Namibia

Wildlife & Wildlands of Africa's Desert Southwest

View Full SlideshowView Full Slideshow


Photographing in Namibia is unlike shooting anywhere else in Africa. Desert is everywhere. Endless miles of unspoiled coastline, graphically interesting plants, rugged rock formations and spectacular sand dunes present landscapes of overwhelming splendor—and the country encompasses one of the world's great national parks for wildlife photography. Fascinating Namibia contains a remarkable infrastructure of well-kept roads, modern accommodations, wholesome food and drinkable water—which makes traveling here a delightful surprise!
"Namibia has the most amazing and diverse scenery. I had seen elephants and zebras in the wild before, but not the huge herds I saw in Etosha."
- P. Sinclair

Our Namibia tour is crafted as an absolute dream photography trip. It features an outstanding itinerary highlighting the country's unique landscape photo opportunities and its spectacular wildlife. We travel overland and by chartered private aircraft to experience the country both from the ground and by air, with luggage weight limits calculated to accommodate our full complement of camera gear. Accommodations include a broad range of lodges from luxurious to simple guesthouses—always with their location selected to be in proximity to our photo subjects to assure easy access at times of early or late light. During wildlife game drives in Etosha there are only three photographers per safari vehicle—a virtually unheard of luxury in Namibia, or most anywhere else in Africa! We photograph in the prime time of the dry season.

Photographing at Sossusvlei in NamibiaOur travels focus on four incredible areas: the immense red Sossusvlei sand dunes at Namib-Naukluft National Park, the highly photogenic aloe "quiver tree" forest while staying at adjacent accommodations allowing starry night photography, the haunting turn-of-the-last-century "ghost town" of Kolmanskop—spectacularly engulfed by encroaching coastal sand dunes—and an exciting encounter with the world-renowned wildlife of Etosha National Park. Due to its demographics—it's one of the most sparsely populated nations in the world—Namibia is very wild and starkly beautiful, and we see some of its most interesting and photogenic features on this exceptional tour.

The stunning desert landscapes of Sossusvlei (at the southern end of Namib-Naukluft National Park) produce sensuous, undulating sand dune images. The towering Sossusvlei Dunes are the world's highest—several world-famous photos of gemsbok (oryx) walking across these stark rolling red dunes were made here.

Due to the extremely dry desert conditions, photographing wildlife on safari in Namibia is very different from the majority of other African countries where water is more plentiful. Normally, on safari, a photographer drives through the landscape, searching for and photographing wildlife as it is found. In Etosha, one simply waits in the safari vehicle by a water hole to photograph the never-ending parade of animals that are forced to visit the water holes every day for survival. Gripping predator/prey dramas unfold in front of you near the water's edge. In Etosha virtually every water hole has a different mix of animals that frequent it, so exploration of a number of them over several days is essential.

Zebra detail NamibiaThis spectacular "winter" gathering of animals at the evaporating water holes and artesian springs on the Etosha Pan constitutes some of the greatest diversity of mammal species seen anywhere. One of the first Europeans to visit Etosha described the sight as "a menagerie turned loose." Throngs of remarkable animals, such as greater kudu, gemsbok, springbok, southern giraffe, zebras and the endangered black-faced impalas, come to drink at the small desert pools dotting the park. Etosha is famous for its huge elephant herds; black rhinos are still observed regularly, and lions are seen frequently.

Join us for a spectacular African adventure that combines breathtaking landscapes, genuinely weird, otherworldly and graphically wonderful photo opportunities and bountiful, accessible wildlife in one of Africa's great national parks.

 

Check out John Shaw's trip report from our 2017 Namibia photo tour

Tour Itinerary

Day 1

Depart from home.

Day 2 (May 13)

Participants arriving at the Hosea Kutako International Airport, 28 miles from Windhoek, are met on arrival and transferred to our hotel. The group meets in the lobby this evening for a group introduction and a short logistical briefing, followed by dinner in the hotel dining room. (D)

Giraffe at watering hole in NamibiaDay 3

Depart by four-wheel-drive vehicles after breakfast. We travel south to Keetmanshoop with scenic photography stops and a picnic lunch along the way. We check in at our farm guesthouse and head out in the afternoon to the "quiver tree (Aloe dichotoma) forest," photographing hundreds of these graphically appealing tree-like aloes—also known as "kokerboom"—bathed in evening light or juxtaposed against the setting sun. Following dinner we head out again to shoot the quiver trees against the Milky Way (virtually the brightest in the world in Namibia) or with star trails. (BLD)

Day 4

Quiver tree photography at sunrise, sunset and after dark is on our schedule today. As midday approaches, we head back to our hotel to relax and download the morning shoot. We also photograph captive rehabilitated cheetahs cared for at our rustic farm accommodation. (BLD)

Day 5

Heading west this afternoon we drive through the Namib Desert to the Atlantic coast, stopping at Aus for lunch. We arrive at the seaside town of Lüderitz before exploring the amazing ghost town of Kolmanskop. The buildings of this derelict diamond mining town are slowly being engulfed by the relentless shifting coastal sands. Images created here impart an eerie quality of absolute ruin, yet are simultaneously graphically compelling, sensuous and downright intriguing. With special permits we photograph here through sunset. (BLD)

Day 6

We spend the day at the ghost town of Kolmanskop, shooting both interior and exterior "sandscapes" amidst these early 20th-century German structures. (BLD)

Day 7

After some early morning shooting in Kolmanskop, we drive east towards the edge of the Namib toward and the Sossusvlei Dunes. Following a northward route we trace the edge of the Namib-Naukluft National Park. Along the way we shoot the expansive plains that stretch from horizon to horizon and we stop at some massive social weaver nests. (BLD)

Days 8–9

Two full shooting days provide plenty of time to explore the Sossusvlei area with our cameras. We are out before sunrise and back after sunset with time for a midday rest or to download images at our lodge oasis. We hike into the famous and über-photogenic salt/clay pan called Dead Vlei. Here, long-dead camel thorn trees create a graphic foreground to the rolling dunes behind them. (BLD)

Elephant in Etosha National Park NamibiaDay 10

We drive north and then west along Kuiseb Canyon to Walvis Bay on the Skeleton Coast, arriving at Swakopmund in the late afternoon. Dune sand along our route has changed from red to gold. Swakopmund is Namibia's "big" seaside resort town and our prestigious hotel is situated within easy walking distance for necessities shopping or souvenirs. (BLD)

Day 11

Baggage is collected very early to be driven to Etosha National Park as we enjoy dune excursions in the morning. We fly to Etosha with our camera gear via a scenic route over the Skeleton Coast. We meet our vehicles on an airstrip by the park this afternoon. For the next three nights we stay in the simple guesthouses at Okaukuejo within the park boundary. They are located within a five-minute walk of one of the most spectacular water holes in the park. Here, virtually every species of large (and small) animal comes to drink at one time or another—from elephants to elephant shrews; plus black rhinos, hundreds of gazelles, kudus, gemsboks, giraffes and zebras—and the things that eat them! (BLD)

Days 12–13

Etosha is the third largest national park in the world and we have more than four days to explore. From our base at Okaukuejo we will travel through the park's southwestern region. Numerous water holes give rise to a wealth of wildlife images, including a fantastic white clay elephant wallow. Immense bull elephants roll in this gooey white clay to emerge from the wallow as the famous "ghost elephants" of Etosha. (BLD)

Photographers at Soussusvlei sand dunes NamibiaDays 14–15

A slow drive toward the eastern region of the park allows photo stops at many water holes along the route. Expect to see huge herds of elephants, throngs of gazelles, gemsboks, kudus, zebras, giraffes and a wide variety of birds. We arrive at our lodge, just outside the park, by late afternoon on Day 14. The following day we explore the Namutoni area of Etosha, visiting photographically productive water holes for large mammals, and in some cases hundreds of thousands of birds (red-billed queleas) and thousands of doves that come to drink in these desert oases. (BLD)

Day 16 (May 27)

A midmorning flight brings us back to the Windhoek airport. Depart for home after 4 PM. (B)

Day 17

Arrive home.

 

Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris are always excellent—well planned, fantastic photo leaders and well-chosen destinations.
—E. Carr

I love the Joe Van Os trips because everyone is serious about photography and happy to get up early for the best light.
—A. Nagda

Print this Page

Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris Enrollment Information

Namibia

May 12, 2018 - May 28, 2018


1. REGISTRATION
A deposit and completed and signed Registration Form are required to reserve a place for you on a Joseph Van Os Photo Safari.

2. PAYMENTS, CANCELLATIONS AND REFUNDS

All prices are quoted in US dollars and all payments must be paid in US dollars. For deposits only, we accept Visa or MasterCard. Final payment of the trip fee must be paid by check or bank transfer. Trip deposits are non-refundable and non-transferaable.

A deposit of $1,000 per person is required. Full payment of the trip fee is due 150 days prior to departure date. We must receive written notice of your cancellation, at which time cancellation fees in the following amounts apply:

If Written Cancellation is Received:
122 days or prior:
121 to 91 days prior:
90 or fewer days:
Cancellation Fee:
100% of deposit
50% of entire trip fee
100% of entire trip fee


Emergency evacuation insurance is REQUIRED for this tour. As noted in Section 3 below, we send a brochure for trip insurance to US and Canadian residents. The policy offered includes the emergency evacuation coverage required for this trip. Participants purchasing trip insurance on their own—that is, not through our office—should confirm that emergency evactuation is included in their policy.


No partial refunds are made for unused portions or services of a trip for any reason whatsoever. Trips are sold as a package only. This policy also applies to tour extensions and independent travel arrangements. Cancellation fees are not transferable.

3. TRIP INSURANCE
Protect your travel investment and purchase a trip insurance policy that includes emergency evacuation coverage. A trip insurance brochure will be sent with your enrollment confirmation.

4. HEALTH CONSIDERATIONS
Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris are within the capabilities of average people in good health. Some of these trips require the capability of walking for several miles over uneven trails, stepping from a small boat to a wave-washed rocky beach, flying in small planes and helicopters, and occasionally hiking at high elevations—all while carrying an assortment of camera equipment. If you have concerns about your own capabilities and/or fitness as it relates to a trip, please inquire with our office before reserving a space. By forwarding a signed Registration Form and trip deposit, you certify that you do not knowingly have any physical or other conditions of disability that would create a risk for you or other trip participants and you agree to inform our office in writing if changes in your health occur any time prior to the tour. We reserve the right to request a doctor's statement of good health. The company's or trip leader's judgment shall provide the ultimate determination of an individual's ability to embark upon or to continue a trip. Once a trip has been confirmed, medical circumstances will not be considered as exceptions to our cancellation policy. We assume no responsibility for medical care or for special dietary requirements. “Meatless” meals are normally available at most locations. Due to the remote nature of many photo locations, and the growing diversity of today’s dietary trends, participants requiring special food items are encouraged to bring their own.

Tour members are asked to refrain from smoking with or near the group.

5. CONTACT SCHEDULE
Participants will receive three emails before the trip departs: 1. Initial Tour Information sheet confirms the deposit and provides pre-departure information. 2. Invoice/Practical Information provides clothing and photo gear recommendations, climate data, applicable health advisories and reading list. Visa information will also be included (if applicable). 3. Final Tour Information includes arrival instructions, itinerary revisions (if any), hotel addresses, trip telephone contact information and participant list. We provide the trip leader's telephone number(s) and/or e-mail address with final documents so you can inquire about special photographic questions you may have regarding your trip. We welcome your calls or e-mail messages to info@photosafaris.com.

6. PHOTO SAFARI COSTS
Information supplied upon enrollment describes the specific costs that are included in your trip fee. Generally these costs include lodging in double room occupancy, all meals (specified in the itinerary as BLD denoting breakfast, lunch or dinner), ground transportation during the trip in vans or small busses, air transportation as specified, meal and baggage tipping, and guide services provided by the trip leaders. Not included are airfare or other transportation from your home to the trip staging location, airport departure taxes, insurance, alcoholic beverages and bar expenses (plus bottled water and soft drink expenses on international tours outside of North America), tips and gratuities to local guides abroad, phone calls, passport or visa expenses, laundry or items of a personal nature. Gratuities to Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris trip leaders are optional and always appreciated. Rates are based on group tariffs; if the trip does not have sufficient registration, a small party supplement may be charged.

Single accommodations are available for a supplemental cost in many locations; see the pre-departure trip information or call our office for details. You will be charged the single supplement fee if you desire single accommodations or if you wish to have a roommate, but one is not available. In some remote locations, clients with single rooms are infrequently compelled to share a room due to circumstances beyond our control. In such cases, appropriate per diem refunds will be made reflecting the direct cost of the single room at the facility where clients are required to share. There is no additional single supplement fee on ship-based cruises, if you request a roommate and one is not available.

Cost increases may occur unexpectedly due to rising costs of airfares, ground transport, fuel surcharges, accommodations and currency fluctuations, among others. Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. may be compelled to amend prices, and we reserve the right to do so without prior notice. An increase in trip prices shall not be sufficient grounds for any refund of funds paid for the trip other than as determined by the terms of our cancellation policy.

7. LOGISTICS
Whenever possible, our trip participants are lodged in comfortable, modern hotels. We select among the best available accommodations, but refrain from extravagance. Some interesting photographic destinations are far removed from modern amenities, however, and where necessary we will be accommodated in rustic country inns, cabins or tented camps.

Meals are always a special part of our trips for the camaraderie they engender and the opportunity they provide to try new foods from different areas. Depending on the trip and specific locale, participants order restaurant meals from the full menu or, less frequently, table d'hôte. Some trips include picnic lunches in the field. Fruit juice for breakfast and coffee or tea are included with the meals. Soft drinks are included with meals on tours within North America. Participants are responsible for their own bar tab (including bottled water, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages on tours outside of North America) at restaurant lunches and dinners.

Our itineraries are intended as examples only. Participants should allow for flexibility due to changes in weather, natural history or cultural events, or other logistical arrangements deemed necessary by Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. or our leaders.

The second tour leader (and any subsequent additional leaders) listed for each trip on the website will be added as the group size warrants. If only one space remains on a trip, and logistics permit, we accept two persons traveling together, even if it exceeds the trip maximum.

8. RESPONSIBILITY
Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. and/or their Agents act only as agents for the passenger in regard to travel including, but not limited to, sightseeing, meals, lodging, transportation, and all other services whether by railroad, motorcar, motor coach, boat, ship or aircraft and they assume no liability for injury, damage, loss, accident, delay or irregularity which may be occasioned either by reason of defect in any vehicle or for any reason whatsoever, or through the acts or default of any company or person engaged in conveying the passenger or in carrying out the arrangements of the trip.

They can accept no responsibility for losses or additional expenses due to delay or changes in air or other services, sickness, weather, strike, war, volcanic eruption, terrorist acts, political unrest, quarantine or other causes. All such losses or expenses will have to be borne by the passenger, as trip fees provide for arrangements only for the times and locations stated. Baggage is at the owner's risk entirely.

The right is reserved to 1) substitute hotels of similar category for those indicated and to make any changes in the itinerary or transport where deemed necessary, or caused by changes in air schedules or equipment substitution; 2) cancel any trip prior to departure, in which case full refund of the paid trip funds will be given, but Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. is not responsible for any other trip preparation expenses such as penalized or non-refundable air tickets, visa fees and medical related expenses; 3) substitute trip leader(s) for the leader(s) originally specified, in which case the substitution is not a basis for participant cancellation or refund other than provided by our normal cancellation policy; or 4) accept or retain any person as a member of any trip.

Trip prices are based on tariffs and exchange rates in effect at the time of publication and are subject to adjustment in the event of any change therein.

A Registration Form including the Release and Assumption of Risk section must be signed by each participant prior to the commencement of the trip. Participation by any trip member will be declined in the absence of the signed Registration Form including the Release and Assumption of Risk section, with no trip fee refund. No modification to the Registration Form including the Release and Assumption of Risk section will be accepted.

Should Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc., or anyone acting on their behalf be required to incur attorney's fees and costs to enforce this agreement, the enrolling trip participant(s) agree(s) to indemnify and hold them harmless for all such fees and costs. In the event a lawsuit is filed, the enrolling participant(s) agree(s) to do so solely in the County of Lewis in the State of Washington. Certain ship owners require the use of pre-printed ticket forms that limit the ship owner's and operator's liability. When such tickets are used, the passenger is bound by the terms of these tickets with respect to the passenger's legal relationship to the owners and operators of the ship, their agents (Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc.), and the ship's crew.

Namibia
Highlights
  • Photograph the colossal red Sossusvlei Dunes—one of the most spectacular landscapes in Africa—while based in a lodge inside the park for early park access
  • Shoot over 4 days at Etosha National Park's wildlife-rich water holes with elephants, rhinos, zebras, giraffes, gazelles and their predators
  • Create fantastic Dr. Seuss-like quiver tree landscapes against Namibia's brilliant Milky Way streaked night sky
  • Spend two days at Kolmanskop, a fascinating photogenic ghost town disappearing beneath encroaching sand dunes
  • Enjoy a scenic flight over the Skeleton Coast
 
May 12 - May 28, 2018
Fee: $10,395 from Windhoek, Namibia
Deposit: $1,000
Limit: 11
 
Tour Leaders
 
eNews Signup