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Wild Namibia Photo Safari

11 days with Natural Habitat Adventures   Rating: Deluxe

Itinerary
Click for Dates and Prices
Day 1: Windhoek, Namibia 
Our Namibia photo safari begins in Windhoek, the country's contemporary capital whose eclectic skyline is peppered with German castles, glass skyscrapers and cathedral spires. We meet our Expedition Leader on arrival and settle in to our boutique hotel in one of Windhoek’s leafy and tranquil neighborhoods. Over a leisurely welcome dinner, get acquainted with fellow travelers and learn about the vast landscapes and wildlife we’ll be photographing during an orientation overview.
 
Day 2–4: Kulala Private Reserve—Sossusvlei Sand Dunes 
After breakfast, a mid-morning flight by light aircraft lands us at Little Kulala, a luxury desert retreat within the private 90,000-acre Kulala Wilderness Reserve at the edge of Namibia’s great sand sea. The word namib in the Nama language means “vast,” an apt name for this ancient arid expanse—the world’s oldest desert. From this profoundly secluded vantage point, we’ll have a chance to photograph some of Africa’s most arresting vistas, including vermilion sunsets and black skies glittering with stars. We rise early each morning on dawn excursions to Sossusvlei, Namibia's most legendary landscape. This flat salt and clay pan surrounded by Earth’s tallest sand dunes is a nature photographer's fantasy, as the changing light continually alters the dramatic scene before us. Wildlife drives at sunrise take us into the shape-shifting, ochre-colored dunes at the Namib Desert’s lonely center. Framed by intense blue skies, the dunes glow deep red, transfiguring to burnished orange, then ochre and gold, changing minute by minute as the sun ascends. Inside are diamonds, tucked into the sand mountains by currents, waves and wind. 
 
While wildlife is sparsely distributed in this austere landscape, we have a chance to capture photos of desert species including oryx, ostrich, springbok, spotted and brown hyena, aardwolf and bat-eared fox. The rare dune lark’s entire range is confined to this habitat. We discover the desert’s subtle magic on short walks and safari drives, plus there is an opportunity to soar in an early-morning hot air balloon flight over the dunes, a thrilling chance for photographers to capture dramatic aerial views of this wondrous landscape in the rosy glow of sunrise. 
 
Days 5–7: Palmwag Concession—Skeleton Coast
Fly north toward Namibia’s Skeleton Coast, whose evocative name references the dried bones of wrecked ships that lay half-buried on beaches battered by fierce Atlantic storms. Our destination, Hoanib Skeleton Coast, is a hospitable outpost amid one of Africa’s last great wildernesses. Set in one of the most fragile ecosystems on Earth, the low-impact camp enjoys a scenic location at the confluence of two tributaries of the dry Hoanib River in the northern part of the private million-acre Palmwag Concession, next to Skeleton Coast National Park. Few safari locales offer the level of isolation found here in one of the most remote regions of the Kaokoveld. 
 
We spend three days immersed in these rugged mountains, vast plains, dune fields and dry riverbeds, with one excursion to the coast itself. A range of activities is designed to maximize photography opportunities, and we explore via 4x4 drives and hides for wildlife viewing. Our bewitching environs are inhabited by a remarkable array of desert-adapted plants and animals, with surprising photo subjects at every turn. Almost miraculously, a multitude of species thrives in the stark inland environment, including Namibia’s largest population of desert elephant. With cameras poised, we hope for sightings of giraffe and lion, oryx, springbok and steenbok. On a guided bush walk (safety permitting), look for scrub hare and inquisitive ground squirrels. During our stay we have one opportunity to visit the Skeleton Coast, driving out and flying back (weather permitting; coastal fog is a regular presence here). A colony of Cape fur seals is often present on shore, and we may spot black-backed jackal and elusive brown hyena near the beach. Birdlife is diverse, with many southern African endemics, and we're likely to spot jaegers and skuas.
 
Days 8–10: Ongava Private Reserve—Etosha National Park
Transfer by light aircraft to the Ongava Reserve on the border of Etosha National Park. The Etosha Salt Pan is the remnant of a huge lake that existed here two million years ago. Bare and dry today, the depression offers Namibia’s best wildlife photography opportunities, with elephant, black and white rhino, lion, leopard, cheetah, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, hartebeest, springbok, oryx, kudu and the diminutive dik-dik drawn to its life-sustaining waterholes. Birdlife is abundant, and we may see ostrich and raptors. We stay on the private reserve adjacent to the park, far from any other accommodations. From camp we take guided walks (safety permitting) and night drives on the reserve, venturing into the park by day to photograph wildlife and scenery.
 
Day 11: Windhoek / Depart
Our grand Namibia photo safari concludes today as we fly from Ongava back to Windhoek to connect with flights onward.
Map
All This Included
Namibia is one of Africa’s best-kept secrets for photographers. Less well known and less visited than the game parks of East and South Africa, Namibia’s treasures remain more hidden, revealed to those in search of a truly distinctive safari adventure. Here amid one of the world’s greatest deserts, we find a surprising collection of hardy wildlife that has managed to adapt to its harsh environs. Yet this is also an arrestingly beautiful land. From soaring sand dunes to broad, dry rivers, from jumbled rocky mountains to lonely beaches, photographers will find Namibia profoundly alluring. A more civilized highlight is our luxury camps, replete with amenities and enveloped by silent wilderness.

  • Accommodations in luxury safari camps
  • Services of Nat Hab's professional Photography Expedition Leader(s), local guides and camp staff
  • Premier open-sided 4-wheel drive Land Cruisers or Rovers
  • Additional aircraft weight allowance for photo gear
  • All meals from dinner on Day 1 through breakfast on final day
  • Some alcoholic beverages
  • Most gratuities
  • Airport transfers on Day 1 and final day
  • All activities and entrance fees
  • All taxes, permits and service fees

Highlights
  • With guidance from our Expedition Leader, photograph desert-adapted wildlife, including elephants, against a varied backdrop of Namibia’s striking topography.
  • Capture striking landscapes and unique wildlife on the vast private reserves of Kulala and Ongava—plus the remote Skeleton Coast—where scenic drama and silence prevail.
  • On two dawn excursions to Sossusvlei, photograph the world's tallest sand dunes as the rising sun plays on their surface, altering color and contrast.
Accommodations
Windhoek: Olive Grove Guest House
Kulala Wilderness Reserve: Kulala Desert Lodge or Little Kulala 
Skeleton Coast: Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp
Etosha National Park: Ongava Lodge
Pre and Post Add-ons
Okonjima AfriCat Extension
3 Days / Year-Round, From $1895
Join the AfriCat Foundation for close-up photography and interactions with Namibia's wild felines on this private 55,000-acre wildlife sanctuary dedicated to carnivore rehabilitation.
 
Cape Town Extension
4 Days / Year-Round, From $1595
Discover the natural and multicultural highlights of one of the world's most entrancing cities. Explore the Cape Peninsula, visit Cape Point Nature Reserve, see penguins at Boulders Beach and tour the Winelands.

Notes
  • Group Size: Approximately 8 Travelers. A key feature of our Namibia photo safaris is the limited group size, as nature photography expeditions are best with fewer travelers. You'll have quieter, more authentic wildlife encounters, and our environmental footprint is lighter, too.
  • Not Included: Travel to and from the start and end point of your trip, some alcoholic beverages, some gratuities, passport and visa fees (if any), optional activities, items of a personal nature (phone calls, laundry and internet, etc.), airline baggage fees, airport and departure taxes (if any), required medical evacuation insurance, optional travel protection insurance.
  • Physical Requirements: Easy to Moderate. During this safari, the 4x4 vehicles frequently offer a bumpy ride over rugged terrain. Wildlife drives often involve long hours of sitting and sometimes bouncing around. While we don't consider this strenuous, it can be uncomfortable and pose a particular type of physical demand on the body. All travelers must be able to climb into and out of our raised 4x4 safari trucks. Travelers must also be able to walk to and from the vehicle to our camp accommodations, which sometimes involves walking over uneven ground (including thick sand) or on uneven pathways. Days spent on safari can be long, as mornings typically start before daybreak and evening meals are served after sundown. Light aircraft, safari vehicles and some safari accommodations are not climate controlled and, temperatures can be extremely hot during the months of October and November in Southern Africa, so it is crucial that travelers come prepared and drink plenty of water.
  • Mandatory Insurance: Since the areas you will travel to on this trip are remote and wild (that's why we go there!), we require medical evacuation insurance for this program. If you decline the medical evacuation insurance coverage offered by Natural Habitat Adventures, we require that you send us documentation of the independent coverage you have selected. We recommend that your chosen independent insurance plan includes at least $250,000 in medical evacuation coverage. Please note that we will add the cost of Natural Habitat Adventures' medical evacuation policy (currently $48 per person) to your tour invoice until you provide our office with proof of coverage including your insurance company's name, phone number and your individual policy number. Thank you for understanding that our policy exists exclusively in the interest of our guests' safety.
  • Please plan to arrive Windhoek by 5 pm on Day 1 and you may depart Windhoek anytime after 1:55 pm on the final day.
  • Please ask your Vacations To Go travel counselor for more information.

Terms and Conditions
For Natural Habitat Adventures terms and conditions, please click here.

* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines.