Namibia

Dates: September 1–12, 2017

Begins & Ends: Windhoek, Namibia

Nearest Airport: Windhoek (WDH)

Leaders: Jeffrey Chapman & Winslow Lockhart

Maximum Participants: 8

Tuition: $7,700

Accommodation: Included
(optional single supplement: $1,100)

Meals: Included

Payment Policy: 3 Installments
     • $500 deposit to confirm participation
     • 50% due by February 1, 2017
     • Balance due by June 1, 2017

Optional Sossusvlei Extension

Dates: September 12–16, 2017

Tuition: $4,400
Single Supplement: $900

This photographic adventure begins and ends in Windhoek, Namibia. Tuition includes hotels (based on double occupancy; single occupancy is available with payment of a single-occupancy supplement), meals, local brand alcohol drinks, driver and guide tips, and local group transportation for the duration of the adventure. It does not include visa, souvenirs, international bar beverages, laundry, insurance (travel, medical, cancellation), nor any personal expenses.

This adventure is suitable for all levels of photographic experience. Participants must be in good health and able to spend each day walking and carrying their own equipment.

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Tribes of Namibia

Tribes of Namibia Within The Frame Itinerary

Namibia is a vast country, covering an area approximately twice the size of California but with a population of a mere two million — the second lowest population density in the world, giving Namibia an amazingly soulful feeling of peace and solitude. 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 fossilized tree trunks have lain for over 280 million years. Combined with the space and silence, these contribute to a feeling of timelessness, solitude, and wilderness.

Tribes of Namibia is about a deeper experience in this magnificent and memorable country with some of the fascinating minority groups in Namibia, including the Himba, Herero, and San (Bushmen). We will also photograph the amazing wildlife through the farmlands of the Frans Indongo Lodge and track for desert-adapted elephants. We will enjoy a traditional homestead experience of the Owambo culture and stay in a mobile camp to afford us the possibility of getting even deeper into the wilds of Namibia and nomadic Himba settlements.

As exotic as we find some of these tribal minority groups, we will photograph these people with cultural respect and human dignity. Jeffrey and Winslow will work to promote an environment of mutual respect when we are photographing these minority groups. The photographs we create will be stronger as a result of the sincere care that will accompany our cultural curiosity.

Tribes of Namibia Within The Frame is an incredible combination of portrait and environmental photography of indigenous cultures, wildlife photography of some of Africa’s most incredible wild animals, and landscape photography of locations that never fail to awe even the most travelled of photographers.

This photographic adventure is about the passionate discovery and photography of people, place, and culture, with emphasis given to going deep not wide, and pursuing that most elusive of photographic necessities — our vision. It is appropriate for photographers of all levels, and you will be free to photograph independently or always with the assistance of one of the leaders.

Windhoek (Day One)

We will arrive in Windhoek in time for a meet-and-greet dinner and an orientation to discuss our itinerary and events for our shared photographic adventure.

Windhoek, Namibia’s capital nestles among rolling hills, bounded by the Eros Mountains to 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 antique. In the capital’s main street, well-preserved German colonial buildings are a sharp contrast with modern architectural styles, while Herero women in their traditional Victorian dresses mingle with executives dressed in the latest fashions.

While in Windhoek, we will stay at the spectacular Hilton Windhoek. In its downtown location, the hotel emanates pure opulence with impressive facilities and Hilton’s hallmark hospitality. The rooftop Skybar offers incredible views over Windhoek.

Okahandja & Otijiwarongo (Day Two)

Directly north of Windhoek lies Okahandja, a town of great significance to the Herero people because it was once the seat of Chief Samuel Maharero. The earliest records of the town date back to 1844 when the first two missionaries arrived there. However, the year 1894 is regarded as the birth of the town as Okahandja became a military base in this year and a fort was built. Today the town is an important center for woodcarvers. We will spend our morning here, including a visit to the local market.

We will arrive at Frans Indongo Lodge in Otjiwarongo in time for lunch, followed by an exciting game drive.

Frans Indongo Lodge, where we will spend two nights, is decorated with Ovambo style decor and is surrounded by wooden palisades modeled on an Ovambo homestead. The lodge overlooks a vast and striking landscape savannah where game such as rhino, eland, kudu, roan, springbok, wildebeest, and much more roam.

Okakakarara (Day Three)

We will spend the entire day with the local Herero communities. The Herero are proud cattle farmers, who measure their wealth and status with cattle. The importance of cattle to the Herero can even be seen in the dresses Herero women wear. The traditional dress is derived from a mid-1800s Victorian woman’s dress and consists of an enormous crinoline worn over several petticoats and a horn-shaped hat (said to represent the horns of a cow).

Tsumkwe (Day Four)

Following breakfast we will head northeast towards Tsumkwe, in the region previously known as Bushmanland, stopping en route to view Hoba Meteorite, which is the largest known meteorite in the world before arriving at Nhoma Safari Camp.

If the Bushmen community is at the nearby //Nhoq’ma Village carrying out their giraffe or elephant healing dances, we will join them for the opportunity to experience this traditional method of curing the sick members of the community. These dances don’t occur every day, but with a bit of luck one will occur during our two nights at Nhoma Safari Camp.

The Nhoma Safari Camp is a semi-luxury tented camp within the communal land of the Ju/’hoan Bushmen or San. The camp is spread over a vegetated dune with views over the Nhoma omuramba (fossil river bed) and is a short walk from the Ju/’hoan village. Our spacious Meru-style walk-in tents each have private verandas.

Tsumkwe (Day Five)

We will spend the entire day with the San (Bushmen). They are the earliest known inhabitants of Namibia. Generally short in stature, they have light yellowish-brown skin. Their language is characterized by numerous clicking sounds. As hunters and gatherers, they roamed the vast plains of Southern Africa for thousands of years. In conjunction with experts at Nhoma Safari Camp, we will gain an in-depth insight into the lifestyle, beliefs, ancient skills, and traditions of the Bushmen.

Owamboland (Days Six & Seven)

Setting off after a hearty breakfast, we’ll head west into what was formerly referred to as Owamboland. The road takes us high through the pastoral farmlands and past small villages to reach Ongula Village Homestead Lodge, the first lodge in Namibia to offer an introduction to the traditional lifestyle of the Owambo people.

We will spend two days and nights learning more about the Owambo traditions while participating in local activities.

In the 16th century, the Ovambo established a number of kingdoms on the floodplains north of Etosha Pan where the majority of the Ovambo still live. They are primarily an agrarian people with eight tribes in Namibia, the largest being the Kwanyama and Ndonga. Another four tribes live across the border in Angola. The lands of the Ovambo in Namibia form an island of cultivation amid wide expanses of semi-arid shrubland. Nearly all the able-bodied men regularly earn money as migrant workers in other parts of Namibia while their families work the land in their absence. They are generally church-going people, converted to Christianity since 1870, when Finnish missionaries began converting them. The Ovambo survived the first period of colonialism largely untouched as German authority did not extend so far to the north. It was not until South Africa replaced Germany in 1915 that the Ovambo came fully under the rule of a foreign domination, and they were in the forefront of the struggle for independence from South Africa. Indepence was gained in 1990.

For these two nights we will stay at the Ongula Village Homestead Lodge. Accommodation at the Homestead consists of uniquely-decorated Rondavels (African-style round huts), each with private en-suite facilities.

Damaraland (Days Eight — Ten)

We are devoting three days to authentic encounters with the Himba, and we’re not expecting them to come to us. We’ll be setting a mobile camp so that we can go to the nomads. We will also take 4×4 excursions along the ephemeral river systems of the Damaraland to explore this remarkable region and to search for game, including the elusive desert adapted elephants.

The Himba, Tjimba, and other Herero people who inhabit Namibia’s remote north-western Kunene Region are loosely referred to as the Kaokoverlders. Basically Herero in terms of origin, language, and culture, the Himba are semi-nomadic pastoralists who tend to wander from one place to another. 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 Herero. They are tall, slender and statuesque people, characterized especially by their proud yet friendly nature.

Himba women are especially 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 tribesman’s hut day and night, to keep away insects and provide light and heating. A family may move from one home to another home several times a year to seek grazing land for their goats and cattle. Men, women, and children all wear body adornments made from iron and shell beads. A Himba woman spends as much as three hours a day on her appearance. First she bathes, then she anoints herself with her individually prepared ochre mixture which not only protects her skin from the harsh desert sun but also keeps insects away and prevents her 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.

Finding an African elephant in a desert? Well, yes and not only elephants 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 and the Skeleton Coast. Desert adapted elephant in Kaokoland and the Namib walk further for water and fodder than any other elephant in Africa. In our 4×4 excursions, we will try to find these elusive elephants with the help of expert guides.

Our Damaraland Mobile Camp is serviced and equipped to ensure that guests can stay in great comfort while allowing them to relax and revel in the feeling of space and solitude that makes Namibia so special. Each Meru tent has beds and its own bathroom. Good food and wine are an important part of the overall experience; so the camp meals will be of a suitably high standard with each chef having his own unique specialties. Guests are looked after by a caring, warm tribe of “safari magicians” who love what they do and whose main ambition is to ensure that each moment is as perfect as possible.

Omaruru (Day Eleven)

After breakfast, we will head south to the Erongo Mountains near Omaruru. En route we will visit the Twyfelfontein rock engravings, which have just recently become a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Twyfelfontein’s boulders and slabs of red sandstone hold some 2,500 prehistoric engravings that depict wildlife, animal, and abstract motifs. It is perhaps the largest and finest collection of petroglyphs in Africa. Stone tools and other artifacts found at Twyfelfontein suggest that hunter-gatherers occupied the site over a period of perhaps 7,000 years.

We will stay at the Erongo Wilderness Lodge & Conservancy, which is nestled amid granite formations on the outskirts of an ancient volcano that was last active 150 million years ago. These are the Erongo Mountains — a spectacular feature that rises imposingly out of the surrounding plains. The mountains form a rare confluence of ecosystems that give rise to remarkable biodiversity, including a vast array of plant, reptile, mammal, and bird species that are endemic to Namibia. Our accommodations are lovely, spacious en-suite tents, built on wooden platforms with private balconies overlooking the surrounding rocks and distant plains.

Windhoek (Day Twelve)

After breakfast, we will depart back to Windhoek, where upon our arrival we will transfer to the Windhoek International Airport for our flights home, saying goodbye to new friends and planning our next adventures.

Although this represents the photographic adventure’s planned itinerary, it is subject to change at the discretion of the adventure leaders.

Sossusvlei Extension

Sossusvlei (Day One)

From Windhoek’s International Hosea Kutako Airport we will fly to Sossusvlei Desert Lodge located in the NamibRand Nature Reserve.

The primary attraction of the NamibRand is its diversity of different desert landscapes, representing virtually all facets of the Namib Desert. Expansive sand and gravel plains and endless stretches of grass savannah alternate with majestic mountain ranges and vegetated dune belts of deep red sand. The variety of flora and fauna is as fascinating as the color nuances of the landscape, which change continuously throughout the day. The breathtaking NamibRand Nature Reserve began a conservation initiative in 1984 that now extends over 180,000 hectares of pristine Namib Desert, restoring land that was once used for Karukul sheep farming. The reserve shares a common border of nearly 100km with Namib-Naukluft National Park to the west, while the imposing Nubib mountain range forms a natural border to the east.

The luxurious Sossusvlei Desert Lodge, an &Beyond property and our home for three nights, is nestled deep in the heart of Namibia’s ancient Namib Desert. It is a secluded oasis that was designed to make the most of its breathtaking surroundings while providing a sophisticated and luxurious stay. The lodge consists of glass and stone curves, where walls and windows fold away completely to open out to the grassy plains, distant dunes, and mountain ranges. Each suite has a split-level bedroom and living room with fireplace. There is also a star-viewing skylight in each room and an observatory with a powerful telescope on the property.

Sossusvlei (Day Two)

This morning we will rise early for a magical excursion into the Namib Naukluft National Park to photograph the dunes while the light is soft and the shadows accentuate their towering shapes and curves. This area boasts some of the highest free-standing sand dunes in the world. Once we are satisfied that we have captured this magical location with our cameras we will enjoy a relaxing picnic breakfast in the shade of a camel thorn tree. On our way back to Sossusvlei Desert Lodge we will stop to photograph Sesriem Canyon.

Sossusvlei (Day Three)

It’s another early morning with a great reward. We will take an incredible hot air balloon ride (included in the extension) over the Namib Desert (weather permitting). We will take off as the sun rises over the red dunes and spend approximately an hour flying over the vast sand sea with breathtaking mountain scenery. This is sure to be a highlight of our adventure in Namibia.

After landing we will sit down to a scrumptious “Out of Africa” champagne continental breakfast in what seems to be the middle of nowhere, surrounded by endless vistas and unspoiled beauty. This afternoon can be spent relaxing at the Lodge, exploring the surrounding area, or participating in any of the activities offered by the Lodge — like nature drives, quad bike excursions, and star gazing once the sun has set.

Sossusvlei (Day Four)

After a final breakfast in Namibia, we will transfer to the local airstrip and fly back to Windhoek International Airport in time to check in for our onward flights home.

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