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2014 Namibia Adventure Calendar: June to August

  
  

Namibia is a land full of adventure. From its churning seas, to its sand swept deserts there are loads of different ways thrill-seekers can get their adrenaline fix. This blog post is the first in a two-part series that will provide you with all the information you need to know about what extreme activities you can take part in across the Land of the Brave this year.

Rostock Fly-in (June –TBC)

The Rostock Ritz Desert Lodge is a luxury lodge in the ancient Namib Desert close to the iconic Sossusvlei. The lodge is a popular destination for people who are exploring the Land of the Brave in a light aircraft and every year the Ritz holds an annual “Fly-in”. The “Fly-in” consists of groups of privately owned planes that make the trip to the lodge to compete against one another in a series of airborne events.

ROCKSTOCKGATE

The entrance to the picturesque lodge.
(Image via the Rostock Ritz Desert Lodge)

 

In previous years the Fly-in’s challenges have included “pot landing”, “bomb dropping” and a navigation exercise that required pilots to follow the trail of famed geologists Henno Martin and Herman Korn as chronicled in Martin’s quintessential book on Namibia: “The Sheltering Desert”.

FLY002

Contestants arriving back from their challenges.
(Image via the Rostock Ritz Desert Lodge)

 

So if you have your own small plane, or know someone who does, then be sure to get hold of the staff at the Rostock Ritz to make a booking, their details are directly below.

Reservation: +264 81 258 5722
Fax: +264 88 616 556
Lodge: +264 64 694000

The Rostock Fly-in typically takes place in June every year so be sure to book your place as soon as possible.

FLY001

Photo opportunities abound at the Rostock Fly-in.
(Image via the Rostock Ritz Desert Lodge)

 

Koës Rally date (July – TBC)

In the first week of July, rallying enthusiasts descend upon the small Kalahri village of Koës. Their goal? To race against each other in one of the most unique and wild DIY rallying events in the world. You can read more about the event here and here.

BUGGY

The rally is a chance for some weird and wonderful vehicle to kick up some dust.
(Photo by Jacobus Blaauw via Facebook)

 

The rally is a must-see event for any petrol-head that is in the area around this time of year. Entries are open to the public and no previous rallying experience is needed. Take note though, you will have to bring your own vehicle. This rally is not a scenic drive through the desert. Contestants will be up against some serious terrain and competition.

If, this sounds like a bit too much for you, and you would rather be a spectator then you can visit Koës while the rally is underway and take in the local fare and enjoy the races from the safety of the spectator areas.

For more info on the rally contact Bonsai Combrink at the Koës Hotel on: (+264) 063 25 2716.

FINISH

The Koes Rally is really a one-of-a-kind event.
(Photo by Annette Erasmus Schoeman via Facebook
)

 

Windhoek Light Fish River Ultra Race (July 11 – 12)

The Fish River Ultra is one of the most gruelling trail running competitions that you can do in Namibia. It is a 96km trail through the spectacular Fish River Canyon, the second largest canyon in the world. The trail follows the extremely popular canyon hiking trail.

FISH RUN

The Stunning Fish River Canyon.
(Image by Marius via I Love Ultras)

 

The trail takes about five-days to do when done at a regular hiking pace but since 2013 trail running enthusiasts have been doing the root in under 10 hours. 2012’s winner, Ryan Sandes, finished the race in an astonishing 6 hours and 57 minutes!

PAINGAIN

No pain no gain!
(Image via Trail Running)

 

If 96km’s sounds a bit too much for your likings then fear not. The organisers have organized a “lite” version of the race that will take contestants on a 65km circuit through the canyon.

For full course information, entrance fees and a full history of the event click here.

RUNNERFISH

Scenic views, and challenging trails.
(Image via Events Nam)

 

The Namib Desert Challenge (July 21 - 25)

The Namib Desert Challenge is a 220km race through the Namib-Naukluft National Park- the park being home to some of Namibia’s most spectacular desert landscapes. The trail will take you through the Sesriem Canyon and up two of the world’s largest sand dunes, Dune 45 and Big Daddy.

DUNE

A runner takes on the Big Daddy.
(Image via Namib Desert Challenge)

 

The race is particularly awesome because some of its trail will take contestants through parts of the popular park that are often not open to the general public.

CONTESTANTS

Warming up before the start of one of the stages.
(Image via Namib Desert Challenge)

 

The race this year is on the 21 – 25 of July and entries are selling like hotcakes. Currently (May 28th) there are only 20 entries left. So if you are interested in this highly regarded and challenging run then you best get a move on! You can register for the race here.

DUNE RUNNING

Contestants charging down the dunes.
(Image via Namib Desert Challenge)

 

Wispeco Otjihavera Experience MTB Marathon presented by FNB (30 - 31 August)

The Otjihavera Xperience is a mountain bike race that covers just over 70km’s of scenic, rugged and challenging terrain in the Otjozondjupa region in central Namibia. The race has been run for the last eight years and its increasing popularity year on year is testament to the dramatic and panoramic trail that the race traces.

 

OTJIX

(Image via Rock and Rut)

 

The route takes riders through several of the area’s farms, and the farmers’ contribution to the race’s success is part of the charm of the event. The local communities not only allow access across their lands to the cyclists, but the locals also set up water stations along the way for the thirsty contestants.

NAMINNNK

The scenic dunes of the Naukluft National Park.
(Image via Wikicommons)

 

This year’s Otjihavera Xperience will take place on the 30th and 31st of August and entries opened on the 17th of April. Spaces are sure to fill up quickly so be sure to book as soon as you can.

For a detailed description of the route, and to register as either a solo competitor or as a two-person team, click here.

CYCLE

Cyclists preparing to set out from the Midgard Country Estate.
(Image via Midgard Country Estate)

 +-------+

Looking for more adventure? Then check out our follow-up post which will tell you all about the up and coming events from September to December in 2014...

Also, check out these three posts on some of Namibia’s year-round adventure holiday activities.


Luderitz -
Extreme Holiday Mecca
Rock Climbing
in Namibia
Three Airborne Adventures
in Swakopmund

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Namibia adventure, windhoek Namibia, Namibia, Richard Ford, Rock climbing, climbing namibia, spitzkoppe

Paragliding, hot air ballooning, namibia, swakopmund, adventure, extreme namibia

Capture Namibia: Photography Tips from Andy Biggs

  
  

The award-winning photographer Andy Biggs is the latest subject of our Capture Namibia series of interviews. Andy has been travelling around Africa for many years now and has a particular fondness for Namibia and the photographic opportunities it presents. Read on to find out why…

Namibia, Namibia photography, Capture Namibia, Namib, Sossusvlei photography, Andy Biggs, Namib, Himba, photography tips

    The dunes of Sossusvlei.

     

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

      One day we were flying along the coastline from Lüderitz all the way up to Hartmann Valley, and when we flew along the Lange Wand I saw an amazing sight. As I peered through the scratched airplane window, I was wondering how I could convey the giddy heights of the Namibian sand dunes. I wanted to capture the way the shafts of sunlight pierce the mist and highlight the sand textures.

      Namibia, Namibia photography, Capture Namibia, Namib, Sossusvlei photography, Andy Biggs, Namib, Himba, photography tips

      The Skeleton Coast.

       

      The huddle of Cape fur seals - a dark smudge on the strip of beach - gave a sense of the vastness of this wilderness.' The Skeleton Coast is an area of about 16,000 square kilometres of national park that runs along the Atlantic coast of Namibia.

       

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

          The challenge with photographing in Namibia is how to capture how one feels about being in wide-open spaces.

          Namibia, Namibia photography, Capture Namibia, Namib, Sossusvlei photography, Andy Biggs, Namib, Himba, photography tips

          The vast Namib.


          The sights, the smells, the sounds all are difficult to translate into a 2-dimensional photograph. The reward is capturing that one photograph that tells a complete story in only one image.

          Namibia, Namibia photography, Capture Namibia, Namib, Sossusvlei photography, Andy Biggs, Namib, Himba, photography tips

           Four Himba women trek across the hot sand.

             

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


              Namibia, Namibia photography, Capture Namibia, Namib, Sossusvlei photography, Andy Biggs, Namib, Himba, photography tips

              Skeleton Coast, Namibia 2006.

              This image won the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition in 2008 in the Wild Places category.

               

              Namibia, Namibia photography, Capture Namibia, Namib, Sossusvlei photography, Andy Biggs, Namib, Himba, photography tips

              Sossusvlei in B&W.

              I have an affinity for clouds when I am shooting at Sossusvlei, and when they arrive and there is good light it is a wonderful combination.

               

              Namibia, Namibia photography, Capture Namibia, Namib, Sossusvlei photography, Andy Biggs, Namib, Himba, photography tips

              Himba Family.


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

                  I use digital medium format equipment from Phase One. This equipment allows me to capture photographs with tons of information and to make extremely large prints.

                  Namibia, Namibia photography, Capture Namibia, Namib, Sossusvlei photography, Andy Biggs, Namib, Himba, photography tips

                  Namib dunes at sunrise.

                  I would also never leave home without my tripod, as it allows me to capture images at the edge of light when the colour is at its best.

                   

                  Namibia, Namibia photography, Capture Namibia, Namib, Sossusvlei photography, Andy Biggs, Namib, Himba, photography tips

                  A tripod is essential for low-light shots.

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

                      1) Spend more time in each location and take the time to learn each area.

                      Namibia, Namibia photography, Capture Namibia, Namib, Sossusvlei photography, Andy Biggs, Namib, Himba, photography tips

                      The iconic Dead Vlei.

                       

                      2) Bring a second camera in case of equipment failure.

                      Namibia, Namibia photography, Capture Namibia, Namib, Sossusvlei photography, Andy Biggs, Namib, Himba, photography tips

                      The camera buddy system- two cameras are always better than one!

                       

                      3) Bring a tripod so you can shoot during the best times of the light.


                      Namibia, Namibia photography, Capture Namibia, Namib, Sossusvlei photography, Andy Biggs, Namib, Himba, photography tips

                      A quiver tree at sunset.

                       

                      Namibia, Namibia photography, Capture Namibia, Namib, Sossusvlei photography, Andy Biggs, Namib, Himba, photography tips

                      And remember... Find time to have some fun!

                       

                      Namibia, Namibia photography, Capture Namibia, Namib, Sossusvlei photography, Andy Biggs, Namib, Himba, photography tips 

                      Andy Biggs is an avid adventurer, conservationist, teacher, and outdoor photographer whose photography celebrates the African landscape and its rich wildlife, people, and culture. His photographic safaris allow the traveler to not only enhance their understanding of photography, lighting, and wildlife, but to develop a life-long admiration for Africa's beauty and culture.

                      If you want to see more from Andy visit his website or his blog. You can also follow him on Twitter or 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:

                                

                      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  

                         
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                       Marsel van Oosten 

                       Christopher Rimmer

                      Paul van Schalkwyk


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                       Matthew Hood

                       Ted Alan Stedman

                       Jan & Jaye Roode

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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


                      Four Adventures in the South of Namibia

                        
                        

                      The south of Namibia is a rugged and exquisitely beautiful part of the country. It is vast, under-populated and yet incredibly diverse. As such there are a lot of adventures to be had in the Land of the Brave's southern region. We have picked four popular attractions and given you all the information you need to start planning your next trip...


                      1. Exploring Pomona and the Bogenfels

                      What it is

                      This tour, exclusively operated by Luderitz tour operators Coastways, takes travellers on an amazing journey through some of the south of Namibia’s most isolated and beautifully vast landscapes. The entire tour takes place in the “Sperrgebiet” (“forbidden zone”).

                      Namibia adventure, Pomona, Bogenfels, Fish River, hiking, kitesurfing, luderitz, adventure

                      You need Coastways to enter the Sperrgebiet.
                      The area is totally off-limits to the general public.


                      It was in this area that a large part of Namibia’s diamond mining was conducted more than fifty years ago. Today the region is almost completely deserted. The only remnants of the area’s diamond heydays are the abandoned settlements of the once bustling town of Pomona.

                      Namibia adventure, Pomona, Bogenfels, Fish River, hiking, kitesurfing, luderitz, adventure

                      An abandoned loading bay at the train station just outside the site of Pomona.


                      You may have heard of Namibia’s most well known ghost town Kolmanskop (which is nearby), but it is likely you have not heard of Pomona. This ghost town is absolutely stunning for pictures as the only people who will be with you on this tour will be whomever else is part of the small once-a-day tour group.

                      Namibia adventure, Pomona, Bogenfels, Fish River, hiking, kitesurfing, luderitz, adventure

                      Some ruins of the abandoned mining town.


                      After visiting the abandoned towns and satellite settlements of Pomona, your Coastways tour will take you to one of the greatest geological wonders in Namibia: The Bogenfels Arch. Extending from the land to the sea the Bogenfels stands at an impressive 60 metres at its highest point. With waves crashing at on end of the arch, while the other side slopes into the desolate Sperrgebiet, it is truly an impressive sight to behold. 

                      Namibia adventure, Pomona, Bogenfels, Fish River, hiking, kitesurfing, luderitz, adventure

                      The mighty rock arch that is the Bogenfels.


                      This tour is a must for anyone interested in history, photography and getting off the beaten path. Not only will you be given a unique historical insight into Namibia on this tour but you will also be able to spend some time in one of the most abandoned places on earth, far away from the crowds of tourists and bustle of the city.

                      To read a first-hand account of this adventure read our blog on the tour through the Sperrgebiet.

                      Where to stay

                      There is really only one realistic accommodation option if you want to do this tour and that is Luderitz. Coastways operates out of the small town and the tour is a full day so you will be spending the night in Luderitz.

                      Namibia adventure, Pomona, Bogenfels, Fish River, hiking, kitesurfing, luderitz, adventure

                      Luderitz, one of the friendliest places you are likely to visit.


                      The Nest Hotel in Luderitz has a good relationship with Coastways and they will be able to book you a tour if you ask at reception. To find out more click here to go to the Nest Hotel's website.

                      Namibia adventure, Pomona, Bogenfels, Fish River, hiking, kitesurfing, luderitz, adventure

                      The Nest Hotel.

                      There are several other places to stay in Luderitz as well, here’s a list of the various options available to travellers:

                      Bayview Hotel: Tel: +264-63-202-288
, bayview@namibnet.com

                      Kapps Hotel
: Tel: +264-63-202-345
, pmk@mweb.com.na

                      Kratzplatz B&B
: Tel: +264-63-202-458

                      Haus Sandrose
: Tel: +264-63-202-630

                      Hansa Haus Self Catering
: Tel: +264-63-203-581

                      Obelix Village B&B
: Tel: +264-63-203-456

                      Island Cottage Self Catering
: Tel: +264-81-292-298

                       

                      2. Finding the wild horses of Namibia

                      What it is

                      Namibia’s southern region is home to one of the few feral populations of wild horses in the world. Near the small town of Aus these majestic animals roam freely along with ostriches, gemsbok and whatever other migrating herds of animals traverse through the region.

                      Namibia adventure, Pomona, Bogenfels, Fish River, hiking, kitesurfing, luderitz, adventure, wild horses

                      A herd of wild horses on the move.
                      (Photo by Cheryl Korff, via Panoramio)

                       

                      It is widely believed that the current horse herds are a result of animals having escaped from the German military during World War I. These horses then interbred with other abandoned horses from nearby stud farms that used to operate in the area. If you are interested in a more thorough history of these animal you can read it here

                      Namibia adventure, Pomona, Bogenfels, Fish River, hiking, kitesurfing, luderitz, adventure, wild horses

                      The horses have had to adapt to their harsh envrionment.


                      The great thing about these animals is they offer wonderful photo opportunities for photographers as you have a chance to take some quite surreal snaps of these usually domesticated animals living in the wild.

                      Namibia adventure, Pomona, Bogenfels, Fish River, hiking, kitesurfing, luderitz, adventure, wild horses

                      Two horses in full flight.
                      (Image courtesy of Vincent Grafhorst)

                       

                      There is an observation point from which you can watch the horses. It is a shelter that has been constructed so that visitors can sit on benches and under shade while they watch the horses and various other game interact at the nearby watering hole.

                       

                      Namibia adventure, Pomona, Bogenfels, Fish River, hiking, kitesurfing, luderitz, adventure, wild horses

                      An unusual gathering of horses, ostriches and Oryx is common place at this watering hole.


                      Where to stay

                      The best place to stay if you want to spend an afternoon with the feral horses is in the village of Aus. Aus has several accommodation options that can account for everybody’s needs.

                      Klein Aus Vista is a collection of different accommodations that range in price and size. Check out their website here to make a booking.

                      The Banhof Hotel is also a good bet if you want to stay in the charming little village. Visit their website by clicking here.

                       

                      3. Kitesurfing in Luderitz

                      Namibia adventure, Pomona, Bogenfels, Fish River, hiking, kitesurfing, luderitz, adventure, wild horses

                      This is Kitesurfing.
                      (photo courtesy of Geesche Neuberg)


                      What it is

                      Luderitz is undeniably one of the best places on earth to do Kitesurfing. This is not an exaggeration as every year the best kitesurfers flock to this tiny coastal town to get in on the action at the Luderitz Speed Challenge (read more about this event here).

                      Namibia adventure, Pomona, Bogenfels, Fish River, hiking, kitesurfing, luderitz, adventure, wild horses

                      Kitesufer at the Luderitz Speed Challenge.
                      (photo via KitesportsKitesurfaris)


                      Of course the Speed Challenge only last a few days every year but that is not when the kitesurfing ends. Element Riders, who operate out of both Luderitz and Swakopmund, offer a variety of options to visitors who want to get on a board.

                      Element Riders can provide you with all the equipment you will need to cruise atop the Atlantic waves just off the shore of Namibia. They offer lessons and local advice for people who have never gone kitesurfing before and for those who are more experienced and are in search of the perfect conditions.

                      Namibia adventure, Pomona, Bogenfels, Fish River, hiking, kitesurfing, luderitz, adventure, wild horses

                      Element Riders have a large variety of equipment.
                      From small scale kites to the big ones pictured above.


                      The weather in Luderitz is remarkably consistent and there is almost always a good strong wind blowing to make sure your kite stays up in the air. The swell rarely becomes dangerous and remains consistent; it is these factors that make Luderitz a must-visit for kitesurfers.

                      Where to stay

                      The great thing about kitesurfing with Element Riders is that they have their own backpackers that you can stay at. Check out their website here for more info on their accommodations.

                      Namibia adventure, Pomona, Bogenfels, Fish River, hiking, kitesurfing, luderitz, adventure, wild horses

                      Element Rideris is also centrally located in Luderitz, making it easy to find.


                      For those of you looking to stay in a hotel The Nest Hotel (mentioned above) comes highly recommended, you can book a room here.

                      Here, once again, is the list of guesthouses, bed and breakfasts and backpackers in Luderitz:

                      Bayview Hotel: Tel: +264-63-202-288
, bayview@namibnet.com

                      Kapps Hotel
: Tel: +264-63-202-345
, pmk@mweb.com.na

                      Kratzplatz B&B
: Tel: +264-63-202-458

                      Haus Sandrose
: Tel: +264-63-202-630

                      Hansa Haus Self Catering
: Tel: +264-63-203-581

                      Obelix Village B&B
: Tel: +264-63-203-456

                      Island Cottage Self Catering
: Tel: +264-81-292-298

                      Shark Island Camping & Bungalows
: Tel: +264-63-202-752

                      Backpackers Lodge
: Tel: +264-63-202-000

                       

                      4. The Fish River Lodge Five Night Hike

                      Namibia adventure, Pomona, Bogenfels, Fish River, hiking, kitesurfing, luderitz, adventure, wild horses

                      A guide surveys the long trail ahead.


                      What it is

                      This adventure is an absolute must for anyone who is interested in hiking. The multiple day scenic trek will take you through the world’s second largest canyon. Along the way you will be treated to superb scenery and clear blue skies. You are also more than likely going to catch glimpses of Oryx, mountain zebras, and if you are lucky, rhinos.

                      Namibia adventure, Pomona, Bogenfels, Fish River, hiking, kitesurfing, luderitz, adventure, wild horses

                      Unfortunately sometimes the only trace one finds of the rhinos on the trail are their spoor or droppings.


                      The Fish River Lodge offers guided tours of this amazing canyon, but take note, this hike is not for young children and should only be attempted out of summer by individuals in sound health. If you want more specific information on this hike then check out the Fish River Lodge’s activity page here.

                      The hike on offer is astonishing and if you want to get a small taste of what it is like to hike through the canyon then check out our post on hiking through the canyon. From the amazing terrain and wildlife, to the brilliantly clear night sky this journey through one of Namibia’s natural wonders comes highly recommended.

                      Namibia adventure, Pomona, Bogenfels, Fish River, hiking, kitesurfing, luderitz, adventure, wild horses

                      Hikers in the late morning sun.


                      Where to stay

                      On arrival you will spend your first night in the Fish River Lodge once your hike is complete you are free to book a few more nights at the lodge or move on to the next destination.

                      Namibia adventure, Pomona, Bogenfels, Fish River, hiking, kitesurfing, luderitz, adventure, wild horses

                      The lodge is luxurious- just the thing you want after five days of hiking!


                      ++------++

                       

                      These are just four adventures in the south of Namibia. There are many more to be had, and if you must decide which adventure is best for you. Happy planning and happy exploring!

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