return to the Nest Hotel and you can either continue to explore the town of Lüderitz on foot or just stay and relax at the Hotel. Later in the afternoon you will return to the deserted “Ghost” Diamond Mining town of Kolmanskop with a special sunset photography permit to go and capture this historical place in the afternoon light. When you have finished taking your series of photographs you will be taken back to the hotel in time to freshen up for dinner.

Photography Focus:

Ghost Town, Urban Decay Photography

Accommodation:

Nest Hotel – B/L/D

Elizabeth Bay Ghost Town: Located about 30 km south of Luderitz within the Sperrgebiet National Park, Elizabeth Bay ghost town lies on the coast and has therefore eroded much faster than Kolmanskop ghost town. Battering winds and coastal fog that has crumbled the structures into fascinating skeletons of what they once were. The town was built to house mineworkers and their families. Inhabited from 1926 to 1935, it is now being recaptured by the desert and has become a windswept place of fragile ruins. Diamonds were mined off and on at Elizabeth Bay from 1911 to 1948 with major interruptions due to world wars and economic recessions. The mine was reopened nearby the ghost town in 1991 with modern infrastructure, and can be seen on the drive to Elizabeth Bay ghost town. The workforce for this new mine now lives in Lüderitz.

Day 17

This morning after a leisurely breakfast you will be transferred to the local airport where you will board a commercial flight to Windhoek international airport. Upon your arrival at the airport you will be met by an Ultimate Safaris representative who will transfer you to Galton house to check in. The afternoon can be spent on last minute curio shopping if appeals (an ultimate safaris vehicle will be available on request). Dinner tonight is at the hotel or out in town at one of Windhoek’s famous restaurants with an Ultimate Safaris representative. You also say goodbye to your private Ultimate Safaris guide today as he will be travelling by road back to Windhoek.

Photography Focus:

City, Architectural, Street Photography

Accommodation:

Galton House – B/L/D

Day 18

Should you have time this morning, you can explore Windhoek, if you have any last minute shopping to be done, before being transferred to the Windhoek International Airport by your Ultimate Safaris guide in time for your ongoing international flight back home. This is officially the end of your Namibian safari. We hope to see you again!

Departure:

Galton House Breakfast prior to Departure

Prices

If 2 People* – $130,000 ZAR/NAD (**Approx. USD $9,800) per person sharing
If 3 People* – $109,000 ZAR/NAD (**Approx. USD $8,200) per person sharing
Single Supplement – $10,000 ZAR/NAD (**Approx. USD $750)

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.
Rates subject to change based on specific dates of travel.

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
  • Air Namibia commercial flight from Luderitz to Windhoek Int’l Airport
  • 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.