Shem is an accomplished photographer and runs a tour company taking exclusive photographic safaris called C4Images.
I picked up Shem in Windhoek and we began organizing our tour, all the while chatting about what we had been up to in the last 10 years. After getting our tour vehicles we went out to the Airport and picked up the guests. They slept in Windhoek that night.
The next morning we set off for Sossusvlei. We stayed at Sossus Dune Lodge, run by Namibian Wildlife Services. There website has been down for some time but just to be fair to them, here is the link. The lodge was built really nice but management very poorly. However, it sports one overwhelming advantage...it's in the park. For photographers that's a big advantage as we could literally be in or out of the park any time we chose.
We took full advantage of our time there, with three nights we did many trips down the Sossusvlei Valley each time picking different spots to explore and photograph.
Despite having some guests who were not that young anymore, we did a fair bit of walking in to locations, which gives you the advantage of capturing and experiencing the more pristine areas. It also means that, because vehicles are not allowed there, they stay pristine after you have gone.
We had rather windy conditions at Sossusvlei, but because these winds warmed the area up, we got to see various animals we otherwise wouldn't, including a couple Barking Geckos...Small little ground dwelling geckos you normally only hear, but struggle to see.
After Sossusvlei we left for Erongo Wilderness Lodge. It was a long drive getting there, but we made it with some good light to spare. The guests didn't waste a second...they started taking pictures right as we got there.
Erongo Wilderness Lodge is a bit like The Flintstones in Luxury. The lodge is set in a hilly area near the Erongo mountains. The area is made up of huge Granite bolders and outcrops. It is a really beautiful place.
Being a keen birder, the area is rather special to me for all its specials. Perhaps the most special is the Hartlaub's Francolin, which I didn't manage to see on this trip. I did have some luck with Rockrunners, and got a few pictures.
This image is posted on my flickr account.
We had a really long day, with an 11 hour game drive, but it was certainly worth it, considering the experience we had.
The next day we took it easier and arranged a trip to visit a Himba village.
After our stay at Sesfontein we moved on to Etosha. Etosha is just plain fantastic! I have never been through Etosha without a feeling that my stay was to short!
Our first to nights in the park were at Okaukuejo. Okaukuejo is the rest-camp within the park in the center. There are a further two rest-camps further east, namely Halali and Namutoni.
Okaukuejo is famous for it's waterhole. It is floodlit at night and both night and day the waterhole is interesting to watch.
Our full day at Okaukuejo was simply spent watching the waterhole. I ran around birding and trying to find birds for the guests to photograph. They got great images of Pygmy Falcons, that gave us great opportunities to really study them and compose great pictures. My lens was a little to short for great pics, but I had a go non the less.
From Okaukuejo we made our way accross the park. We stopped at Halali where we had a lunch stop and found some Owls to photograph with the help of the staff at Halali Rest-camp.
The Internet Bird Collection website.
After lunch the game drive vehicles from Mushara Lodge came out to Halali as a special favor so that the guests could do the afternoon in open vehicles...better for photography than our mini vans.
Our last two night of the trip were spent at Mushara. We spent the full day doing game drives on the Eastern side of the park. We moved at a slow pace and spent a lot of time with any game we found, regardless of weather they were lions or springbok. It was a great way to finish off the trip.
The very last waterhole we visited was certainly one of the highlights of the whole tour, with over 50 elephants on a single waterhole in great afternoon light!
The next day was an early morning, long drive back to Windhoek for the guests flight home. It certainly could have been my favorite trip ever.
I would like to add a special thanks to Shem Compion from C4Images for using me to help on the trip, and to Martin Withers, the group leader from Hoskings Tours and a master wildlife/nature photographer. Of course, I would also like to thank the guests if any of them ever see this blog post. It was fantastic.
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