Namibia is a particularly photogenic country with vast deserts, lush bushveld, a dramatic coastline, unique flora, abundant fauna and colourful citizens. For the professional, as well as the point-and-shoot amateur photographer, Namibia provides the kind of subject matter that almost always produces rewarding results.
The Namib Desert offers opportunities to photograph some of the world’s oldest and highest sand dunes, while the Skeleton Coast is littered with shipwrecks that put a story in every image, as well as opportunities to capture thrilling action shots revolving around hair-raising activities. Deadvlei is dazzlingly spectacular, Etosha National Park positively writhes with life, and the scenic Fish River Canyon is the deepest canyon in Africa.
When planning your trip remember that in Namibia travelling by car is the way to go, particularly if you intend to take your time over each shot. Take your photography needs into consideration if you are hiring a vehicle for your trip – large automatic windows are a win and game drives in open vehicles allow for unhindered close-up shots.
Some die-hard enthusiasts prefer to pack a tent and wander wherever the wind blows, while others like to have a professional safari company arrange everything for them – there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to photographing Namibia.
What to bring
Make sure you pack some long lenses for wildlife shots as well as your landscape photography gear for capturing your surroundings effectively. Pack loads of memory cards – you will be amazed at the number of things you will want to take pictures of and running out of space will seriously put a spoke in the works.
Wherever you travel in this large country you are bound to encounter cloudless skies, providing a great backdrop to that magical hour when the bright glare of daylight is tempered by the rising and setting of the sun.
Etosha Wildlife Photography Tips
Landscapes are all very well, but most photographers travel to Africa to capture the magnificent wildlife, and there are a few things you should bear in mind while attempting to get that once in a lifetime image, particularly on a visit to Etosha National Park –
- The cool dry winter months from July to August are the best time for game viewing in Namibia.
- Sunrise and sunset are the premium times for wildlife shots. Apart from the superior light, wild creatures are also at their most active when it is cooler.
- You will meet with the most success at places where a variety of species congregate – the waterhole. Find a source of water, make yourself comfortable, and hunker down for a long wait. Patience is the single most important factor in wildlife photography.
- Try to stay in accommodation close to your chosen watering hole, as this will enable you to get there as quickly as possible after first light, and allow you to linger longer once the sun starts setting. Lion, leopard and rhino are most frequently spotted first thing in the morning, while large herds of game tend to gather around the waterhole in the dying hours of the day.
- Most of the camps within Etosha National Park have floodlit waterholes on site, so pack your night-time equipment for a taste of the unforgettable African nightlife.
- Don’t overlook the small stuff – birds and other small creatures can alert you to the presence of bigger things and often make worthy subjects themselves.
A minimum of 7 to 10 days is recommended for a successful photographic expedition to Namibia, but no matter how long you stay, the experts agree that there is no better way to see Namibia, than through the eye of the lens.