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Where to Stay in Namibia's Lush North East

  
  

Staying in the north east of Namibia is a great way to add something a little bit different to your itinerary when exploring our vast country. However, because of the distance from Windhoek, you will not be able to simply pop in for the day. So, to help you explore this extraordinary place we’ve picked out five lodges you can use as a base when exploring the Zambezi and Kavango Regions. 

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Paddling out on to the Zambezi River.
(Picture via Shamvura Camp)

 

Lush, green, riverine… These are not words that people usually associated with Namibia as our country is famed more for its seemingly endless arid landscapes than for its verdant river-crossed Zambezi Region (formerly Caprivi) in the north.

 

1. Shamvura Camp

Situated on the banks of the Okavango River, in the Kavango region, is Shamvura lodge. It is a paradise for bird watchers with over 60 species of wetland birds (as well as several rare reptiles and amphibians). The lodge itself is situated on a large sand dune between the Cuito and Okavango rivers and commands awesome views of the river and the Angolan floodplains.

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One of the bungalows at Shamvura.
(Picture via Shamvura Camp)

 

Whether you are into birding, angling (there are over 90 species of fish in the waterways around Shamvura), or just good old-fashioned relaxing by the pool as the sun sets over the criss-crossing river waterways, Shamvura Camp has something for just about everyone. The camp has a restaurant but guests are also welcome to self-cater. 

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Two guests and their best friend, cruising down the waterways.
(Picture via Shamvura Camp)

 

Check out Shamvura's website for more pictures and information on how to book.

***

2. The Ngepi Camp

Our friend Rachel Lang (BushBound Girl) has covered the Ngepi Camp before, but no list of where to stay in the Zambezi Region would be complete without this unique camp. Ngepi Camp offers both award winning campsites, bush huts and, of course, their famous tree houses.

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The view from Ngepi is something to behold.
(Photo via Ngepi Camp)

 

Guests at Ngepi are also able to take part in a whole range of activities offered by the camp. If you feel like getting out into the delta you can go on sunset cruises, rent a fishing boat, take a guided walk, enjoy a game drive, or for the more adventurous you can sign up for their famous dragon river rafting experience. 

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Getting the blood pumping on the Dragon Boat Rafting Experience.
(Photo via Ngepi Camp)

To book visit the Ngepi Camp website here.

***

3. Mahangu Safari Lodge

Not many people are familiar with this lodge and all the awesome things it has to offer. We're hoping in time this will change because this place is fantastic! There are four en-suite luxury air-conditioned safari tents, seven en-suite air-conditioned double bed bungalows and three guide bungalows with shared facilities.

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Who wouldn't want to relax on this deck overlooking the pituresque river?
(Photo via Mahangu Safari Lodge)

 

The lodge is ideally situated for those guests who want to experience both river safaris and more traditional game drives. The game drives are through the nearby Mahango National Park where it is not uncommon to catch sighting of crocodiles, hippos, elephants and fish eagles.

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Elephants making there way through the Mahango National Park.
(Photo via Mahangu Safari Lodge)

 

If you’d rather spend time on the water then you’re in for a treat: The water around Mahangu is teeming with bream and tiger-fish and the lodge offers guided fishing trips for anyone who wants to do some fishing in one of Namibia’s most beautiful and diverse regions.

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A prize catch!
(Photo via Mahangu Safari Lodge) 

For more information and bookings click here.

***

4. Popa Falls Camp

This camp was revamped and reopened last year much to everyone’s joy. Popa Falls is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Namibia’s Zambezi Region and the nationally run Popa Falls Camp does its astounding surroundings justice. We ran a piece on it in January that you can read here.

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We know that you'll fall for these falls...
(Photo courtesy of Dr Klaus Dierks)

 

There is not a lot of perennially flowing water in arid Namibia so any lodge or camp that puts you close to a series of cascading rapids like the Popa Falls Camp does will be a special place to visit.

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The 'golden hour' as seen from the banks of the Zambezi.
(Photo courtesy of Dr Klaus Dierks)

 

The camp is, like Mahangu Safari Lodge, is very close to the Mahango National Park and you can visit that park on a guided tour if you enquire at the Popa Falls Camp reception. It also has access to all the beauty of the surrounding river networks with all the bird, plant and animal life that you could hope for.

Book your spot via Namibia Wildlife Reorts here.

 ***

5. Mazambala Island Lodge

Found on an island in the Kwando River this lodge boasts 12 comfortably appointed thatched bungalows. There is also a 12-metre high viewing deck on the island which gives guests unrivalled views of the amazing and diverse plant and animal life of the Zambezi region.

HUT describe the image

The lodge are the perfect mix of unspoiled and luxurious.
(Photo via Temba)

 

Mazambala pride them selves on employing local guides that have an encyclopaedic knowledge of the surrounding area’s birdlife and wildlife. Given the sheer numbers of birds that call this part of Namibia home it is massively helpful to have a guide who knows what to look for and how to find it. 

This lodge is near the Bwabwata National Park and you can hop on a safari drive through this park that is famous for it’s large herds elephants migrating over the Angolan and Namibian borders.

ELEPHANTS  BOATS

Boat cruises and game drives- just another day at Mazambala.
(Photo via Temba) 

To book a few nights on this island retreat click here.

***

The Zambezi Region is truly a place of diversity and the unexpected. If you plan on visiting Namibia and want to get a totally different experience to what is considered “traditionally” Namibian, then you should consider making a trip up north to the border.

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Visit the Zambezi Region and let go!
(Photo via Ngepi Camp)

 

++++++

 

Are you a birding enthusiast?
Well here’s a blog on the birdlife you can find in the Zambezi Region (and other parts) of Namibia:

 

BIRDLIFE IN NAMIBIA

african pygmy goose

The 2014 Chris Benz Luderitz Speed Challenge

  
  

The small coastal town of Luderitz in the south of Namibia is renowned for it’s laidback atmosphere and friendly locals. However, every year around October, the sleepy seaside community hosts one of the wildest water sports events in the world: The Luderitz Speed Challenge.

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Sunshine and speed on the Luderitz Channel.
(Photo by Greg Beadle)


Since 2007 some of the world’s most renowned kitesurfers and windsurfers have been coming to Luderitz with one aim: To reach ridiculous speeds on the purpose-built channel just outside Luderitz.

The first two days of the event were characterised by mild winds, but despite this some speed sailing legends were on hand to entertain the curious crowds that had gathered at the channel. Sébastien Cattelan, two times world record holder and the man who helped design the Luderitz channel, managed to reach a hair-raising 50.07 knots (90km/h or 60m/ph) on his second run on the very first day of the competition.

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The veteran kitsurfer in full flight on the channel.
(Photo by Greg Beadle)

 

The following day Erik Beale (who in the 80’s was the first windsurfer to reach 40 knots) made his long awaited comeback to competitive windsurfing on the Luderitz channel. The participation of these two veterans was a testament to lasting appeal that the event has for both seasoned and younger competitors.

 Windsurfing legends Erik Beale and Thierry Bielak. 

 

The Calm 

The days in the middle of this year’s competition were characterised by the riders waiting for the exact right conditions to maximise their speeds. While a few personal bests were set over this period of the competition, during this time most of the competitors fine-tuned their equipment and got used to the conditions in and around the channel.

 

There was also time for the guys and girls to relax a bit and soak up some of Luderitz’s famous hospitality at the world-class Crayfish Bar & Lounge in the Lüderitz Nest Hotel. The contestants even managed to get a little bit ridiculous on the water... 

A bit of fun on day 4

The world's first kitesurfing leopard.
(Photo by Jonathan Tait)

 

The World Record

On Day 6 of the competition, while most spectators (and competitors) were not expecting too much in the way of serious record attempts, a spectacular record was smashed by Frenchman Chris Ballois.

Chris Ballois

Chris Ballois, World Record holder.
(Photo by Jonathan Tait)


Chris managed to hit a top speed of 42.92 knots on the famous channel and in doing so became the undisputed World Record holder for disabled kitesurfers. The record-breaking run was ratified by both the WSSRC and ISAF-IFDS and confirms the Luderitz Speed Challenge as one of watersport’s premier events.

Chris Ballois Surf

The Frenchman flying toward a new world record.
(Photo by Jonathan Tait)

 

Chris Benz’ passion for the sport has motivated him to gain the skills, strength, and mental conditioning to achieve speeds that many non-disabled kite surfers can only dream of. Check out Chris' record run by watching the video below:

 

Chris was not the only record breaker this year though and even though wind conditions this year were far from ideal the riders managed to make the most of their time on the channel. Over 11 New National Records (and of course one World Record) were broken by the 34 Windsurfers and Kite Surfers with the field representing 17 different nationalities. The results of this year’s Chris Benz Luderitz Speed Challenge once again confirm that the event is one of the premier competitions on the world speed sailing circuit. 

 

day 9 hooray

20 riders, 1 leopard and a whole bunch of sun and fun.
 (Photo by Jonathan Tait)

 

More than just a flash on the water 

Beyond the surfing the LSC is about community. The participants and fans who went to watch this annual event are all testament to that. On the slow days when the wind is down, to keep spirits up, the riders got involved with some of the local children and showed some of these kids the basics of windsurfing and kitesurfing.

In the video below the riders express their love for the tiny Namibian town they call home for a brief period every year:

 

The event would not be possible without the local community, especially the offical partner hotel, the Nest Hotel. It’s great to see that the participants and the communities work so well together and it is this cooperation and mutual benefit that has seen the Speed Challenge go from strength for the last seven years.

Farewell

Here's looking forward to next year!
(Photo by 
Greg Beadle)


 +++++++

 

RECORDS BROKEN AT THE 2014
CHRIS BENZ LUDERITZ SPEED CHALLENGE

Andrew Redfern (Fiji) with 40.87 kts (75.5 kph average speed over 500m)

Andrew Redfern1 280x200 (1)

Roger Ornvang (Sweden) improved his national record - Kitesurfing - with 43.19 kts (80kph)

Roger Ornvang 22000

Remo Diethelm (Switzerland) with 48.31 kts (90 kph)

REmo 88 280x200

Franz Grabner (Austria) smashed the National record with 47.88 kts (88.5 kph)

Franz Austrian

Martin Tóth (Czech Republic) broke his country’s record often and finally ending with 46.73 kts (86.5 kph)

Martin Toth 280x200

Mark Grinnell (South Africa) set a new South Africa and all Africa record in Windsurfing with a truly impressive 49.92 kts (92.5 kph) – just short of the magical 50 knots

South AFrican 76431 280x200

Alain de Gendt (Belgium) - new Production Board Record of 46.66 kts

Alain De Gendt

Christian Bornemann (Germany) - new record in Windsurfing of 48.82 kts (90.4 kph)

christianright 280x200

Zoran Jovanovic (Serbia) - new national record (Kitesurfing) of 40.31kts (74.5 kph)

Zoran

Patrik Diethelm (Italy) achieved the TOP windsurfing performance at the 2014 event by improving the Italian National Record with a very impressive 51.18 kts (94.7 kph) just 0.8 knots of the World Windsurfing Record!

PATRIK Diethelm 280x200

Christophe Ballois (France) set a new Disabled World Record (Kitesurfing) with a superb and inspiring performance of 42.94 kts (80 kph)

Speed Chris Ball 280x200

 
To stay up to date with all the latest news visit the Speed Challenge's Facebook page, follow them on Twitter, or watch more of their excellent videos on their official Youtube channel.

Capture Namibia: Photography Tips from Chris Schmid

  
  

Award winning photographer Chris Schmid has always tried to express his feelings by sharing his experiences and emotions through the images he has captured. We recently spoke to the Sony Global Imaging Ambassador about the time he spent capturing images in Namibia, and here’s what he had to say…

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Image © Chris Schmid / schmidchris.com

  

1. Tell us about your most unforgettable moment while shooting in Namibia.

Namibia is such a paradise for photography that it’s difficult to choose just one, but one unforgettable moment happened in Etosha. We were waiting at a waterhole observing a lonely bull elephant. After a few minutes we turned our heads and we saw a herd of 30 elephants, with babies in two, coming straight toward us rapidly. It was such an impressive moment and it delivered such amazing images thanks in part to the unique blue pastel colour of the Etosha sky.

Chris Schmid Photography, namibia photography, namibia, etosha photography, etosha, elephants, aerial photography, capture namibia

Image © Chris Schmid / schmidchris.com

 

2. Every destination has its challenges and rewards; how does Namibia compare to other places you’ve photographed?

Well, in Namibia you must be ready to drive a loooooonnnng way through some of the most amazing landscapes in the world. The main challenge we had was being at the right place at the right time of day. You’re travelling around through so many magical landscapes, but very often with a very strong light. So it can be sometimes frustrating because the place is so beautiful but you’ve got to get there at the right time to get the magic light.

Chris Schmid Photography, namibia photography, namibia, etosha photography, etosha, elephants, aerial photography, capture namibia

Image © Chris Schmid / schmidchris.com

 

If I can give one tip to a traveller it is this: Prepare carefully for your itinerary to be sure to that you are at the right place at the right moment. Do keep in mind though; Namibia requires more than one visit. That’s for sure. The first time you will get only begin to get an idea of what you really can achieve. 

 

3. Which 3 photos shot in Namibia are you most proud of and why?

One of the three is this image about the elephant herd coming straight to us. It was such impressive and emotive in the same time.* 

*This image is posted above.


I would say the second one is from my aerial shooting over the Namib Desert. I really love aerial photography because it gives so different images compared to inland images. And flying over the Namib Desert is unbelievable! You can hardly concentrate on your camera because it’s so amazing! It’s on my to do list when we’ll be back in Namibia probably next year.

Chris Schmid Photography, namibia photography, namibia, etosha photography, etosha, elephants, aerial photography, capture namibia

Image © Chris Schmid / schmidchris.com

 

Finally the third one is my image of the red hartebeest captured very early in the morning in Etosha. I really love to play with shadow and contrast in my photography, keeping the image simple, like a shadowgraph. The light was absolutely magic; the grassland was gold, and this in combination with the silhouette of the antelope makes this one of my favourite photos.

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Image © Chris Schmid / schmidchris.com

 

4. When going on a Namibian photographic expedition, what is your equipment of choice? And what do you never leave home without?

Namibia requires a large variety of lenses, because you will be shooting amazing landscapes as well as a variety of wildlife. I travel with a Nikon 500mm and a 70-200mm, both mainly for wildlife images. I also take a wide-angle zoom like a 16-35mm or 14-24mm and a fixed focal 35mm 1.4.

For landscape imagery I love the new Sony A7r that allows me to travel light without compromising quality. For wildlife photography I mainly use a Nikon D4s, a D810 or also a Sony A77II on a 70-200mm. I always prefer staying far away of the animals, respecting them and it gives a more natural comportment. I love also to include them in their environment.

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Image © Chris Schmid / schmidchris.com

 

5. A photographer friend is desperate to capture the best of Namibia. What top 3 tips would you give them? 

First you must read, read, read about Namibia and really choose what you want to see and be focused on. You can’t see everything in one visit. I always tell to my friends that it is better to be concentrate on a small part of the country than travelling all around the country. In my opinion if you really want to know a country you visit it minimum two times.

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Image © Chris Schmid / schmidchris.com

 

The second tip I would give is that you must be really patient when observing the wildlife in Etosha. Don’t try to move everywhere if you don’t see anything. Just wait and be patient: Something will happen for sure.

The last tip I would give is to wake up early, very early. Shoot during the golden hours. The light in Namibia is magic and precious so you must take care of it!

Chris Schmid Photography, namibia photography, namibia, etosha photography, etosha, elephants, aerial photography, capture namibia

Image © Chris Schmid / schmidchris.com

 

You can follow Chris on Facebook, or you can visit his website by clicking here.

  BIOPIC 

A few words on Chris Schmid...


Chris is a self-taught photographer and visual storyteller. He believes hard work, persistence, and little else will get a photographer where he or she wants to go.

"My body of work is the result of learning from mistakes and by experience. Most of all, I seek, appreciate, and respect a solid critique. There is nothing more humbling (or inspiring) than hearing an honest opinion of my work from a friend or other photographers."

The last couple of years his work has been more and more recognized and it this has given him the chance to win some prestigious awards around the world.

Since August 2014, Chris is very proud to be part of the Sony Global Imaging Ambassador program.

 

More Photographer Tips

This part of a series of blog post interviews with professional photographers on how to Capture Namibia. Every week we'll be posting tips, tricks and amazing photographs from these impressive photographers.

Follow us to get the latest in the Capture Namibia series:

          

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Capture Namibia: Photography Tips from Richard Garvey-Williams

  
  

Published photographer and nature enthusiast Richard Garvey-Williams has been to Namibia twice on photo safaris. Richard was kind enough to sit down with us and tell us about his experiences in Namibia and how you can get the most out of your photography in the Land of the Brave.

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Two gemsbok in dramatic scenery in the Namib-Rand Reserve 

 

Tell us about your most unforgettable moment while shooting in Namibia.

There were so many, but I did receive a parting gift that has certainly stayed with me. On my last evening, on the Namib-Rand Reserve, I decided to relax after dinner instead of rushing off to finish downloading images and get to bed ready for an early rise. I leant back in my chair and really took in the night sky for the first time that trip. I’ve seen night skies in a number of countries but this was special. I resolved to make some time for some night photography too on my next visit.

 

Every destination has its challenges and rewards; how does Namibia compare to other places you’ve photographed?

Namibia is vast, relatively unpopulated spaces and the arid landscapes particularly strike those of us from more temperate climates. The rugged mountains and towering sand dunes provide some wonderful back-drops for wildlife photography. The colour palette is quite unusual being dominated by yellows, oranges and blues. There’s certainly variety too with the coastal regions, Fish River Canyon and the Waterberg Plateau just a few examples of locations offering different photographic opportunities. Etosha National Park is also great for photographers, particularly in the dry season when you are able to witness the whole cast of its dramatic wildlife taking turns visiting the many waterholes.

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Wildebeest seeking refuge during the course of the day on the Etosha Pan


One of the challenges we photographers have to face is that of heat haze. Photographing at the ends of the day when the air is cooler helps and it’s also important to get nearer to your subject if there is a risk of haze. However, when using very long lenses, there are bound to be a few images blurred by its influence. The other elements that we need to respect in these sorts of environment are the dust and sand- extra precautions are certainly recommended. Planning your travel itinerary can also be a challenge as the distance between locations are great and many of the roads are not tarred. I tried to always travel during the middle of the day to avoid eating into the precious morning and evening photography sessions. 

 

Which 3 photos shot in Namibia are you most proud of and why?

1. One of my favourites is the one of the Black-faced Impala drinking.

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This was taken early on during my tour at one of the waterholes towards the Eastern Gate of Etosha. I watched through the viewfinder mesmerized as the impala came in one at a time to drink, eventually lining themselves up to form a wonderful composition. The late-arrival, nervously looking around before lowering its head really makes the photograph as it breaks the pattern established by the others.

 

2. Another is the silhouetted elephant drinking.

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This was taken at Halali waterhole in Etosha. I was half-way into my time in the park and had yet to see an elephant- which is unusual. At sunset, I hurried on foot to the waterhole and was over-joyed to find a whole herd of elephants drinking there. I set to trying to capture some interesting shapes and outlines by silhouetting them against the glowing water beyond. I fired off a sequence as this one raised its head. The alignment of its head with the gap between the trunk and the reflection on the left made this one a particularly balanced and appealing composition.

 

3. Finally, I’ll go for the one I call Elephant Communion.

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I approached this waterhole to find these two bull elephants standing there coated with drying white mud. They looked as if they had been sculpted out of marble. I spent a good hour watching them as they gently swayed from side to side, occasionally turning to each other and gently resting their heads together. They had arrived together and I saw them leave together – clearly a close bond between them.

 

When going on a Namibian photographic expedition, what is your equipment of choice? And what do you never leave home without?

There are opportunities to use the full spectrum of focal lengths with long telephotos being useful for many wildlife encounters and in particular the bird life. Wide angle lenses will enable you to include foreground details in some of your landscape shots and to get ‘creative’ with rock formations, quiver trees and sand dunes. I’d also strongly recommend a polarizing filter. These will often work wonders in this context by lifting and emphasizing the wonderful colours in the scenery. 

Namibia, namibia photography, Richard Garvey Williams, etosha photography, photography, mastering composition, elephants, photo safaris
Sculpted sand dunes in the Namib-Naukluft National Park.

 

Another essential item is a beanbag. Much of your photographing will be done from a vehicle so a beanbag to rest your camera and long lens on will make life a lot easier. It will also give you the stability you need to use slower shutter speeds when the light levels are low early in the morning or when you need a small aperture for a greater depth of field.

 

A photographer friend is desperate to capture the best of Namibia. What top three tips would you give them?

Firstly, as with any destination, it’s important to do your research and plan your travel itinerary with your photographic ambitions in mind. Make good use of an operator or contact with local knowledge. Factor in a little extra time as road conditions can be a little variable.

Namibia, namibia photography, Richard Garvey Williams, etosha photography, photography, mastering composition, elephants, photo safaris

Deadvlei in the Namib-Naukluft National Park


Secondly, you must protect your equipment from dust and sand. Dust covers or simple plastic bags fixed over your camera and lens with rubber bands or tape are a good idea. A blower brush to keep the optics clean, and cloths and cleaning fluid are also essential. Remember to put your cameras and lenses away in your camera bag and to zip it up when you’re on the move.

Finally, when lining up each shot, make a point of asking yourself about the fundamentals of lighting and composition. The aridity of the surroundings provides for some lovely uncluttered scenes, enabling you to simplify your compositions and to experiment with some precise placement of the elements contributing to the photograph. It’s not surprising that many of my images from Namibia were used as examples illustrating various points in my book, Mastering Composition – the definitive guide for photographers (Details of which can be found on my website).

Namibia, namibia photography, Richard Garvey Williams, etosha photography, photography, mastering composition, elephants, photo safaris 

Namibia, namibia photography, Richard Garvey Williams, etosha photography, photography, mastering composition, elephants, photo safaris 

Richard spent his childhood years in East Africa and was so in awe of the beautiful wildlife of that region that now, many years on, he still feels the draw of the African continent and the safari experience. As a professional wildlife and landscape photographer, he uses his skills to share with others these wonders and the empathy and respect that he feels for the natural world. Through his photography workshops he also welcomes others to share in the exhilaration of the safari experience. He is now busy working on another photography book.

Visit Richard's website, or follow him on Twitter and Facebook. You can also check when his next photo safari is happening here

More Photographer Tips

This part of a series of blog post interviews with professional photographers on how to Capture Namibia. Every week we'll be posting tips, tricks and amazing photographs from these impressive photographers.

Follow us to get the latest in the Capture Namibia series:

          

Namibia photography, photos Namibia, Africa photography, photography tips, photography in africa, photographs of namibia, photographs of africa

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 Featured Photographers  

   
Namibia photography, photos Namibia, Africa photography, Marsel van Oosten, photography tips, photography in africa, photographs of namibia, photographs of africa  Namibia photography, photos Namibia, Africa photography, Christopher Rimmer, photography tips, photography in africa, photographs of namibia, photographs of africa  Namibia photography, photos Namibia, Africa photography, Paul van Schalkwyk, photography tips, photography in africa, photographs of namibia, photographs of africa, hasselblad masters

 Marsel van Oosten 

 Christopher Rimmer

Paul van Schalkwyk

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Namibia photography, photos Namibia, Africa photography, photography tips, photography in africa, photographs of namibia, photographs of africa, Hougaard Malan

Bill Gozansky

 Roy van der Merwe

 Hougaard Malan

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 Matthew Hood

 Ted Alan Stedman

 Jan & Jaye Roode 

The Ghosts of Etosha

  
  

The “white ghosts” of Etosha are something that any explorer of Namibia's national park should try and catch a glimpse of. Namibian photographer and elephant lover, Anja Denker, is here to tell you what it is like spending time with these gentle giants and how you can observe and photograph these magnificent creatures.


The Ghosts of Etosha

Photos and words
by
Anja Denker


VAST

 

The great white place

The word Etosha literally means “great white place” as the pan in the middle of the park is a vast expanse of white, salt-laced earth. This soil supports very little plant life except for the blue-green algae that gives Etosha its characteristic coloring. 

In the areas where the soil does get wet elephants can be found wallowing, covering their bodies in the mud that forms. This mud then dries into a light (usually) white coat.

MUD

 

WHITE

 

White/Grey/Green 

The ‘white ghosts’ of Etosha, as I like to call them, can be observed frequenting the Nebrownii waterhole, where the dry white clay dusts their skin and coats the entire elephant in white – often brilliantly offset against the bright blue sky.  

It is also a treat to photograph elephants at the Goas waterhole, due to the fact that it is so vast and open and very green especially in the rainy season. Here you can get a fantastic contrast between the blue sky, green vegetation and gentle grey giants.  

CONTRAST

 

The startling contrasts of color make for a visual, photographic feast, especially when it comes to the elephants that love to wallow in the water and the distinctly coloured mud. It is not uncommon when visiting Etosha to see these giant animals caked in the dried white mud of the pan.

FUNMUD


It wasn’t until October last year that I came across my first ‘green’ elephant. This particular elephant coating himself with the green algae slick of the pan and gaining a distinctly ‘mouldy’ appearance in the process!

MOULD

 

Being so used to seeing the typical “white” elephants, this green specimen came as a complete surprise. The lone elephant bull was standing in a patch of blue-green algae at the Springbokfontein waterhole, a contact spring at the edge of the pan. 

ZEB

 

He was obviously having great fun splashing in the mud and coating himself with the green stuff he had found.  His new dye-job really made him stand out in the vastness of the pan, and when a few zebra and blue wildebeest joined him it made for truly unique photo opportunity.

ZEBW ILD

 

Photography on the pan 

There are quite a few challenges when photographing on the Etosha Pan, the most obvious being the harsh light and predominant white background, which poses some real exposure problems.  Strangely enough I find that I need to overexpose the shot sometimes, say for instance at midday at a waterhole when the background is bright and the animals are too dark. Of course it is advisable to use the “golden hours “ to full advantage, those being first light early in the morning and then in the late afternoon. 

SUNSET 

I have managed to get some very decent shots in not so favourable light conditions as well and you'd do well to remember that any challenge forces you to grow. Cloud cover is also great as it softens the light considerably, being a wonderful natural filter.

CLOUD

 

I like to shoot at eye-level and up but this is not very often possible on the pan due to the animals being lower than the photographer. Except, of course, in the case of an elephant when it is close enough or when you get an animal on a rise and you can shoot against the horizon.

Dust is also a very big challenge in the sense that you really have to protect your gear carefully – it creeps in anywhere!

DUST

 

For the love of elephants

Elephants have always held a fascination for me, not only because of their impressive size, but also for their remarkable intelligence and emotional capacity. They demonstarte these almost human-like traits with their communication habits, mourning rituals, deep sense of family ties and fierce protection of their offspring.

MATERNAL 

I can remember I was with my daughter in Etosha and a small breeding herd of Elephants approached us from the front. There was plenty of space to move for the elephants so we stayed in our parked car and waited for the approach.  The herd moved past our left side where my daughter sat – so close that their skin nearly touched the side of the car.  As the herd made its way past us the matriarch lifted the tip of her trunk and briefly touched our side mirror as if in silent acknowledgement of our presence.

FINAL


+++++++
 

You can follow Anja on Facebook or visit her profile here.

Capture Namibia: Photography tips from Marina Cano

  
  

Marina Cano is an award winning Spanish photographer who recently spent some time in Namibia. She took several amazing shots of the Land of the Brave and its creatures. We tracked her down and got her to share some of her wisdom and a few of her favourite shots from her trip.

describe the image

Tell us about your most unforgettable moment while shooting in Namibia.

There were many incredible moments in Namibia, it’s difficult to choose just one. But early one morning we were tracking a young female cheetah, Jacomina. She had been introduced to the wild for just three months. I went with the rangers who were taking care of her while she got used to her new habitat. When we arrived there, she was alone.

Then Jacomina started calling for her cubs. After a few minutes, the ranger's became anxious because the cubs did not come. She continued to call them while moving around the area. We were on foot and followed her cautiously in the distance almost without breathing. After what felt like an eternity, two adorable cubs came running towards her. I could see a big smile and relief on all faces. Everything seemed to be much more beautiful even more sunny. At sunset the same day we found them relaxing in the bush- all three of them were lit up by the last rays of the sun. The mixture of shadows and light spilling onto them was just awesome.*

*This picture appears below so keep on reading!

 

Every destination has its challenges and rewards; how does Namibia compare to other places you’ve photographed?

Traveling in the winter, I had many opportunities to witness and observe a diversity of animals in large numbers at the many different waterholes. Sunsets were those magical moments that all photographers dream about. Every evening was a gift (sometimes it felt like I was having a romantic date with elephants, giraffes, rhinos, birds…) Simply put, it is nature at its best. 

I felt comfortable, safe and also fulfilled with the spirit of adventure in Namibia.

The challenge is to make sure that you are at the waterholes close to the lodges in Etosha when the light starts to become precious in the golden hours of the day. Everyday you need to have a very specific schedule because the distances from the lodges in the parks are far. The Namibian landscape is unique and spectacular, it does not matter where you are; you recognize an image taken in Namibia as soon as you see it.

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Which 3 photos shot in Namibia are you most proud of and why?

1. Okaukuejo waterhole at Etosha. 

describe the image

After sunset with giraffes and rhinos drinking, the sky turned into a swirl of reds, oranges and blues... In this picture you can only see the silhouettes in the reflection. I turned the picture upside down, so the sky remained in the bottom, and the silhouettes are in the upright position. The result is ethereal and mysterious.

 

2. Erindi Private Game Reserve

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The curious baby leopard. It was just a miracle that we discovered a leopard cub by chance. The cub was about one month old. After spending over an hour with it, the cub became inquisitive and more confident and allowed us close enough to photograph it.  The cubs curious beautiful blue eyes curious looked straight into the camera resulting in this delightful image.

 

3. Cheetah family in the bushveld

describe the image

The cold blue environment contrasted with the warm light surrounding their bodies created a magical atmosphere, almost surreal. They came across as very relaxed and at the same time very aware of us. They all looked straight into the camera. I love the baby cheetahs’ faces, looking mildly upset and curious, but feeling very safe close to their mum.

 

When going on a Namibian photographic expedition, what is your equipment of choice? And what do you never leave home without?      

This was my first time in Namibia, I was there for one month exploring and discovering the beauty of this corner of Africa. My equipment: Canon EOS 1DX, Canon EOS MARK IV, Canon 600mm f/4, Canon 300mm 2.8, Canon 100-400mm, Canon 16-35mm, Canon 85mm. Manfrotto tripod.

For this trip, Canon Spain lent me the EOS 1DX camera and the fabulous 600mm lens. All I can say is that I felt extremely lucky because I was able to get very close to the animals when I most needed it. I recommend that you bring two camera bodies so you don't have to change lenses due to there being so much dust in the air.

describe the image 

A photographer friend is desperate to capture the best of Namibia. What top 3 tips would you give them?

1. Winter in Etosha offers a lot of activity at the most waterholes. The best waterholes in my experience are the ones at the lodges, so you don't have to rush up and down when it gets darker.  Find a comfortable seating position and be ready to take the most exciting pictures. The weather is wonderful, not too hot in the days and evenings, but for sunrise shots wear warm clothes.

2. Erindi Game Reserve will offer you exciting and different approaches to wildlife photos. You can drive off-road and have really close encounters with the wild. The sunsets are endless, and some of the most beautiful I've ever seen.

3. Book well in advance for Etosha because during high season it gets very busy at the lodges. Spend as much time as you can in the park, every single day is to be treasured. Every minute is magic and you might not want to ever leave. Anyone who wants to join me for my photo safari is very welcome.

describe the image

You can visit Marina’s website here or check out her Facebook page for more of her work. 

bio

About Marina...

Marina Cano is an award winning Spanish photographer who has published two books and is regularly featured in the National Geographic. She has exhibited her work in Korea, South Africa, Cuba, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. When not taking photographs Marina lectures around the globe.

 

More Photographer Tips

This part of a series of blog post interviews with professional photographers on how to Capture Namibia. Every week we'll be posting tips, tricks and amazing photographs from these impressive photographers.

Follow us to get the latest in the Capture Namibia series:

          

Namibia photography, photos Namibia, Africa photography, photography tips, photography in africa, photographs of namibia, photographs of africa

Namibia photography, photos Namibia, Africa photography, photography tips, photography in africa, photographs of namibia, photographs of africa

 Featured Photographers  

   
Namibia photography, photos Namibia, Africa photography, Marsel van Oosten, photography tips, photography in africa, photographs of namibia, photographs of africa  Namibia photography, photos Namibia, Africa photography, Christopher Rimmer, photography tips, photography in africa, photographs of namibia, photographs of africa  Namibia photography, photos Namibia, Africa photography, Paul van Schalkwyk, photography tips, photography in africa, photographs of namibia, photographs of africa, hasselblad masters

 Marsel van Oosten 

 Christopher Rimmer

Paul van Schalkwyk

Namibia photography, photos Namibia, Africa photography, photography tips, photography in africa, photographs of namibia, photographs of africa, Bill Gozansky  Namibia photography, photos Namibia, Africa photography, photography tips, photography in africa, photographs of namibia, photographs of africa,

Namibia photography, photos Namibia, Africa photography, photography tips, photography in africa, photographs of namibia, photographs of africa, Hougaard Malan

Bill Gozansky

 Roy van der Merwe

 Hougaard Malan

Namibia photography, photos Namibia, Africa photography, photography tips, photography in africa, photographs of namibia, photographs of africa  Namibia photography, photos Namibia, Africa photography, photography tips, photography in africa, photographs of namibia, photographs of africa, Ted Alan Stedman  Namibia photography, photos Namibia, Africa photography, photography tips, photography in africa, photographs of namibia, photographs of africa, Skyhawk photography

 Matthew Hood

 Ted Alan Stedman

 Jan & Jaye Roode

Where to Stay in Etosha National Park

  
  

So, you want to visit Etosha National Park? Of course you do. It is one of the most highly regarded national parks in Africa. The park has an enormous amount and variety of wildlife and guests are frequently treated to sightings of several rare and endangered animals. If you are going to visit Etosha, you will need a place to over night. This blog will give you the low down on where to stay while you explore this national treasure.

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A dazzle of zebra at a waterhole in Etosha.


Staying Inside the Park 

Most people start by looking for accommodation inside the park itself. There are only five camps you can stay at that are situated inside the boundaries of the park and they are all run by Namibia Wildlife Resorts. Below is a table of all five of these camps; if you want more info on the camp then simply click the picture next to the description.

http://www.etoshanationalpark.org/media/Etosha-Map2.jpg
Click here for a larger version of this map.

(Map via ENP)

 


 

Halali

Image via ENP

Halali

Closest gate: Either Anderson or Von Lindequist

This camp can be found right smack in the middle of the park. It is surrounded by shade-providing Mopane trees and has a nearby waterhole that allows guests to unobtrusively view game. Rhinos, lions and all manner of creatures frequent the viewing spot- so be sure to bring your camera! Halali has chalets and camping facilities, a bar, swimming pool and a restaurant.

Book here

 

NAM

Image via ENP

Namutoni

Closest Gate: Von Lindequist

The building that makes up the bulk of this complex is an old German fort and is the first port of call for most visitors who want to secure driving permits within Etosha. There are also several chalets and double rooms at which guests can stay. An African fusion restaurant, fully stocked bar as well as a flood-lit waterhole should provide enough reason to stay at this camp!

Book here.

 

 


 

okaukuejo

Image via ENP

Okaukuejo Camp

Closest gate: Anderson Gate

This camp has a wide variety of accommodation options from luxury bush chalets over looking the flood-lit waterhole to family chalets and double rooms. There are also camping facilities as well as a swimming pool, bar and restaurant. The camp is very close to the Anderson Gate and is easy to get to if you use that gate to get into the park. It is the administrative hub of Etosha. 

Book here.     

 

DOLO

Image via ENP

Dolomite Camp

Closest gate: Galton Gate

Up until recently the western portion of Etosha was closed off to the public. It has just been reopened and so too has the Dolomite Camp (the camp gets its name from the geology surrounding it). This part of Etosha has seen increases in the numbers of black-faced impalas and black rhinos, so be sure to be on the look out for these two large mammals. Beyond this, awesome views and beautiful vegetation make visiting this camp a treat.

Book here.  

 

DOLO

Image via ENP

Onkoshi Camp

Closest gate: King Nehale

With space for just thirty people this camp is the smallest and most intimate of the five NWR camps in Etosha. Onkoshi is also off all of the major routes and feels more secluded and private than most areas of the park. Each chalet in the camp offers a view of the Pan itself- this should convince you to try book a spot here. Each of the fifteen chalets are double rooms and there is a pool, restaurant and bar. 

Book here.     

 

Staying Outside the Park

If none of the five options within the park really suit your tastes then there is always the option of staying just outside Etosha as there are many different establishments that specialise in providing guests with a springboard into Etosha National Park.

One of the advantages of staying outside of the park is that you are spoiled for choice. From self-catering camping lodges, to luxury lodges with spa’s, we’re sure you will find somewhere that’s perfect for you.

Below we have collected a few options to demonstrate to you how diverse the lodges and camps around Etosha are. If you want more information on any of the camps just click on the picture next to the description.

Etosha Safari Camp

Etosha Safari Camp

Close to Etosha’s Anderson Gate this unique and quirky lodge is a must for visitors looking for something a little bit different. One of a kind décor and the serene surrounds make this camp the perfect place for young and old alike. It is reasonably priced with both double and single rooms available.

Book here.

Monjilla

Mondjila Safari Camp

Situated 30km south of the Anderson Gate this camp is well within driving distance of the famous national park. The camp has a laundry service, internet and a beautiful deck for watching the sun set behind the famous Namibian horizon.

Book here.

Aoba

Etosha Aoba Lodge

Etosha Aoba Lodge can be found on the Onguma Private Game Reserve. Onguma used to be part of Etosha National Park but it is now privately owned and managed. The Aoba Lodge  boasts eleven chalets that are all extremely private. Onguma, and Aoba, can be found on the eastern side of Etosha.

Book here.

ETOSHA VILL

Etosha Village

The name of the game at Etosha Village is good value and friendly service. The Village focuses on giving animal lovers easy access to one of the world’s most renowned national parks and is only two kilometres from the Anderson Gate. Game drives through the park can be organised as well.

Book here.

Mokuti

Mokuti Lodge

This lodge is a short four-minute drive from Etosha’s Von Lindequist Gate. The lodge hosts large groups of visitors from around the globe, so look forward to being able to share some stories round the camp fire with your fellow travellers. This lodge is situated on a nature reserve that shares on the border of Etosha. 

Book here.

Mushara Lodge

Mushara Lodge

This lodge is a situated very near the Von Lindequist Gate and is perfectly suited to explorers who are looking for a relaxed, tasteful and serene place to stay. The lodge has a library, a well-stocked wine cellar and a great collection of modern and traditional Namibian and African art.

Book here.

Eldorado

Eldorado B&B and Camping

This well-priced establishment can be found jminutes from the Anderson Gate. The area is famed for its birdlife and many interesting species have been spotted in and around the camp. Run by the same family for over 60 years Eldorado's focus is on good value and good service.

Book here.

epacha lodge and spa main 059

Epacha Game Lodge and Spa

This lodge is situated a little further from Etosha than the others on this list. However, it is still within an hour’s drive of the massive national park. Epacha boasts a spa and luxury chalets; so if you are looking for wellness and wilderness while visiting Etosha then Epacha is the perfect place for you.

Book here.

Onguiva

Little Ongava

There are only three units at Little Ongava, making it one of the most private and sought-after camps in the whole of Namibia. Be sure to book long in advance if you want to get a spot here. The camp itself is perched on a rocky outcrop that is extremely close Etosha’s Anderson Gate.

Book here.

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For more places to stay outside of Etosha click here.


An Important Reminder

Whether you are staying in the park or outside the park you need to know that you cannot drive around the park in your private vehicle after dark or before sunrise.

Be sure to check what time the day begins and ends before setting off an adventure through Namibia’s largest game park. Always allow enough time to get back to the gate you arrived in at and never, EVER leave your vehicle.

IMG 0598

Every animal in Etosha is a wild animal- be safe and enjoy!


+++++++

 

Check out some of our other blogs on Etosha National Park:

 

 How to Explore Etosha

Camping in Etosha 

describe the image describe the image

Four Scenic 4x4 Mountain Passes in Namibia

  
  

If you are into 4x4 adventures, Namibia has some beautiful mountain passes just for you. We have selected four passes on routes that start in Windhoek and head down the face of the Great Escarpment and into the Namib Desert and beyond.

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Namibia's mountainous regions are well-worth exploring.

 

A Short Note on 4x4’s in Namibia

Upon arriving in Namibia for the first time you would be forgiven for thinking that much of the driving you do around the countryside seems like a 4x4 adventure. With most of the roads in Namibia untarred and cutting through rugged landscape, this assumption is not crazy. However, the extensive gravel road network of Namibia is well maintained and is, for the most part, very easy to drive on. So fear not!

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Clear skies, clear roads.

 

Most car rental agencies will have 4x4 vehicles for hire and you can find a list of some agencies in Namibia here. Be sure to double-check any insurance policy you take out for your hired vehicle. Some policies will not cover damages incurred while using the vehicle off-road, so make sure with your agency before you bound off into the rugged outdoors.

Check out everything we have on car hire here.

 

Scenic Ascents and Breath-taking Descents

The passes below are incredibly scenic and along the way you will find loads of great places to stop and take in the awesome scenery of the remote locations you will drive through. This means that these routes are not just rewarding for novices but also for more experienced drivers who can enjoy the amazing sights and landscapes that these mountain roads cut through.

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One of the scenic picnic spots en-route.
(Image via Wikimedia Commons)

 

1. The Remhoogte Pass

If you are hoping to explore Sossusvlei, the Sesriem Canyon via the isolated town of Solitaire when you visit Namibia then this may be the perfect pass for you to take. There is also a lot of interesting geology along this trail with wind battered rock-faces rising out of the ground all along the route.

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The start of the scenic pass.
(Image via Tracks4Africa by Nakkiran Sunassee)

 

The Remhoogte Pass will take you over the Great Escarpment and into the Namib Desert and it is much less steep (and therefore easier to navigate) than the nearby Spreetshoogte Pass. This route is good if you are a little apprehensive about heights, or your ability to traverse a serious mountain pass. However, you must note, while it is possible, it is not the best idea to tackle this route with a sedan or light two-wheel drive vehicle.




A sedan will probably not cut it on this route.


How to get there

The pass can be found on the D1261. 

Take the B1 south out of Windhoek and head to Rehoboth. Just after you go through Rehoboth take the C24 going west for 37 km. Then turn onto the D1261 going south. Keep driving until you get to the C14- the C14 is the road you must take to get to Solitaire in the south.

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Welcome to Solitaire!
(Photo via Panoramio)

 

2. The Spreetshoogte Pass

This route follows a similar path to the Remhoogte pass. It too will take you from Windhoek to Solitaire meaning that you will be close to Sossusvlei and Sesriem. The major different between the two routes is that Spreetshoogte is much, much steeper than Remhoogte. As such, it is a little trickier to drive.

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Steep descents and sharp corner mean you will need a decent vehicle.
(Image via Panoramio)

 

The sharp bends and steep gradients are not bad news for intrepid explorers. These two aspects of the pass combine to provide travelers with unrivalled views of the dramatic landscape below the pass. It is best to drive in the afternoons as the landscape in the later afternoon sun is truly gorgeous and offers some awesome photographic opportunities.

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Another spectacular sunset on the Spreetshoogte Pass.
(Image via Alex Pompe)

 

How to get there

The pass lies south of the Gamsberg on the D1275.

Take the B1 and head south out of Windhoek, heading to Rehoboth. Just after you go through Rehoboth take the C24 for 37 km going West. Then head southwest on the D1261 for about 55km. Look out for the D1275. Once on the D1275 simply follow it until you get to the C14. Get on the C14 and head south to get to Solitaire.

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Both the Spreetshoogte and Remhoogte passes will put you en-route to the Sesriem Canyon.


3. The Gamsberg Pass

The mountain which this pass traverses got its name from the Nama word “gan” (flat on top). The Gamsberg Mountain is a flat top mountain and some even wryly referred to it as Namibia’s very own Table Mountain.

 

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The Gamsberg.
(Image via Tracks4Africa)

 

The route travels through the southern regions of the Namib Naukluft National Park, and should you choose, will lead you all the way to Walvis Bay on the iconic Namibian coast. This region of Namibia has a little bit of everything for everyone, with great rock climbing, challenging off-road 4x4 trails and awe-inspiring views of the foothills around the Kuiseb.

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The Kuiseb Valley.
(Image via Outdoorphotos by Andre Moller)

 

The pass is one of Namibia’s most popular passes and it is in fact the highest and the longest pass in the country. Its elevation and the fact that you overlook the Kuiseb River in the valley below it make it one of the most scenic 4x4 routes you can travel on in Namibia.

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The region has an average of 300 clear days a year.
Making it an ideal place for camping and stargazing.

(Image via Lynn Greenlee)

 

How to get there

The pass is on the C26.

All you need to do is head south on the B1 out of Windhoek and turn right onto the C26. The C26 is about 190km in length, at which point you will encounter the C14. Head northwest on the C14 to get to the nearby Walvis Bay, or head south to get to Solitaire.

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A rare shot of an unusually cloud-covered Gamsberg Pass.
(Photo via Alex Pompe)

 

4. The Bosua Pass 

The Bosua Pass is along a road that will take you from Windhoek to the famous coastal town of Swakopmund. The road is a far more scenic alternative to the traditional route along the tarred B1 and B2. However, like the Spreetshoogte Pass there are some very steep sections as you drive over the mountain and as such you should not try to do it with a car that does not have decent tires and brakes.

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The sun setting over the C28 just after the pass.
(Image via MEI)

 

The pass takes adventurers passed several abandoned mines and houses. Two notable sites along the route are the old Liebig House and the ruins of the Von Francois Fort. The former was once the residence of the copper mine’s top brass, while the latter was most recently used as a “Tronckenposten”- a drying out post for alcoholic German soldiers in the early 1900’s. Keep an eye out for these two landmarks!

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The abandoned Liebig House.
(Image via TREKEARTH)

How to get there

You can find this pass on the C28.

This pass is very easy to find. All you need to do is head out of Windhoek, on the C28 and head due east. The C28 snakes through the countryside for 319km and a trip from Windhoek to Swakopmund along this road should take you about five and-a-half hours.

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And once you get to the beaches near Swakopmund the fun and games can begin!


General notes

There are several picnic spots on these four passes. Some are at the beginning of the pass while others are at specific lookout points, so keep your eyes open for places to stop.

Please also note that you are not allowed to drive wherever you like in Namibia. You must stick to the roads on the map unless you have permission from the owners of the land on which you are driving.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly: Please ensure you close all gates that you drive through. Leaving these farms gates open endangers wildlife, drivers, locals and tourists. 

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Remember to keep those gates closed.
(Image via Zanzig Photography)

 

Happy trails!

 

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Driving through Namibia with Carlo van Wyk

  
  

Namibia: A Solo Overland Trip

by Carlo van Wyk

Every now and then, we all need a break. A few weeks ago I decided to take a much needed escape from the daily grind, and set out on a 3000 mile road trip through the south of Namibia. I didn’t have a set itinerary, just a road map, my four-wheel drive vehicle, cameras, and enough supplies to be self-sufficient for more or less two weeks.

Namibia : a Solo Overland Trip

The famous Dead Vlei.

 

Taking a break and traveling solo

I’ve always wanted to do a trip to Namibia. The country’s natural beauty and its vast and desolate expanses have always appealed to me. I wanted to take some landscape pictures, and to take a bit of a break from my working life. I decided to focus most of my travels around the south and south-west of Namibia so as not to feel rushed while I explored the country.

Namibrand Nature Reserve - Namibia : a Solo Overland Trip

The NamibRand Nature Reserve...
There are no fences on the side of the road and the wildlife roams freely through the reserve.

 

I was afforded a certain freedom by travelling solo. I travelled on my own time and terms, and it’s amazing how different one’s experience of traveling is when one travels alone. I met people I would never have met if I were traveling with someone or in a large group of tourists.

Old Car Wreck, Namibia - Namibia : a Solo Overland Trip

Being on your own allows you to take more time to linger at interesting places.
 

 

Camera equipment for Namibia

I was using a Canon EOS 5D Mark III and I ended up taking the majority of pictures with three of my lenses: A Canon EF 24-70mm f2.8L MK II, a Canon EF 16-35mm f2.8L MK II and an EF 100mm Macro lens. I also used an EF 24mm tilt shift lens for a few shifted panoramas. I did miss not having a 70-200mm zoom lens, as there were plenty of opportunities where such a lens would have been ideal.

Ai-Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier Park - Namibia : a Solo Overland Trip

Ai-Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier Park- Panorama taken with Canon EF 24mm Tilt Shift lens.


If I could take only three lenses to Namibia I would pack a 16-35mm, a 24-70mm and a 70-200mm. These three lenses are my ideal choices for photographing landscapes and people. However, if I intended on photographing wildlife as well, I would simply add a 500mm lens with a tele converter to the above selection of lenses.

Namibian Winter Panorama - Namibia : a Solo Overland Trip

Namibian Winter Panorama-
This panorama was taken with the Canon 24mm t/s F3.5ii L lens,
and really shows where this lens excels.


There’s a lot of dust and sand in Namibia. I managed to shoot with my camera for well over a year without the need for cleaning the sensor, but towards the end of my trip through Namibia, a number of dust spots started to show up at smaller apertures. So be sure to have a good camera bag to minimize dust build up.

Kolmanskop - Namibia : a Solo Overland Trip

Remote locations like Kolmanskop (pictured above) are striking, but are hard on your gear.


Spectacular landscapes in Namibia

The light in Namibia has a magical quality to it. The skies have a very rich blue, and the light is unusually warm lending your photographs a rich tone. This country is breathtakingly beautiful with spectacular landscapes everywhere. It is a photogenic country- a photographer’s dream.

The Fish River Canyon, Namibia - Namibia : a Solo Overland Trip

The Fish River Canyon.

Climbing Dune 45, Sossusvlei - Namibia : a Solo Overland Trip

Dune 45.

Trees at Dead Vlei - Namibia : a Solo Overland Trip

Dead Vlei.


Remote, desolate beauty

Namibia is vast, desolate and beautiful. I really enjoyed the isolation of Namibia. Even in peak tourist season, you can pull over your car on the side of the road and not see a vehicle for a few hours. You can camp wild under African skies and some roads are so isolated that you can literally be alone for a day or two.

NamibRand - Namibia : a Solo Overland Trip

The NamibRand Nature Reserve.

 

I deliberately tried to stick to mostly gravel roads. The condition of the gravel roads in Namibia are excellent. Towns along these roads are mostly small, often consisting of a fuel station, a shop, with a few campsites or lodges scattered around it. A lot of the roads don’t have any fences and as a result I saw plenty of wildlife crossing the road. You quickly learn to look out for animals. It’s well advised to only travel during daylight hours, as nighttime brings the risk of hitting animals.

Gravel Roads in Namibia - Namibia : a Solo Overland Trip

The gravel roads in Namibia are great.
Wildlife crossing the roads poses a risk, so speed should be kept to about 80km/h.

 

For the most part, there’s limited or no cell phone coverage. Only the bigger towns and some smaller towns have coverage. The vast, desolate expanses of Namibia, coupled with a lack of communication to the outside world in many areas really allowed me to switch off, relax, and enjoy vistas of this beautiful country.

Wild Horses of the Namib - Namibia : a Solo Overland Trip

Relax, take some time and find something special.


Why you should visit Namibia

Clearly, Namibia is a photographer’s paradise, and it’s easy to see why many of the world’s top photographers return to Namibia year after year. It’s easily the most beautiful country I’ve ever visited.

Tree Stump at Sossusvlei - Namibia : a Solo Overland Trip

Tree Stump at Sossusvlei.


For first time visitors to Africa, it’s a very safe and peaceful country. Namibia has a low crime rate, there’s no wars, and religious or racial tension in the country. It’s commonly known to be the safest country in Africa. The people are warm and friendly too, always ready to greet you with a smile. Accommodation was also reasonable and top notch, with plenty of lodging and camping options to choose from, making finding somewhere to stay quite simple.

If you’re someone that enjoys nature, spectacular landscapes, world-class game, or if you want to have an adventure in Africa, Namibia should be at the top of your list of countries to visit. I returned home from my epic adventure, refreshed and with my batteries recharged. I met some great people and returned with more good pictures than I thought I would have taken.


NamibRand Landscape - Namibia : a Solo Overland Trip

Namibia is rich in photo opportunities.


I returned home with an urgency to go back and explore more of this amazing country. There’s so much more to see: Etosha National Park, Damaraland, the Skeleton coast and more… Next time around, I will travel with my family. Watch this space.

The Dunes Surrounding Sossusvlei - Namibia : a Solo Overland Trip
On top of a dune, near Sossusvlei.


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Carlo has been a passionate photographer since high school, when his father introduced him to photography. Photography has been a life long learning experience for him. His goal is to share his passion with others.

Follow Carlo on Twitter

Contact Carlo


All words and pictures in this post are by Carlo van Wyk.
The original version of his article can be found on Photograhydo here.

What to do in Namibia during Winter

  
  

Winter in Namibia is a great time of year to explore our vast and diverse country. The weather is more moderate than in other months of the year and our country is a great option if you want to avoid the huge crowds of the northern hemisphere's summer months. Read on for a few more reasons why we think you should visit Namibia in the winter months.

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Winter is a great time to explore Namibia- find out why below.

 

The Manageable Weather

As you probably know already, Namibia is a place associated with hot, dry and sunny weather. The cloudless skies and blazing sun can, at times, become overwhelming in the warmer months (particularly over December, January and February). Winter is a slightly different story in the Land of the Brave. Daytime temperatures for the season stay manageable and rarely climb above the 25 degrees Celsius.

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Another cloudless and temperate winter's day in Namibia.
(Image via Deal's Holidays)

 

Namibia gets its rain in the summer months so the winter daytime skies are also incredibly clear and cloudless. It is not uncommon to go for days without seeing a cloud in the perfect blue sky and this allows photographers ample opportunity to take some incredible high contrast pictures against a deep blue background.

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The blue of the sky contrasts excellently with the whites and browns of Namibia's landscapes.

 

And while we are talking about awesome photo opportunities, you should know that toward the end of winter you will be treated to some incredible sunsets. Toward the end of winter the winter months the desert winds begin to start blowing. These winds pick up dust into the air, which then spectacularly refracts the light of the setting sun.

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A giraffe at sunset in Etosha National Park.

 

At night the temperatures can get quite nippy, but it never gets quite as cold as the frigid winters of northern Europe or northern America. The temperatures in Namibia are cool enough to justify lighting a warming fire and nothing makes winter more enjoyable than sitting around a roaring fire and sharing some stories with your friends and family.

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A large camp fire keeps the night, and the cold, at bay.
(Image via Wofford)

 
Note: In the southern and central regions of Namibia it can occasionally get to freezing. These temperatures are exceptional though and you can expect it to not get much colder than 5 degrees Celsius.

 

Winter adventures

Winter is the perfect time to be physically active in Namibia. The lack of humidity and the relatively moderate daytime temperatures make doing physical activity far easier in the winter than in the summer months. Rock climbing, cycling, trail running and several other adventure sports are all best done in the winter. The sun is at a less steep angle and the cooling winter breeze make any physical exercise much easier to deal with.

 

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Winter walking in the dunes near Swakopmund.

 

Hiking is another great activity to take part in when visiting Namibia in the winter. Some hikes, like the Fish River Canyon Hike are not offered to guests in the summer months as the temperatures are too high and the heat makes the hike too strenuous. Check out our blog on this particular hike here.

 

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Getting ready to set out from the floor of the Fish River Canyon.

 

While not exactly physically demanding, going on safari is also very worthwhile during winter. The animals become easier to spot because the vegetation dries out in the rainless months giving the wildlife less cover. This is coupled with the fact that the animals are drawn out to the remaining waterholes in search of water and means that your chances of catching a glimpse of some of Namibia’s awesome wildlife are greatly increased during winter.

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The wildlife, no matter how big or small, is easier to spot in winter.


Note: Even though the sun is less harsh in the winter in Namibia you still need to make sure you are protected from it. Always use sunscreen and wear a hat and sunglasses.

Hit the beach

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The Namibian coast is spectacular during winter.

 

The winter months are arguably the best time of the year to head to the beach in Namibia. All along the famously rugged coastline temperatures remain warm and the fog stays away. These favourable weather conditions are as a result of the foehn winds (berg winds) that travel down the great escarpment and into the ocean.

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Swakopmund is Namibia's most popular seaside town.
(Image via FotoD)

 

The warm winds ensure that the coast stays dry and the frequent evening fog that descends over towns like Swakopmund, Luderitz, Walvis Bay and Henties Bay is kept at bay by the dry warm winds. The fine weather, coupled with the winds, make this time of year ideal for anyone who wants to take part in water sports like kiteboarding, windsurfing, surfing, stand-up paddle boarding and body boarding.

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Get your heart racing on the Atlantic Ocean!
(Image courtesy of Geesche Neuberg)

 

It should be clear now that the winds are a key feature of this season on the coast and at times they can get quite strong. When they pick up enough, usually as the sun is setting, sand from the Namib Desert can become suspended in the air in a dramatic fashion. With the right amount of skill, timing, and photographer’s luck you can capture these surreal moments and leave the coast with some unforgettable photographs.

http://www.photographyblogger.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Namibia-10.jpg

The winds sweeping over Dune 45 near Sossusvlei.
(Image by Adomas Svirskas via Photography Blogger)

http://www.photographyblogger.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Namibia-20.jpg

A sandstorm blows across a national road.
(Image by Asco via Photography Blogger)

Note: A great place for water sports like those mentioned above is Luderitz and within the small town there are a few operators who can take you out on to the ocean. Find out more by reading about the town here.

There is loads to do in Namibia throughout all of its seasons, but if you are looking for moderate temperatures and adventure filled activities then winter could be the ideal time for you to visit the Land of the Brave. Also, during the Namibian winter the northern hemissphere's tourist hotspots are traditionally over-crowded with holiday makers soaking up the sunshine. So why not give the summer crowds a skip and come and spend some time around a warm fire in Namibia?

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Here are two more of our blogs to help you plan your trip to Namibia:

Want to know what to do in Autumn? Plan your next Namibian adventure!
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