Trekabout Photography Workshops - Creating Adventure Through Photography
Workshops, Tours, Adventures with AIPP* Accredited Professional Photographer Mark Rayner and the Dream Team
Where: Namibia - AFRICA
Book now to secure your spot on this amazing photography workshop and tour.
Bookings at the bottom of this page.
Please check back for additional dates. If you subscribe to the TREKeZine RSS feed, you will be automatically notified when more workshop dates are released.
Please join Australian professional wildlife photographer Mark Rayner and the Namibia's most reputable and well-known naturalist safari guides guides on an amazing photography journey of a lifetime in Africa.
This is the ultimate Namibia photographic safari.
Join Mark and superb naturalist guides exploring the beautiful landscapes of Namibia staying in great camps, lodges and even mobile camping on our very own exclusive site with the stars above you!
You'll meet Himba, track desert elephant, rhino and more whilst on the mobile safari not to mention fly over the Sossusvlei region in helicopter (optional) for that bird's eye perspective.
So why Namibia I hear you say?
Namibia is a vast country, even by African standards, covering an area approximately four times the size of the United Kingdom but with a population of a mere 2 million - one of the lowest densities in the world. It is also an 'ageless land’; visible through its heritage of rock art created by stone-age artists and geological attractions such as the petrified forest where fossilised tree trunks have lain for over 280 million years.
Added to the space and silence, these all contribute to a feeling of antiquity, solitude and wilderness.
The climate is typical of a semi-desert country. Days are warm to hot and nights are generally cool. Temperatures are modified by the high plateau in the interior and by the cold Benguela Current that runs along the Atlantic coastline. Except for the first few months of the year, the country is generally dry with very little rain.
This private guided safari affords you the chance to experience this magnificent and memorable country in a very personal way. You will have your own professional and experienced safari guide who will enhance your enjoyment of this unique country by making it a fascinating and stress-free journey of discovery amidst very dramatic scenery.
The knowledge, experience and attitude of our guides are critical to a successful safari, which is why we ensure that they are both personable and very professional.
Your guide will have an intimate knowledge of each area and camp/lodge that you visit, allowing them to share the local highlights whilst adding continuity and depth to your safari. It goes without saying that they know exactly what a "True African Safari" is all about. Not only are our guides highly qualified, each has a specific area of expertise. Together they possess the breadth and depth of knowledge to allow them to answer questions and satisfy the particular interests of each of our guests. Your guide will turn your safari into an experience of a lifetime!
Itinerary and Program of Events
After landing at Windhoek International (Hosea Kutako) Airport, located about 40km outside the city, you will be met and greeted by our safari representative who will transfer you into town to the Galton House where you will stay overnight in their beautifully designed rooms. The rest of the day is at leisure to relax and recuperate from your flight. Your guide will come to meet you to brief you on any administrative arrangements and answer any questions you may have about the program, before taking you out to dinner, either at your hotel or out at one of the popular restaurants in town. Welcome to Namibia!
Windhoek Capital City: Windhoek, Namibia’s capital nestles among rolling hills, bounded by the Eros Mountains in the east, the Auas Mountains to the south and the Khomas Hochland in the west. It is a meeting place between Africa and Europe, the modern and the old. In the capital’s main street, well-preserved German colonial buildings are in sharp contrast with modern architectural styles, while Herero women in their traditional Victorian dresses mingle with executives dressed in the latest fashions. Centrally located within Namibia, Windhoek is an excellent starting point for an adventurous holiday for many visitors to the country and an ideal base from where to explore the rest of the country.
Villa Vista is an upmarket accommodation establishment situated in a quiet neighbourhood close to the Windhoek city centre (approx. 1.2km). Being well situated makes it a true home hidden in the big city life. All the rooms are individually decorated in a unique style, using wood, glass, candles and natural elements. Looking out over the garden, swimming pool, town, western mountains and afternoon sunsets, the open terrace offers a romantic and peaceful experience. Facilities include a sauna, swimming pool, gym and free Wi-Fi service provides the luxury of being able to finish-off some last minute work and send emails. A laundry service is available on request.
Drive Windhoek to Onguma Game Reserve, Eastern Etosha Boundary
After breakfast you depart Windhoek and head northeasterly direction to reach Onguma Tented Camp located on eastern border of Etosha National Pak. This afternoon, embark on a sundowner drive as introduction to the Onguma Game Reserve before returning to the lodge after sunset for a dinner. This evening you can enjoy further game viewing from the comfort of your room deck overlooking the lodges floodlit waterhole.
Overnight: Onguma Tented Camp
Day 3 - Onguma Private Game Reserve
Eastern Etosha Boundary to Southern Etosha Boundary
Today is spent game-viewing in the Etosha National Park from the comfort of your safari vehicle as you make your way through the breadth of the National Park, stopping at selected waterholes to observe the game gathered there along the way. Lunch will be enjoyed at one of the camps inside the park.
You then exit the park through the southern Andersson Gate to arrive at Ongava Lodge, situated on the private Ongava Game Reserve. The rest of the afternoon can be spent relaxing at the camp (which is usually welcome after a long day of game driving), as well as game viewing at the camp’s floodlit waterhole.
Overnight: Ongava Lodge
Day 4 - Onguma Private Game Reserve
Southern Etosha Boundary
Continue your exploration of the southern parts of the Etosha National Park with lunch to be enjoyed back at the lodge. This afternoon you embark on a sundowner on the Ongava Reserve with one of the dedicated lodge guides before returning to freshen up for dinner.
Overnight: Ongava Lodge
Day 5 - Damaraland
Ongava Lodge to Camp Kipwe, Damaraland
After an early breakfast, you continue on your safari, heading west into the wonderful and diverse region of Damaraland where you will spend the next two nights at Camp Kipwe. Typified by displays of colour, magnificent table topped mountains, rock formations and bizarre-looking vegetation, Damaraland offers some of the most breath-taking scenery on the safari. The present-day landscape has been formed by the erosion of wind, water and geological forces which have formed rolling hills, dunes, gravel plains and ancient river terraces. It is the variety and loneliness of the area as well as the scenic splendour which will reward and astound you, giving an authentic understanding of the word ‘wilderness’.
Time allowing, you can either choose to visit the intriguing rock engravings of Twyfelfontein (a UNESCO Heritage Site) or enjoy an afternoon of leisure with a sundowner from the camps beautiful viewpoint.
Overnight: Camp Kipwe
The Himba: The Himba, Tjimba and other Herero people who inhabit Namibia’s remote north-western Kunene Region are loosely referred to as the Kaokovelders. Basically Herero in terms of origin, language and culture, they are semi-nomadic pastoralists who tend to tend from one watering place to another. They seldom leave their home areas and maintain, even in their own, on which other cultures have made little impression. For many centuries they have lived a relatively isolated existence and were not involved to any noteworthy extent in the long struggle for pasturelands between the Nama and the Herero. The largest group of Kaokovelders is the Himba, semi-nomads who live in scattered settlements throughout the Kunene Region. They are a tall, slender and statuesque people, characterized especially by their proud yet friendly bearing. The women especially are noted for their unusual sculptural beauty, enhanced by intricate hairstyles and traditional adornments.
They rub their bodies with red ochre and fat, a treatment that protects their skins against the harsh desert climate. The homes of the Himba of Kaokoland are simple, cone-shaped structures of saplings, bound together with palm leaves and plastered with mud and dung. The men build the structures, while the women mix the clay and do the plastering. A fire burns in the headman’s hut day and night, to keep away insects and provide light and heating. A family may move from one home to another several times a year to seek grazing for their goats and cattle. A Himba woman spends as much as three hours a day on her toilette. First she bathes, then she anoints herself with her own individually prepared mixture which not only protects her skin from the harsh desert sun, but also keeps insects away and prevents her body hair from falling out. She uses another mixture of butter fat, fresh herbs and black coals to rub on her hair, and ‘steams’ her clothes regularly over the permanent fire. Men, women and children adorn themselves with necklaces, bracelets, anklets and belts made from iron and shell beads. With their unusual and striking designs, these items have gained a commercial value and are being produced on a small scale for the urban market. Sculptural headrests in particular are sought-after items.
After an early breakfast you will be treated to an exciting 4x4 excursion along the ephemeral Aba Huab River valley to explore this remarkable region and to search for game, especially the elusive desert adapted elephants, if they are in the area. Damaraland is home to a variety of desert adapted wildlife and hidden desert treasures. Depending on their location you will either enjoy a picnic lunch out in the field or return to camp for lunch. This afternoon you visit the nearby attractions and geological sites of Twyfelfontein rock engravings (a UNESCO World Heritage Site, if you have not done so already the previous day. Return to Camp Kipwe for some well-deserved leisure time…
Desert Adapted Elephant: In habitats with sufficient vegetation and water an adult elephant consumes as much as 300kg of roughage and 230l of water every day of its life. Consider what a herd of them would eat and drink in a week or a month or a year. Finding an African elephant in a desert? Well, yes, and not only elephant, but other large mammals as well, such as black rhinoceros and giraffe. Their ranges extend from river catchments in northern Kaokoveld as far south as the northern Namib. Apart from the Kunene River, seven river courses northwards from the Ugab provide them with possible routes across the desert, right to the Skeleton Coast. The biggest are the Hoarusib, the Hoanib, the Huab and the Ugab Rivers. Desert adapted elephant in Kaokoland and the Namib walk further for water and fodder than any other elephant in Africa. The distances between waterholes and feeding grounds can be as great as 68 km. The typical home range of a family herd is larger than 2,000 km², or eight times as big as ranges in central Africa where rainfall is much higher. They walk and feed at night and rest during the day. To meet their nutritional and bulk requirements they browse on no fewer than 74 of the 103 plant species that grow in their range. Not a separate species or even a subspecies, they are an ecotype unique to Namibia in Africa south of the equator, behaviorally adapted to hyper-arid conditions. Elephant in Mali on the southwestern fringe of the Sahara Desert are the only others known to survive in similar conditions.
Overnight: Camp Kipwe
Day 7 - Swakopmund
Drive Damaraland to Swakopmund
After breakfast today you continue your journey past the Brandberg Mountain to Henties Bay and continue south along the coast to the bustling town of Swakopmund and onwards to the harbour town of Walvis Bay. En route you will stop over at the haunting remains of the Zeila shipwreck, one of the Skeleton Coast’s most recent victims. Depending on your time of arrival, you will have some time free to wander around town and along the waterfront on foot if appeals, before heading out to dinner at one the popular restaurants in town with your guide.
The Zeila: The Zeila was stranded on 25 August 2008 in the early morning hours near "Die Walle", a popular fishing spot about 14km south of Henties Bay. The fishing trawler was sold as scrap metal to an Indian company by Hangana Fishing of Walvis Bay and ran aground after it came loose from its towing line while on its way to Bombay, India shortly after it left Walvis Bay. The rusting bulk is now home to hundreds of perching cormorants and other seabirds, an ominous reminder of why this stretch of beach is referred to as the Skeleton Coast.
Overnight: Strand Hotel
This morning is at leisure and can either be spent relaxing at your hotel, exploring the town of Swakopmund before heading to the harbour town of Walvis Bay from where you will embark on an afternoon sunset excursion to discover the beautiful Sandwich Harbour area with plenty of photographic stops along the way. You will enjoy some beverages and snacks whilst enjoying a beautiful sunset from the top of one of the higher dunes in the area before returning to Walvis Bay where you will meet up with your guides and head to dinner at a local restaurant in Walvis Bay or Swakopmund with your guide.
Overnight: Strand Hotel
Day 9 - Sesriem
Drive Swakopmund via Walvis Bay to Sossusvlei
The fascinating drive today takes you south through the beautiful and ever-changing desert landscapes of the Namib Naukluft National Park, including the impressive Gaub and Kuiseb canyons as you make your way into the Namib Desert to reach Dead Valley Lodge in the mid-afternoon. Here you will stay for three nights whilst you explore the remarkable sights of the Namib Desert with your guide/s. If desired, your guide/s can take you on a sundowner nature drive to Sesriem Canyon, Elim Dune or the surrounding area, however if you prefer, you can just relax and soak in the scenic and tranquil surroundings at the lodge.
Overnight: Dead Valley Lodge
This most frequently visited section of the massive 50,000 km² Namib Naukluft National Park has become known as Sossusvlei, famous for its towering apricot coloured sand dunes which can be reached by following the Tsauchab River valley. Sossusvlei itself is actually a clay pan set amidst these star shaped dunes which stand up to 300 meters above the surrounding plains, ranking them among the tallest dunes on earth. The deathly white clay pan contrasts against the orange sands and forms the endpoint of the ephemeral Tsauchab River, within the interior of the Great Sand Sea. The river course rises south of the Naukluft Mountains in the Great Escarpment. It penetrates the sand sea for some 55 km before it finally peters out at Sossusvlei, about the same distance from the Atlantic Ocean. Until the encroaching dunes blocked its course around 60,000 years ago, the Tsauchab River once reached the sea; as ephemeral rivers still do in the northern half of the Namib. Sand-locked pans to the west show where the river previously flowed to before dunes shifted its endpoint to where it currently gathers at Sossusvlei.
Roughly once a decade rainfall over the catchment area is sufficient to bring the river down in flood and fill the pan. On such occasions the mirror images of dunes and camel thorn trees around the pan are reflected in the water. Sossusvlei is the biggest of four pans in the vicinity. Another, famous for its gnarled and ghostly camel thorn trees, is Deadvlei which can be reached on foot over 1 km of sand. Deadvlei’s striking camel thorn trees, dead for want of water, still stand erect as they once grew. They survived until about 900 years ago when the sand sea finally blocked the river from occasionally flooding the pan.
Sesriem Canyon has evolved through centuries of erosion by the Tsauchab River which has incised a narrow gorge about 1.5km long and 30m deep into the surrounding conglomerates, exposing the varying layers of sedimentation deposited over millions of years. The shaded cool depths of the canyon allow pools of water to gather during the rainy season and remain for much of the year round. These pools were a vital source of water for early settlers who drew water for their livestock by knotting six (SES) lengths of rawhide thongs (riems) together, hence the canyon and surrounding area became known as Sesriem.
Namib Naukluft Park / Sossusvlei
Today will be full of photography as you rise early in the morning for magical excursion into the dunes with your guide. As you are already inside the park you can get into Sossusvlei before everyone else and you would even be able to get there in time to see the sun rise to capture the dunes whilst the light is soft and shadows accentuate their towering shapes and curves. This area boasts some of the highest free-standing sand dunes in the world. Your guide will give you an insight on the formation of the Namib Desert and its myriad of fascinating creatures and plants that have adapted to survive these harsh environs. Once you have explored the area to your heart’s content you can enjoy a relaxed picnic breakfast in the shade of a camel thorn tree. You then return to Dead Valley Lodge in time for lunch. The rest of the afternoon will be at your leisure (from experience, this is usually welcomed after an exhilarating morning in the dunes) with the option to head out again later in the afternoon to visit the dunes at Sossusvlei to see them whilst the shadows sharpen as the sun goes down or the beautiful Sesriem Canyon with its rocky formations and caverns.
Day 11 - Luderitz
Drive Namib Naukluft Park / Sossusvlei to Lüderitz
Head further south through the Namib Desert today as you travel through the spectacular scenery of the Tiras Mountain Conservancy and a section of the NamibRand Nature Reserve as you make your way to the coastal town of Lüderitz, passing through small towns on your way. Keep a lookout for the legendary feral desert horses along the way from Aus. This afternoon your guides will arrange for you to visit the ghost town of Kolmanskop. Stepping back in time, you will have the opportunity to explore the desolate streets and abandoned buildings and photograph this fascinating site before returning to Lüderitz (non-commercial photographic permit included) to freshen up for dinner.
Feral Horses: An intriguing feature of the Sperrgebiet is the legendary desert horses seen from the road when traveling between Lüderitz and Aus. There are several theories regarding their origin. Some considered that they were descended from farm animals that had escaped or were horses of the stud belonging to Baron von Wolf, who built Duwiseb Castle north east of Garub and another theory is that they are descended from the German Schutztruppe who abandoned Aus during the South West African Campaign in 1915. New recent research carried out by Telané Greyling in 2005 suggests that the herd was drawn from all of the above as well as the South African army. About 100km east of Lüderitz, a signpost indicates the turn-off to Garub, a maintained water point where the wild horses can be observed and photographed as they come back to drink.
Overnight: Lüderitz Nest Hotel
Day 12 - Luderitz - Kolmanskop
This morning you head out to visit Kolmanskop before having a wonderful lunch back in town before exploring the town of Luderitz by foot. Dinner tonight will be enjoyed back at your hotel or out in town with your guide at one of the popular restaurants.
Kolmanskop Ghost Town: Namibia’s most famous ghost town, Kolmanskop, was named after a transport driver called Johnny Coleman, who lived in the settlement of Aus at the turn of the century. During a strong sandstorm he was forced to abandon his ox wagon on the small incline from where Kolmanskop can be seen. It stood there for a while; giving rise to the name Colemanshuegel, which eventually became Kolmanskop. In 1908 railway worker Zacharias Lewala found a sparkling stone amongst the sand he was shoveling away from the railway line near Kolmanskop. August Stauch, his supervisor, was convinced he had found a diamond. When this was confirmed, the news spread like wildfire, sparking a frantic diamond rush and causing fortune hunters to converge in droves on Kolmanskop. It soon became a bustling little center with butchery, bakery, furniture factory, soda water and lemonade plant, four-skittle bowling alley, a public playground and even a swimming pool. The town’s development reached its pinnacle in the twenties, with approximately 300 German adults, 40 of their children and 800 Owambo contract workers living there. In spite of, or probably because of, the isolation and bleakness of the surrounding desert, Kolmanskop developed into a lively little haven of German culture, offering entertainment and creation to suit the requirements of the affluent colonialists for whom large, elegant houses were built. The well-equipped hospital boasted southern Africa’s first x-ray machine. However, when richer diamond deposits were discovered further south, operations were moved to Oranjemund. Today the ghost town’s crumbling ruins bear little resemblance to its former glory but offer numerous attractive themes for photography. The stately homes, their grandeur now scoured and demolished by the wind, are gradually becoming overrun with sand. In 1980 the mining company CDM (now Namdeb) restored a number of the buildings and established a museum for visitors. On a guided tour through the Ghost Town you will learn more about everyday life in the settlement and about its rise and fall.
Lüderitz Bucht: The town of Lüderitz stands in isolation on a great frontier between the desert and ocean. Beyond the structures huddled together beside the bay and a lighthouse on the peninsula, the surroundings are much as Bartolomeu Dias found them in 1487, when his flotilla of three small ships first sailed into the uncharted anchorage. The town lands form an enclave in the ‘Sperrgebiet’, 26,000km of coastal desert rich in diamonds. The greater part of the Sperrgebiet lies to the south. Northward the dune fields of the great Sand Sea sprawl overland to the horizon and far beyond. Lüderitz was built on a windswept, rocky hillside and ridge beside the bay. Behind the town, out of sight from the sea, a black-topped road runs into the interior. Outside the town limits it passes Kolmanskop, now a ghost town, where diamonds were first mined in the Namib. Lüderitz is located on the only part of the Namibian coast with a rocky shore. A peninsula with numerous coves, locally called fjords and bays, juts out of the coast at an angle to form the bay proper. Three small islands – Penguin, Seal and Flamingo – lie within the bay. Shark Island was once also an island in the bay, but a solid causeway now joins it to the mainland. It encloses the harbor and yacht basin.
Overnight: Nest Hotel Lüderitz
Drive Lüderitz to Keetmanshoop, Quivertree Forest
It’s up early this morning for a memorable and fascinating excursion through time to visit the historic ghost town of the Kolmanskop once more. The aim is to reach Kolmanskop early enough to set up your equipment in time to see the sun rise and to capture the dunes and remnants of yesteryear at best light whilst the light is soft and shadows accentuate their eerie shapes and curves. You then leave the coast and Lüderitz behind as you make your way north west towards the Quivertree Forest Rest Camp on the outskirts of Keetmanshoop with lunch en route. From here you will have the perfect base from which to photograph Quivertrees at different light intensities.
Overnight: Quivertree Forest Rest Camp
A popular subject for photographers, the Quivertree Forest harbors around 300 Quiver Trees (Aloe dichotoma), also referred to by its Afrikaans name Kokerboom. Actually an aloe plant rather than a tree, these attractive succulents reach skywards with graphically forked branches, splitting into pairs, hence the name ‘dichotoma’. The Quiver Tree is one of the most interesting and characteristic plants of Namibia are very hot and dry southern regions. The name Quiver Tree refers to the traditional use of the branches by Bushmen and Hottentots tribes to make quivers for their arrows. On average the trees are about 3m to 5m tall (reaching up to 9m in height) and can be up to one meter in diameter at ground level. The larger trees in the forest are around 200 to 300 years old. They produce bright yellow flowers during the winter months (June and July) and their trunks are smooth and shiny with light creamy to silvery-grey bark which peels and forms intricate rectangular and diamond-shaped patterns as the tree matures. The Quiver Tree mostly occurs in black rock formations (dolerite), needed to anchor the plants which have a shallow spread root system.
Across the road from the Quiver Tree Forest is the Giants Playground, an impressive jumble of dolerite boulders which are roughly 180 million years old. It’s called the Giant’s Playground because of the way the massive dolerite boulders are placed on top of each other like a giant’s building blocks. Molten magma pushed its way through fissures in the underlying rock, creating dolerite dykes that have since been exposed as the surrounding sedimentary rock has eroded, leaving the harder dolerite boulders to undergo further weathering into the bizarre formations we see today. Wandering through the maze of boulders is fascinating, but care must be taken not to become lost in the extensive rocky labyrinth.
Quiver Tree Forest Rest Camp: Visit the wonders of nature and relax at the close-by rest camp, a family farm lived on by 3 generations. The camp consists of eight rooms with private shower, toilets and air-conditioning and seven fully equipped self-catering bungalows. A camp site is also present with electricity, hot showers and toilets. All visitors are welcome to visit the Quiver Tree Forest and Giant’s playground as well as attend the daily cheetah feeding.
Drive Keetmanshoop to Windhoek
Embark on an early morning excursion to photograph the resident cheetah before setting off on your journey back to Windhoek to spend the last night of your safari in the comforts of Galton House. Dinner this evening can either be enjoyed at your hotel, or out at one of the popular restaurants in town with your guide to reminisce about trip highlights and good memories.
Overnight: Galton House
After breakfast and check out you will be met and transferred by road to Windhoek International Airport in time to check in and catch your scheduled international flight.
This amazing photography tour workshop is designed to suit the beginner or serious enthusiast. A digital SLR (Single Lens Reflex) or Mirrors camera is recommended to maximise the photographic opportunities available, however, any camera that has manual functions would also be suitable. Best lenses to bring include a longer zoom or prime for wildlife (100-400, 500 etc.) and wide angled lens for landscape (14-30, 24-70 etc). A sturdy travel tripod is essential.
- Accommodation and meals as stated.
- Transportation in luxury air-conditioned safari vehicles.
- Services of a registered and experienced English speaking safari guide (per vehicle - 2 vehicles in convoy) for the duration of the safari.
- All National Park and other entrance fees and excursions as described in above itinerary.
- Mineral water on board the safari vehicle.
- Local beverages excluding imported and premier beverages whilst mobile camping.
- Return airport transfers from / to Windhoek International Airport.
- Welcome pack.
- International flights to and from Namibia and airport taxes.
- Any meals not included in the above itinerary.
- Any entrance fees and excursions not included in the above itinerary.
- All beverages with the exception of mineral water on board the safari vehicle and local beverages whilst mobile camping.
- Laundry (laundry service available at lodges at extra cost).
- Items of personal nature (telephone expenses, curios, medicines etc).
$14752.00 Twin Share
$1400 Single supplement
Enquire now to reserve your spot
You must secure travel insurance.
This workshop is limited at 8 participants to ensure your comfort.