Desert & Dunes Landscape Workshop, Namibia

12 – 24 APRIL 2020

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!


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STARTING LOCATION  /   ENDING LOCATION

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

 

PRICE

$9,695 per person based on double occupancy. Single supplements may be available.

 

ABOUT THE LANDSCAPE WORKSHOP

The workshop accommodates a maximum of 6 photographers, A photography guide and a naturalist guides. As this is primarily a landscape photography workshop, the photography activity is performed mostly from 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

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Days 6, 7 & 8

Days 9 & 10

Day 11

Day 12

Day 13

 

Arrival in Windhoek, River Crossing Lodge

Cheetah View Eco Lodge, Otjiwarongo

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

Palmwag Lodge, Damaraland

Hansa Hotel, Swakopmund

Sossus Dune Lodge, Namib Naukluft National Park (Sossusvlei)

Lüderitz Nest Hotel, Lüderitz

Quivertree Forest Rest Camp, Keetmanshoop

River Crossing Lodge, Windhoek

Depart from Windhoek International Airport


DETAILED ITINERARY

Day 1 (12 April 2020)

Arrival in Windhoek

After landing at Windhoek’s International Hosea Kutako Airport, 40 km outside of Windhoek, you will be welcomed by a representative before being transferred to your lodge which is situated just east of Windhoek, where you overnight in some of their beautifully designed rooms. Spend the rest of the afternoon at leisure recovering from your long flight and appreciating the unique surroundings of the lodge. Meet the rest of the workshop guests for networking drinks before settling down to a group dinner at River Crossing’s in-house restaurant. (D)

Day 2 (13 April 2020)

Windhoek to Cheetah View Eco Lodge

This morning, the landscape workshop starts in earnest. You depart Windhoek in your safari vehicle with your private guides heading in a northerly direction to the Cheetah Conservation Fund and Cheetah View Eco Lodge, where you stay overnight. This afternoon you take part in a scheduled one-hour cheetah safari drive with a knowledgeable CCF guide to view and photograph the Cheetah Conservation Fund resident cheetahs in their natural habitat. (B,L,D)

Day 3 (14 April 2020)

Otjiwarongo Area to Damaraland

After breakfast your journey continues into the wonderful and diverse region of Damaraland. Along the way you will be treated to an exciting 4x4 excursion with your guide along the ephemeral 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. You continue to Grootberg Lodge, for your overnight stay.  Should time permit, you embark on a scheduled scenic sundowner drive on top of the Etendeka Plateau with a lodge guide.

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) 

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Day 4 (15 April 2020)

Damaraland

Today after an early breakfast your guide will take you to the Sesfontein area for a Himba visit for a full day excursion where you have the opportunity to visit one of more homesteads. You 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 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. You also have the opportunity to explore wildlife, if they are in the area around Sesfontein. A delectable picnic lunch will be enjoyed en-route and arrival at the lodge will be in the late afternoon or early evening afternoon a long yet rewarding day. (B,L,D 

Day 5 (16 April 2020)

Damaraland to Swakopmund

This morning your guide will take you to visit the geological sites of the pre-historic Twyfelfontein rock engravings. Afterwards, your journey continues past the Brandberg Mountain in the distance, Namibia’s tallest mountain standing at 2,574m in height, before heading south along the coastal road to reach Swakopmund. This evening you head out to dinner with your guide to one of the popular restaurants in town specializing in fresh seafood. (B,L,D)

Day 6 (17 April 2020)

Swakopmund to the Sossusvlei Area

Today your journey heads south along the scenic coastal road to the port town of Walvis Bay. Here you will have the opportunity to view the birdlife at the Walvis Bay Lagoon. Afterwards the fascinating drive takes you further through the awesome and ever changing desert landscapes of the Namib Naukluft National Park, including the impressive Kuiseb & Gaub Canyons as you make your way into the Namib Desert to reach Sossus Dune Lodge. Lunch is enjoyed at a scenic location, and you will also have the opportunity to stop for picturesque photo shoots along the way. You arrive at Sossus Dune Lodge in the mid-afternoon and have the rest of the day at your leisure. Sossus Dune Lodge is only one of two lodges situated inside the National Park, allowing access to the giant sand dunes of the Namib Desert after sunset. If there is still time today, your guide 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 a photographic excursion. (B,L,D)

Day 7 & 8 (18-19 April 2020)

Sossusvlei / Namib Desert

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Today and tomorrow are dedicated to exploring this remarkable area with your guide, 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 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)

NOTE: Options to consider during your stay at the Sossus Dune Lodge:

  1. include a sunrise balloon flight over the Namib Naukluft National Park (optional extra at your cost)

  2. embark on one scenic helicopter flight (included in the workshop fee) over Sossusvlei and surrounding dune fields. Recommended either at dawn or dusk for the best light over the dunes.

Day 9 (20 April 2020)

Sossusvlei Area to Lüderitz

Today’s journey takes you further south and through 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. In the late afternoon your guide will arrange for you to visit the ghost town of Kolmanskop where you will have the opportunity to explore the desolate streets and abandoned buildings and photograph this fascinating site before returning to Lüderitz for dinner with your guide at one of the popular restaurants in Lüderitz which specializes in fresh seafood. (B,L,D)

Day 10 (21 April 2020)

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 Lüderitz and heading out to dinner with your guide to a popular restaurant in town. (B,L,D)

Day 11 (22 April 2020)

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Lüderitz to the Keetmanshoop Area

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)

Day 12 (23 April 2020)

The Keetmanshoop Area to the Greater Windhoek Area

Sunrise photography at Quiver Tree Forest and cheetah photography with Quivertree Forest Rest Camp. Afterwards your journey takes you north along the western side of the Kalahari Desert via the small towns of Mariental and Rehoboth to Windhoek. Shortly after departing Windhoek you arrive at the River Crossing Lodge in the mid-afternoon where you spend the last night of your safari. You have the opportunity to make use of a lodge conference room where all guests have the option to present their top 12 images taken during the workshop. After dinner at the lodge, you bid your local guide a fond farewell. (B,L,D)

Day 13 (24 April 2021)

River Crossing Lodge to Hosea Kutako Airport, Windhoek, Namibia.

It’s a relaxed morning as you head out to the Windhoek International Airport from the Lodge on your own schedule. This is where the workshop ends and you head off to your next stop. (B)



FEES AND TERMS OF PAYMENT
 

The 13 day (12 nights) all-inclusive photographic safari tour costs $9,695 per person. This includes

  • Accommodation and meals as stated above

  • Transportation in luxury air-conditioned safari vehicle

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

  • 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 check 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.