MAY 23 – JUNE 6, 2019
Namibia is unique in many ways and a country of many surprises. It is located in Southern Africa bordered by the Atlantic Ocean on the western side of the country. The northern border is shared with Angola, Zambia and Botswana is on the eastern border along with South Africa located to the south and east. It is one of the least populated countries in the world in terms of density. Just over two million people live in this vast country of open spaces. Towering mountains and large expanses of desert where stunning canyons and gigantic sand dunes that change color and intensity with the changing sunlight can be seen. The scenery of this country is truly majestic.
This is a different African Safari tour from most in that we drive ourselves in specially designed vehicles chosen for the terrain and experiences we will encounter on our tour. It is a wonderful experience to drive a vehicle yourself and observe first hand the beauty of the countryside and the abundance of wildlife throughout the country.
During the European colonization in the late 19th century the German Empire established Namibia as a protectorate until 1915 when South Africa liberated the country. Namibia achieved independence in 1990 and has been a stable democracy for 38 years. However, the remnants of colonization can still be found throughout the country, as the languages spoken are German, English and Afrikaans as well as all consumer media available in the three languages.
However, the most treasured asset of Namibia is its people. They are warm and friendly and ready to assist in any situation that requires their help. The second asset is the incredible amount of wildlife that can be found in the country that makes for the perfect Safari. You will always remember the spectacular sunrise and sunsets of Namibia because of the undisturbed horizons and vast expanse of the rural areas. Especially wonderful to see is the unpolluted night sky with the amazing star trails that illuminate the sky with there thousands of points of light.
Natures Tapestry Photo Adventure Tours has been taking photographers and interested guests to this unspoiled land for seven years. Our 2019 trip will concentrate on the two most important attractions in Namibia. The first part of the tour will be a seven-day visit to the largest National Park in Africa; Etosha National Park. The largest Cheetah and Black Rhino population is found here as well as growing herds of the tallest elephants in all of Africa. A special bonus is the huge quantity of birds that are present in Etosha, from very small warblers to huge raptors. The second part of the tour will be a visit to the famous sand dunes of Sossusvlei located in the Namib Naukluft desert park. Here you will see some of the largest sand dunes in the world with their spectacular changing color as the sun’s rays change during the day. Here also we will encounter wild animals that have adapted to desert conditions existing amongst these beautiful dunes.
World-class photographer Judy Lynn Malloch and her husband Gary who have been conducting Photo Adventure Tours to Costa Rica, Ecuador, the Pantanal In Brazil and Namibia for many years will lead the tour. They are well-experienced tour organizers and guides to all of these countries but especially to Namibia where they have been leading Safari tours for over seven years.
Day 1, May 23
We depart normally around midday from New York on an overnight flight to Johannesburg South Africa arriving early morning the next day.
Day 2, May 24
Upon arrival in Johannesburg we will transfer to another flight that will take us to Windhoek, Namibia, the capital city of the country. The two hour flight normally departs mid morning. Upon arrival in Windhoek we will clear customs and immigration, get our rental vehicles at the airport and depart the International Airport for our hotel in the capital city. Canadian and US citizens do not require any special visa for Namibia. Other countries should check with the Namibian Embassy closest to them or on line.
This is a different African Safari tour in that we drive ourselves in specially designed vehicles chosen for the terrain and experiences we will have on our tour. It is an exciting experience to drive yourself in a vehicle observing first hand the beauty of the countryside and the abundance of wildlife throughout the country.
Our rental vehicles are Toyota Hilux double cab trucks with a covered and locked back bed to carry spare tires and baggage.The vehicles are diesel and come with standard transmission, have A/C, power steering, radio, extra spare tire and broad insurance coverage with some limitations. It is important to note that driving is on the left hand side of the road in Namibia and the driver sits on the right side of the truck to drive. You do not have to worry about getting lost as we use two-way radios and are in communication with each other at all times. We also travel in convoy checking on each other during all outings.
It is recommended that all guests acquire an International Drivers License. These can be obtained at any AAA location. They do not require any test and are issued immediately with your photo and signature.
The drive from the airport to our hotel in the capital city of Windhoek takes approximately 40 minutes. Here we will check in first and then go to the local supermarket to purchase water, snacks and incidentals you might want to purchase foryour trip. We will come back to the hotel and get refreshed for an early evening dinner at a famous restaurant located near by.
Day 3, May 25
We depart normally around midday from New York on an overnight flight to Johannesburg South Africa arriving early morning the next day.
After an early morning international breakfast we will load our vehicles and begin the drive north to Etosha National Park. You should have your camera gear ready for any action we may encounter on the drive. Often Baboon troops, Antelope and Wart Hogs can be seen along the highway on our drive to the park. The trucks have been chosen because they offer room for one photographer in the front seat and one in the back seat with ample room to store your equipment on the seat beside you. There are only two people per vehicle. The drive is a beautiful one through countryside with incredible scenery. We drive on paved highways all the way to Etosha National Park passing through three large towns. The trip is long and will take approximately five hours with stops in between to refresh and have coffee.
When we get to the main gate of the park entrance we will have to secure permits for our time spent in the park. You will need to have your passports available and sign the permits. Once we drive through the park gates you will not be able to get out of the vehicle until we are in the grounds of the lodges we will be staying at. The lodges are secured but remember this is a wildlife park so always be on your alert. There is a waterhole very close to the main gate of the park entrancethat we will check stop to see if there is any wildlife activity. All of the waterholes in Etosha are very interesting and have varying levels of animal activity. The hotter and drier it is the better the waterhole activity will be. The first waterhole we stop at has been very active most of the time with large herds of elephants, giraffes and various other animals.
Depending on the time we spend at this waterhole, our next task is to check in at our first lodge. Once we obtain our room keys we will get back in our trucks and head out to the next game drive and waterhole to check out the animal activity. By now it is mid to late afternoon and we will need to be back in the lodge grounds by sundown. All lodges open and close their main gates at sunrise and sunset. No exceptions are made to this regulation; so you need to be aware of your timing each day. Our first lodge is the main one in Etosha and is located approximately in the middle of the park. It has one of the best water holes in all of Africa attached to the campground. Observers are completely protected from any danger by fences and rock barriers. The interior of the camp is well protected but the attached waterhole is lit after dark and can be visited 24 hours of the day. Animals visit the waterhole continually either by themselves or in herds.
All meals are very good in the lodges with international selections as well as local game. They cater to all types of food restrictions and they only need to know ahead of time what restrictions or special requirements you may require. All meals are buffet style.
Day 4, May 26
Normally our group is encouraged to be up early and at the restaurant prior to sunrise as we want to get in line with our trucks at the gate to get a quick start on the day. This is a particular important day as there is a large acacia tree on a wide open plain that we can get classic African sunrise shots of the sun rising through the tree branches. It is an unforgettable moment if we get there first before the crowd. From here we will take game drives the rest of the day on different terrain visiting numerous waterholes. Some of the waterholes we visit early on are our favorites for chances to see lions. However, early morning is the most active time to see big cats (lions, cheetah, leopards) coming to drink at the waterholes. We will continue to take alternative drives throughout the day maximizing opportunities to get great pictures. Back to the lodge before sundown and freshen up prior to dinner.
Day 5, May 27
Our day starts very similar each morning with early breakfast. Today we will pack up our belongings, load up the trucks and check out of the lodge prior to departing the camp. The morning will be spent on different game drives and visiting new waterholes. In the early afternoon we will begin our trip to the second lodge we will be visiting. On our trip to the lodge we will drive through huge open plains often seeing grazing animals on the way. Zebra, Kudu, Oryx,Wildebeast, Hartebeest, Springbok can be seen in great quantities. This is a different region of Etosha and provides us with some new species to see. Both Eland and Black Faced Impalas are located in this region of the park. Of course we will always have an opportunity to see Elephant, Lions, Leopards, Giraffes, Hyaenas, Warthogs, and Rhinos (both Black and White species) anywhere in the park, at any time.
On arrival at the lodge we check in and then go back out to take some exciting game drives in this new area of the park. Again, some impressive waterholes are located here. This lodge as well has a unique waterhole attached to the camp with the ability to observe animals coming into drink at all hours of the day and night. Here you can sit high on a rock formation and observe the animals below. It is really a great place to visit and observe wildlife.
Day 6, May 28
Breakfast early and out the gate at sunrise to explore the area surrounding the lodge. There are a lot of exciting places to visit, both game drives and unique waterholes. Each year things change so we need to check them for animal activity. One of the drives we will take is to visit the Etosha Pan, a great salt lake that is part of the park. It usually is dry this time of the year and is visible as a huge white lakebed expanse as far as one can see. Our day will be consumed with traveling the area in search of wildlife activity, and we will certainly encounter lots of exciting situations.
Day 11, June 2
Again we pack up our gear, load it in our trucks and after breakfast start out on our exciting trip to Sossusvlei. Again this trip is a long drive but an exciting one. We will drive on a major highway south out of the capital through picturesque countryside, passing many private game parks and towering Rock Mountains until we come to our turn off from the main highway and start heading west. Our travels now become really interesting as we pass huge ranches and settlements with few people, eventually coming to a mountain range we need to cross. Going over the mountains we will travel up and then down navigating a pass that leads us through a most memorable gorge. This part of the journey is one of the trip highlights. The road is very narrow but safe. Here we often have seen baboon troops and mountain antelope on the cliffs that rise directly above us. On this drive we will also see Quiver Trees, classic African trees with an odd shape but rather beautiful. Eventually we will slowly travel down the valley pass to the desert floor again and get back to ranch land marveling at the beauty of many very high rock formations as we make our way to Sossusvlei.
Sossusvlei is located in the Namib Desert within the Namib Naukluft Park. Our lodge is the only one that is located within the park so we have the advantage of starting our exploring as early as we want or staying out longer than sundown. Anyone interested in taking photos of star trails will be happy to know that there is no pollution here and the vista after dark is memorable with thousands of stars hanging up in the sky above you. You will be able to take photos from the deck of your rooms.
On arrival at the camp we will check in, have lunch and then start out on driving in the park up to Dune 45, which is half way to Sossusvlei. On the way to Dune 45 all kinds of desert wildlife can be spotted in the plains below the dunes. Oryx, Warthogs, Bat Eared Fox, Jackel, Zebra will be seen and if you are fortunate, Giraffe and Lions.But the most striking vision is the breathtaking dunes themselves. All kinds of dune shapes tower in the desert swept into unusual formations by the wind. However, the colors of the dunes are most unusual and they change as the sun’s rays change direction. Red, orange, blue, magenta, brown, etc. are a painter’s pallet of color; and they are constantly changing. In this part of the park you are able to get out of the truck and climb the dunes. What a breathtaking view one can get from the top of some of the highest dunes. Prior to sunset we will head back to the Lodge for rest and relaxation before dinner.
Day 12, June 3
We have to get up very early today for our special excursion to Sossusvlei. After tea and biscuits in the main restaurant our lodge guide will take us in a special vehicle to the dunes of Sossusvlei. It is a drive of about an hour and a half and we want to get into the dune area before sunset. On arrival at the entrance, our driver will need to engage the 4-wheel drive function of the vehicle to navigate the deep sand in order to get us close to where we need to disembark and start our trip to Dead Vlei. This excursion to Dead Vlei is most unusual but absolutely necessary to see. It is an open area that is surrounded by dunes and has a very hard clay type base. However the most unusual aspect of this wonder is the 900 plus, year old trees that are encountered here in this remote place. These trees look petrified but they are not. Photocompositions using the trees can be spectacular and have been the subject of many well-known background photos used in public media around the world. The photos one can get here as the sunrise begins are breathtaking. It tends to be very cold as well this time of the day so layered clothing is required.
Once we have had our fill of Dead Vlei we will start the climb over the low sand dunes back to where our driver left us. We will then take a short ride over to an area where a great breakfast-brunch has been set up for us to enjoy. Hot coffee or tea and good food is welcome.
We then head back to our lodge but stop many times along the way to get photos of wildlife and unusual dune formations. The afternoon is spent resting or going out again on the main road to explore.
Day 13, June 4
Midmorning we start our journey backtracking our route to Windhoek one more for our final night in Namibia. Once back at our hotel we can rest and start packing for our trip back home. We have one final dinner to remember our trip and reminisce about our great experiences prior to getting a good nights rest,
Day 14, June 5
We take the rental trucks down to the car wash in the early morning and then come back and pack up for the trip back to the airport to return our rental vehicles. After completing the rental car return process we check in for our flight to Johannesburg, South Africa that arrives in the late afternoon. Here we are in transit until around 8:00pm in the evening and then we begin the boarding process for our flight back to the USA.
There is plenty of great shopping in the Johannesburg airport and you will be able to spend some time in the stores if you so desire.
Day 15, June 6
Early morning arrival at JFK marking the completion of a memorable trip to Namibia. The memories you will have of the wildlife you saw in
Etosha National Park and the incredible sights of Sossusvlei will live on in your memory and last a lifetime. You can see them again and again in the many photos you were able to capture. Indeed “a trip of a lifetime”.
Day 8, May 30
Here at this lodge we will encounter fantastic waterholes where we have on past occasions seen wonderful wildlife situations that are unique. Rhinos close up charging into the waterhole, Spotted Hyaena in huge groups fighting over scraps of left overs from a kill the night before, Cheetah on the open plains hunting in the early morning and huge raptors scanning the plains for food. These situations will be repeated in different places each year we have been to Namibia. Elephants coming into drink are especially fun to watch with young, adolescents and other females of different ages making up the herd. Sometimes they will be running to get to the waterhole making all kinds of noise but when they get to the water all becomes quiet and they are peaceful drinking. At this lodge some of the game drives are very long and unusual wildlife are often seen. Birding opportunities are also very good at this lodge. Large Bull elephants either by themselves or in small groups can be seen out in the open areas we drive through. Ostrich in groups are frequently seen on the open plains and the quantities of birds that can be seen are wonderful to film.
Day 9, May 31
The morning will be spent revisiting the most active waterholes we have encountered in this area of Etosha. But after two days in this great lodge, it is time to consider getting ready to move on. In the early afternoon we will begin the trek back to the first lodge we stayed at to spend our final night in Etosha. On the way we will encounter many opportunities to get great pictures of animals and scenery again. On arrival back in the camp we can relax prior to our final dinner in Etosha National Park and spend quality time at the wonderful waterhole attached to thislodge.
Day 10, June 1
Early morning wake up, load the trucks with our gear, breakfast and out the gate for our final morning game drive in Etosha. Mid morning we begin our drive back to Windhoek where we will overnight at the hotel we stayed at on our arrival. On our drive back to the capital, we will stop at the first town we come to, as it is an excellent place to have coffee and look in the tourist shops for Namibian artifacts. On arrival in Windhoek, we get settled have a leisurely dinner, and then off to bed for an early morning departure.
Day 7, May 29
Pack up our gear, have breakfast and out on the road for another day of discovery. The most important aspect of our trip to Etosha is getting out in the early morning and arriving at the waterholes when the activity is highest. If there is no activity, usually it is a sign that large predators are most usually around. It is always exciting to discover a pride of lions or a solitary leopard resting in the grass around the water. They may be actively waiting for game to appear or just sleeping until the sun gets hot and then they move off. We will continue to work our way to the eastern part of the park on more game drives and visiting interesting waterholes. We will eventually end up at the next lodge in the late afternoon where we will spend the next two days.
The cost of the 15-day trip to Namibia with Natures Tapestry Photo Adventure Tours May 23 – June 6, 2019 is US$5,675 per person (double occupancy).
Namibia is becoming a very popular European vacation destination and as a result accommodations are at a premium to secure. We do have our rooms booked and the tour will only accommodate 4 guests plus Judy and Gary Malloch.
The deposit schedule and final payment schedule will apply as follows:
- Initial deposit US$2,300 upon commitment to the tour.
- Remainder of the tour cost US$3.375 will be due on or before March 23, 2019.
Natures Tapestry Photo Adventure Tour to Namibia includes the following:
- 1. Lodging, breakfast and dinner for 12 occasions
- 2. Rental of specially equipped Toyota Helix Safari Vehicles for 13 days including full insurance, diesel fuel, A/C, radio, standard shift, extra spare tire and tire pump. Driving is on the left hand side of the road in Namibia.
- 3. All park entrance fees.
- 4. Special tour events (Sossusvlei extension tour).
The cost of the tour does not include the following items:
- 1. International airfare from the US to Namibia and return.
- 2. Beverages including water, soda, and alcoholic.
- 3. Passport fees, visas, or airport exit fees.
- 4. Trip cancellation insurance.
- 5. Medical coverage.
- 6. Lunches.
- 7. Personal expenses such as laundry, phone calls, email, Wi-Fi or Internet access charges. (Not available in all locations)
- 8. Service gratuities.
The information included in this brochure is intended to give you the basics of the trip. Once you commit to the trip I will send out information that will assist you in preparing for your tour, such as, what clothing you will need, what lenses are appropriate to use in Namibia, what peripheral gear to consider, etc.
Please remember that you do not need to be a professional photographer to come along on this exciting photo safari. Video cameras and point and shoot or even your IPhone camera are fine to use on this trip.
The most important issue to remember is that we need to have a commitment early in order to accommodate you as we have restricted this trip to only 6 people. This is an ideal number to maximize the safari experience in Namibia based on our experience of conducting many trips to this wonderful country.
- Tour Leaders: Judy Lynn and Gary Malloch
- Email: email@example.com
- Phone: 561 756–0341
- Website: naturestapestryjlm.com