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shemimages > book a photo safari > photo workshops

Intimate Namibia Landscapes 2018

  Safari OverviewPhoto ToursPrivate ToursPhoto HidesBook a Safari with Shem
 

Introduction

On the South Western Coast of Africa, where the icy Atlantic ocean meets the world’s oldest desert lies a place that is known for its landscapes as much as the Serengeti is known for its abundant wildlife. The unique combination of desert, grassland and cold ocean current form a one-of-a-kind terrain found only here. For this reason landscape photographers come from all over the world flock to the Namib-Naukluft Rand to try and capture its ethereal beauty.

For in this captivating region of Namibia lie a maze of mountainous valleys that look like they were carpeted from slope to slope by ivory colored grass, criss-crossed by ancient riverbeds and dotted with a collection of photogenic acacia trees.jpg final unique touch is added by snake like dunes that rise from the grasslands like the roof of some subterranean world.jpgs stark and compelling landscape is something to behold with the human eye, but when it’s sweeping meadows, barren mountains and blood red dunes are captured and transformed into a two dimensional image, it becomes obvious why this place is so addictive to photographers.

Join award winning nature photographer Hougaard Malan and Award winning nature photographer Isak Pretorius for a week in this holy grail of landscape photography. We will be spending 4 nights at a desert lodge in the heart of the Namib rand amongst the dunes, grass and Camel thorn trees for eight twilight shoots and some night time light painting below a milky way so bright that it casts a shadow below the African trees.

We will also spend 2 nights in Luderitz to photograph at Kolmanskop.jpgs is a famous old mining town that experienced one of the largest diamond booms in the 1930’s.jpgmonds soon died and  Kolmanskop is now an uninhabited, derelict town that is slowly being buried by the encroaching sands.jpgse sands provide a beautiful setting amongst the old buildings in which to take photographs.jpgy may look somewhat challenging, but once you accept the challenge and our guides show you the highlights of the town you will be able to capture some amazing images.
 A special photography permit allows us access to the town for all the hours between sunrise and sunset.jpgs permit virtually ensures we get the place to ourselves for a few hours- the normal gate opening hours are 09h00.jpgs allows us privacy in the town and hopefully undisturbed sand, blown clean during the night.
Kolmanskop offers the photorapher some unique and fantastic photo opportunities- ones that you wont find any where else.

After this we will move on to the world Famous Sossusvlei for two days of photographic indulgence in top class, luxurious accommodation.

The area has the ideal amount of cloud cover in this time, the desert cools down and if there was good rainfall throughout the summer, then we will get that magical tinge of green in the grass.

Namibia LandscapeNamibia Landscape

Photographic Highlights
   Some of the best desert landscapes in the world
   Lone camel thorn trees dwarfed by huge sand dunes
   Camelthorn trees in open, grassy plains
   Sand ripples on the dunes
   Dead vlei- A dry pan with dead skeletal trees . one of the real highlights
   Early and late access into Sossusvlei to ensure we get the best light
   The time of year gives us the best chance of clouds, which make for great skies
   Stunningly clear skies which makes for brilliant night time photography. It is the perfect place for star trails and milky way photos.
   Own access road to Sossusvlei dunes
   Early and late access permits to Sossusvlei and deadvlei allowing total photographic freedom
   Access to some of the best image processing techniques on your images.

Photographic Highlights

  • Some of the best desert landscapes in the world
  • Lone camel thorn trees dwarfed by huge sand dunes
  • Camelthorn trees in open, grassy plains
  • Sand ripples on the dunes
  • Dead vlei - A dry pan with dead skeletal trees - one of the real highlights
  • Early and late access into Sossusvlei to ensure we get the best light
  • The time of year gives us the best chance of clouds, which make for great skies
  • Stunningly clear skies which makes for brilliant night time photography. It is the perfect place for star trails and milky way photos
  • Own access road to Sossusvlei dunes
  • Early and late access permits to Sossusvlei and deadvlei allowing total photographic freedom
  • Access to some of the best image processing techniques on your images
 


Itinerary

Day 1 - 2

River Crossing Lodge, Namibia.

Upon arrival in Windhoek, you will be collected from Hosea Kutako International Airport and transferred to our lodge, which is situated in the mountains just outside Windhoek. Once the whole group has checked in, we’ll go for dinner at one of Windhoek’s best restaurants. Everyone will have a chance to tell their photographic story and the guides will give a breakdown of the days to come and what to expect.

*If you wish to fly in a day or two early to sleep off the jet lag, we are more than happy to arrange all the logistics for you.

 

Day 2 - 4

Qiuver Tree Forest Rest Camp, Namibia.
QUIVER TREE FOREST

After an early morning breakfast on the second morning, we’ll hit the road South towards Quiver Tree Forest, where we’ll spend the next two days. This is where the famous quiver tree forest lies and the Giants Playground.

Found only in South-western Africa, Quiver “Trees” are actually very large succulent plants. Their cracked golden-white bark and remarkable shape make for fantastic photos. While Quiver Trees are found throughout much of Namibia, they aren’t always easy to get to as they prefer rocky high-lying terrain like mountain ridges. Quiver Tree Forest offers two locations that have a high density of Quiver trees amongst interesting rock stacks on low-lying, level ground. Both locations are within 5 minutes of our accommodation and easy to explore. We’ll arrive at our destination early afternoon, leaving plenty of time for everyone to familiarize themselves with the trees. After sunset we’ll have dinner at the lodge and get to bed early.

 

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Day 4 - 6

Luderitz nest hotel, Namibia 
KOLMANSKOP

After two days with the special trees, we have a 3.5 hour drive to the West, where we’ll get a break from the heat in our hotel on the rocks in Luderitz Bay. Situated just 10 minutes from Kolmanskop, this hotel will be our base for the next two days.

Situated just 5 minutes inland from Luderitz, Kolmanskop is the long forgotten site of one of the greatest diamond rushes in human history. Luderitz bay was established as a harbour by the Germans in the late 1800’s and by pure luck, someone stumbled upon a diamond under a full moon in 1908. This quickly led to a flood of prospectors and it was soon clear that just inland of Luderitz was the world’s greatest and easiest ever find of diamonds. Within a few short years there was a full blown diamond rush and the German mining companies invested a fortune building an entire town in the middle of nowhere. Everything from the door frames to the paint was imported from Germany. The hospital had the Southern Hemisphere’s first X-ray machine and they had so much money they could afford to ship water from the mountains near Cape Town as the local supply was too brackish for their liking.

In a few short decades, nearly 1 million carats of diamonds was mined just from processing the surface sand. By the 1930’s the yields were dropping sharply and there were more promising finds further South near the Orange River. The mining companies withdrew their funding and the town was quickly abandoned. The last families left in 1956 and today the desert is reclaiming this once-glorious town. Despite being flooded with sand, the dry climate has done a magnificent job of preserving the colourful rooms.


There are well over 25 rooms worth photographing, so even a large group can all go exploring individually and feel like they have the ghost town to themselves. Thanks to around 50 visits (and counting), Hougaard knows Kolmanskop like his own house. On the first afternoon he will show everyone all the best rooms, varying from the iconic to the unknown. In early March the tourism season has barely begun in Namibia and we should be able to find a couple of rooms with rippled sand. Perfect Kolmanskop shots don’t just happen... we have a few secret tricks up our sleeves that only our guides and past Namibia clients know of. We go to really great lengths to ensure that you get the iconic shots, perfectly lit and with powdery smooth sand. We also arm you with the knowledge of the location to go exploring for new and unique photos.

We pay a special fee, included in the tour price, for a special photographic permit that allows us free access to Kolmanskop. The normal visiting hours are just from 09:00-13:00.


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Day 6 - 10

Sossus Dune Lodge, Namibia 

After a final morning in the ghost town, we’ll hit the road North towards Sossusvlei. This is the longest and most exhausting drive of the trip, but the scenery along the way is spectacular. We’ll stop at the first of two places who claim to have the best apple pie in Namibia.

The colossal orange dunes and the dead trees of Sossusvlei are without a doubt Namibia’s most famous and visited landscape. The area within the park that is so famous is the ancient valley that the Tsauchab River cut through these colossal dunes on its journey to the Atlantic. Many millennia ago, the dunes started to block the river’s path to the sea and today the result is a wetland amongst the world’s highest dunes. This special culmination of geographic and meteorological circumstances has resulted in one of earth’s most unique and interesting landscapes. It is the last life of a landscape, dying a slow death on a time scale much too large for us to appreciate.

THE FAMOUS DUNE SPINES

The photos of dune spines that seem to rise up into the sky are all taken along the 40km drive into Deadvlei. Thanks to the valley’s East-West orientation, sunset creates deep black shadows on the Eastern side and bright red colours on the Western side of the dunes (and vice versa in the morning). This offers great opportunities for telephoto shots of dune spines that dwarf the trees below. While shooting these photos we will also be on the lookout for some Oryx and if we find one we’ll do our best to frame it below a dune in the right spot.

 

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DEADVLEI

The real highlight at Sossusvlei is Deadvlei - Situated at the end of the Tsauchab valley, this section of the wetland was cut off from Sossusvlei by a low dune an estimated 700-800 years ago. The lack of water, arid climate and hard wood of the Namibian Camel Thorn tree has kept the trees from decomposing. The result is a collection of ghostly trees rising from a cracked white clay pan. The pan is deceptively large and offers about 50 of the oddly shaped trees to photograph. The location can be overwhelming at first, but our guides know the location well and will assist everyone to find the best trees and photograph them adequately.

All participants will have at least 3 opportunities to visit Deadvlei and for those willing to brave the afternoon heat, we will happily take an afternoon group. It is usually empty in the afternoons as tourists prefer doing the hike over sand in the mornings, when the temperature is more pleasant.

NIGHT SHOOT IN DEADVLEI

Photographing Deadvlei at night is a very controversial subject. Permission filming permit, but this avenue has been closed down to all but commercial filming companies. Nowadays there is an alternative way to arrange night time access and we have been allowed access for the past three years without any trouble. We hope that this arrangement stays in place going forward, but we can’t and don’t want to make promises that we can’t keep. We don’t see any reason why our arrangement will fall through – we have been taking tours to Sossusvlei for almost ten years now and we have an excellent relationship with the park’s staff. We simply want anyone booking for this tour to be aware of the fact that a night shoot in Deadvlei simply cannot be guaranteed (by us or any other company) due to factors beyond our control.

AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHY

This tour includes a 2.5 hour doors off helicopter flight over the Sossusvlei park. Flying over this landscape and capturing it from above is a once in a lifetime experience and it offers amazing photographic opportunities. The helicopter operator has two Robinson Raven II R44’s, which can take 3 passengers at a time. The standard route over the park is a 60-minute flight, which doesn’t offer much time to deviate from the route and circle above subjects of interest. A custom-route 150-minute flight offers the opportunity to fly a much more photogenic route and still have spare time to circle above subjects of interest.

 

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Day 10 - 13

Strand Hotel, Namibia
SWAKOPMUND 

After a final sunrise at Sossusvlei, we have a 4-hour drive Northeast to the coast. We’ll stop along the way to conclude who has the best apple pie in Namibia. This beautiful seaside town will be a welcome break from the heat and physical exhaustion of Sossusvlei. Situated on the icy Atlantic coast, you can expect temperatures no higher than 25c even in high summer.

During our 3 nights here, our photographic focus will be on the birds and animals of Walvis Bay as well as a helicopter flight along the coast. Situated just a short drive South of Swakopmund, this town is home to very large congregations of flamingo and can be photographed in the rolling dunes or in the estuary. On our full day there we will go for a private chartered cruise of the Bay, to photograph pelicans that come to the boat as well as seals and dolphins. In the evenings we’ll take a stroll to one of Swakopmund’s fantastic restaurants for a seafood dinner and in the mornings you can wander town for a perfect cup of freshly roasted and brewed coffee. During our stay here, each person will enjoy a 2.5 hour helicopter flight from Swakopmund along the coast to shoot aerial images of Flamingoes in Sandwich harbour and shipwrecks like the Eduard Bohlen.

 

Day 13 - 15

Spitzkoppen Lodge, Namibia
SPITZKOPPEN 

This is one of Namibia’s most photogenic destinations, but was until recently inaccessible to photo tours because there wasn’t a lodge or hotel nearby. That changed with the completion of the new Spitzkoppen Lodge, situated just a 5-minute drive from the iconic arch and water pools.

These granitic spires rise from level plains like the spine of a subterranean dragon. The highest peak reaches up to an incredible 1780m/5300ft. On stormy summer days, thunderstorms approach from the East and can bring exciting and dramatic light to this iconic destination. The new lodge also offers exclusive access to the Northern side of the mountains, which were previously only accessible by guided tour in daylight hours.

 

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Day 15 - 16

River Crossing Lodge, Namibia.

After breakfast on the last day at Spitzkoppe, you will be transferred to River Crossing Lodge for your last night in Namibia.

 

Day 16

Windhoek International Airport, Namibia.

After breakfast on your last morning in Namibia you will be transferred back to Hosea Kutako International Airport in time for your international departure home. This is the end of the tour.


 


Acommodation

River Crossing Lodge

River Crossing is located on a pristine 6500-hectare game reserve and rediscover the nuances of a bygone era of farm life and offer the discerning traveller all the modern amenities.  The main lodge building comprises a dining room, a centrally situated bar, a lounge with fireplace, a wellness room, a curio corner, and a conference room seating up to 65 delegates. Nestled outside between the lounge and dining area is the pool. The elevated wooden deck offers a fairy tale view of Windhoek.

The Lodge and the rooms have been designed to emulate old German farm houses –and pots of geraniums. The 20 guest chalets consist of 14 twin chalets and 6 double chalets (all chalets have en suite bathrooms with showers, loos and basins). All rooms have the feather duvets wrapped in 100% cotton, the environmentally friendly guest amenities and the unparalleled service and hospitality is well known.


 

Quiver Tree Forest Rest Camp

Located on the farm Gariganus just 13 km north-east of Keetmanshoop on road M29, offer tourists comfortable accommodation amid a pristine Namibian landscape. On the farm visitors can explore the ancient and famous Quiver Tree Forest and the dolerite rock formations of the Giants Playground at their leisure.

 

 

Luderitz Nest Hotel

Lüderitz Nest Hotel is Namibia’s leading four star resort hotel and is located directly on Lüderitz Bay with its own private tidal beach and with walk-on jetty – unique to Namibia. Spacious rooms offer direct sea views, most with balconies. All rooms have en-suite facilities with either a bath (with overhead shower) or shower cubicle.

 

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Strand Hotel

Set on the beach, this upscale spa hotel is a 2-minute walk from the Swakopmund Museum. It’s also 1 km from the National Marine Aquarium of Namibia.

Airy rooms have wood floors and warm decor. They include free Wi-Fi, satellite TV and minibars. They also have electronic safes, plus tea and coffeemaking facilities. Most have beach or sea views. Upgraded rooms and suites add balconies, sofas and/or dining rooms. Room service is available. Amenities include a microbrewery with a beer garden, a seafood restaurant, and a casual beach cafe. There’s also a lobby lounge and a retail store with a deli. A spa offers steam rooms and rain showers.

 

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Sossus Dune Lodge

Sossus Dune Lodge lies just 4km from the Sesriem gate, at the base of a mountain. There are magnificent views of the distant dunes to the west. It is the first, and currently only, lodge to be built in the Namib-Naukluft National Park. Guests can walk directly from the lodge into the nearby Sesriem Canyon. Sossus Dune Lodge is an ideal destination to admire and photograph the stunning scenery of the Naukluft Park’s high red/orange sand dunes.

 

 

Sptizkoppe Lodge

The lodge is situated on the northern periphery of the Spitzkoppe inselberg, between huge granite boulders, which were created more than 150 million years ago, with breath taking views onto the Brandberg and Erongo Mountains. The stylish, private accommodation consists of 15 spacious, tastefully furnished chalets, each with private bathroom and outside viewing deck, which connects the guest with the vast stretches of untouched sand and boulders beyond.

The buildings are linked with elevated walkways all constructed to be wheel chair friendly and minimise the impact on the environment. The development and operations are integrated with nature. Limited use of concrete with elevated floors and decks and composite materials for walls, which can be dismantled easily, will enable nature to restore itself in just a few months after deconstruction. Sensitivity towards wildlife and heritage was paramount in all the stages of the development. The tented roof shapes simulate the surrounding rock formations and soften the square building plan form.

Water, which is unfit for humane consumption is sourced from boreholes and purified with our own reverse osmosis plant. The lodge is connected to the national grid by way of a 5km long underground cable for it’s electricity supply, all to ensure minimum disturbance of the spectacular archaeological landscape.

 

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Flights

Day 1

Upon arrival in Windhoek, you will be collected from Hosea Kutako International Airport and transferred to River Crossing Lodge for one night.

Day 2

On the second morning, we’ll have breakfast and then hit the road South towards Quiver Tree Forest, where we’ll spend the next two days.

Day 4

After two days with the special trees, we have a 3.5 hour drive to the West, where we’ll get a break from the heat in our hotel on the rocks in Luderitz Bay. Situated just 10 minutes from Kolmanskop, this hotel will be our base for the next two days.

Day 6

After a final morning in the ghost town, we’ll hit the road North towards Sossusvlei. This is the longest and most exhausting drive of the trip, but the scenery along the way is spectacular. We’ll stop at the first of two places who claim to have the best apple pie in Namibia.

Day 10

After a final sunrise at Sossusvlei, we have a 4-hour drive Northeast to the coast. We’ll stop along the way to conclude who has the best apple pie in Namibia.

Day 13

This is one of Namibia’s most photogenic destinations, but was until recently inaccessible to photo tours because there wasn’t a lodge or hotel nearby. That changed with the completion of the new Spitzkoppen Lodge, situated just a 5-minute drive from the iconic arch and water pools.

Day 15

After breakfast on the last day at Spitzkoppe, you will be transferred to River Crossing Lodge for your last night in Namibia.

Day 16

Drive back to Hosea Kutako International Airport  in time for your international departures. This is the end of the safari.



Maximum of 11 clients and minimum of 6 clients. 

30% deposit confirms your booking. Balance payable 8 week before tour start date. With the minimum of 6 clients, there will only be one guide, Hougaard Malan. With 7 or more clients, Isak Pretorius will be joining as the second guide.

Flight We can arrange flights to Windhoek and accommodation in Windhoek if requested.


The above costs include

  • Meet and greet at airport and all road transfers.
  • Two persons per room (i.e. shared double occupancy), unless single supplement option is exercised and secured at the time of payment of deposit.
  • Ground Transport for the entire duration of the tour in high end custom built Landcruisers with maximum insurance in Namibia.
  • All your transfers in Namibia.
  • All meals commencing with dinner on 19 March 2018 and finishing with breakfast on 03 April 2018.
  • All tourism taxes and park entry fees.
  • All beverages excluding premium wines and liquors.
  • All accommodation/lodging costs.
  • Two professional photographers guiding you throughout the workshop in Namibia.
  • Images and presentations on light, composition, camera techniques and more, data projector for viewing on screen and coverage of digital work-flow.
  • 3 extra hours in helicopter, now 5 in total, split 50/50 between Sossus and Swakop
  • Half-Day Private Boat Cruise in Walvis Bay.
  • Continuous assistance with your photography and image processing by the guide.
  • The services of a highly experienced local guide and driver.
  • A highly experienced tour leader with great knowledge and experience of landscape photography.

 

Costs not included

  • International Flights.
  • Premium wines and liquors.
  • Gratuities to staff and guides.
  • Extra activities not included.
  • Personal expenses.
  • Travel insurance.
  • Travel visas.
  • Non-meal-time snacks and drinks.
  • Credit card surcharges.
  • Guarantee of any specific weather conditions like thunderstorms. We always do our absolute best to make sure we visit a destination in the ideal season and this tour is planned in hope of thunderstorms and interesting clouds.
 

Costs

$9950.00 per person sharing
$11450.00 per single suppliment

Single Suppliment - Booking Deposit 30% Qty $3435.00




Per Person Sharing Booking Deposit - Booking Deposit 30% Qty $2985.00




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