Photo by: Wendy Kaveney
Location: Namibia
PHOTOGRAPHY TOUR

Namibia Wonders

Call us if you would like to plan your own small group tour to Namibia

  • 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.
  • Photograph sunrise at Deadvlei, an ancient seabed nestled between 300 ft. high red sand dunes dotted with eerie, dead camelthorn trees.
  • 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.
Region

Africa

Destination

Namibia

Dates

TBD

Duration

TBD

$9995

per person, double occupancy*

This tour is not currently scheduled. Contact us if you want details when tour dates are announced, or if you are interested in running a private trip for your group.

*U.S. dollars based upon minimum of 10 participants. There is a small group surcharge of $500 if 7-9 participants. 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 (subject to availability), or if we are unable to find a suitable roommate, there is a single room surcharge of $895.

Tour Overview

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...

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.

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!

Photo Leader TBD

Tour Itinerary

July 12-13: Home-Namibia

Two days of travel are required to depart North America and arrive in Windhoek (WDH) Airport. Your Namibian adventure begins the evening of the 15th at the hotel, with the 14th being a day of leisure to get over jet lag and relax on your own at the hotel. (meals on plane & on own)

July 14-15: Windhoek

Arrive today at WDH airport (group transfer time to be announced). 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 the evening of the 15th at the hotel. Overnight WINDHOEK (15th-D)

July 16: Keetmanshoop Quiver Tree Forest

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  (B, L, D)

July 17-18: Aus-Kolmanskop

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 AUS-KOLMANSKOP. (B, L, D both days)

July 19-21: Sossusvlei Dunes

July 19-21 SOSSUSVLEI DUNES 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. Ovenight SOSSUSVLEI DUNES (B, L, D all days)

July 22-23: Swakopmund

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 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 SWAKOPMUND (B, L D; B)

July 24: 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  (B, L, D)

July 25: Palmwag

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 (B, L, D)

July 26-27: Opuwo-Himba

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 (B, L, D both days)  

July 28-29: Western Etosha

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 WESTERN ETOSHA  (B, L, D both days)

July 30-31: Eastern Etosha

  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 EASTERN ETOSHA. (B, L, D both days)

August 1: Windhoek

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 WINDHOEK (B, L, D)

August 2: Depart For Home

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 August 3. (B)