The Wonders of Namibia ~ Photo Safari ~ Two Photo Instructors

Tour Intro

2018 Dates and Pricing TBA. One photo instructor per vehicle.

Namibia is a desert paradise for photographers. With its unique cultures and equally unique landscapes, it offers an incredible assortment of photographic opportunities. You will travel in two stretch Landrovers with pop-up roof for game viewing. Everyone will have time to learn and share the experience with Brenda, Jed and your local driver guides. At Sossusvlei, we witness and photograph orange-hued sand dunes towering (some 1,000 feet high) above dead trees at sunrise. At night we will photograph starry skies above skeletal trees in Deadvlei. At Kolmanskop, we wander through abandoned homes that are filled with the shifting sands that are quietly but persistently reclaiming the town. In the south, near Keetmanshoop, we photograph the unique Kokerboom (quiver trees) forest, including a night shoot to photograph starry skies over the unusual trees, and Giant’s Playground, an otherworldly landscape of eroded dolorite boulders. On the desert pan of Etosha, we experience the pilgrimage of a rich variety of wildlife as it comes to the life-giving waterholes within Etosha National Park. You will visit and photograph the wonderful Himba people whose own unique beauty coincides with that of the land as they use the earth to decorate their bodies.

The range of photographic opportunities within Namibia is unique, and we have crafted an itinerary that will provide you with as much as possible during the journey.

This will be Brenda's fourth trip to Namibia. Brenda Tharp & Jed Manwaring, both having acclaimed skills as teachers and tour guides, as well as being pro photographers, guarantees you will make the best pictures you can on this tour. While designed for the intermediate and advanced photographer, they will welcome any skill level, as they know everyone will enjoy the photography in Namibia. They are there to help anyone make their best pictures. Participants should know how to use their specific cameras, and have a working knowledge of the basics of photography – shutter, aperture, exposure, etc.

Brenda Tharp and Jed Manwaring, both accomplished professional photographers, will share ideas and tips for creating dynamic travel photographs while on this photo program. Prior to your tour departure Brenda & Jed will email you a visual presentation, providing tips on capturing a sense of place, photographing people, capturing candid moments, working with available light, and how to simplify your pictures to give them more impact. Both bring untiring energy and a passion for photography to their trips, and love to share in the adventure of travel and photography. They believe that in the process of exploring and photographing the world around you, you gain so much more than just photographs – you bring back the experiences that remain with you forever.

“We focus on creative nature photography on our tours. We welcome all skill levels, yet having a good foundation of the basics of photography will help you be more prepared for making successful nature images. We enjoy helping participants expand their skills and are there to help you make the best pictures you can on the trip, whatever that takes." Brenda & Jed will offer photographic advice and some instruction on the tour, and will also be available to answer questions. There will be informal discussions during midday when the light is not optimum for photographs.

Non-photographer traveling companions are welcome, but they should be aware that we will be completely focused on photography and will have early mornings and late nights and somewhat irregular sleep hours. In some locations, there is the option to stay and relax at the lodge/hotel.

Tour Highlights

• Two stretch Landrovers with pop-up roof for game viewing. One photo instructor and a local driver guide in each vehicle.
• Most safari operators rush from place to place. Brenda and Jed take time to assist you in developing your vision in the various places you will be visiting.
• Special access to photograph Deadvlei at night under the stars.
• Intensive game viewing at Etosha National Park. Accommodations provide animal photography at floodlit waterhole.
• Time to absorb and photograph the wonder of it all. From the safari wildlife, enormous red sand dunes of Sossusvlei, and the ‘sand houses’ of Kolmanskop.
• Compelling morning and afternoon photo shoot at two different authentic Himba Tribe villages. Learn from your guide how the Himba strive to keep their ancient culture alive and remain unaffected by the outside world.

Tour Itinerary

July 16-17: Swakopmund
Namaqua Chameleon

Photo By: Wendy Kaveney

Photo Location: Namibia

This morning leave Sossusvlei and head north through the desert to the coastal town of Swakopmund. The name Swakopmund is German meaning "Mouth of the Swakop." It is a beach resort town on the coast of northwestern Namibia surrounded by the Namib Desert and is the capital of the Erongo administrative district. It was founded in 1892 as the main harbor for German South-West Africa. Swakopmund has the ambiance associated with a small German village, and the town seems to be stuck in time. Many of the residents still speak German today. Here, temperatures can be cool, and it can even be foggy, caused by the clashing of the cold Atlantic Ocean air meeting the Namib Desert- quite a change from our desert environment.

The next day there will be a Living Desert Tour to the local dunes where you will find small desert creatures to photograph with the help of the local guide. The Palmato gecko, which gets its moisture by licking dew from its eyes, sidewinders, the Namaqua chameleon, and other shy creatures are all potential photo subjects. The rest of the day is at leisure where individuals can take part in optional activities (additional costs will be provided), such as whale and dolphin tours, a museum, sightseeing tours to nearby Walvis Bay or Sandwich Harbor, helicopter flightseeing tours over the dunes along the Skeleton coast for aerial perspectives. Website information will be sent in your pre-departure packet for complete details. One can also relax at their own pace and explore the town, filled with small shops and an open market area of native arts and crafts. Overnight SCHWEIZERHAUS (B, L, D; B)

July 7-8: Home-Africa
Christ church Windhoek

Photo By: Wendy Kaveney

Photo Location: Namibia

You may prefer to fly in to the vibrant city of Johannesburg or to Windhoek a day or two early, to rest and acclimate. Stay at one of the many lovely hotels and unwind before taking the short flight (two hours) to the capital of Windhoek (WDH) to begin your Namibian adventure on July 9th. (meals on plane & on own)    

July 9: Windhoek
Springbok, Etosha National Park

Photo By: Wendy Kaveney

Photo Location: Namibia

Arrive today at WDH airport. Namibia’s independence from the South African administration took place in 1990, and Windhoek was recognized as the capital city of the new Republic of Namibia. Today is a day of rest at the lodge to prepare for the tour beginning tomorrow morning. There will be an orientation meeting this evening. Overnight OKAPUKA GAME RANCH (D)

July 10: Keetmanshoop Quiver Tree Forest
Quiver Trees

Photo By: Wendy Kaveney

Photo Location: Namibia

Depart Windhoek, heading south to the Quiver Tree Forest and Giant’s Playground at Keetmanshoop. There will be a picnic lunch along the way, arriving in time to photograph the trees in the warm, golden afternoon sun. The warm sunlight lights up the bark of these trees, giving them a golden glow. The lodge provides us easy access to the forest, where we will have a wonderful opportunity to photograph the night skies over these unusual trees (weather permitting). Overnight QUIVER TREE FOREST CAMP. (B, L, D)

July 11-12: Aus-Kolmanskop
Kolmamnskop-Near Luderitz

Photo By: Wendy Kaveney

Photo Location: Namibia

Sunrise shoot amidst the Quiver Trees or Giant’s Playground. Giant’s Playground is an unusual, rugged landscape of dolorite rock formations. Then move on to our next photo location, Aus. If nature cooperates you will have an afternoon photo shoot of the wild horses, near their watering hole.

The next morning head to Kolmanskop early, arriving before the general public, and have a full day to photograph amidst the sand-filled abandoned buildings and houses in the changing light of day. The ruins of Kolmanskop offer endless opportunities for creative photography, ranging from the smallest details to the scene as a whole. There is gift shop and museum on the grounds as well as a café.

Kolmanskop is Namibia’s most famous ghost town. The town was developed on the hopes of locals in search of diamonds, coming to its hey day in the 1920’s, then on decline after World War I. The now deserted town is being smothered in the blowing sands of the desert. Overnight DESERT HORSE INN. (B, L, D; B, L, D)

July 13-15: Sossusvlei Dunes

Photo By: Brenda Tharp

Photo Location: Namibia

Leave Aus this morning after breakfast, and drive to Sossusvlei and the heart of the red-orange sand dunes. As the landscape changes, you will begin to see red dunes, passing through Namib Naukluft National Park where we have the possibility to see mountain zebra, oryx, jackal, springbok and ostrich. Photograph sunset in the dunes, enjoy dinner, and then rest up for an early morning photo session. Accommodations are inside the park allowing for early access to the dunes.

You will have another two full days in this area to photograph sunrise and sunset in the dunes. They are continually shaped and carved by the shifting winds. Enjoy a boxed breakfast, slowly making our way back to the lodge for lunch. After lunch, there will be an option to explore the main road through the dunes in different light, explore Sesriem Canyon, or partake in optional activities (additional cost) such as a helicopter flight, small plane flightsee, or hot air balloon ride (weather permitting) over the dunes.

One morning we will photograph sunrise at Deadvlei, an ancient seabed nestled between 300 ft. high red sand dunes dotted with eerie, dead camelthorn trees. It’s a wonderful surreal landscape to photograph. We have also secured permission to access Deadvlei at night to photograph under a star-filled sky. Ovenight SOSSUS DUNES LODGE (B, L, D all days)

July 18: Twyfelfontein

Depart Swakopmund with possible photo stops along the way to your next accommodation. Twyfelfontein was designated a national monument in 1952, and is an UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is located in the Huab Valley, formerly known as Damaraland. It boasts of various rock engravings and paintings, made by the first hunter-gatherers and subsequent inhabitants of 6000 years ago. They used the area as a place of worship and shaman rituals. Overnight TWYFELFONTEIN LODGE (B, L, D)

July 19: Palmwag
Sunset Damaraland

Photo By: Wendy Kaveney

Photo Location: Namibia

We move on to Palmwag today with a game drive in search of desert, adapted elephants along the way. Palmwag is a nature reserve in northern Namibia. Wildlife includes, leopard, lion, cheetah, mountain zebra, giraffe, springboks, kudus, desert elephant, and the largest population of black rhino in Africa. We will photograph the dramatic landscape of Damaraland, one of the most scenic areas in Namibia, an untamed region with massive granite kopjes and deep gorges, providing beautiful backdrops for colorful sunsets. Palmwag is a nature reserve in northern Namibia. Wildlife includes, leopard, lion, cheetah, mountain zebra, giraffe, springboks, kudus, desert elephant, and the largest population of black rhino in Africa. You will also photograph the intense landscape of Damaraland, it is one of the most scenic areas in Namibia. A huge untamed region, with massive granite kopjes and deep gorges, providing beautiful backdrops for colorful sunsets. Overnight PALMWAG LODGE (B, L, D)

July 20-21: Opuwo-Himba

Photo By: Brenda Tharp

Photo Location: Namibia

This morning you will have a game drive in the Palmwag conservancy, in search of Hartman’s Zebra, lions, black rhino, kudu, springbok, and more. We will travel to Opuwo which is home to many Himba tribes. They are pastoral people, breeding cows and goats. Having a nomadic life they keep their ethnic individuality and culture in the seclusion of this region Kaokoland. Men and women are very proud of their culture, and strive to keep their traditions alive. Women show this by taking several hours each day for beauty care, rubbing a cream made of butterfat and ochre powder all over their bodies. The cream leaves an intense red sheen on their skin. Learn about their tribal life during your village visits.

You will visit two different kralls, one in the morning and one in the last of the afternoon light. These are to authentic, traditional Himba kralls to interact with and photograph the Himba people. Photograph and interact with them as they go about preparing food, and taking care of their daily chores. Take advantage of the best light of the day in photographing this unique desert culture. In the middle of the day, there will be time to download images from the morning, relax, or swim in the pool while enjoying lunch and a gorgeous view. Overnight OPUWO COUNTRY HOTEL (B, L, D both days)

July 22-23: Western Etosha

Photo By: Brenda Tharp

Photo Location: Namibia

Depart Opuwo and drive to Etosha National Park, entering through the west gate and heading to Okaukuejo. Etosha means the “Great White Place”, and it’s dominated by a massive mineral saltpan. The park is home to 114 mammal species, 340 bird species, 110 reptile species, and 16 amphibian species. The lodge has an on site waterhole that is illuminated at night, with a viewing ‘arena’. Although wildlife is unpredictable, we are hopeful that you will observe many animals coming to drink there. To experience different areas of the park you will depart the next morning and game drive, seeking out varied wildlife, on the way to Halali. Sightings should be good at watering holes because it’s the dry season and animals congregate near the water. Please note park rules state that you are not allowed out of vehicles except at designated rest stops. Overnight OKAUKUEJO WATERHOLE CHALETS (B, L, D both days)

July 24-25: Eastern Etosha

Photo By: Wendy Kaveney

Photo Location: Eastern Etosha Namibia

Today you will game drive through Etosha to the east end of the park. During the day you will stop at various water holes as your local guide searches for wildlife. The Etosha Pan, a salt pan, is the largest of the water holes and can is visible even from space! It covers approximately 25% of the park.
After a full day of game viewing and photography, we’ll reach our Mushara accommodations, where you will overnight the next two evenings. You will have another full day to photograph and appreciate the eastern side of the Etosha National Park.  Overnight MUSHARA LODGES. (B, L, D both days)


July 26: Windhoek
Okapuka Ranch

Photo By: Wendy Kaveney

Photo Location: Namibia

Today you will return to Windhoek, rest and relax at the lodge, in preparation for your flight departure tomorrow. Given time of arrival those that wish to take in optional game drives are free to do so with the ranch. Overnight OKAPUKA (B, L, D)

July 27: Windhoek-Home

Photo By: Brenda Tharp

Photo Location: Namibia

With many fond memories and unique experiences behind you, not to forget the gigabytes of images on your cards and computers, there will be a group transfer to the airport (time to be announced). Board your flight, which may not land home until July 28. (B)

Photo Leader

Brenda Tharp and Jed Manwaring
read more
Brenda Tharp and Jed Manwaring

You have the advantage of having two photo intructors on this trip with the expertise of Jed Manwaring and Brenda Tharp, and the tour size still remains at 12 participants. Brenda is a professional photographer, speaker and educator with a life-long wanderlust for exploring the world and photographing it. The travel bug bit when she was young, reading the pages of National Geographic and Life magazines. Today, she loves to escort people to a variety of wonder-filled places to share in the adventure of the place and to help in the making of memorable images. Brenda believes that in the process of exploring and photographing the world around you, wherever you are, you gain so much more than just photographs - you bring back the experiences from those places that remain with you forever. She advocates photographing with a sense of purpose, keeping your eyes and your soul open to what's going on around you. Brenda's sensitive approach to photographing people has her often trying to blend in with the 'background' to capture special moments of daily life. Even her portraits are approached with sensitivity and respect for the person and the culture. Brenda has an untiring desire to help participants with their photography. She challenges you to see in new ways. Topics of discussion on each trip are tailored to the groups' needs, yet typically include: how to photograph people/strangers, paying attention to the light, using elements of design in a scene to help create more impact, creating visual depth, and storytelling with your images. Additional discussions often include processing and workflow, which Brenda often covers while on the bus on longer drives, or in the hotel lobby. There or in the field, she is always available for technical or visual help, offering tips and suggestions to help you to refine their own vision of the place.

Jed Manwaring specializes in travel and outdoor photography. His photographs have appeared in a variety of magazines including Alaska Airlines, International Wildlife Conservation, Navigator, Outdoor Photographer, Outside, PC Photo, Sierra, Sunset, Via, and Wilderness Society magazines. His images have also been used in books, calendars and cards, most recently in Golden Gate National Parks: A Photographic Journey and Guardians of the Gate. He has worked in a variety of challenging situations, including running the Colorado River in a dory, sea kayaking in Costa Rica, llama trekking, and exploring in Italy, Mexico, Hawaii, and throughout the west. Jed’s passion for photography and teaching make him an amazing instructor and leader. You can view Jed's photo tours at

Welcome back to you! Chris and I just returned from our own extension to Venice you planned for us.  Wonderful!!!
Attached is my evaluation of the tour with Brenda and Jed!
Loved every minute…! Many thanks to everyone who took part in the planning…and to Brenda and Jed for the expert  execution of the plan!

The tour was perfect, I would highly recommend it. Both Brenda and Jed were knowledgeable about each location, and knew the very best places for photo shoots. They were not rigid, in fact, they were flexible and were able to 'read' the interests of the participants very well and make any changes to our schedule to fit the desires of the individual wishes. So well done.... so difficult to do. I would travel anywhere with Brenda & Jed.

Gretchen Taylor

Pricing and Details

US Dollars based upon minimum of 9 paying participants. There is a small group surcharge of $500 if 7-8 paying participants. All our program prices are based on double occupancy unless noted in exceptions.

Single rooms are subject to availability. We try to accommodate travelers who request single accommodations, as well as travelers who are looking for a roommate. If a single room is requested, or if we are unable to find a suitable roommate, you will be required to pay the supplement.


What was the highlight of your trip? Brenda - she was great. Efficient, knowledgeable, friendly, continually involved with all of us.

R. Pool

Brenda Tharp immediately made my short list of future photography mentors. She has proven to be so much more than just a professional photographer. Watching her begin and end each day making sure each of us was personally and photographically content, showed a side of this professional woman that most individuals are not privileged to see.


Additional Notes

What you'll learn from Brenda & Jed

This instructional photography tour is focused on helping you make the best images possible. We will be active, photographing as much as possible in the best light of morning or evening yet also working at other times of day when conditions are right for our subjects. Our schedule requires you to be flexible so that we can be in the right places for the right light.

We will share a variety of techniques for landscape, wildlife, and artistic photography, including how to photograph for focus stacking, panoramic images, and high-dynamic range results. We will also discuss the fundamentals of great composition, creating visual depth in your photographs, incorporating elements of visual design, working with dramatic light, and using abstract techniques, via informal discussions while riding in the bus or during midday when the light is not optimum for photographs. There may be time for digital darkroom discussions here and there as well. You will not only experience Namibia through your own eyes, but again when you return home with stronger, more compelling photographs of your journey. During the longer drives between locations, Brenda and Jed are available for one-on-one image reviews, where feasible.

Physical Requirements

First and foremost, patience and a flexible, positive attitude are a must on journeys like this. There will be a few long drives to reach our next photo location. Both planned and impromptu photo shoots will take place along the way. Participants should be prepared for emergency ‘comfort’ stops should they be necessary. Since this is an outdoor photography tour with a focus on landscape, wildlife and culture, good health and fitness are essential to your enjoyment and comfort on the tour. It's not just a bus tour. That said, most locations can be reached by our vehicle(s), and do not require strenuous hiking. Being fit enough to walk 1-2 miles with your camera bags while at home should have you reasonably fit to walk around our locations in Namibia. Stamina is just as important as being able to walk some distance. Standing in one place for some time, waiting for light, or other photographers to finish their work, etc., requires good strength, too. The sand dunes are perhaps the most challenging area, with deep sand making it difficult and slow to walk. While you don't have to go far in the dunes, it can still be a challenge. You also have the option of hiking up higher on the dunes, a difficult trek, but worth it for a more unique perspective!

Terms and Conditions

Unless otherwise noted, this information applies to all tours.


Contact Strabo Tours if you would like rates on International Airfare. Please note on your trip application form if you would like us to assist you with your airfare needs, a charge is added for this service. If making your own arrangements, it is important to discuss flight times with Strabo Tours before booking any airline tickets. This will avoid you having to pay airline cancellation penalties. Please contact Strabo Tours for destination airfare estimates, specific flight time arrivals, and departures.

The land cost includes:
  • Group transportation for tour events in the tour van.
  • Accommodations based on two people sharing a room, singles are assigned on a first come, first served basis.
  • Services of driver, English speaking cultural guide (if applicable) and photographic leader, during the tour.
  • Meals as listed in itinerary (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner).
  • Park entrance fees, day tours and excursions as shown in the itinerary.
  • Extensive pre-departure information and services.
The land cost does not include:

Domestic or International air fare; other airfare if noted in exceptions; air fare tax; airport departure tax; airport transfers; additional transfers or accommodations that may be required by those not traveling with the group; excess baggage charges; meals not included in itinerary; activities taken on your own; passport/visa expenses; personal medical or travel insurance; any expenses of a personal nature, such as room service, laundry, beverages not included with meals, medical expenses, photographic equipment, any activities not specified in tour itinerary or listed as optional, or any items not listed in what is included; fuel surcharges; exchange rate surcharges; upon the completion of your trip, modest gratuities to the local guides and the drivers are customary; tips for meals not included in itinerary.

Fitness and Health

The majority of trips are not strenuous (see exceptions below for particular destinations) and anyone who is reasonably fit should be able to take part in most of the activities. You may experience general fatigue due to the long flights and the change in time zones. You will need to be sufficiently agile to climb in and out of the tour van and be able to carry and manage your own equipment. We will frequently hike trails ranging from easy to moderate. Some hotels do not have elevators or air conditioners.

If you have any special needs or any physical condition that you feel might prevent you from fully participating, please contact Strabo Tours with your concerns (607-756-8676).

You should also be aware that medical services or facilities might not be readily available during all or part of your trip. This could include emergency medical care, presence of physicians, or adequate medication.


The following destinations require more physical activity. Bhutan, China, Patagonia, Peru, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, New Zealand, Scotland, Domestic tours. On the African Safari you will spend many hours in a vehicle on game drives, land travel will sometimes be over very bumpy and dusty roads. Galapagos Cruise accommodations are in upper and lower berths (bunk beds) only.

The following destinations require more physical activity. Bhutan, China, Patagonia, Peru, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, New Zealand, Scotland, Domestic tours. On the African Safari you will spend many hours in a vehicle on game drives, land travel will sometimes be over very bumpy and dusty roads. Galapagos Cruise accommodations are in upper and lower berths (bunk beds) only.

Deposits, Cancellations AND Refunds

A deposit of $750 ($500 on domestic tours) per person is required. Specific tours may require an additional deposit due to accommodation bookings or transportation requirements. If applicable these will be noted on your invoice. Payment in full is required when bookings are made less than 120 days before the departure date. Space is subject to cancellation by Strabo if payment is not received when due.

If a passenger wishes to cancel they must send notification in writing to: Strabo International Tour, Co., P.O. Box 580, Dryden, NY 13053; fax 208-545-4119. At the time we receive your notification, the following per person charges apply:

  • 91 days or more before departure: $300 cancellation fee ($150 fee on domestic tours), plus Strabo’ costs, as well as fees that are charged by the suppliers providing the services included in your tour, and/or the airlines providing the air transportation.
  • 61-90 days before departure: $500 ($250 on domestic tours) minimum cancellation fee, plus Strabo’ costs, as well as fees that are charged by the suppliers providing the services included in your tour, and/or the airlines providing the air transportation. Fees may range from 25% to 100% of tour costs.
  • 60 days or less before departure or anytime after departure: NO REFUND.

Refunds for services that are voluntarily not used by you cannot be made.


Each participant must be covered by medical insurance that is valid overseas.

We strongly urge you to evaluate your risk and to take out insurance on your trip. It is vital for you to realize that if you experience a delay or find it necessary to cancel or cut short your trip for any reason, you will lose part or the entire sum you’ve invested in it (see the section “Deposits, Cancellations and Refunds” in the trip brochure).

Travel insurance helps to minimize the risk of monetary losses you would incur in the event of a delay of your departure due to weather, airline strike, missed connection, etc., your inability to travel for reasons such as illness, injury, unforeseen financial complications and other personal circumstances, or if you were required to cut your trip short for medical or any other reasons.

There are restrictions and limitations on any insurance program. For this reason, please read carefully the enclosed pamphlet, which outlines their program of trip cancellation, baggage, and medical insurance. Trained agents are available to answer your questions, so don’t hesitate to call the toll free number in their brochure. It is to your advantage to apply for insurance at the earliest possible time, so don’t delay in making a decision.

Subject to Change

Itineraries have been carefully constructed to assure participants the best each destination has to offer; however, should events arise that are beyond our control, activities and hotel arrangements are subject to change without notice. The itineraries summarize typical areas you will explore. Since there is no possible way to visit all of them, your guides will plan each day considering the interests of the group and the weather at hand. Be assured that we will make substitutions that are as similar in quality and interest as possible.

Photo Release

Strabo International Tour Company, Inc. reserves the right and permission to use photographs of individuals on tour for use in promotional and publicity purposes. We also reserve the right to use clients photographs for promotional and publicity purposes, when submitted to Strabo International Tour Company, Inc.

loading icon