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Books for Namibia travel & photography inspiration

  
  

Any keen photographer who has travelled to a distant land can tell you finding the right places to visit can be tough. It becomes tougher still when you wish to do more than simply snap shots of the passing landscape with little regard for the gems a place like Namibia has hidden beneath her sands.

Thinking of heading to Namibia? Or on the look out for a photographic destination? Here are just some books we’ve pulled out to whet your appetite. These books go beyond merely portraying the astonishing landscapes and vistas of Namibia and delve into the histories and societies found across this varied and complex country.

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Namibia by Richard Ehrlich

Find it on Amazon here

Why we like it: This work is a more traditional collection of photographs. Richard Ehrlich contrasts the stark beauty of harsh Namibian landscapes with the insides of abandoned homes in deserted diamond mining towns. The author has done a tremendous job of uncovering photographic gems that have been hidden under layers of sand blown by desert winds.

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Places in the Sand by Margaret Courtney-Clark

Find it on Amazon here

Why we like it: “Places in the Sand” primarily serves as an in-depth look at the Namib Desert through a series of 48 colour and 16 black-and-white photographs. What sets this collection of photographs from other similar publications is the intimate knowledge of the land Courtney-Clark grew up in. Her personal anecdotes and homegrown insights make this an informative and stirring photographic books on the Namib Desert. 

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Namibia- A Visual Tour Through Its Regions by Thomas Dressler

Find it on Kalahari here 

Why we like it: Many books have chronicled Namibia’s landscapes, but this book by Thomas Dressler goes deeper into the fabric of Namibia than most. Yes, there are gorgeous landscape photographs between its covers but in addition to these are several photographs of the people of Namibia and the massively varied wildlife found in Namibia. From the Skeleton Coast to the Namib Desert this book describes the landscapes, flora and fauna found in Namibia and details how the people of Namibia live within and with them.

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Bush of Ghosts by John Liebenberg

Find it on Amazon here 

Why we like it: “Bush of Ghosts” concerns itself primarily with the last five years of the South African Border War. The book consists of a series of personal and unique photographs secretly taken by John Liebenberg as he braved steep fines and/or imprisonment if caught (at the time taking these kinds of photographs documenting the war had been outlawed by the South African Apartheid government). This book gives a unique narrative of an often forgotten conflict and is a must for all Namibian history buffs and those interested in learning more about an under-imagined part of global history.

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Namibia: Safari Companion by Alain Pons; Christine Baillet

Find it on Kalahari here

This book is a less traditional photo-book. The authors of this book not only provide the reader and would-be traveller with a beautiful array of photographs but also give advice as to how to go on an “adventure” holidays in Namibia. “Namibia Safari” makes a welcome addition to any coffee table but what sets it apart from other coffee-table books is that it may just provide the reader of it with enough of a plan, and enough motivation, to get out of their easy-chair and do some adventure holidaying in Namibia.

 

What books have inspired you?

Have you read a book on Namibia that got inspired you to travel or to tell a story through photography? Share it with us on Twitter by including @NamibiaHorizons in your tweet, or leave a comment below so we can add your books to our list.

 

More book suggestions from our Namibia fans

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NAMIBIA by Frances D. Gallogly

View it for free on Blurb here

Recommended by Fran Gallogly @tangogalfrances:

"The photo book that I published after visiting this wonderful country" 

 

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Namibia Space by Julienne du Toit & Chris Marais

Find it on Amazon here

Recommended by Kevin Russell @Wildtiere

 

 

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Lords of the Last Frontier by Lawrence G. Green

Find it on Amazon here

Recommended by Bob Heffner via Facebook:

"It may be dated, and it is not a photographic book as the ones enumerated on your list, but it captures the history and spirit of Namibia."

 

 Namibia photography, photos Namibia, Africa photography, photography tips, photography in africa, photographs of namibia, photographs of africa, travel inspiration, travel books namibia  

Skeleton Coast: Africa's Last Wilderness by Thorsten Milse

Find it on Amazon here

Recommended by Guido Haeger via Facebook:

"Despite the name it's also about the Kaokoveld with the Hoanib, Desert Elephants and much more. There's a preview with some photos on amazon.de - for me the best Namibia Photo book"

namibia   

The Namib: Natural History of an African Desert by Mary Seely

Find it on NHBS here

Recommended by Harvey Leifert

 

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2013 Namibia Tourism Expo: Join in!

  
  

2013 marks the 15th Annual Namibia Tourism Expo, and this year is set to be bigger and better than the last. At the heart of this year’s expo will be ADVENTURE… in honour of Namibia having been selected as the first African country to host the 2013 Adventure Travel Summit.

The expo is all about bringing together the people of the hospitality industry, getting the word out about new and exciting products and services, as well as being a place where local Namibians can revel in all their beautiful country has to offer.

There are a few stalls that have built a name for themselves over the years, and it’s always a surprise to see what new ideas (and treats) they’ve got in store. There are also a variety of well-known restaurants that will operate at the Expo, so you can enjoy the gastronomical delights of Namibia as you meander through the stalls.

 

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What to see & do

Join us as we celebrate the best in outdoor & adventure travel:

Local, regional and international establishments

Luxury lodges and tented camps

Interactive Chef’s Demonstrations

Namibian Arts & Crafts Exhibitions

Namibian travel media & publications

Food, beer & wine tasting

And a host of other fun activities for travellers

 

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JV Song Competition

Also part of the Expo is the highly anticipated Joint Venture Song Competition. Every year, staff of the JV lodges across Namibia (who often spoil visitors with their beautiful song as they work) enter the competition to see who will be crowned best of the best and win great cash prizes. Just listening to the contestants sing is sure to light a fire in your soul. Don’t miss it on the 30th of May at 17h00 in the Events Tent, Windhoek Show Grounds. 

Wedding Exhibition

And if you’re interested in getting married in the middle of nowhere (click here for some Namibian wedding inspiration), then make your way to Hall A where all the wedding destination exhibitors will flaunting their goods. You’re sure to find some of the most spectacular wedding destinations in the world. 

The Bank Windhoek – Republikein Motorshow

Any traveller knows that half the journey is getting there. So take a look at what’s new at the Bank Windhoek-Republikein Motorshow. Apart from the amazing cars, there is sure to be some clever accessories and fancy camping equipment that will leave you wanting more!

 

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What's your favorite part of Expo2013?

Let us know what you love most about Expo 2013 via Twitter with the hashtag #expo2013. We're pretty sure at least some of you will be planning your next Namibia vacation before long!

 

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2013

Namibia Tourism Expo

Information

 Where

Windhoek Show Grounds

 When

29th May – 1st June 2013

 Show times

Trade Day

Wednesday, 29th May 2013 - 15:00 to 22:00

Public Days

Thursday, 30 May 2013 - 12:00 to 21:00

Friday, 31 May 2013 - 12:00 to 21:00

Saturday, 01 June 2013 - 10:00 to 17:00

Gates close 1 hour prior to expo closing times

 Entrance

Adults: N$ 40.00

Children: 6 – 12 Years: N$ 20.00

Children under 6 and Pensioners – Free of charge

Advance ticket sales only available at the standard rates and only available via Computicket

 Directions

 From Hosea Kutako International Airport to Windhoek Show Grounds

1. Head west on the B6 from Hosea Kutako International towards Windhoek (40.8km)

2. Turn right onto Sam Nujoma Drive (950m)

3. Take the 3rd left onto Jan Jonker Street (2.9km)

4. Turn left onto Lazarett Street (350m)

5. Take the 3rd right onto Bell Street (23m) 

 More info

Official NTE website

 

Capture Namibia: Photography Tips from Matthew Hood

  
  

Matthew Hood is no stranger to Africa. Having filmed for the likes of Animal Planet, he recently embarked on his own film making adventure: "Namib Grand". Watch the trailer below and find out more about Matthew's travels to one of the world's last untouched landscapes, Namibia.


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

Watching the sunrise on the dunes around Sossusvlei was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. The light becomes very warm and the colours of the dunes begin to saturate as if glowing from within. The rising sun hits the taller dunes at their very peak, and then begins to fall down their slope as if someone is pulling back a curtain, it is quite epic. 

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Photo by Matthew Hood @ hoodvisuals.com

 

How does Namibia compare to other places you’ve photographed?

I had never photographed in a place with that much sand. One of the challenges is to manage the dust and sand that has away of getting into every piece of luggage one might bring.  Unfortunately the truck I hired was not properly sealed which left the back of the cab looking like a miniature version of the desert. The upside of all this sand is the endless expanse of the Namib Desert, which yields a truly cinematic landscape.

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Photo by Matthew Hood @ hoodvisuals.com 

 

“A truly cinematic landscape”

 

Which photos shot in Namibia are you most proud of?

Although I was shooting still images, the end result are time-lapse sequences. By taking hundreds (sometimes thousands) of photographs in the same position, they can be played back as a motion picture sequence. 


NAMIB GRAND Trailer by Matthew Hood @ HoodVisuals on Vimeo


I am quite happy with 3 particular sequences that I used in the "Namib Grand" trailer.  

1: The opening and closing shots of the trailer were shot at Sesriem Canyon. The shadows remained the same for the better part of the morning and afternoon, and then as the sun continued west, the light began to illuminate this narrow section of the canyon.  The highlights and shadows danced around and the proceeded up until just the very top of the canyon was lit. 

2: "The Bridge" at Spitzkoppe frames the two huge koppies that shoot out of the ground very well.  With a bit of camera movement, one can appreciate the beautiful rocks and boulders that have been shaped by water and wind over thousands of years.

3: The Deadvlei sequence turned out quite well.  The scorched camel thorn tree in the foreground helps to create depth with big shadows sweeping across the dunes and the Milky Way eventually coming into view.

 

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Photo by Matthew Hood @ hoodvisuals.com

 

What is your equipment of choice for your Namibian expeditions?

I primarily use the Canon 5DMarkII and Carl Zeiss 15mm lens. This lens has proven to be extremely sharp and produced such accurate colours and contrast that a lot less editing is required.  For many of my time-lapses I used the Kessler Cineslider which allows the camera to move across a 5ft track over the course of a whole night.  This little bit of movement really helps to animate the features of the landscapes.  I also use a lot of apps on the iPhone to track the sun, moon, constellations as well as calculate the number of photos I need for each time-lapse sequence. 

 

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Photo by Matthew Hood @ hoodvisuals.com

 

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

#1: Do your research before hand. The internet is an invaluable tool with so much information at hand.  You can read through blogs from other travellers, visit tour company websites, maps, and look at photographs of other professional and amateur photographers for inspiration.  Namibia is such a big country with so many spectacular places to visit and photograph.  One will plan their trip very differently if they are there for a week versus 6 months. For example, I was only there for 20 days so I focused on one quarter of the country, rather than trying to see everything and spend all my time driving.

#2: Spend the first hour at each destination without your camera. Walk around and look at the features of the landscape. Look at a certain rock or tree from different angles and see the way the light hits it.  Ask yourself where is the sun going to rise? Where is it going to set?  Taking a bit of time to understand the landscape and establish what sort of image you would like to produce and what needs to be included or excluded from the frame will help tremendously.

#3: Leave room for change.  If you have the ability to leave your itinerary flexible, try to do so.  It is very important to plan and be efficient with your time, but just as important to leave room for the unknown.  You might end up in a place and simply fall in love and not want to leave.  Particularly if you're a photographer, you will always feel the need to stay and shoot one more photo. 

 

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Photo by Matthew Hood @ hoodvisuals.com


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About Matthew Hood

In 2006, Matthew Hood made his first trip to Africa, and, after being captivated by its beauty, has returned on a regular basis.  His projects have led him to photograph civil conflict in northern Uganda, chimpanzees in Tanzania, and Africa's highest peak - Mount Kilimanjaro.  He has recently filmed two wildlife series for Animal Planet in Zimbabwe, and is currently working on his own independent film in Namibia, titled "Namib Grand".  Using, experimenting with, and exploring an array of photographic techniques, Matthew's images are the result of his attention to detail, immersing the viewer into the moment.  Matthew's formal training is in Cinema & Communications and Photography in Canada.

You can see more of his work at www.hoodvisuals.com or find him on Facebook

 

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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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

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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

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

 

Getting Married in the Middle of Nowhere... Namibia

  
  

Imagine tying the knot in one of the most sparsely populated places in the world. Where you feel like the only people on earth. Where Mother Nature has taken care of the décor. Where dramatic thunderclouds rolling over the grasslands or red sand clashing with blue skies provide the ultimate backdrop. A wedding in Namibia is sure to be not only unusual, but unforgettable.


Top wedding destination ideas in Namibia    

 

#1 The Desert Wedding   

Probably the most iconic of all landscapes in Namibia is the desert. Rolling dunes as far as the eye can see, set against the cloudless sapphire sky – it’s quite something. Set up a marquee in the middle of the dunes for an unforgettable wedding experience. With the entire desert as your playground, you can have as many guests as you like! If you’re looking for more solid ground, ask about the rockier plains of the Moonlandscape. It’s an ancient riverbed in the desert, with beautiful rock formations and endless horizons that will leave your guests speechless.  The desert is accessible from Swakopmund, the popular coastal town of Namibia. This makes the location relatively easy to get to and there are lots of different accommodation options for your guests. Many service providers operate out of Swakopmund, like Desert Catering, and can help to co-ordinate everything you’ll need for the big day.  

Why we like it: How many people do you know get married in the desert?  

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Photos courtesy of Susan Nel Photography 

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Photo courtesy of Chris Johnston Photography

 

#2 The Moonlandscape Wedding  

Not far from Swakopmund and the big dunes that set the stage for the desert wedding, lies more solid ground. An ancient riverbed in the middle of the desert, with beautiful rock formations and endless horizons that will leave your guests speechless. It's called the Moonlandscape, and looks like movie set straight from Mad Max (in fact, one of the sites is actually called Mad Max and the latest Mad Max movie was filmed around this area). As with the desert wedding, the number of guests is all up to you and nature is your playground.

Why we like it: Out of this world 

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Photos courtesy of Susan Nel Photography

 

#3 The Safari Wedding  

Want the Big 5 to be on your guest list?  When it comes to safari venues, Namibia is a world classsafari destination and there are plenty of great choices. Etosha is probably the most iconic wildlife destination in Namibia. A national park the size of New Jersey, and it is famous for its picturesque salt pan and wildlife sightings – Elephants, rhinos, cheetahs, giraffes, honeybadgers, leopards… you name it! EmanyaLittle OngavaOnguma and Mushara are just some of the great wedding locations to choose from. Or if you’re looking for something a little wilder, you and your guests could camp between the wild animals under the southern sky in the Elephant Lodge at Erindi.  

Why we like it: The Big Day deserves The Big 5  

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Photos courtesy of Susan Nel Photography

 

#4 The River Boat Wedding

Contrary to what some may think, Namibia is not just one big desert! The landscapes are as diverse as our people and our wildlife. Further up north, the land is lush, the hippos bark in the night, unusual birds crowd the trees and reeds, and the hut villages that line the rivers and roads give you the feeling of being deep within Africa. Imagine floating down the river in an exclusive houseboat, with just you and 15 of your closest friends and family. Or staying in one of the many beautiful stilted lodges, the Okavango river flowing right beneath you. The friendly villagers are sure to get involved in the festivities and you can expect the village kids on the riverbanks to cheer you on.  

Why we like it: A real taste of Africa  

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Photo source: Afrizim.com

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#5 The Tailor-Made Wedding  

The Namib Rand Nature Reserve is a private nature reserve that boasts some of the world’s most dramatic landscapes and darkest skies. Nestled between red dunes, blue mountains and tufts of grass shimmering in the sunlight, Wolwedans lodge provides a spectacular backdrop for your wedding. As one of the most exclusive lodges in Namibia, you can expect the white glove treatment. Wolwedans can accommodate parties of up to 40. Or if you’re looking for something smaller and more intimate, the Boulders Camp at Wolwedans is perfect for parties of up to eight people. Guests can be booked into the sophisticated Dunes Lodge or the slightly more rustic but equally charming Dune Camp. For the bride and groom, there’s the idyllic and remote Private Camp, set in an enchanting valley and probably one of the most private places you will ever discover.  

Why we like it: Small and effortless 

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Photos courtesy of Susan Nel Photography 


#6 The [Most] Remote Wedding  

Ok, everywhere in Namibia is pretty remote. But undoubtedly among the most remote camps in Southern Africa is Serra Cafema, located in the extreme north-west of Namibia and only accessible by a three hour light aircraft trip from the capital, Windhoek. Once you've landed, the camp is about a 45 minute drive from the airstrip. It will seem like you are headed into oblivion, until finally you reach the peak of the last dune, peer down the slope and there the camp lies, along the lush Kunene river, deep in the Hartmann Valley – a secret paradise. Chat to the lovely lodge owners and they are sure to make the day really special, whether its on the dune or on an island in the river. With only 8 rooms at the camp, you’ll have to choose your guests carefully…

Why we like it: Only the elite few could afford such an extravagance!   

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Photos courtesy of Wilderness Safaris

 

#7 The Savannah Wedding  

There is something magical and just down right earthy about the savannah grasslands. If you get your timing right, you could be honored with a thunderstorm. 'Rain' and 'wedding' are not two words a bride usually wants to hear in the same sentence. But there’s nothing 'usual' about Namibia. If you’ve ever experienced a highveld thunderstorm, you’ll know just how powerful, beautiful and dramatic they are. Within what seems like minutes, perfectly blue skies are taken over by rolling black thunderclouds, that bring echoing grumbles and lightning bolts stretching from one corner of the sky to the other. The heavens open… and then, before you know it, it’s all over. The sun shining and the skies perfectly blue once more. The only sign of rain is the fresh smell in the air and a sense of the bush coming to life again. While its not a typical wedding destination, there are private game lodges and farms in the east of Namibia who would be more than happy to turn their land into a private wedding venue just for you.

Why we like it: Vast and dramatic  

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Photos courtey of Susan Nel Photography

 

#8 The Conservation Wedding  

The N/a'an ku se Wildlife Sanctuary Lodge is situated on a 3,200 hectare reserve near Windhoek. It provides a safe haven for various orphaned and injured African wildlife. The lodge is part of the N/a'an ku se Foundation, that aims to protect and conserve Namibia’s vulnerable wildlife and to improve the lives of the marginalised San Bushman community. So impressive is their work, that it caught they eye of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt who visited the foundation in 2010, and made a donation to N/a'an ku se in their daughter Shiloh's name (who was born in Namibia). Get married at N/a'an ku se and get have the elegant cheetahs make a cameo appearance in your wedding photos. Also ask about the N/a'an ku se gift list – your guests can choose from a variety of wildlife and community donations, instead of buying you another toaster!

Why we like it: A wedding that keeps on giving (back)    

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Photo courtesy of Snowball Studio Photography

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Photos courtey of Susan Nel Photography

 

Tips for planning your wedding in Namibia  

Keep it natural: The most beautiful weddings in Namibia are the ones that work with the natural beauty of the land. Instead of paying for roses to be flown in, think about how you can use the local produce, or if you even need roses on every table! The scenery is so overwhelming, you won’t need much more to impress your guests.  

Take your time: The more remote the destination is, the longer it will take for you and your guests to get there. Just bear it in mind when you’re working out a program for the day. Most international guests who get married in Namibia turn their wedding day into a long weekend or week-long adventure for them and their guests. Not only do they actually get to spend some quality time with their guests, but it’s a great excuse to enjoy the momentous occasion for as long as possible!  

Find a helping hand: Certain things may be difficult to source in Namibia. If you’re a bit of a perfectionist, we suggest organizing your wedding through a luxury lodge. They will be able to tend to every last detail (like non-indigenous flowers, guest transport, make-up, hair, etc.) and will plan your day down to a T.  

Stay cool: If you get married in the summer months, be sure to arrange some cool shade. Sun umbrellas are really handy all year round, and look great in the photos. Also be sure to have plenty of water available for the guests at all times.  

Prioritise: Make sure you book your dream venue and photographer well in advance to get the best. Once you’ve got the perfect location, and you know someone will be able to capture the memories of your day, everything else will fall into place…

  

Finding a Wedding Photographer in Namibia  

Below are links to just some of the local talent in Namibia, ready and waiting to capture your extraordinary Namibian wedding:

 

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Susan Nel Photography   Snowball Studio Photography  Joanne Brand Photography  Chris Johnston Photography

 

 

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National Geographic Best Ecolodges: Damaraland Camp Namibia

  
  

Damaraland Camp in Namibia has been selected as one of National Geographic Traveler’s “25 Best Ecolodges” for 2013 - a nod to the great conservation work with local conservancies in Namibia.

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The camp is a joint venture between Torra Conservancy and Wilderness Safaris. “We are extremely proud of our partnership with the community of the Torra Conservancy at Damaraland Camp and of our ongoing commitment to ecotourism in Namibia”, says Rob Moffett of Wilderness Safaris. “Our country’s unique model of conservation, community development and tourism is setting a global standard in the protection of the environment and wildlife, and in engaging with and empowering rural communities in the process.” 

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The editorial team of National Geographic Traveler worked long and hard to find 2013’s best authentic and most sustainable lodges for its more than 8.5 million readers. The select lodges chosen embody the National Geographic Society’s spirit of exploration and commitment to the environment and will be featured in the magazine’s June/July 2013 issue. 

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After independence in 1990, Namibia was the first African country to incorporate environmental protection into its constitution. The national government reinforced that commitment by giving communities the right to manage wildlife through communal conservancies. As a result, residents of conservancies could set up joint ventures with investors and travel businesses to operate lodges and tented camps, targeting the eco-travel market.

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To date, 79 communal conservancies have been established, incorporating 19.5 percent of the country’s land. Over 40 joint-venture lodges and campsites are operating in partnership with conservancies, and more are in the works. Support organisations such as The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), IRDNC (Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation), Save The Rhino Trust and NACSO (The Namibian Association of Community Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM), have contributed to the success of the ground-breaking national policy.

Wilderness Safaris partnered with the Torra Conservancy in 1996 to pioneer the joint venture concept with Damaraland Camp, and is engaged with similar ventures with a further four communal conservancies in the remote north-west of the country.

Torra Conservancy holds a 40% equity stake in Damaraland Camp and the democratically elected community body also receives a tourism levy for each guest visiting the camp. More than 95% of jobs at the camp are filled by community members, including lodge and guiding staff. Wilderness Safaris has been in the forefront of empowering local community members, including the manager of Damaraland Camp, Maggie Vries. She and other Wilderness managers have risen through the ranks to work in lodge and tourism management.

Nationwide, more than 1 000 jobs have been created through joint venture partnerships and it is estimated that each job supports a further nine family members. Direct revenue to conservancies from these partnerships is used to fund conservation activities, anti-poaching patrols, school programmes and other needs identified by communities.

The conservancies have made a commitment to conservation and developed innovative strategies to deal with human-wildlife conflict. These wildlife-friendly land uses are paying off – Namibia has increased its free-ranging lion population, as well as numbers of numerous other desert-adapted species such as springbok, oryx, giraffe and even Critically Endangered black rhino. This community-centred approach to sustainable land use has attracted delegations from 22 countries, including some struggling to save their tigers, to learn how it’s done.

The overall philosophy in Namibia can be summed up in five words: “We will live with wildlife!”

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All photos courtesy of Wilderness Safaris

 

Useful links

Read about Damaraland Camp on National Geographic Traveler here

Find out more about Namibia's unique conservation model here

Find out more about Damaraland Camp here

 

 

 

 

Capture Namibia: Photography Tips from Hougaard Malan

  
  

 

Professional photographer Hougaard Malan tells of magical tales while journeying through Namibia and shares some lessons on how to best to Capture Namibia.

 

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

The Sandhof Lily pan is a clay plain in the southern region of Namibia near Maltehohe. When it fills to about 30cm after the first heavy rains of summer, the Crinum Paludosum lily comes up for as far as the eye can see. It blooms and dies again within about 6/7 days. Along with the flowers, hundreds of thousands of elephant beetles seem to appear out of nowhere to feast on the delicacy and once the lilies die they vanish again. Our trip was supposed to be Kgalagadi-Richtersveld-Namib, but 5 days before our date to leave we got the news that the pan had gotten the necessary rain for the flowers to bloom.

We decided to chuck Richtersveld and go to Namibaia and then Kgalagadi. When we got there the lilies were already past their peak and I had to search hard to find ones that were still in good condition. As the sun got closer to the horizon, an absolute monstrosity of a storm was steadily rolling closer. Minutes before the storm reached us, a gap in the clouds opened and it rewarded us with light that made the effort worthwhile.

I got a few shots of the storm sky as it started to rain and then turned to my friend to shout "I’m packing up" and I saw how amazing the light was towards the sun. I fired a few quick shots and then the rain started beating down, as you can see in the water. We hastily retreated to the cars for shelter where the three of us were still ignorantly planning to braai, so we sat below our friend's unfolded rooftop tent waiting for the rain to pass. The downpour got heavier and heavier so Isak and I decided to retreat to his car and Braam got in his rooftent.

We were discussing how weird it is that such a cloud formation had no lightning... and as Murphy would have it, the rumble started. It got meaner and meaner and excitement grew to fear as I knew our cars were the highest objects on a flat plain. As the core of the storm reached us three successive strikes fell within less than 100 metres and it shook the whole car, followed by a deafening crackle.

There was an ominous darkness with only the sound of the rain beating against the car when all of a sudden a bolt of white light stood still on Braam’s car and he was still in his roof tent. Isak and I exchanged some nice words then Isak rolled down his window to hear if Braam was okay.  After another exchange of some more nice words, Braam confirmed that he’s fine. Lucky for him, the metal frame of the tent had conducted the electricity.  We had gotten there in time, had an amazing sunset and Braam survived a lightning strike in his rooftop tent.

If that isn't luck then I don't know what is!

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"The Lucky Lilies" Sandhof Farm, Maltahohe District, Namibia, Photo by Hougaard Malan

 

How does Namibia compare to other places you’ve photographed?

I think what makes Namibia unique is a combination of the vast desolation as well as the dramatic change that the rain brings in areas like the Namib Rand. Seeing the afternoon light sweep across a carpet of green grass that lines a mountain valley from side to side with picture-perfect camel thorns dotting the landscape is something you only find in Namibia. The culmination of sand, mountain, grass and trees are unique to the Namibian landscape

“Seeing the afternoon light sweep across a carpet of green grass that lines a mountain valley from side to side with picture-perfect camel thorns dotting the landscape is something you only find in Namibia.”

 

Which photos shot in Namibia are you most proud of?

I had visited Namibia twice on holiday prior to starting photography and it never really impressed me that much. The thing that triggered a desire to photograph the country of dunes and grass was a photo in a book by Jean du Plessis. The photo was of a large old Acacia tree on a grass slope that gently descended into a low lying valley where the grass ended against red stone hills.

Almost two and half years later I was standing in front of that tree waiting for the sun to rise. Watching the transition of light and color in a crystal clear sky as an ocean of grass swayed to a warm morning breeze is my fondest memory of Namibia. I experienced on that morning what Jean's photo had communicated to me. Hopefully my image of this scene will communicate that same message to viewers.

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Jean's Tree, Kanaan Farm, Namibia, Photo by Hougaard Malan

 

I doubt there is a landscape in Southern African that has been photographed as much as the trees of Deadvlei. If something has been photographed that much then I have no desire to photograph it. Despite that, I found myself heading for deadvlei in January of 2011. My two travel companions immediately started shooting the iconic trees, while I wandered further into the pan and found these water drainage patterns along the Eastern boundary. There were many patterns that resembled different shapes, but I liked this tree the most for it's symbolism of photographing a tree at deadvlei that no one had photographed before.

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"The Trees of Deadvlei" Deadvlei, Namib Naukluft Park, Namibia, Photo by Hougaard Malan

 

After outdriving and shooting a monster stormcell in the Tsaucheb valley all afternoon, the storm headed Southwards into the dune sea just a few km short of the 4x2 parking lot and I headed into the cracked pans to get ready for sunset. The magical recipe of geographical circumstances at Sossus did what I knew it would and the sun dipped in below the cloud cover briefly illuminating the dunes in blood-red light and painting a partial rainbow in the storm. I've experienced a lot of amazing sunsets in my life, but the location of this was one was just too good to be true and I all I could utter was a few laughs of disbelief. It's the juxtaposition of such a monstrous rainstorm in a desert that is so impressive.

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"The Grande Finale" - Tsaucheb Valley Dunes, Namib Naukluft Park, Namibia, Photo by Hougaard Malan

What is your equipment of choice for your Namibian expeditions?

The one piece of equipment that I really enjoyed using in Namibia is a 617 panorama film camera. The Namibian landscape really lends itself to the format due to the vast vistas. I wish I still had it, but I sold it for practicality reasons. One thing I can tip a lot of landscape photographers on is that regardless of how much you love your wide-angle lens, you will enjoy your longer lens more. I always want to shoot wide and long in Namibia.

 

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

#1: The time to go - the belief that the ideal time to go to Namibia is winter may hold true for people that go sight-seeing, but for photography you can't go at a worse time. There are no clouds and the grass is yellow. Go Feb-April for dramatic skies and sunsets.

#2: Be very aware of where you stay and the access that you are allowed. There are (conservation) rules and regulations at many places that can be limiting to landscape photography.

#3: Go for a long time. The Namibian landscape is overwhelming and you can easily spend a month photographing it!

 


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About Hougaard Malan

With an agronomist dad and musician mom, Hougaard may not have had a big photographic influence, but certainly developed a passion for capturing nature’s artistic beauty. After buying his first SLR at 19, he ditched all plans of becoming an engineer or an architect, to lose himself to landscape photography.

"I am inspired by moments when the elements of nature combine as if painted by a god, to create scenes so beautiful that one has to take the time to stand back in awe and marvel at the beauty of the world we live in. I want my photos to remove the viewer from their present location and transport them to the scene so they can feel the wind and see the golden light of the setting sun on their skin. That is the purpose of a landscape photo, to experience the beauty of a place without being there."

Find out more about Hougaard at hougaardmalan.com

To get more photographic tips from Hougaard, download his latest e-book guides from Capturearth. Capture Sossusvlei is now available.

 

 

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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 Featured Photographers  

   
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 Marsel van Oosten 

 Christopher Rimmer

Paul van Schalkwyk

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Bill Gozansky

 Roy van der Merwe

 Hougaard Malan

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10 Extreme Ways to Experience Namibia

  
  

This October, the Adventure Travel World Summit is to be held in Namibia, and with good reason: Namibia is one of the world's greatest destinations for extreme adventures.

We've picked just ten Namibian activities for adrenaline junkies, speed freaks and off-road fanatics, as well as ten less extreme alternatives for those who prefer to have a somewhat more relaxing holiday. Which would YOU rather do...?

 

Water namibia

WATER

Kitesurfing

The fresh southwesterly winds that reach Walvis Bay lagoon make this a prime spot for kitesurfing. Similar to traditional surfing but with a kite to pull you along - and lift you out of the water! - this is certainly one of the world's most extreme water sports. Walvis Bay Kite Centre has equipment to rent of buy, and offers one to one lessons from beginner level upwards. Further south, the bay off the little town of Luderitz are also renowned for its ideal conditions - the fastest kitesurfing speed ever recorded was here! Element Riders offers complete courses for all levels.

Chickened out? Enjoy extreme kitesurfing without getting wet! Come and watch the annual Luderitz Speed Challenge for windsurfers and kitesurfers - who can reach speeds of over 90km/h over 500m. National and world records are broken each year. For more info visit www.luderitz-speed.com

Shark angling

Fishing may not sound like a sport to get the adrenaline pumping - but what if you were reeling in a 100kg shark?! Tour operators along the coast of Swakopmund, Walvis Bay and Henties Bay offer shark angling excursions, and from November-May you may get the chance to battle with a coppershark, also known as a bronzy. These sea monsters can weigh anything between 15-190kg, and are sure to put up a good fight! Other species include smooth hound sharks and spotted gully sharks. For conservation purposes, all sharks must be returned to the sea unharmed.

Chickened out? Namibia's freshwater dams offer the perfect conditions for relaxing fishing daytrips, including the hardap, Von Bach, Friednau and Naute Dams. Catfish, carp, tilapia, barbel and bass are some of the species to look out for here. Contact the Namibia Federation for Freshwater Anglers to obtain fishing permits and get a copy of the regulations. 

Rafting on Kunene

Not only are the rapids of the Kunene River a challenge, simply getting here is a real expedition! Felix Unite's extreme rafting experience takes place just once or twice a year and is a ten-day round trip from Windhoek, including five days on the river and a drive through Etosha National Park. The river forms the border between Namibia and Angola, and you will paddle your way down towards the 40m high Epupa Falls. Don't think about taking a dip - there are crocodiles in the water!

Chickened out? Go canoeing along the Orange River instead, as it winds through the beautiful landscape along the South African border. Not only are there no rapids to negotiate, there is also no nasty wildlife lurking beneath the surface, so you splash around to cool off as often as you like.

 

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AIR

Skydiving

Surely on every true adventurer's bucket list, Skydiving is available for experienced and first-time jumpers just outside of Swakopmund, Namibia's adventure capital. Qualified skydivers can schedule a jump with a local skydiving club, while beginners have two options - a full-day training course with a solo jump at the end (with an automatically opening parachute), or a shorter course followed by a tandem jump, where your instructor does all the work. Don't forget to open your eyes and enjoy the magnificent scenery of the Namib Desert meeting the southern Atlantic Ocean! Check out Swakopmund Skydiving Club for more information.

Chickened out? Try a more relaxing hot air balloon flight instead, and float over the dunes of Sossusvlei at dawn with a champagne breakfast. That's more like it!

Paragliding

The dunes make for a nice, soft landing, but paragliding around Swakopmund is still extreme! The coastal winds offer extra lift, so that gliders can get high enough to admire the stunning views of the desert and ocean. The best flying takes place from October to March, and is regulated by local flying schools to avoid overcrowding. Depending on your experience, choose from a half day introductory course, a full day flight, a pilot's licence course or a tandem flight.

Chickened out? Does the thought of dangling under a parachute make you feel a bit queasy? Try a flying safari instead in a light aircraft - enjoy the views along the skeleton coast, the harbours and the Namib desert, without having to learn how to fly first!

 

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LAND

Motorbiking

New off-road motorcycle tour operator Madnam is launching a brand new series of biking tours around Namibia, visiting iconic sights such as Cape Cross, Brandberg, Erindi Game Reserve and Waterberg. To join their thrilling eight-day trip you need plenty of experience on a motorbike, including gravel roads - Namibia's terrain in tough! Bring your own bike or hire one of Madnam's BMWs for the ultimate off-roading adventure.

Chickened out? If you don't have motorbike experience and a week on a bike seems a little too extreme, try an afternoon eco quad-biking. Accompanied by experienced guides who will instruct you how to drive your vehicle, your tour begins gently on a flat trail through the Namib, before heading up into the dunes to take advantage of your 4x4. Pause for pictures and to admire the view!

Rock climbing

Namibia's two main climbing sites are the jagged, 1,728m bulk of Greater Spitzkoppe, and the Brandberg Massif, which at 2,573m is Namibia's higest point. Justifying its "extreme" reputation, Spitzkoppe does not offer any established hiking trails, so climbers can feel like true explorers. Brandberg presents mountaineers with a constant scramble over boulders - it's a three-day clamber to the top which keeps away all but the most intrepid. Climbs should only be attempted with a trained guide from the local community who knows where to find water and will prevent you getting lost amid the rocks. Find your guide through the Namibia Community Based Tourism Association (NACOBTA) in Windhoek, Tel: +264 (0) 61255977 or email: nacobta@iafrica.com.na

Fish River Canyon

One of Africa's top hikes is through the arid, inhospitable Fish River Canyon in southern Namibia. The second deepest canyon in the world offers an extreme environment indeed, and hikers must undertake the 80km, 3-5 day hike entirely unsupported, as there are no facilities en-route. The hike can only be carried out in winter, when the temperatures are slightly lowes and the rains have produced enough water for the river to flow - as this is the only source of water for hikers. Book your tour well in advance with Namibia Wildlife Resorts.

Chickened out? The hot springs at /Ai-/Ais mark the end of the punishing Fisk River Canyon hike - but you don't have to trek the canyon to be able to enjoy them! The /Ai-/Ais Hot Springs Spa has indoor and outdoor thermal pools and chalets looking over the canyon - you don't have to spend five days hiking to enjoy a foot massage here!

 

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SAND

Sandboarding

Known locally as the "ultimate speed machine", a waxed, metre-long piece of hardboard can reach phenomenal speeds of 80km/h on Namibia's steep, coastal dunes. You lie face down on the board, bend the front edge up to avoid it sticking into the sand (and flipping you over!) and lift your feet off the ground - then wait to be pushed over the cliff! Definitely not for the faint hearted, this is a major adrenaline kick!

Chickened out? If you don't fancy the steep slopes and high speeds, you can still enjoy an introductory sandboarding session on the dunes. Equipment - including a helmet - is provided, and even the tiniest participants can join in - riding down the dunes on the instructor's back!

 

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UNDERGROUND

Cave diving

With an extreme combination of altitude, deepwater diving, abseiling, rock climbing and pitch darkness, we vote cave diving as Namibia's ultimate extreme adventure. The caves and sinkholes are all over 1,400m above sea level, with depths of between 30 and 130m, and you may have to abseil as far as 140m (with all your diving equipment!) just to reach the water! The Dragon's Breath Cave, 46km north of Grootfontein, is one of the most famous cave diving spots, as it contains the largest subterranean lake in the world. Harasib Cave and Lake Guinas are also recommended. Booking is required at least three months in advance, and it can take up to a week to prepare the caves for diving. Otjikoto Diving Enterprises is the only operator permitted to work in these waters.

Chickened out? For those without the qualifications, experience or courage to try cave diving, you can still spend time underwater without the need for oxygen masks or wetsuits - in Swakopmund's National Marine Aquarium. The newly refurbished site has a walk-through tunnel which brings you up close to marine life including sharks and rays, a much safer underwater adventure that the whole family can take part in!

 

Information about these activities was taken from Namibia Holiday & Travel - the official Namibian tourism directory. Photo credits: Travel News Namibia

 

 

For more inspiration download your copy of the Namibia Adventure Planning Guide

 

 

 

 

Where to eat: Windhoek Restaurants

  
  

Whether you’re a local on the hunt for a good meal, a business traveller away from home or a safari tourist en route to your next Namibian adventure, you’re sure to find some of the best meals in town in these Windhoek restaurants and cafes.

 

Breakfast in Windhoek

   

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Photo credit weckevoigts.com
 

Wecke & Voights

Gustav Voigts Centre, Independence Avenue, Windhoek, Namibia, +264 61 377 000

Smack bang in the center of town, on the bustling Independence Avenue, lies a piece of German history. Wecke & Voigts has been in operation in Namibia since 1892, and is still going strong. Grab a cup of freshly brewed coffee and a just-made Brötchen (bread roll) or a sweet tooth pastry for a scrumptious morning munch. Don’t forget to try their famous German ‘Rohhack’ Brötchen… And when you’re done with breakfast, you can take a gander through the specialty Wecke & Voigts department store.

 

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Photo credit Tripadvisor
 

Sugar & Spice Pancakes

78 Sam Nujoma Drive, Bougain Villas, Windhoek East, Windhoek, Namibia

In the leafy Bougain Villa enclave of Windhoek East, you can find some yummy pancakes to beat the morning hunger. Sweet or savoury, you’re sure to find something delectable on the endless list of pancake options. Or just sip a fresh OJ under the trees in the morning sun.

 

 

 

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Photo credit Panoramio
 

Fresh & Wild

The Village, Cnr Liliencron Street and Robert Mugabe Avenue, Windhoek, Namibia, +264 61 24 0346

Fresh & Wild is an oasis of fresh food in a lush garden in Windhoek. There’s also free wifi for those of you who’re looking for a morning sanctuary to get some work out the way before hitting the day. 

 

 

 

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Photo credit MoiyaDeli
 

MoiYa Artisan Deli   

The Village, Cnr Liliencron Street and Robert Mugabe Avenue, Windhoek, Namibia, +264 61 301159

MoiYa is home to the Namibian Slow Town Coffee Roasters - some of the best coffee in town! And there’s a small but very interesting breakfast menu to go with it. Take a browse through some of the imported deli products and pick up a loaf of freshly made ciabatta for lunch on your way out.

 

 

 

   

Vintage Cafe 

Cnr Luther Street and Robert Mugabe Avenue, Windhoek, Namibia

If you’ve got kids, this is where you want to head. Most of the restaurant is set in a shaded area outside. There’s a jungle gym, swings and playroom to keep the little ones happy. And plenty of good food and drinks to keep the parents happy…

 

 

Lunch in Windhoek

   

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Photo credit Skippy Peanut 
 

Cafe Schneider

Levinson Arcade, Independence Avenue, Windhoek, Namibia

Café Schneider always seems to be busy around lunch hour, with locals in search for a quick bite to eat as it’s conveniently situated in the middle of town. If you’re after the German food flavor for lunch, or just an easy place to have a lunch meeting, this is where its at.

 

 

 

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Photo credit CSMonitor
 

Cemetery Chicken or Kapana in Katutura

It might sound ominous, but its mighty tasty. And don’t worry, “cemetery chicken” gets its name from the location and not the ingredients! If you’re driving down Hochland road pick up some freshly grilled chicken from the side of the street on the corner of Goshawk street. It’s a favourite take away spot for the locals who are zooting around town. And if you like street side BBQs then definitely try Kapana (frilled beef) from one of the many street food stalls in Katutura.

 

 

 

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Photo credit NICE.com.na
 

NICE Restaurant & Bar

2 Mozart Street, Cnr. Hosea Kutako Drive, Windhoek, Namibia
+264 61 300 710 

NICE is the Namibian Institute of Culinary Education – a chef finishing school to give up and coming talent an opportunity to hone their skills in the culinary industry. 

 

 

 

 

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Photo credit Xwama.com 

 

 

Xwama

Independence Ave, Windhoek, Namibia, +264 61 210270 

If you’re looking for a traditional Oshiwabo meal, then this is the place to head. When you’re done eating ombidiomagunguoshifima andmatangara, you can browse the crafts of the cultural village. Nestled in the heart of Katutura, you’ll get a taste of the indigenous cultures too.

 

 


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Photo credit Fismonger's
 

Fishmonger’s

14 Adler Street, Windhoek, Namibia, +264 61 304583 

If sushi and fresh fish are the  order of the day, head down to Fishmonger’s to satisfy your fishy cravings. Try some grilled Norwegian salmon, sizzling prawns or just grab some take away sushi for a night in.

 

 

 

 

 

Dinner in Windhoek

   

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Photo credit Big Sky Lodges
 

The Olive Exclusive Boutique Hotel

22 Promenaden Street, Klein Windhoek, Windhoek, Namibia, +264 61 23 9199

Not only is The Olive Exclusive a luxury, boutique hotel in a tranquil corner of Windhoek, but it boasts a quality restaurant featuring a seasonal menu, with inventive signature dishes. Not to mention a classic selection of fine whisky at the bar. Another reason why it was voted as one of the “Best new hotels in the world” by Travel & Leisure magazine.

 

 

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Photo credit Hotel Heinitzburg 
 

Hotel Heinitzburg

22 Heinitzburg Street, Windhoek, Namibia, +264 61 24 9597 

Count von Schwerin commissioned castle Heinitzburg for his fiance, Margarethe von Heinitz in 1914. The castle has been beautifully preserved, and has a top notch restaurant with beautiful views of the city to boot. Choose to indulge yourself at the Garden Terrace, the Wine Cellar, the Knights Room or the gourmet restaurant Leo’s at the Castle. Let’s face it, it’s not everyday you get to dine in a castle in the middle of Africa.

 

 

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Photo credit Stellenbosch Wine Bar 
 

The Stellenbosch Wine Bar & Bistro

Bougain Villas, 78 Sam Nujoma Drive, Windhoek East, Windhoek, Namibia, +264 61 309141 

“Ye Old Faithful” for the foodies in town, Stellenbosch Wine Bar never fails to deliver good food. Set in a mini villa space, with beautiful trees and open air tables, it’s a little haven in the middle of Windhoek. It also boasts a hand-picked range of Southern African wines, to make sure the evening is a gastronomical delight.

 

 

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Photo source Tripadvisor   
 

Fusion Namibia

Cnr of Beethoven & Simpson Street, Windhoek West, Namibia, +264 81 866 6644

Head down to Fusion for a twist in African cuisine and dining experience. There’s often a fun food theme where you get to taste delights from around the world – from Ethiopian nights to something a little closer to home like braai specials.

 

 

 

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Photo credit Joe’s Beerhouse
 

Joe’s Beerhouse

160 Nelson Mandela Avenue, Windhoek, Namibia, +264 61 232 457

Joe’s Beerhouse is an institution. Even if you’re just passing through, you have to have at least one meal there, or at least an ice cold draught of Namibian beer. The many nooks and crannies are safe havens for countless old relics and memorabilia Joe Gross collected over the years on his travels, and some that were to Joe’s by friends and guests. Be sure to have a look around carefully, and ask about them – just about every item has a story. Locals will be happy to hear that they’ve also recently revamped their menu!

 

 

Capture Namibia: Photography Tips from Roy van der Merwe

  
  

Born and raised in Namibia, Roy van der Merwe has had the great privilege of being exposed to the beauty of the Namibian landscapes all his life. Does he ever tire of taking photos of the same place? Never. We asked Roy to share in what is a pretty emotional experience for him – capturing Namibia…

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Photo by Roy van Merwe

 

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

Many people feel I am too emotionally attached to the images I shoot, but this is not the case. It is rather that I form an attachment to the environment and for that brief moment in time where the light reveals the exceptional beauty. When pondering my most unforgettable moment, my mind is flooded with this majestic country’s immense diversity and awe inspiring pristine landscapes. I would therefore choose the occasions I have taken my sons of the beaten track and seen their amazement at the raw beauty of Namibia.

My mind is flooded with this majestic country’s immense diversity and awe inspiring pristine landscapes

 

How does Namibia compare to other places you’ve photographed?

Namibia is a harsh country, however its safety is what facilitates many excursions into remote areas.

 

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Photo by Roy van Merwe


Which photos shot in Namibia are you most proud of?

I would not really be able to name only a few... I have been luckier with some, for example the way the cloud bank positioned it’s self perfectly in the image with the full moon rise over the Spitzkoppe, or the way the mist bank only rolled in partially and a bit of water still remained in the depression in the granite slab in the image overlooking the vast vistas from the Brandberg. However all these are not my own doing, I was just fortunate to be there and trust I did nature justice in my portrayal.

 

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Photo by Roy van Merwe


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Photo by Roy van Merwe


What is your equipment of choice for your Namibian expeditions?

A good pair of boots, sturdy tripod and set of hard and soft ND grads. Redged makes an awesome lightweight but extremely sturdy and durable tripod and Lee have the best filters.

 

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

#1: When it comes to landscape photography, the same always applies. Escape the crowds, venture where few dare and be patient.

#2: Spend as much time scouting as possible, identify a scene then setup and wait. If you chase after too many images you will miss the magic.

#3: Where exactly I recommend going depends on what you would like to photograph. Koakoveld, Dameraland and the Namib Naukluft Park are all firm favorites.

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Photo by Roy van Merwe


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About Roy van der Merwe

"I am a survivor (cancer), however when it comes to the wilderness this is where I feel alive, where every sound, smell and vista feeds my soul. Being born and raised in Namibia, my fascination for this majestic land was nurtured at a young age. My passion still lies deep within Namibia’s remote, pristine wilderness areas and it’s from these places, within the fleeting moments of twilight I attempt to capture nature’s splendor, and share parts of my expeditions."

Find Roy on Facebook and Twitter 

 

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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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

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Bill Gozansky

 Roy van der Merwe

 Hougaard Malan

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 Matthew Hood

 Ted Alan Stedman

 Jan & Jaye Roode

 

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The Magic of the Namibian Skies

  
  

Namibia may be home to more wildlife than people, and boast some of the most spectacular landscapes, but perhaps the most impressive backdrop to all this natural beauty is the Namibian sky...

We know the sky stretches on for eternity, but in Namibia you feel it. And the daily performance the sky puts on, never fails to impress. Waking up in the morning, you will almost always be greeted by the sun shining bright in a brilliant blue sky. 

Sometimes in the afternoon, clouds start to build - first as faint, elegant whispers, then as cotton wool clusters as if from a storybook, and finally as dramatic deep-grey thunderclouds that blaze with every bolt of lightning. 

As twilight edges ever closer and the sun sinks into the horizon, the sky begins a metamorphosis – from sapphire to ochre to crimson to amethyst to indigo and every shade in between, until finally settling on a steely blue to take it through the night. 

And the evening holds a surprise of all of its own. The Milky Way stretches from one end of the horizon to the next, with the man on the moon and a million stars as its companions. With some of the darkest skies on earth, Namibia will leave you pondering life, gazing into the glitter of outer space until you finally fall asleep...

 

Have you found yourself under Namibian skies? Got a photo to share with us? Send it to us on Facebook or Twitter with the hashtag #LandscapeEscape and your photo could feature on our blog!

 

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Under Namibian Skies at the Quiver Tree Forest, Photo by Fran Gallogly @tangogalfrances

 

Namibian Skies from Endemic Productions on Vimeo. 

 

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Contrasts over the Namib Desert are a photographer's delight

 

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Is that a bird or a cloud flying above the Okavango river?

 

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Plains so vast you can see where it's raining!

 

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The sun beam & the lonely cloud

 

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Cloud silhouettes on a farm in the east of Namibia


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Whisps over the red dunes of the Kalahari


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Another day, another sunset

 

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The moon in broad daylight

  

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A lightning flash fills the thunderous skies

 

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Could this be heaven on earth?

 

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 Quiver trees lit up against the Milky Way, photo by Marsel van Oosten - read an interview with Marsel and see more of his stunning photography here

 

 

 


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A word from our "Share My Namibia" competition winners!

  
  

Last year, we ran the Share My Namibia contest, where Facebook users could pick a dream itinerary. The winner, Vivienne Simon from Boston, was picked randomly from several thousand entries.   She chose her sister, Jane, to take along - and after quickly mastering left hand side driving, the sisters were off on an epic road trip of Namibia. This is what the winner, Vivienne, had to say about her experience:


IMG 2355 5

 

I love contests. I believe that the odds are against me winning. But I enter lots of contests anyway, because if you want to win, you have to play, right? So, when I saw that the Tourism Board of Namibia was hosting a contest to win a trip to Namibia, I filled out my name and email on Facebook, sent it in and forgot about it. And it was only weeks later that I was on the phone with my sister, asking if she would like to accompany me on my all expenses-paid trip to Africa... "No, this isn't a scam. Yes, it is for 2 people. Well, wanna go?!"

It had been about 15 years since my sister and I did any real traveling together. We visited Guatemala and Ecuador and traveled well together. This would be a chance not only to visit Africa, and see the big animals but to do this together. We had talked about taking a trip together in 2013 and here it was! We had also talked about our "bucket list" - Africa and the big five were at the top of our list.

It was as if our plans were overheard and magically manifested. The trip stretched beyond our expectations. The lodges were spectacular, the art, design, animals, landscapes...all fantastic. The trip was so well organized by Margo Bishop at ATI. We really just showed up and all the work was done.

We had a great time driving through Namibia, listening to music, catching up, reading out loud, taking in the landscape, sunsets, climbing the sand dunes, meeting with the Bushmen and new people, buying crafts and giving thanks for our great, good fortune.

 

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All photos by our competition winners Jane and Viv on their Namibian adventure

Thanks, Jane and Viv for coming out to Namibia and we are thrilled you had such a good time!

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Capture Namibia: Photography Tips from Bill Gozansky

  
  

As an award winning photographer and photographic safari mentor, Bill Gozansky has come a long way from his home town in Fort Lauderdale, Florida to the magnificent landscapes of Namibia. We found out why he thinks Namibia is a photographer’s paradise...

 

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Sossus Pan, Photo Credit: © Bill Gozansky

 

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

Wow, this is a difficult question as I have so many amazing memories from shooting in Namibia! I recall experimenting with night sky photography in the NamibRand Nature Reserve under some of the most incredibly clear and star-filled night skies I have ever seen.  Photographing desert-adapted elephant along the dry Huab riverbed also quickly comes to mind.  What a privilege to watch the elephants caring and playful interactions. Capturing images of them spraying the Namibian dust with their trunks as they move through this incredibly harsh environment in their daily search for water was outstanding.  Another memorable experience was stopping along the roadside while driving in the Kunene region to have an impromptu visit and photo shoot with some Himba women and children who were resting in the shade of tree.  Their acceptance of our presence and easygoing nature was evident even without our ability to share the same language. Yeah, I don’t think I can narrow it down to just one! 

 

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Desert-adapted elephant along the dry Huab riverbed, Photo Credit: © Bill Gozansky

 

How does Namibia compare to other places you’ve photographed?

Namibia is definitely a landscape photographer’s paradise. To me, Namibia’s allure is its vastness, the feeling that you can get away from it all in this enchanting, desolate landscape. It doesn’t have that overcrowded feel that you can sometimes get in East Africa. Don’t get me wrong, I love East Africa too (a destination not to be missed by photographers) but there is something special about photographing in nature when there is no one else in sight. Namibia offers this unique experience. Namibia’s dedication to the conservation of its wildlife, its diversity in landscapes and that fact that it is one of the safest environments for travel of any African country, are a few of the great attributes that make Namibia an incredible playground for photographers. Clearly, one challenge for those of us coming from the United States is just getting to Namibia. It is a long journey that requires some lengthy (and costly) plane flights. However, I think that photographers will find the reward worth the effort once they’ve experienced this magnificent destination and its captivating people.

“Namibia’s allure is its vastness, the feeling that you can get away from it all in this enchanting, desolate landscape.” 

 

Which photos shot in Namibia are you most proud of?

I’m not sure I have just three images from Namibia that “I’m most proud of”, but I’ll share a few images that illustrate the diversity of imagery that can be achieved on a photo safari to Namibia and give you a little background on each.

 

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Himba Woman, Photo Credit: © Bill Gozansky

This portrait of a Himba woman was taken in the Kunene Region of Namibia, an incredibly arid and unforgiving environment. The Himba people have thrived here, living in a manner remarkably unchanged from times past. The striking Himba women present some wonderful portraiture opportunities, in part because they adorn themselves with a reddish brown powder made from crushing ochre rocks. I found the Himba photo experience more genuine than you often encounter when photographing indigenous people in different parts of the world.  The Himba seemed very easygoing and willing to share with us both their time for photographs and information about their way of life.  I guess I am a bit proud of this image as it was one chosen by Namibia Tourism for use in their destination marketing campaign.

 

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Cape fur seal, Photo Credit: © Bill Gozansky

The Cape Cross Seal Reserve in Namibia has one of the largest breeding colonies of Cape fur seals on the planet, and it was there that I took this portrait of a cute Cape fur seal pup. Fortunately, I arrived at the colony shortly after birthing season and found the pups abundant and playful. These inquisitive animals make great subjects as they seem very curious about their surroundings, including photographers! You can see great expressiveness in their eyes. 

 

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Dead Vlei, Photo Credit: © Bill Gozansky

This stark landscape image was taken at Dead Vlei in Namibia’s Namib-Naukluft National Park. Dead Vlei means “dead marsh,” and it’s an otherworldly, dry clay pan that sits among some of the world’s largest sand dunes. What makes this particular clay pan even more interesting is that it is filled with the remnants of dead camel thorn trees (a species of acacia) that once thrived many years ago when the pan was flooded. This combination of elements makes Dead Vlei an incredible draw for landscape photographers.


What is your equipment of choice for your Namibian expeditions?

Namibia is one of those destinations where you might end up using every lens in your camera bag.  The regions are quite diverse and so are the photographic opportunities.  Wide-angle to mid-range telephotos are a must for the incredible landscape photography.  These are definitely the go-to lenses in capturing Namibia’s “endless horizons”.  However, your bigger telephotos and super-telephotos will definitely come in handy when focused on wildlife at the waterholes up in Etosha National Park, when tracking desert-adapted elephant in Damaraland or photographing Cape fur seals on the Skeleton coast.  Let’s not forget the amazing opportunities for cultural photography and portraiture, such as when visiting a Himba village.  Here again, you might choose to work with wide-angle to mid-range telephoto lenses depending on your shooting style and creative vision.  You probably should throw a macro lens in the bag as well, as you don’t want to overlook opportunities to photograph Namibia’s small desert creatures.  As you can see, lots of possibilities and therefore lots of potential equipment needs.  

One essential item not to be forgotten is a sturdy tripod as this will be invaluable for your landscape work and allow you to experiment with some amazing night sky photography as well.

Conditions in Namibia can be dusty and harsh on your gear, so be prepared.  While traveling, be sure to protect your gear from the elements and clean your equipment regularly to maintain optimal performance.    

 

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

#1: For first time travelers, it is definitely advantageous to travel with a guide or a safari company who knows the various regions and can get you to the key photographic locations at the right times.  It is a vast country and with limited travel time you want to maximize your photographic experience.  A local guide can be invaluable in getting you to that unique photographic location that you might not have found on your own.

#2: There is no substitute for a little research before your trip.  A little advanced research can go a long way in making sure you hit the ground running once you get there.  It will help not only in your preparations (see equipment ideas above) but also in your ability to pre-visualize what might be possible photographically.  The Internet is an incredible resource for gathering information, from what to expect weather-wise to great photography hotspots to even what type of wildlife you might encounter.  Studying other photographers’ images from Namibia is also a great way to gain ideas and insights about what you might expect to see.

#3: If you are really looking for a unique, small-group photographic experience, you can join me and Ultimate Safaris on one of our upcoming photo safaris in 2013 - click here for more information 

 

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About Bill Gozansky

Bill Gozansky is a freelance photographer based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He specializes in travel, nature and fine art photography. Bill’s quest for images enables him to explore unique destinations and to interact with diverse cultures across the globe. Bill Gozansky currently leads photographic safaris to Namibia, Kenya and Ecuador. In private or small group settings, Bill teaches field techniques of professional travel, nature and wildlife photography in these remarkable natural areas. Bill’s award-winning images have been exhibited in galleries, published in many periodicals and books, as well as sold as fine art prints to private collectors. For more information about Bill and his work, visit www.billgozansky.com or find him on Facebook. To join Bill on a photographic safari in Namibia, click 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

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

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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

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

 

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