NAMIBIA LANDSCAPE Photo Safari
19 March – 03 April 2018 (16 days)
US$ 13,000 per person sharing
Isak Pretorius + Hougaard Malan
6 – 10 photographers
On the South West coast of Africa lies one of the world’s most desolate, intriguing and photogenic natural areas – The Namibian Desert.
Namibia boasts countless incredible landscapes as well as being one of Africa’s best wildlife destinations. From the Towering red dunes of Sossusvlei to the granitic spires of the Spitzkoppe mountains, one could believe that these landscapes were created for the sole purpose of being photographed.
Namibia is home to some of the world’s most regal and adapted fauna and flora, like the Oryx Antelope and the Quiver Tree. In the South lies the abandoned site of one of the greatest diamond rushes in human history – the sand filled ghost town of Kolmanskop. At Walvis Bay one can bear witness to one of the largest congregations of flamingoes in the world.
If you’re lucky enough, you can charter a plane to the border with Angola and experience one of the most unique and inaccessible corners of our planet – Serra Cafema. This remote corner of our planet is the meeting point between an inhospitable mountain range and an even less hospitable desert. The landscape is divided by the mighty Kunene river and thanks to the life that it’s water brings; the banks of the river are home to the Nomadic Himba tribes of Northern Namibia.
It will be our 8th year organizing dedicated photographic tours to Namibia. Join us in 2018 for the opportunity to experience and capture this amazing destination from the ground, water and air.
* ULTIMATE CONVENIENCE – All you have to do is pack your bags and book your plane tickets
* FOURTEEN DAYS OF PHOTOGRAPHY – Some of the world’s most unique landscapes
* QUALITY TIME IN THE BEST PLACES – Three nights at both Sossusvlei and Serra Cafema, Namibia’s most isolated and special destination
* LEARN FROM THE EXPERTS – Tutoring by two highly experienced guides
* AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHY INCLUDED – 120 minutes of doors-off aerial photography over the world’s highest dunes, from a helicopter
* SMALL GROUP – Only 10 participants for maximum creative freedom
* BEST TIME OF THE YEAR – Visiting in late summer with a good chance of thunderstorms, green grass and rainbows, without the extreme temperatures of high summer
* Request a PDF brochure under “Booking Information”
What People Say
I have traveling and photographing for much of my life, but I consider this year’s Intimate Namibia trip the experience of a lifetime. Namibia is a landscape photographer’s dream – vibrant and varied. Isak and Hougaard made sure we were in the right place, at the right time, with the right light. Equally important, they had us prepared with the right equipment and worked with us individually in the field to help us get the captures we were after. In addition, their presentations throughout the trip were very well done and informative. I learned a great deal on the trip from being prepared, to composition and field technique to post processing. I can’t recommend this trip strongly enough!
Rick Workman, from Rockport, Texas, USA
Namibia has been on my list of places to visit for a long time and I am so glad that I made it. In fact I have fallen in love with the place. Unbelievable scenery, it is a landscape photographer’s dream location. This tour was my first foray into landscape photography having spent a good few years concentrating on wildlife. I am now well and truly hooked on landscape photography. The tour itself was well organised; Hougaard and Isak are the perfect hosts and teachers. Their combined knowledge of photography is remarkable, I learned a heck of a lot from them with their lectures that took place at regular intervals throughout the tour. I unreservedly recommend this tour to any photographer thinking of visiting Namibia. I have already signed up to do it all again 2018.
David Battensby, from Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom
DAY 1 | 19 MARCH 2018
* Arrive at Windhoek Airport
* 1 night at River Crossing Lodge
DAY 2 – 3 | 20 – 21 MARCH 2018
* 5 hour drive to Keetmanshoop
* 2 nights at Quiver Tree Forest
DAY 4 – 5 | 22 – 23 MARCH 2018
* 4 hour drive to Luderitz
* 2 nights at Nest Hotel
DAY 6 – 8 | 24 – 26 MARCH 2018
* 8 hour drive to Sossusvlei
* 3 nights at Sossus Dune Lodge
DAY 9 – 10 | 27 – 28 MARCH 2018
* 4 hour drive to Swakopmund
* 2 nights at Strand Hotel
DAY 11 | 29 MARCH 2018
* 2 hour drive to Spitzkoppe
* 1 night at Spitzkoppen Lodge
DAY 12 – 14 | 30 MAR – 01 APR 2018
* 3 hour charter flight to Serra Cafema
* 3 nights at Serra Cafema
DAY 15 | 02 APRIL 2018
* 3 hour charter flight to Windhoek
* 1 night at River Crossing Lodge
DAY 16 | 03 APRIL 2018
* Transfer to Windhoek Airport
* Journey home
Photography and Tutoring
IDENTIFYING PERSONAL REQUIREMENTS
As we kick off the workshop, Hougaard and Isak will spend one-on-one time with each participant to identify what level they are at and what areas they would most like to focus on. We will then explore the different components
of photography with them as we get different light and travel to various destinations. There is no better learning opportunity than photographing so many world-class landscapes day after day, in the ideal season, under professional guidance. The constant presence of a guide guarantees that your questions are answered immediately and this ensures a fast learning curve. Shooting day after day also ensures that all these lessons are fresh in the mind and are applied until programmed into your subconscious.
SUBJECTS TO BE COVERED
We will look at the basic technicalities like shutter speed, aperture and focus and how these should be creatively manipulated in certain situations. E.g.to get the right amount of blur in golden grass. Composition is always the most important subject and it is best taught in the landscape, where the learning can be applied instantly. Hougaard and Isak will always be looking over your shoulder to point out how you can improve your composition and give you the technical breakdown behind their chosen advice. As we are presented with different weather and light conditions they will teach you to study the skies and how to make a pre-emptive decision on where to shoot when the light peaks. One of the greatest aspects of Namibia is that it is a world dark sky reserve, meaning that we will spend plenty of time shooting at night. Shooting the Milky Way and star trails can be daunting, but we’ll show you how easy it actually is when you’re in the right place.
PRESENTATIONS AND EDITING
Whenever there is time available, we can sit down for an informal presentation on editing or any other subject. The digital darkroom has become a crucial part of photography and the guides will present various techniques using images taken by the participants of the workshop.Hougaard and Isak both have extensive experience with Photoshop, Lightroom, Bridge and Nik Color Efex, but they will also do their best to help with your program of choice.
ONE-ON-ONE ATTENTION AND CREATIVE FREEDOM
The fact that there will only be nine participants means that over the course of 10 days, each client will get plenty of assistance, guidance and tutoring from Hougaard and Isak. This also means that there will be far less tripods at each location than on normal workshops. This gives you a better chance to explore your creativity and to shoot the landscape from all angles.
On every workshop we always discuss everything from the most fundamental principles, through to the philosophical and abstract. Whatever it is you would like to learn, were happy to help out. Our goal is to send you home with great images, new knowledge, fond memories and feeling inspired.
Why travel with us
Isak and Hougaard are both sought-after photographic guides, well known and highly acclaimed in the industry. Their awards and published work in the world’s leading landscape and wildlife publications is a testament to their knowledge, skill and creativity. We believe we are the best in the industry and are continuously looking to improve our skill and workshops. Hougaard Malan is generally considered South Africa’s top landscape photographer.
This landscape workshop, designed by Hougaard, has fine tuned the typical Namibian Landscape itinerary to create a unique product that excels in quality on every level – from the moment you are picked up from airport, the quality of the accommodation, the photographic locations, activities like helicopter aerial photography, and the transport in the best 4X4 vehicles on the market. The goal is to take you to the best spots and get you to take your own great photographs while enjoying the best comfort and hospitality that Namibia has to offer.
Hougaard specializes in landscape photography exclusively and this is the biggest differentiator from other workshops. This means he selected the best time of the year and photographic locations to get you the best landscape photographs.
Both Isak and Hougaard are at least 6th generation African. Who better to show you the African continent than people who live there? They have explored Namibia as travellers even before digital photography and workshops became popular, and with a camera have spent more than 400 days chasing landscape photographs in Namibia. Therefore they know the people, the culture and we have developed relationships with the local people that gains them access to special places.
With a client repeat booking rate of 80% it means they must be doing something right!
DAY 1 – Arrival
Upon arrival on the 6th of April, you will be collected from Hosea Kutako airport by a private driver and taken to our guesthouse, just outside Windhoek city. Once the whole group has checked in, we’ll go for dinner at one of Windhoek’s best restaurants. Everyone will have a chance to tell their photographic story and the guides will give a breakdown of the days to come and what to expect.
* If you wish to fly in a day or two early to sleep off the jet-lag, we are more than happy to arrange all the logistics for you.
DAY 2 – QUIVER TREE FOREST – Alien Plants & Night Skies
After breakfast overlooking the hills of Windhoek, we’ll hit the road south to Quiver Tree Forest. This will be the furthest drive on the trip, totalling just over 500km, which should take about 5 hours to cover.
Found only in Southwestern Africa, Quiver “Trees” are actually very large succulent plants. With their cracked golden-white bark and remarkable shape, they make great photographic subjects. We’ll arrive at our destination early afternoon, leaving plenty of time for everyone to familiarize themselves with the trees. After sunset we’ll have dinner at the lodge and get to bed early.
The next morning, we’ll get up around 4am to capture Quiver Trees with the starry Namibian skies above. As darkness fades to twilight we can capture the red pre- dawn glow on the trees and prepare to capture the colours of sunrise.
DAY 3,4 – FISH RIVER LODGE – The World’s 2nd Largest Canyon
After a delicious breakfast at Quiver Tree Forest, we’ll head West on Namibia’s most desolate paved road. Along this road you will see some captivating expanses. About 150km from the coast, we’ll turn South on a small road and head to the 2nd largest canyon on the planet. Most visitors usually go to the national park’s viewing points, but we’ll be visiting one of Namibia’s best kept secrets: The Fish River Lodge, which is perched on a cliff edge overlooking the depths of the canyon. This hotel is constantly rated as one of the most breathtaking in Namibia and it offers brilliant photographic opportunities. We’ll spend the afternoon exploring the cliff edges for foregrounds that complement the endless expanse of the canyon and shoot the transition of sunset colours over the landscape. This location also offers great opportunities to photograph quiver trees in case you feel you didn’t get enough at the forest.
The mornings at this lodge will be the highlight of convenience on the workshop as we photograph a quiver tree on the cliff edge from the lodge’s pool deck. After breakfast we’ll have a relaxing day for classroom sessions, getting to know each other and just taking in one of the best views in Namibia.
DAY 5,6 – KOLMANSKOP – The Ghostly Remains of a Diamond Rush
After departing the Fish River lodge on the morning of the 4th day, we’ll head back North and then further West to the coastal town of Luderitz. We’ll spend a long afternoon familiarizing ourselves with the many colorful, sand filled rooms of Kolmanskop.
Situated just 5 minutes inland from Luderitz, Kolmanskop is the long forgotten site of one of the greatest diamond rushes in human history. Just after the turn of the 19th century, German mining companies invested a fortune to build an entire town in the middle of nowhere. Everything from the doorframes to the paint was imported from Germany and today the desert is reclaiming this once-glorious town. Despite being flooded with sand, the dry climate has done an amazing job of preserving the colorful rooms. There are well over 25 rooms worth photographing, so everyone can do their own thing. The guides will assist everyone to identify a room with an east-facing window for the next morning.
On days 5 and 6 we’ll get up for an early coffee and depart for the Ghost town in darkness. Hougaard and Isak will make sure that everyone is in place for a beam of orange sunrise light as the sun crests the horizon in the East. After a quick morning shoot we’ll head back to the hotel for breakfast. We’ll return to Kolmanskop just before noon to make sure we capture the shadows of open roof slats under a 1 o’ clock sun, and then have another relaxed afternoon exploring the Ghost town.
DAY 7,8,9 – SOSSUSVLEI – The World’s Highest Dunes & Aerial Photography
Our final destination is Sossusvlei; a one of a kind landscape created by an ancient river flowing into the desert. Like several other rivers in Namibia, the Tsauchab River used to flow from the mountains, through the desert, all the way to the coast. Thousands of years ago it was cut off from the ocean by the expanding desert and this created a seasonal wetland amongst the dunes. Over the millennia, this wetland has retreated inland as the Namib Desert slowly reclaims the valley that the river cut through the dunes.
As it stands today, Sossusvlei is about 60 kilometers from the coast, but still 40 kilometers into the towering red dunes of the Namib Desert. Although the river only flows all the way to Sossus a few times every decade, the valley still sustains a large population of wildlife amongst the dunes. There is always the chance that we may witness the river in flood and since it hasn’t flooded since 2012, the statistics are in our favor.
* “Vlei” is Afrikaans for wetland
At the end of the Tsauchab Dune Valley is the famous deadvlei, which was cut off from Sossusvlei by a low dune an estimated 700-800 years ago. The lack of water, arid climate and hard wood of the Namibian Camel Thorn tree
has kept the trees of Deadvlei from decomposing. The result is a collection ghostly trees rising from a cracked white clay surface. The pan is deceptively large and offers about 50 of the oddly shaped trees to photograph. The location can be overwhelming at first, but Hougaard knows the location well and will assist everyone to find the best trees and photograph them adequately.
* Reaching Deadvlei requires walking 1.1km on soft sand and over a dune that is about 50 meters high. The climb is very gradual and we’ll tentatively only do it in the mornings when it is still cool. For a person of reasonable fitness it won’t be a problem. Hougaard will always be available to help carry heavy camera equipment when the going gets tough.
The photos of snaking dune spines are all captured along the 40km drive into the Tsauchab Dune Valley. Thanks to the valley’s East-West orientation, sunset creates deep black shadows on the Eastern side and bright red colors on the Western side of the dunes. This offers great opportunities for telephoto shots of snaking dune spines. The afternoons can often go up to 45 degrees Celsius, in which case we’ll opt for this more convenient sunset shoot.
The workshop includes a 120-minute doors-off helicopter flight over the Sossusvlei park. Flying over this landscape and capturing it from above is a once in a lifetime experience and it offers amazing photographic opportunities. The helicopter operator has two Robinson Raven II R44’s, which can take 3 passengers at a time.
The standard route over the park is a 60-minute flight, which doesn’t offer much time to deviate from the route and circle above subjects of interest. A 120-minute flight offers the opportunity to fly all the way to the coast and still have 30 extra minutes to circle above subjects of interest.
DAY 10,11,12 – WOLWEDANS – Mountains, Red Dunes, Picture Perfect African Trees and Namibia’s Best Lodge
After a final morning at Sossusvlei, we’ll depart for the Namib Rand. This landscape of mountains, grass and picture-perfect trees on the edge of a red desert is like nothing else on earth. Valleys look like they were carpeted in ivory white and red dunes rise from the earth in the most unexpected places.
Wolwedans is consistently rated as one of the best lodges in Africa and one of the best eco lodges in the world. Expect a unique and memorable 5-star African experience from a team of dedicated chefs, servants and guides. Most of all, expect 5 star photography on the exclusive 60,000 hectare property that few people have the privelege to visit.
DAY 13 – The Last Supper
After a final sunrise at Wolwedans, we’ll say goodbye to the sands of the Namib and drive back to Windhoek. Our last night will be spent at the same guesthouse as the first night, situated in the mountains just outside the city. After check-in and a rest we’ll go to Windhoek’s most popular restaurant for a final dinner with the group.
DAY 14 – Homeward Bound
This morning everyone will be taken to the airport by the guesthouse shuttle for their departure flight.
US$ 13,000 per person sharing
* US$ 2,600 per single supplement
* 30% deposit confirms your place
* Balance payable 60 days prior to the start of the safari
THE ABOVE COSTS INCLUDE:
* Two persons per room (i.e. shared double occupancy), unless single supplement option is exercised and secured at the time of payment of deposit
* Ground Transport for the entire duration of the safari
* 2 hour doors-off helicopter flight at Sossusvlei in Robinson R44 helicopter or similar
* Half-day private boat cruise in Walvis Bay
* Chartered air transfer with 25kg luggage allowance from Swakopmund to Hartmann Valley on 30 March 2018
* Chartered air transfer with 25kg luggage allowance from Hartmann Valley to Windhoek on 02 April 2018
* All tourism taxes and park entry fees
* All meals commencing with dinner on 19 March 2018 and finishing with breakfast on 03 April 2018
* All beverages excluding premium wines and liquors
* All accommodation/lodging costs
* Continuous assistance with your photography and image processing by the guide
* The services of a highly experienced local guide and driver
* A highly experienced tour leader with great knowledge and experience of landscape photography
COSTS DO NOT INCLUDE:
* Airfare to and from Windhoek
* Travel insurance
* Non-meal-time snacks
* Non-meal-time drinks
* Optional activities like additional helicopter flight time or balloon flights
* Travel visas and associated costs, if applicable
* Expenses of a personal nature, not specifically included above
* Credit card surcharges
* Guarantee of any specific weather conditions like thunderstorms. We always do our absolute best to make sure we visit a destination in the ideal season and this tour is planned in hope of thunderstorms and interesting clouds.
* Terms and conditions are clearly described in the PDF brochure under “Booking Information”
The following list of equipment is the ideal, but it is not an absolute necessity. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about your equipment.
Full Frame DSLR Body – Full frames produce much better image quality than crop-sensor cameras. The newer your camera is, the better. This means you can use a higher ISO at night and having live view makes instructions about composition easier as both the client and the guide can see ‘through the lens’. We recommend a Nikon D750, D800/ D800e/D810, D4, D4s or Canon 5D3,5Ds, 5DSr, 1Dx or 6D. Two bodies are always better than one, so bring two bodies if you can.
Graduated filters aren’t a necessity, but if you own them and know how to use them you can bring it along. A circular polarizer will come in handy, so make sure you have one in your bag that fits your wide angle and telephoto.
Namibia is a very dusty and sandy place, so expect to clean all your lenses daily. Bring enough cleaning liquid and cloths. The kits that the optometrists sell work just as well and cost 10% of what you’ll pay in a camera shop.
Wide Angle f/2.8 lens
A wide-angle lens is a must when it comes to landscapes. The extra stop of light that f/2.8 will give you makes a big difference at night. We recommend the Nikon 14-24mm or Canon 16-35mm f/2.8 mk II. There are a lot of primes and third party lenses that are also great.
Mid-Range Zoom Lens
The Namibian landscape doesn’t stand out at a specific focal length, but offers many opportunities across the whole range. I highly recommend Nikon or Canon’s 24-70mm lens. I’m not a big fan of Canon’s 24-105mm lens as it is very soft at the wide and long ends.
Telephoto Zoom Lens
At Sossusvlei your long lens is going to be the workhorse, so make sure that
you have a 70-200mm lens. There are plenty of opportunities up to 400mm, but not enough to justify dragging your 400mm f/2.8 with you. If you have a 100- 400mm or 80-400mm, bring it along. I recommend any of Nikon’s 70-200mm or 80-400mm lenses and any of Canon’s 70-200mm or 100-400mm lenses.
It is obvious that you need a tripod for a landscape photography workshop, but this is an area that a lot of people neglect. Magical moments can come and go when you’re still struggling to set up.
I recommend Gitzo carbon fiber legs. The models with a baseplate instead of a center column (Gitzo GT3542LS) allows one to set up very close to the ground, which is crucial in Deadvlei.
When it comes to tripod heads, there are way too many products on the market. The brands I know and trust are Kirk, Arca-swiss and RRS. I’ve used the Kirk BH3 for years and it works quickly and simply.
An L-bracket allows you to mount your camera to the head in portrait mode. Any landscape photographer will confirm that this is an invaluable piece of equipment. L-brackets are made specific to each camera model, so make sure you purchase the right one.
Is Namibia safe?
Fortunately Namibia doesn’t share the reputation of neighboring South Africa. I have travelled Namibia extensively and never encountered the slightest problem. While it is never advised, I have left valuables in my
car and hotel rooms many times and never been the victim of any crime.
Do you need a VISA to enter Namibia?
Most of the major countries in the world do not require a visa to enter Namibia, please see the chart the bottom of this page to determine if you need a visa.
Will I have cellphone reception?
You will have good cellphone reception at all but one destination – Namib Rand.
Will I have Internet access?
There will be WIFI of various speeds and standards at different hotels. Before and during the trip we will keep you diligently informed of what to expect. If you’d like a sim card for the local cellphone network, we will provide one for you at no extra charge.
What about medicines, diseases and vaccinations?
The south of Namibia doesn’t have any diseases you need to worry about. We do however recommend that you take the basic medical supplies like painkillers, antihistamine, insect repellant, disinfectant cream and plasters. Sun tan lotion and lip balm are crucial in the hot and dry environment.
Will there be fresh water available?
The tap water is drinkable at all destinations, but it is safer to drink bottled water as this might avoid a disagreement between your stomach and the local water supply. There will be bottled water available everywhere.
Will I be able to purchase snacks?
We will stop at grocers and cafes on a regular basis so everyone can stock up on drinks and snacks.
What food can I expect?
Namibia’s cuisine is primarily of
British influence with a slight German element. All our destinations serve a hot English breakfast and it usually accompanied by breads, cold meats, fruits, yoghurt and cereal. Most places have an a la carte lunch menu offering sandwiches, salads, burgers etc. Dinners will mostly be three courses, consisting of a salad or soup starter, a meat main course served with a starch and vegetables, followed by a sweet dessert.
What about allergies or dietary preferences?
Most of the lodges are prepared to handle basic allergies and dietary preferences like vegetarian meals. If you have a very rare allergy, please inform us so that we can make the necessary preparations.
Are there any luggage restrictions?
Not really, but please pack considerately. One large suitcase or bag, a large camera bag and tripod
is the norm. Most of the lodges offer laundry services, so you don’t need to pack a fresh set of clothes for every day.
Do I need to bring spending money along?
Although most of your expenses are included, you will need some cash to buy snacks, drinks and souvenirs. You can use Namibian dollars or South African Rands and it is very unlikely that you’ll need more than 10 euro per day.
Do I need a laptop?
A laptop isn’t an absolute must. If you want to learn editing from the guides, you’ll need one. If you are happy just to look while the others practice and to store all your images on memory cards, then you can leave the laptop at home.
Click on the icons to get a glimpse of the photos you could be taking, the accommodation that you can expect, and what life on a Namibia Landscape Photo Workshop is like