14 Days in Namibia
The African Wilderness Tour
June 5-19 2017
Photo tour led by Mark Rayner
Even by African standards Namibia is a vast country, but with a population of a mere 2 million it feels almost empty. It is also an ageless land, with its heritage of rock art created by stone-age artists and geological attractions such as the petrified forest where fossilised tree trunks have lain here for over 280 million years, the the continents shifted and the dinosaurs came and went.
Join Mark and superb naturalist guides on an amazing photography journey of a lifetime exploring Namibia’s beautiful landscapes. We stay in great camps, lodges and even mobile camping on our very own exclusive site with the stars bright overhead, You will meet the Himba people, track desert elephant, rhino and more whilst on safari, not to mention flying over the Sossusvlei in a helicopter for that bird's eye perspective. This is the ultimate Namibia photographic safari.
This private guided safari affords you the chance to experience this magnificent and memorable country in a very personal way. Thanks to Mark’s tour partners you will have your own professional and experienced safari guide who will enhance your enjoyment of this unique country by making it a fascinating and stress-free journey of discovery amidst very dramatic scenery. Your guide has intimate knowledge of each area you visit, letting them share local knowledge to add continuity and depth to your safari. Your guide will turn your safari into an experience of a lifetime!
With Mark you will learn and practice several photographic techniques: composition, street photography, unusual angles, portraits, film/shutter/aperture combinations, depth of field, macro, using light and many others. We will also focus on the specifics of wildlife and landscape photography, together with specialities like shooting wildlife and the wilderness. Photo skills will be reviewed "as-you-go" and also at the end of the day so you get the best from these opportunities. Almost everyday we will start the trip before dawn, to be in time of sunrise and the sky’s beautiful orange blue color, and ended up after sunset time for the golden and blue hours. At the end of the day you will also have something to see and enjoy, always with photography in mind.
Day 1 • Windhoek
After landing at Windhoek’s airport you will be welcomed by your personal naturalist guide, who will take you to the guesthouse, where you will stay overnight. You will be treated to a short city orientation tour of Windhoek enroute if that appeals. The rest of the afternoon is there for you to relax and settle into your charming accommodation, with the option to explore Windhoek city shops and craft market if desired. Dinner this evening is enjoyed out at one of the restaurants in town with your guide/s.
Days 2-3 • Onguma Game Reserve
And so the adventure begins. After a leisurely breakfast you will be collected by your guide/s and set off on your journey, which today takes you through Okahandja, Otjiwarongo and Tsumeb having lunch en route. There is an option to stop off a few kilometres outside Tsumeb to visit the sink hole, Lake Otjikoto. Many legends surround the lake including the favourite myth that Otjikoto and its sister lake Guinas are bottomless. A rare, mouth-breeding species of fish is indigenous to these two lakes. You would normally arrive at Onguma Bush Camp with enough time to relax and enjoy an afternoon drive inside Etosha National Park.
The second day is available for a full day of exciting game viewing 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 Camp for lunch and an early afternoon rest; or you can head back west across to spend some 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 Onguma Bush Camp before sunset.
Days 4-5 • Etosha National Park
The first day is spent game viewing inside the Etosha National Park from your private safari vehicle as you make your way through the breadth of the Park, stopping at selected waterholes along the way to observe the game gathered there. You have lunch en route to arrive at Okaukuejo Camp in the afternoon. You will be met by an extra guide and safari vehicle that join you for the rest of your safari. The rest of the afternoon could be spent game viewing at the camp’s waterhole, or possibly heading out on a short game drive with your guide. In the evening you can relax by Okaukuejo excellent floodlit waterhole where game comes and goes throughout the night.
The second day is spent game-viewing in the Etosha National Park from our private safari vehicles. You will be treated to an exciting morning guided game drive in the Etosha National Park, returning to Camp for a late lunch and time to relax by the refreshing swimming pool before you head out again for an afternoon game drive. The rest of the afternoon and evening can be spent game viewing at the camps floodlight waterhole.
Days 6-8 • Damaraland
Now you are accustomed to life on safari in Namibia you are truly ready for a mobile adventure. On the first day, after breakfast we head to Damaraland by way of the Grootberg Pass. Along the way the guides take us 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. Here you 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 continue to Damaraland where we will stay in the Damaraland Mobile Camp, a true safari camp, where our camp crew will welcome you and look after you for the next couple of nights. 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. If not, there is plenty of time to do so tomorrow (but this will only be done if convenient and if in the area, which is dependent on game movements).
After an early breakfast on the second day 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 normally take a picnic lunch and stop to take that in the shade of a large Ana tree, ideally while watching a herd of elephant browsing nearby, but you also have the option to return to Camp for lunch if you prefer.
This afternoon your guide/s will take you to visit the nearby attractions and geological site of Twyfelfontein rock engravings if you haven’t already done so the previous day. On return to Camp there should be time to take a walk into the local area with your guides, or simply relax and enjoy some well-deserved leisure time.
The third day here is a full day of private guided excursions with your Ultimate Safaris guide and Save the Rhino Trust team. You will spend an exciting and memorable morning out rhino tracking, followed by a picnic lunch if the weather is desirable, before returning to camp in the early afternoon with time to relax at camp during the heat of the day. Later in the afternoon you head out again for a scenic nature drive or walk to explore this vast and astounding ecosystem. That evening you will sit around the fire with the team from Save the Rhino Trust and learn more about the organization and the rhino’s you saw that morning.
Days 9-10 • Swakopmund
After breakfast this morning we depart for Swakopmund, making our way via Namibia's highest mountain, the Brandberg. Lunch is en route and we should arrive in Swakopmund in the early afternoon. There you can enjoy the pleasant seaside location and cooler coastal air. There is time in the afternoon to wander around town if that appeals, before we go for dinner at the popular Tug Restaurant by the jetty, which specializes in fresh seafood.
After an early breakfast on the second day here your guide will drive you to Walvis Bay, where you will join their exciting Sandwich Harbour Tour activity. Your guides will meet you with one of their vehicles. From there, you will begin with your Sandwich Harbour Excursion to see the Kuiseb River Delta, flamingoes, the saltpans and the wetlands just north of the Sandwich Harbour Lagoon. If weather and tides allow, we will drive right to the Sandwich Harbour Lagoon, one of Southern Africa’s richest and unique wetlands. If our vehicles cannot drive all along the beach to get to Sandwich Harbour because of the tides, you will have the time to walk 4-5 km. you will return at 16h30 in Walvis Bay where your guide will pick you up and transfer you back to Swakopmund.
Days 11-13 • Sossusvlei
The fascinating drive today takes you south-east through awesome and ever changing 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.
You arrive at Sossus Dune Lodge in the late afternoon where you will stay for three nights whilst you explore the remarkable sights of the Namib Desert with your guide. If there is still time today, your guide/s 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.
As an alternative to the drive from Swakopmund to 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, abandoned mining camps, shipwrecks, Sandwich Harbour, salt pans and the dune sea before you land at Sesriem Airstrip. Your guide will drive to meet up with you at Sossus Dune Lodge later in the day.
The next two days are full days 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 whilst the light is soft and shadows accentuate their towering shapes and curves, if you are prepared to get up early enough. This area boasts some of the highest free-standing sand dunes in the world. Your guide/s 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 heart's content you can enjoy a relaxing picnic breakfast under the shade of a camel thorn tree. Return to Sossus Dune Lodge in the early afternoon for a late lunch, stopping off to view Sesriem Canyon if you haven’t already done so the day before. The rest of the afternoon is at your leisure (from experience, this is usually welcomed after an exhilarating morning in the dunes).
We have also included quite an exciting activity that is taking the industry by storm - a helicopter flight over the desert and dunes. You each get a ride for 30 minutes in a helicopter up and over the dunes, allowing a birds eye perspective.
Day 14 • Windhoek
After a leisurely breakfast you start traversing your way back to the capital city, Windhoek. The drive takes you in a northerly direction, through the Khomas Hochland highlands, leaving the Namib Desert behind you. Lunch will be en-route and you arrive at your accommodation in the mid afternoon. You farewell dinner tonight is had out in town together with your guide/s.
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Bookings are made directly with the photographer. For more details please contact Mark Rayner by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Fees are exclusive of your own travel to and from Windhoek.
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- 50% to be paid on confirmed booking.
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- 50% refund if made 15+ days before the tour start date.
- 25% refund if made 7+ days before the tour start date.
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Mark hails from Brisbane in Australia, but his photo tours span the world. Fully accredited as a professional photographer in Australia (AIPP), Mark is an established wedding, portrait and commercial photographer, for which he has been awarded several commendations including "2012 Shoot the Architect" competition sponsored by the Australian Institute of Architects.