DESERT & DUNES WORKSHOP

2 – 14 APRIL 2019

13 DAY / 12 NIGHT LANDSCAPE AND WILDLIFE WORKSHOP

 

Namibia is a vast country, even by African standards, covering an area approximately four times the size of the United Kingdom but with a population of a mere 2.6 million – one of the lowest densities in the world. It is also an ‘ageless land’; visible through a heritage of rock art created by stone-age artists and geological attractions such as the Organ Pipes and the Erongo Mountains. Added to the space and silence, these all contribute to a feeling of antiquity, solitude and wilderness.

The climate is typical of a semi-desert country. Days are warm to hot and nights are generally cool. Temperatures are modified by the high plateau in the interior and by the cold Benguela current that runs along the Atlantic coastline on the west of the country. Except for the first few months of the year, the country is generally dry with very little rain. We will have our own professional and experienced safari guide who will enhance our enjoyment of this unique country by making it a fascinating and stress-free journey of discovery amidst very dramatic scenery. The knowledge, experience and attitude of our guides are critical to a successful safari – they are both personable and very professional.

This workshop is for you if you are looking for multiple photographic opportunities in a deserted and dramatic environment. It is a safe, carefree naturally beautiful space where you will feel at ease when doing what you really enjoy - making fantastic images!

Call Ed on +1-919-527-4440 now to discuss or reserve this trip over the phone.

 

 
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STARTING LOCATION  /   ENDING LOCATION

 

This photo safari starts and ends at the Hosea Kutako Airport, Windhoek, Namibia.

 

PRICE

$8,895 per person based on double occupancy. Single supplements ($690) may be available.

 

ABOUT THE LANDSCAPE WORKSHOP

The workshop accommodates a maximum of 8 to 10 photographers. As this is primarily a landscape photography workshop, the photography activity is performed outside of the safari vehicle. Enjoy the diversity of photography scenarios possible on this workshop - be it landscapes, wildlife, night and star trails or aerial. This photo experience is suitable for amateur, enthusiast and semi-pro photographers with reasonable knowledge of the camera functions. It is also a great workshop where companions will feel welcome and able to participate in the great outdoors.

The photography techniques and explanations, adapted to the situation at hand, provided from time to time can be put into practice and immediately experienced in the field. In addition to the technical knowledge, you will gain a greater appreciation for, and understanding of, the magnificent scenery and animals we’ll encounter.

A naturalist guide will quickly turn a normal outing into a life enriching journey, creating a deeper understanding and appreciation for the incredible places and people that we visit. The guides are the link between guests and the intricacies of the natural world, sharing their knowledge with enthusiasm and humor. Guests are taken on a journey through some of the world’s most beautiful wild places, encountering wildlife spectacles and engaging with age-old authentic cultures while receiving detailed interpretation as offered by our highly trained naturalist guides. 

 

SERVICES AND FACILITIES

The same ground transport company will accompany the photography group for the duration of the workshop. We will have up to 2 air-conditioned vehicles equipped with pop-tops and full-size widows providing every guest with an environment viewing vantage point. Every guest has a guaranteed window set and the vehicles are fitted with VHF radios that allow multi vehicle groups to communicate with each other while ‘on the road’. 


ITINERARY IN BRIEF

 

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Days 4 & 5

Days 6 & 7

Days 8 & 9

Days 10 & 11

Day 12

Day 13

Arrival in Windhoek, River Crossing Lodge

Old Traders Lodge, Erindi Game Reserve

Grootberg Lodge, ≠Khoadi //Hoas Conservancy, Etendeka Plateau

Twyfelfontein Country Lodge, Damaraland

Hansa Hotel, Swakopmund

Sossus Dune Lodge, Namib Naukluft National Park (Sossusvlei)

Lüderitz Nest Hotel, Lüderitz

Quivertree Forest Rest Camp, Keetmanshoop

Depart from Windhoek International Airport

 

DETAILED ITINERARY

Day 1 (02 April 2019)

Arrival in Windhoek

After landing at Windhoek’s International Hosea Kutako Airport, about 40km outside the city, you will be welcomed by a representative who will transfer you into town and on to River Crossing Lodge, situated on the outskirts of Windhoek. The rest of the afternoon can be spent relaxing at the lodge recovering from your long flight, or alternatively exploring the area on your own or by joining one of the optional guided activities. This evening your guide/s will meet up with you to brief you on any administrative arrangements and to answer any questions you may have about the program, before settling down to dinner. (D)

Overnight:        River Crossing Lodge

www.rivercrossing.com.na

 

Day 2 (03 April 2019)

Windhoek to Erindi Game Reserve

After breakfast at the River Crossing Lodge, you set off on your journey heading north through Namibia’s central highlands and commercial farmlands to reach the Old Traders Lodge, located in the heart of the expansive Erindi Game Reserve. You arrive with time to settle in and freshen up before lunch, and this afternoon you will be treated to your first game drive on the private Erindi Reserve. (B,L,D)

Overnight:        Erindi – Old Traders Lodge

www.erindi.com/old-traders-lodge/

 

Day 3 (04 April 2019)

Erindi Game Reserve to Grootberg Mountain

This morning is spent on another memorable game drive before returning to the lodge for brunch. After freshening up you set off on your journey heading into the northwestern verges of Damaraland to reach Grootberg Lodge, perched on the edge of the Grootberg Pass. This afternoon is at leisure to savour the awe-inspiring views over the plateau and the Klip River Valley. 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 formed rolling hills, dunes, gravel plains and ancient river terraces. It is the variety and loneliness of the area as well as the scenic splendour which will reward and astound you, giving one an authentic understanding of the word 'wilderness'. (B,L,D)

Overnight:        Grootberg Lodge

www.grootberg.com

 

Day 4 (05 April 2019)

Grootberg Mountain to Damaraland

It’s up early this morning as your guide/s will take you to visit a local Himba settlement, traversing rugged terrain in order to reach their remote location. They are one of the last truly 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.

After visiting the Himba your guide/s will find a scenic spot to set up a delectably picnic lunch for you. You then make your way south into the wonderful and diverse region of Damaraland to reach Twyfelfontein Country Lodge. 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 formed rolling hills, dunes, gravel plains and ancient river terraces. It is the variety and loneliness of the area as well as the scenic splendour which will reward and astound you, giving one an authentic understanding of the word 'wilderness'.

If time allows this afternoon, your guide/s will take you to visit the nearby attractions and geological sites of Twyfelfontein rock engravings (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), Burnt Mountain and the Organ Pipes – if not there is plenty of time to do so tomorrow. (B,L,D)

Overnight:        Twyfelfontein Country Lodge

www.namibialodges.com

 

Day 5 (06 April 2019)

Damaraland

After an early breakfast you will be treated to an exciting 4x4 excursion along the ephemeral Aba Huab and Huab River valleys 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. As the elephants are mostly active in the mornings you will normally have the best chance to see them then before returning to camp for lunch. However, if all guests are in agreement, you could possibly take a picnic lunch and stop to enjoy that in the shade of a large Ana tree by the riverbed, ideally while watching a herd of elephant browsing nearby.

Your guide/s will also arrange for you to visit a Damara “Living Museum” located nearby. Here, you will be given an insight into the lifestyle, beliefs, ancient skills and traditions of this fascinating tribe. On return to camp there should be time to relax and enjoy some pre-dinner drinks whilst admiring the stunning views of your surroundings at sunset. (B,L,D)

Overnight:        Twyfelfontein Country Lodge

 

Day 6 (07 April 2019)

Damaraland to Swakopmund

Today’s journey takes you in a southwesterly direction past the Brandberg, Namibia’s tallest mountain standing at 2574m in height, before heading south along the coastal road to reach Swakopmund, enjoying a picnic lunch at a scenic location along the way. After checking in at your hotel, there should be time this afternoon to wander around town and along the waterfront on foot if desired, before heading out to dinner at one of the popular restaurants in town. (B,L,D)

Overnight:        Hansa Hotel

www.hansahotel.com.na

 

Day 7 (08 April 2019)

Living Desert Tour

It’s up early this morning as you will be collected at your hotel after breakfast for the commencement of your Living Desert Tour into the coastal dunes. This exciting and educational tour affords you the opportunity to experience the dune belt between Swakopmund and Walvis Bay and the abundance of wildlife therein, taking special care not to damage the gravel plains or cause any unnecessary damage to the dune eco-system. The gravel plains are protected and home to the Damara Terns which are endemic to this area and tend to nest there. Conservation, geological structure and the reason why Namibia has a desert will be discussed in detail along the way. You will stop continuously to look for animal tracks on the dunes (known locally as reading the bushman paper), to determine which animals were active the previous night and wherever possible try to find some of them to show you.

Great care is taken by the guide to share local knowledge with you on each desert animal and plant, including emphasis on each creature’s special adaptations and perfect design used to survive in the desert. Time and care is taken to ensure each animal is returned safely to its home. Geckos, white lady spiders, scorpions, lizards, snakes, chameleons and skinks are some of the creatures that are often to be found on this fascinating tour. The scenic panorama drives across the dunes that form part of this tour allow you to absorb and enjoy the variety of beautiful landscapes that are found here.

After the tour you will be transferred back to your hotel for lunch and a rest, and your guide will then take you into the Swakop River Valley on the “Welwitschia drive” to explore the rocky granite valley known as the “Moon Landscape” and the “Welwitschia Plains”. This amazing landscape was carved out by the Swakop River over time and offers vast, ever-changing landscapes. Your guides will stop along the way to point out features of interest, including desert adapted plants, such as the ancient Welwitschia Mirabilis. Larger mammals such as Springbok, Klipspringer, Baboons, Jackals and Ostrich can also often be seen in this area. Your guides will also take you on a detour to view the photogenic farm and oasis area at Goanikontes, where the farm house dates back to 1848. (B,L,D)

Overnight:        Desert Breeze Lodge

 

Day 8 (09 April 2019)

Swakopmund to Sossusvlei

The fascinating drive today takes you south through the awesome and ever changing desert landscapes of the Namib Naukluft National Park, including the impressive Gaub and Kuiseb canyons as you make your way into the Namib Desert to reach Sossus Dune Lodge. Lunch is had at a scenic location, and you will also have the opportunity to stop for picturesque photo shoots along the way. You arrive at the Sossus Dune Lodge in the mid afternoon and have the rest of the day at your leisure. This is the only lodge situated inside the National Park, allowing us access to the giant sand dunes of the Namib Desert after sunset. If there is still time today, your guides will take you to visit Sesriem Canyon, a nearby geological attraction, or explore Elim Dune. However, if you prefer, you can just relax and soak in the scenic and tranquil surroundings at Sossus Dune Lodge or head out on photographic excursion. (B,L,D)

Overnight:        Sossus Dune Lodge

www.nwr.com.na

 

Day 9 (10 April 2019)

Sossusvlei / Namib Desert

NOTE: Option to include a sunrise balloon flight over the Namib Naukluft National Park (optional extra at additional cost), or alternatively embark on a scenic helicopter flight (no additional cost) over Sossusvlei and surrounding dune fields on either of the two days before you depart for Lüderitz.

Today is dedicated to exploring this remarkable area with your guide/s, rising early to make your way into the heart of the Namib Naukluft National Park for magical excursions into the dune fields. 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 the dune fields to your heart’s content you can enjoy a relaxed picnic breakfast in the shade of a camel thorn tree. You then return to Sossus Dune Lodge in the early afternoon for 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), although some avid photographers may wish to return to the dunes for more photographic opportunities in the late afternoon. (B,L,D)

Overnight:        Sossus Dune Lodge

 

Day 10 (11 April 2019)

Sossusvlei Area to Lüderitz

NOTE: Option to include a sunrise balloon flight over the Namib Naukluft National Park (optional extra at additional cost), or alternatively embark on a scenic helicopter flight (no additional cost) over Sossusvlei and surrounding dune fields on either of the two days before you depart for Lüderitz.

Today’s journey takes you further south through a section of the NamibRand Nature Reserve and the spectacular scenery of the Tiras Mountain Conservancy to reach the wind-swept coastal town of Lüderitz, keeping a lookout for the legendary feral desert horses along the way. This afternoon your guides will arrange for you to visit the ghost town of Kolmanskop. Stepping back in time, you will have the opportunity to explore the desolate streets and abandoned buildings and photograph this fascinating site before returning to Lüderitz (photographic permit included). (B,L,D)

Overnight:        Lüderitz Nest Hotel

www.nesthotel.com

 

Day 11 (12 April 2019)

Elizabeth Bay / Kolmanskop

Today you will be treated to a fascinating excursion into the Sperrgebiet restricted area to visit the historic sights of Elizabeth Bay and Kolmanskop. The guided tour will give you an insight into the rich history of diamond mining in Namibia and the rise and fall of both Elizabeth Bay and Kolmanskop, as well as an idea of what everyday life in these settlements would have been like. Today the ghost towns’ crumbling ruins bear little resemblance to their former glory. The stately homes, their grandeur now scoured and demolished by the wind, is gradually becoming sand. In 1980 the mining company CDM restored a number of the buildings in Kolmanskop and established a museum for tourist viewing. After your guided excursion there will be time to wander around the desolate streets and abandoned buildings before returning to the Nest Hotel for dinner. (B,L,D)

Overnight:        Lüderitz Nest Hotel

 

 

Day 12 (13 April 2019)

Lüderitz to Quivertree Forest

It’s up early this morning for one last excursion to Kolmanskop. The aim is to reach Kolmanskop early enough to set up your equipment in time to see the sun rise and to capture the dunes and remnants of yesteryear at best light whilst the light is soft and shadows accentuate their eerie shapes and curves. You then make your way east and inland to reach the Quivertree Forest Rest Camp on the outskirts of Keetmanshoop, enjoying a picnic lunch at a scenic location along the way. From here you will have the perfect base from which to photograph Quiver Trees at different light intensities, including night photography. (B,L,D)

Overnight:        Quivertree Forest Rest Camp

www.quivertreeforest.com

 

Day 13 (14 April 2019)

Quivertree Forest Rest Camp to Windhoek

It’s up early very early this morning as you take the long road back to Windhoek today. Your journey takes you north along the western side of the Kalahari Desert past the small towns of Mariental and Rehoboth. Your guide/s will then take you out to the Windhoek International Airport, getting you there with time to check in for your ongoing flight. (B,L)

 

FEES AND TERMS OF PAYMENT
 

The 13 day (12 nights) all-inclusive photographic safari tour costs $8,950 per person. This includes

  • Accommodation and meals as stated above

  • Transportation in luxury air-conditioned safari vehicle/s

  • Services of registered and experienced naturalist English-speaking safari guides

  • Bottled water on board your safari vehicle, as well as local beverages (water, beers, ciders, juices, soft drinks, house wines and local spirits)

  • National park and other entrance fees and excursions as described above

  • Private light aircraft charter flights as indicated, fuel and local airport tax included

  • Arrival and departure airport transfers

  • Welcome pack on arrival

The following items are NOT included

  • International flights to and from Namibia and related airport taxes

  • Medical inoculations, vaccinations, travel medicines and prophylactics

  • Laundry services

  • All premium and import beverages and champagnes

  • Tips and gratuities for camp staff, guides, rangers and trackers

  • Visas and personal/(compulsory) travel insurances

  • Optional personal purchases, tours and extra activities

Costs are per person sharing. A deposit of $1,000 per guest is required at the time of booking. Balance is payable, by cheque or wire transfer, no later than 90 days before the start of the tour. Cancellations more than 90 days prior to departure will be refunded in full (less the processing fee of $250). Cancellations within 90 days prior to departure will be refunded in full (less the processing fee) provided we can find another guest to take your place.

As a limited number of spaces are available, if a guest is unwilling to share with another guest of the same gender, then a single supplement will be charged. Although we will try to accommodate requests for single occupancy, this cannot be guaranteed.

We reserve the right to make changes to the itinerary if conditions warrant such an action. We will attempt to notify participants of changes with as much notice as possible. Changes having an impact on the schedule or on costs will be borne by the participants.


TERMS AND CONSIDERATIONS

 

PHYSICAL HEALTH REQUIREMENTS

This is a great opportunity for you to take pictures of the environment and observe animals in the wild. Most travelling is undertaken in air-conditioned vehicles but some images are best taken away from the vehicle and involve moderate walking. Climbing the dunes is optional – you should be able to climb into and out of a safari vehicle and walk unaided for short distances. Guests must complete a standard liability waiver before participating in this safari. Visiting the Deadvlei area involves walking about one kilometre (just over one half mile) from the road. Some of this distance involves walking on loose, desert sand. All efforts will be entertained so that all guests will enjoy all outings on the workshop - no guest will be left behind!

 

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

This safari tour visits a number of luxurious and well-appointed lodges in National Parks. It is suggested you consult with your travel doctor to determine the precautions to be taken given the destination and the conditions found there. The government organizations and travel clinics below are trusted resources for complete and up-to-date info about travelers’ health in Namibia.

 

MANDATORY MEDICAL EVACUATION INSURANCE

Some of the areas we visit are wild and at a distance from major cities; it is a condition of this booking for guests to carry their own medical evacuation insurance. You will be asked to provide independent documentary evidence of such cover, failing which cover will be provided for you at your cost and added to your account.

Please provide the office with the insurance company’s name, contact number and your individual policy number. Thank you for understanding that this policy exists in the interest of our guests’ safety.

 

TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS TO AND FROM THE STARTING LOCATION

This safari starts and ends at the Windhoek International Airport, Namibia. Your travel arrangements must ensure that you arrive in Windhoek, Namibia no later than 6pm on the first day of the tour. That evening the group will meet for a group introduction and welcome cocktails offered by the organizers. This tour ends at 2pm on the last day – please arrange departures from Windhoek International Airport no earlier than after 4 pm on the final day. If you plan to participate in any add-on side trip, the routing will determine the itinerary at the time of reservation.

Our ranger was the best – knowledgeable and with a keen sense of what the animals were likely to do next. At times, we were so close to the animals that we could hear them breathe! Ed was able to hold a conversation, recommend photographic settings and image composition. And he would spot animals in the bush all at the same time.
— Jeanine W.