St Petersburg, Russia
Namibia Desert fly-in safaris to Etosha and Epupa
Apr 18 - 29, 2012
Considered a photographers dreamland, Namibia is practically four countries in one on the continent of Africa from its towering sand dunes in the expansive Namib Desert and the moon-like landscape of the Welwitschia Valley to the sprawling south Atlantic coastline of Swakopmund and the diverse wildlife of the rugged games reserves.
Join photographers Piers L'Estrange and Mirjam Evers on this unique adventure including three exciting “fly-in” safaris. After a two night stay in the Namib Desert, jumper plans will take you from one top safari location to another in record time so you can experience the best photo ops and capture indelible images of Namibia’s natural beauty all in one trip.
April 19th– Arrive in Windhoek, Namibia
Arrive into Windhoek International Airport (WDH) on April 19th in the late afternoon. You will be met by your guides and transferred to the hotel in Windhoek, the capital of Namibia and geographical center of the country. Once colonized by the Germans with a complex and intertwined history, this city is quite culturally diverse. Dinner at the Hilton Hotel and one overnight stay.
April 20th - Windhoek to Namib Desert
After breakfast, your guides will take you by road for the drive South (5 hours) through the scenic Khomas Hochland Highlands with its range of granite hills and over the Great Escarpment (the plateau edge of southern Africa that separates the region’s highland interior plateau from the fairly narrow coastal strip) to the Namib Desert. Rest your head for two nights at the Little Kulala.
April 21st - Namib Desert: Soussusvlei & Dead Vlei
Both days will include morning photography of the world’s tallest dunes of Sossusvlei contrasting with the white clay saltpan and haunting ancient dead trees of the Deadvlei. Return to Sossus Dune Lodge for lunch and then head out for afternoon and sunset photography of Elim Dune and Sesriem Canyon. Drive time from the Lodge to Sossusvlei of 1 hour each way.
April 22nd - Namib Desert to Swakopmund
Head out for one last early morning sunrise photo shoot of the desert before breakfast. Then head out for a northwest drive with your guides across vast desert landscapes and through the impressive Gaub and Kuiseb Canyons to meet the coast at Walvis Bay. From here we head north along the coast to the German influenced town of Swakopmund. We will stay in this adventure/thrill seekers capital for two nights at the colonial style Hansa Hotel, conveniently located in the center of town and a short walk from the waterfront. Your guides will give you an orientation tour of Swakopmund and in the afternoon there will be free time to explore and photography the colonial buildings and waterfront on your own. Seafood dinner at The Tug Restaurant by the waterfront this evening. Overnight at the Hansa Hotel. Drive time from the Lodge to Swakopmund is about 5 hours.
April 23rd – Walvis Bay Harbor Cruise, Welwitschia Valley Moon Landscape
After breakfast at the Hansa Hotel your guides will drive you in the safari vehicles to Walvis Bay - a city nestled on a lagoon where the desert meets the sea. Head out for a morning seal and dolphin cruise in Walvis Bay harbor to photograph a variety of marine life including cape fur seals, Heaviside dolphins, pelicans, flamingos and much more. Fresh oysters and local champagne will be served during the cruise. Have a leisurely afternoon in Swakopmund, and for those that are interested your guides will take you inland on a scenic drive excursion along the Welwitschia concluding with sunset photography over the rocky granite landscape known as “The Moon Valley”. Approximately 30km east of Swakopmund, this unearthly landscape was carved out by the Swakop River over time and offers vast ever-changing landscapes. Return to the Hansa Hotel with time to freshen up before dinner at the hotel’s excellent restaurant. Overnight at the Hansa Hotel. Drive between Swakopmund and Walvis Bay takes about 30 to 40 minutes each way, and Welwitschia Moon Valley drive takes about 3 hours.
April 24th- Fly-In Safari from Swakopmund to Kaokoveld
Your guides will transfer you to Swakopmund Airport and bid you farewell until they meet you in Etosha again. This will be our first fly-in safari flying North and inland to reach Okahirongo Elephant Lodge, located in the Purros Conservancy, 55km from the skeleton coast, where you will rest your head in safari style luxury for two nights. The Kaokoveld is home to the nomadic Himba tribe as well as uniquely desert adapted Elephant, lion, black rhino and giraffe. Flight time from Swakopmund is about 1 hour
April 25th – Kaokoveld , Purros Conservancy
During your stay in Purros Conservancy, you will go on two Himba village photo shoots where you will have the opportunity to hone your environmental portrait photography as you immerse yourself in the daily lives of the Himba people – one of few Nomadic tribes left in the world who live and dress according to ancient traditions. Piers has produced Matt Lauer's video in Namibia at one of the Himba Villages here. We will set up special shoots with the tribes. For sunset Piers will teach us how to shoot Gigapixel panoramas at a fabulous sunset location.
April 26th – Fly-In Safari to Etosha National Park
From Kaokoveld you will fly East to the Eastern boundary of the vast wildlife sanctuary of the Etosha National Park where you will stay in tented safari luxury for three nights at Ongava Lodge. After your arrival at the airstrip you will be transferred to the Ongava Lodge (10 minute transfer) where you will settle into your safari tents. Then in the afternoon you will head into Etosha for your first exciting guided game-drive with a maximum of 3 guests per game drive vehicle with window seats and pop up roofs to ensure prime access to ideal photo ops. The park covers an area of 22,270 km and is home to 114 mammal species, 340 bird species, 110 reptile species, 16 amphibian species and one species of fish. During the game drives you will have the opportunity to experience and photograph a variety of wildlife against the vast, silver-white backdrop of shimmering mirages, verdant grasslands and thorn scrub. Some of the wildlife you will see includes: zebra and springbok, endangered black rhinoceros, lions, elephants and large numbers of antelope. Flight time is about 2 hours.
April 27,28 – Etosha National Park
Each day you will venture out for morning guided game drives into Etosha then return to Ongava Lodge for lunch and to relax during the high heat of the day. Then we will go back out when it’s cooler for the afternoon game drives and return in time for dinner at the camp.
April 29th – Transfer from Etosha to Windhoek
Return flight to Windhoek International Airport in time to check in for your departure flight. PLEASE NOTE: departure flight must be late afternoon noon to allow time for the return flight from Mushara and the two-hour check-in stipulated by airlines. Flight time to Windhoek International Airport is 1 1/2 hours.
Itinerary is subject to change.
Cost per person
$10,200 Per person-Based on double occupancy
Limited to 8 photographers
Mirjam Evers is a New York City based travel photographer who specializes in international environmental portraiture, landscape photography and adventure images. Born and raised in the Netherlands, Evers has photographed in more than 75 countries, including many of the most exotic places in the world. Evers' photographs are indicative of her unique capacity to personally connect with diverse cultures and communities. Her eye for location lighting is highly stylized and works to illustrate and heighten the unique characteristics of each international locale. She is able to transcend cultural and language barriers with an intangible spirit that is conveyed in every image. Evers is available for worldwide assignments, travel essays and editorial work. Her photographs are available for licensing in print and online, exhibitions and fine print sales. Selected Corporate Clients: Nikon, Lowepro, Lensbaby, Epson and Visa. Selected Publications: AFAR, The New York Times, AARP, Outdoor Photographer, PDN, American Photo, Popular Photography, Digital Photo, Departures, MSN Travel.
"She's able to transcend cultural and language barriers with an intangible spirit that comes through in every portrait." -Mark Edward Harris, PC Photo
Quest Leader's website: http://www.mirjamevers.com/
Aside from being the most photogenic country in Africa, if not the world, Namibia is a vast and sparsely populated country. This otherworldly destination straddles two massive deserts – the Namib along its south Atlantic coast and the Kalahari in the east and stretches 1300 km from north to south bordering South Africa, Angola, Zambia, Botswana and Zimbabwe. Aside from boasting a diversity of cultures, national origins and colonial cities, Namibia is the first country in the world to incorporate the protection of the environment into its constitution where at least 14% of the land is protected, including virtually the entire Namib Desert coastal strip. This care for the land also coincides with Namibia’s strict protection of some of the most unique wildlife in the world.
Etosha National Park
Namibia’s population is 1,830,330 million and the current growth rate is 2.6 percent. Over half of the population of Namibia belongs to the Ovambo tribe, who occupy the northern part of the country. Other ethnic groups include the Kavango, Herero, Himba, Damara, Nama, Caprivian, San (or Bushman), Baster and Tswana. The Tswanas are the smallest ethnic group, with only 0.5% of the population. The minority white population is mostly of Afrikaan, German, British or Portuguese descent, and make up nearly 7% of the total population.
Namibia has two small groups of nomadic tribes the Khoisan speaking people, known as the Bushmen or San and the Ovahimba people, figuratively known as the red people or Himba tribe who we will visit during this trip.
The Himba are semi-nomadic pastoralists who live in Kaokoland near the Epupa Falls - a very rugged, dry, remote and mountainous area in Northwest Namibia. One of world's last nomadic tribes, the Himba people live by herding sheep, goats and some cattle and they move location several times a year to graze their livestock. The Himba are descendents of the Herero and still speak the same language. Their homes are simple cone-shaped structures made with saplings covered in mud and dung. The Himba maintain their traditional beliefs including ancestor worship and sacred fire rituals, which signify an important link between the living and the dead in their culture. Some of the many traditions they have maintained include rubbing their bodies with a mixture of red ochre and fat, wearing traditional body ornaments and garments, and wearing hairstyles that correspond to their age, sex and social status.
English is the official language, but Afrikaans is actually the most common language spoken by Namibians, including about 60% of the white population. German is spoken by 32% of the population. Indigenous languages include Oshivambo, Herero and Nama. Namibia’s relatively small population is quite diverse in language and culture. More than 11 languages are indigenous to Namibia but with its cosmopolitan society, languages from around the world are spoken in Namibia. People commonly speak two or three languages and more than 50% of the population speaks Oshiwambo.
Climate and Clothing
In general Namibia has a desert climate with hot, dry temperatures and sparse and erratic rainfall. There is some climatic variation based on which geographical subdivisions you are in and you will experience almost all of them on this workshop.
The central area around Windhoek is generally cooler, partly due to its elevation at just over 1,600m. In the arid central Namib Desert, summer daytime temperatures may climb to over 40°C, but can fall to below freezing during the night. The best climate is found on the coast in Walvis Bay and Swakopmund, where a cool sea breezes ease the harshness of the desert sun. Rainfall is heaviest in the northeast, which enjoys a subtropical climate, and reaches over 600mm annually along the Okavango River. The northern and interior regions experience ‘little rains’ between October and December, while the main stormy period occurs from January to April.
For current weather conditions visit: www.weather.com
Since the temperature during this workshop will fluctuate a bit depending on what region you are in, a variety of clothing is recommended including shorts, t-shirts, a hat and then warmer clothing including a light weight fleece for the early mornings and nights in the desert. As always, we recommend lightweight but warm, wicking layers since they perform well in a variety of temperatures and are to pack. And always pack a waterproof, wind breaking shell just in case of rain and/or strong winds. Also, don’t forget your sunscreen for those sunny desert days.
Health and Medical
This workshop goes through a malaria area. Please consult your physician about anti malaria prophylaxis and find out what malaria tablets you need, and when you need to commence the course. Also check with your physician to ensure that all of your vaccinations are up to date.
Namibian cuisine consists of game such as venison, beef, antelope, zebra or ostrich cooked on braai ( barbecue). Seafood, mostly oysters, is available from the country's coastal region. The influence of German colonial period is evident in the variety of sausages, breads, cakes and pastries and the South African influence can be seen in foods such as biltong (air-dried meat). Traditional food includes porridge and soup made from cornmeal, millet or cassava, supplemented by fish or meat stew, vegetables and milk products. The national drink of Namibia is the Tafel lager and Windhoek lager.
Anyone traveling to South Africa must have two consecutive blank pages in their passport, which lie side by side when the passport is open (i.e. left and a right hand page). Passports must also be valid for at least six months. Passengers traveling to South Africa with passports, which do not comply with these requirements, will either be stopped from boarding the aircraft or risk deportation on arrival in South Africa.
For Travel & Visa Services: www.passportandvisas.com
The Namibian Dollar (N$) is not freely exchangeable outside of the country, so you will not be able to get local currency before you arrive. The Namibian Dollar is the local currency and is on par with the South African Rand. One Namibian Dollar is divided into 100 cents. The South African Rand is still accepted as legal tender in Namibia. Travelers' checks are accepted almost everywhere and most hotels, rest camps and businesses accept credit cards. To check current rate visit: finance.yahoo.com
A service charge is included in most restaurant bills, an therefore no further tip is expected. If a service charge is not included, then a tip of about 10% is normal.
International Telephone Code - 00 264 + area code + number Time - Namibia is one hour ahead of GMT in the winter months, April to September, and two hours ahead of GMT from October to March. Measurements - Metric system
Computer / Digital Acessories