After arrival at Hosea Kutako International Airport and having negotiated passport control and collected luggage, you will be met by an ORYX representative and driven to the tour accommodation. Here your ORYX Photo Tour Leader will meet the group, and will discuss this exciting Namibia photo safari in more detail over dinner.
Overnight River Crossing Lodge
Our first full day of our Namibia photography tour begins as we leave the lodge early and embark on a road trip to Sossusvlei (roughly 6 hour drive). After check in, lunch a rest, we will head out for an afternoon photographic session in the park.
Overnight Sossus Dune Lodge
We have two full days in the amazing Sossusvlei area to start off our Namibia photo safari. We will depart early in order to get the best light on the spectacular apricot–coloured Sossusvlei Dunes. World-famous Sossusvlei is an enormous clay pan, flanked by the famous red sand dunes that stand out starkly against the clear blue sky.
These dunes have developed over millions of years, the wind continuously transforming the contours of this amazing red sand sea. The ‘vlei’ itself only fills after rare, heavy rainfall when, in a complete turn-around, it becomes a spectacular turquoise lake.
A Sossusvlei tour can include nature drives and walks are also offered on the private reserve, offering incredible views and a chance to catch glimpses and hopefully photograph some of the desert’s hardy and elusive denizens. Desert-adapted wildlife such as Ostrich, Springbok, Gemsbok (Oryx), Bat-eared Fox, Black-backed Jackal and Cape Fox all occur in the area. Sossusvlei is a special place indeed, and one bird, the aptly named Dune Lark, has its entire global distribution limited to the Namib dune sea of west-central Namibia.
Another option (cost not included in tour fee) on our Namibia photography tour is early morning ballooning, beginning at first light. The balloon safari offers a truly unique experience for one to soar silently above the magnificent sand dunes and desert, with a celebratory champagne breakfast being served at the landing site. Another option (cost not included in tour fee) is a helicopter flight designed to showcase the dunes at sunrise – photographic opportunities are excellent – please do contact us should this option be of interest to you.
The cold, clear nights here in Namib Desert lend themselves to the night time photography, and we will over the course of the coming nights photograph whenever good opportunities present themselves.
Nights Sossus Dune Lodge
Our time in Sossusvlei up, we leave for the coast as our Namibia photo safari takes us through some most desolate landscapes in southern Africa. Gravel plains, rocky hills and dune seas give way to pure sand dunes as we near the coast. These are some of the driest areas in the subcontinent, yet for those who know where to look, there is a surprising amount of life in this unique area – as we will come to find out in the following days during our photography expedition.
Later in the day during our Swakopmund tour we will pay a visit to an area that is home to the unique Welwitschia plant – a bizarre two-leaved gymnosperm (this group includes cycads, conifers etc) that lives in the fog zone of the Namib Desert. Strangely, the plant has only two leaves (which do become shredded and may appear as multiple leaves), and perhaps more intriguingly is the fact that the two leaves are the same ones the plant has for its whole life! They can be exceptionally long lived and some specimens are thought to be around 1,500 years old.
Overnight Desert Breeze Lodge
On this morning of our Namibia photography tour, we embark on a marine mammal excursion where we will be looking to photograph Cape Fur Seals and with luck, Heaviside’s Dolphin (this small dolphin is endemic to the Benguela current system from Cape Town up the coast into Namibia and southern Angola), Sunfish (Mola Mola), Leatherback Turtle or even Southern Right Whale. We may also look at photographing some of the other residents in the area including Great White Pelican and flamingos, before retiring back to our accommodations for some down time.
Later in the day, we will embark on a night desert walk to the Namib’s gravel plains where we will be shown the desert-adapted night life, concentrating on the various species of gecko, spiders, gerbils and scorpions.
Usually during the day on any given Namibia photo tour the desert looks inhospitable, unfriendly and largely devoid of any animal life, but once the sun sets, the sand turns into a playground for all kinds of small animals. Most of the creatures in the Namib are nocturnal and can be observed only after dark, and this night walk offers us the opportunity to photograph the unique inhabitants of this ecosystem as the seemingly barren Namib gravel plains come to life, offering us a range of interesting macro subjects to photograph.
Overnight Desert Breeze Lodge
On the agenda this morning on our Namibia photo safari is an excursion to find some of the fascinating inhabitants of the Namib dunes, including Tenebrionid beetles, Peringuey’s Adder (this is the subcontinents famous “sidewinder”, and has eyes on top of its head rather than on the side, allowing it to watch its surroundings for prey or predators while its body is buried in the sand), Namib Web-footed Gecko (which gets moisture by licking water off its eyes and body, the water having condensed on the gecko after the coastal fogs roll in at night) and the large, terrestrial Namaqua Chameleon (the world’s fastest chameleon!). We will again focus on macro techniques, and after this morning session and lunch, will relocate inland to the Spitzkoppe.
The Spitzkoppe rise abruptly out of the flat plains on the edge of the Namib Desert, and are visible from far away as they are as much as 700 metres higher than the surrounding plains. Dominated by Gross Spitzkoppe, which peaks at 1,784 metres above sea level, these mountains are characterised by sheer walls, and huge jumbles of boulders dotted with special plants such as the Quiver Tree Aloidendron dichotomum (previously Aloe dichotoma), which is the region’s most famous aloe, as well as the pale-trunked Butter Tree Cyphostemma currorii. Klipspringer, a nimble rock-dwelling antelope, stand sentinel over the landscape while Rock Hyraxes scurry over the stony slopes, ever on the watch for hunting Verreaux’s Eagle (the latter arguably Africa’s most handsome eagle). Interesting rock formations and plants (Quiver and Butter trees) are great subject matter for us, and we will select a few areas on our Namibia photography tour where we can do star scapes in the evening.
Overnight Spitzkoppen Lodge
We have some early photography this morning to take advantage of the light during our Namibia photo tour, where after we head east and then north to our wonderful base for the next 4 nights. Located just across the boundary of Etosha National Park, Ongava Game Reserve is well positioned to give us access to the national park. Additionally, Ongava offers very good game viewing, protecting 125 square miles / 320 square kilometres of savanna that is home to healthy game numbers. Lion, Black and White rhinos, Elephant, Giraffe and several species of antelope, including the rare Black-faced Impala, are at home on the reserve.
We have an afternoon hide session at our camp’s special waterhole during the Etosha National Park tour portion, allowing some interesting perspectives on animals which may venture to the waterhole to drink.
Overnight Andersson’s Camp
We have three full days to explore Ongava and neighbouring Etosha National Park – Namibia’s most famous game reserve.
In 1991, several families invested in the future by turning four unproductive cattle ranches in northern Namibia into a prolific 30,000-hectare private game reserve that is now a haven to large concentrations of wildlife. Where lions were once shot on sight, Ongava is now home to several prides that are the hunters, not the hunted. Rhino populations are not only protected, they are for the most part understood, with a major genetics study revealing paternity and guiding decisions that encourage the prosperity of the species. Sharing a common boundary with the Etosha National Park, Ongava is considered one of the finest private game reserves in the region, enjoying global recognition for exceptional conservation, ground breaking research and exciting game viewing. We have the opportunity to embark on game drives in an open safari vehicle, allowing us good visibility and opportunities to photograph Ongava’s residents. We will also have access to the hide, allowing us to photograph animals by day and for a period in the evenings.
During our time in the area of our Namibia photo safari, we will also do a daytrip, plus a half-day session in Etosha National Park. The southern reaches of the park are dominated by Mopane woodland (a mopane is tree species which forms large, virtually monotypic stands in the area), with plains becoming more apparent as one gets closer to Okaukuejo Camp. North of Okaukuejo, the landscape opens up dramatically, and the flat expanses of land are dramatic, broken only by the occasional animal or a lonely tree standing sentinel. We will visit a few of the parks celebrated waterholes, which attract impressive numbers of thirsty mammals and birds. Etosha is home to enormous Elephants, and far northern Namibia / southern Angola is in fact home to the tallest Elephants in the world. Old bulls can be especially impressive, with shoulder heights up to 4m! Despite their impressive physical presence, dietary deficiencies mean that they don’t have large tusks and it is commonplace to see Elephants with chipped / broken ivory in Etosha. One waterhole near Okaukuejo in particular has very pale, virtually white mud and few Elephants like to bathe here – a spectacle indeed!
Although Leopard and Cheetah both occur in the park, they are rarely seen, and it is much more likely that we will encounter Lion here. Black-backed Jackal on the other hand are quite common and are often seen trotting around waterholes, waiting to snatch an unsuspecting bird or scavenge leftovers from a deceased animal. Herbivores are common, and we should see good numbers of Plains Zebra, Blue Wildebeest, Greater Kudu, Black-faced Impala, Springbok and Oryx (Gemsbok).
With a wonderful camp and good food and service, our lodgings for the last days of the trip will make for the perfect way to close out our Namibia photography tour!
Nights Andersson’s Camp
Today our Namibia photo tour comes to a finish, as we leave Ongava early and drive back to Windhoek (around 5 hours’ drive). Dayrooms will be available at River Crossing Lodge, before heading to Hosea Kutako International Airport where this safari will sadly come to an end!
Dale Morris’ addiction to wildlife films at a tender age instilled a deep love for animals and the great outdoors. He has spent the last 20 years travelling the globe working with and photographing its wildlife and cultures throughout the world’s utterly diverse destinations such as Madagascar, Brazil, Borneo, the plains of Tanzania’s Serengeti, and other equally spectacular areas.
Dale’s wealth of knowledge and imagery has found its way into numerous publications. He has produced more than 400 nature, travel and photography oriented magazine articles and has worked on numerous wildlife documentaries including for the BBC. His photographs have appeared on high profile front covers and he has won several awards with global publishing companies.
His sense of humour and relaxed demeanour ensure that he is a hit with all the people he guides, both young and old, creating long-lasting clientele whilst easily captivating new guests on a tour with him.
Ranging from the icescapes of Antarctica to the tropics of Bornea, Madagascar, Brazil and more, Dale’s endless passion and knowledge makes him a perfect Photo Tour Leader for your next ORYX tour.
Dale Morris is a Photo Tour Leader for ORYX private and scheduled departures.
“Margaret and I have had another ORYX adventure. Every aspect of a couple of weeks in Namibia was perfect. There was never a flat spot and you ensured we did everything that was possible. The choice of lodges was just right for our purposes. You interacted with the local guides to enhance the total experience. Our photography is improving. From being just mug amateurs a couple of years ago using auto for everything, we are now into focal lengths, back lighting, slow shutter panning and much more. Still a long way to go, but we are enjoying it immensely. Again, thanks for a fabulous experience, and we eagerly await our ORYX trip to Brazil next year.”Nambia
“There was only one serious problem with my safari: it was beyond description excellent! Hahaha! We experienced excellent weather in each venue where the photographic opportunities abounded. There was a good mix of scenery and animals.
The red sand dunes venue was packed solid with people making it difficult to obtain any meaningful images but I did capture a few. However, the sand dunes near Sera Cafema (our last stop) were incredible. Actually the dunes were astounding. And our visit there with the Himba tribe ladies was something else. I had them come from the back of a dune over the top is a line perpendicular to the cameras and to the afternoon sun. They walked, stopped for us to shoot, walked a bit more, shoot again, and so on. Epic beauty and epic photography.
The first stop provided us with a night sky that I’ll not forget. Venus setting, the Milky Way bright, the Southern across shining, oh my gosh. We did some light painting of two trees there that was superb. I mean really great stuff. There we saw a cheetah with an adolescent cub. And of course a lot more wildlife.
The second stop provided us with a sunset line up of 6 elephants walking in single file to a watering hole. Mom in front and Dad in the back. Surreal in beauty and silence. The lodges were terrific and the meals even better. We were treated better than royalty at each stop. The commuter plane flights and crews were great fun. Amazing scenery from up above.
Oh yes, the Skeleton Coast. Goodness gracious was that a sight to behold. I know I’m rambling. Thanks to you for assisting me in my endless preparations for this journey. I was a bit over prepared but that is better than needing something while in the bush. As for Greg, what a treasure. He is a blast to shoot with, and I’ll shoot with him again in the future. He’s a thinker as much as he is a shutter release pusher. His knowledge of the bush is astounding.
Again, sincere thanks to you and to Marius. A trip of a lifetime!”
“I became interested in ORYX because some of the other outfits who advertise photo safaris don’t really appear to be very strong photographers. ORYX stands out in that regard.”Namibia
“Just a quick note of thanks Marius for tailoring and running yet another top photo safari for us through some of the best parts of Namibia to see some things we really wanted to see and photograph.
As usual with ORYX everything worked well (thanks Kirsty) with great lodges and excellent guides on the ground. Michelle and I as well as our friends Leigh and Marg all came away with great images, thanks to your ability to get us in the right place at the right time to maximize photographic opportunities and to take advantage of the best light and conditions.
Your photographic tips and encouragement keep us constantly inspired to do better. We would heartily recommend ORYX for any aspiring photographers looking to improve their skills as well as to maximize opportunities for capturing some great wildlife photographic images for their portfolio.”
“We all dream of experiences in the bush that will stay with us during the times we need to remember something to lift our spirits. Capturing a moment the best you can, that’s what photography is about isn’t it. And in the bush when you are in awe of the beauty around you, capturing that image is so rewarding. It brings hours of smiles and sharing and for years to come that safari and taking that photograph will stay with you, remind you of the smells, sights and feeling you had when taking that photograph.
We have been fortunate enough to experience a photographic safari with Marius Coetzee co-founder of ORYX Bespoke in hauntingly beautiful Namibia this year. This bespoke trip created by ORYX, with Marius’s great hosting and photographic teaching made all my dreams come true. Having been on many safaris I can honestly say this was the best. Marius and his love for photography inspired us and seeing the beautiful landscape captured through your lens…..words can’t describe it.
Marius, ORYX Team and the soulful people of Namibia thank you for 14 days that will stay with me forever.”Namibia
“To the Oryx Team,
Thanks so much for another memorable safari with you guys. Namibia exceeded my expectations – we even were able to shoot the stars! The group was good and Greg did an outstanding job managing three different personalities and shooting styles. Plus, handling all our luggage and many other details, I think we wore him out! We all had a great time. It’s been a great end to a safari to spend a few days at Mala Mala. Roan is an exceptional guide and we have had some great sightings as well as some time to relax before my journey home – ugh. And, lastly for the Oryx staff – I just don’t know how you guys do it…..booking the best lodges for viewing and shooting opportunities….you guys are always on top of all the details that make a complicated itinerary go well. As I’ve said before, your meet and greet staff are the best. It’s so reassuring to me when traveling alone to know I will be met and escorted through the maze of the JoBurg airport.
All the best and until next time.”
“WHAT AN AMAZING TRIP!!! ALMOST IN TEARS LEAVING NAMIBIA.
THE PEOPLE,THE FOOD (MY CAFFE MACCHIATO IN THE MIDDLE OF A DESERT??) , THE ACCOMMODATION, THE LANDSCAPE, NOT TO MENTION THE PHOTOS…..ALL TOO BEAUTIFUL TO LEAVE BEHIND!
GREG WAS EVER SO PROFESSIONAL AND ENTERTAINING THAT IT MADE THE 29 HRS FLYING WELL WORTH IT.
WOULD DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN.
THE STAFF WERE SO WONDERFUL AND LOOKED AFTER US BEAUTIFULLY, THE BUSH DINNERS AND THE LONG TABLE LAID ON SKELETON BEACH WERE SUCH A TREAT. THE FAREWELL BY THE STAFF CHANTING,PLAYING AND DANCING WERE A MOST PLEASANT EXPERIENCE….
THANKS SO MUCH FOR ORGANISING . IT MADE IT ALL AN UNFORGETTABLE EXPERIENCE.
TO THE NEXT ONE”Namibia
I must sincerely thank you and compliment you on an absolutely outstanding private safari to Namibia’s Skeleton Coast and Serra Cafema to photograph, in particular, the Himba people.
Again, I was blown away at not only the content we covered, but the adventure, suspense and utter professionalism that dominated the trip. You have again gone the extra mile for comfort, happiness and of course passion for photography and adventure. I loved the mix of wildlife and cultural photography not to mention the personal time we spent in the villages with the Himba people. You certainly have a wonderful report with them and I witnessed the immense joy they had in interacting with you.
After hearing that “Krocodil” had given birth to a little boy after our initial visit and meeting “Marius II” in the village the next evening, special to say the least. A humbling time too and time to reflect on life with gratitude.
To cap it my surprise trip to the middle of the dune banks for moonset, sunrise and a great breakfast just topped it. After enticing me to jump into the “Laughing Dune” on the Skelton Coast and getting a feel for the enormity of these dunes this was really not only special but showed me the magnitude of them. Driving in the dunes I felt secure and safe and the guides too were both professional, knowledgeable and part of the family.
I truly loved every moment and have come back with so many memorable images, I’m struggling to find favourites….love them all.
Thank you Marius and all at ORYX for organising
THANK YOU FOR YOUR MESSAGE THIS MORNING.
WHAT A TRIP!
I HAVE HAD ONE OF THE MOST MEMORABLE TRIPS EVER!
THIS IS DESPITE THE MANY GREAT TRIPS I HAVE EXPERIENCED WITH ORYX.
I HAVE HEAPS OF PHOTOS TO SORT OUT, BUT THAT’S I SUPPOSE WHAT IT IS ALL ABOUT!
THE SERVICE, PEOPLE, ACCOMMODATION AND LENGTH OF STAY WAS QUITE BRILLIANT.
I HAVE NO COMPLAINTS, ONLY PRAISE!
THANK YOU FOR YOUR EFFORTS REGARDING ALL MY ARRANGEMENTS. I APPRECIATE ALL THAT YOU HAVE DONE
TO MAKE MY TRIPS SO MEMORABLE AND ENJOYABLE.
KEEP WELL, AND I WILL BE IN TOUCH AS MARIUS AND I ARE BUSY WITH SOME FUTURE TRAVEL PLANS.