Jim has designed an exciting itinerary that offers the best wildlife opportunities in Africa as well as the most dynamic landscapes. The first part of the photo tour is incredible Namibia. This southwest African country has the largest sand dunes in the world . . . and they are orange! This affords you some of the most amazing landscapes you've ever taken. There are 'S' curves everywhere, and in addition you'll be able to photograph 500 year old dead trees with dunes as a backdrop. It's visual overload. We also will visit Luderitz, the old mining town with abandoned beach houses reclaimed by the shifting sands of the desert. In addition we have a wonderful boat trip in Walvis Bay where we will have close encounters -- and I mean really close -- with African white pelicans and fur seals.
The second part of the safari is the best game park in South Africa. The private reserves in or adjacent to Kruger National Park have tremendous concentrations of animals, and with no restrictions as to where the vehicles can go. Last year my photo tour group photographed seven different leopards! You can get up close and personal with the big cats, elephants, rhinos, giraffes, and more. You will be amazed at remarkable photo opportunities you’ll have. We can also do night drives, and there is nothing like seeing wild African animals illuminated against the night with a spot light. It's so dramatic and so exciting it will give you goose bumps!
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DAY 1, Wed. April 25. Depart North America or Europe for Windhoek, Namibia and arrive on the following day. You will have to first arrive in Johannesburg and then connect to the flight for Windhoek. Depending on your arrival time in Johannesburg, you may have to overnight at an airport hotel before you fly to Namibia the next morning.
DAY 2, Thur. April 26 You arrive in Windhoek, Namibia. Make sure you leave home in time to arrive in Windhoek on this day. Transfer to the hotel to rest from the long trans-oceanic flight. Overnight Hilton Hotel. (D, B)
DAY 3, Fri. April 27 You will be transferred this morning to Eros Airport for the charter flight to Luderitz. Upon arrival transfer to the Nest Hotel. When the sun becomes low enough in the western sky we have a photo shoot at the famous ghost town, Kolmanskop, at the edge of the Namib Desert where desertification is slowly burying the once affluent homes. The way the low angled sunlight enters the weathered buildings is magical. This is a great opportunity to use HDR. Overnight Nest Hotel. (B, L, D)
DAY 4, Sat. April 28. We get up early for another wonderful photo session in Kolmanskop, but this time the sun is coming from the east. We then return to the hotel for breakfast followed by a transfer to the airport for another charter flight, this time to Sesriem. We drive to our hotel for the next three nights in the heart of the greatest sand dunes on earth -- Sossusvlei. Our first sunset here will be spent photographing mind-blowing landscapes in stunning light. Overnight Sossus Dune Lodge. (B, L, D)
DAY 5, Sun & Mon. April 29-30. For the next two days we will explore the awesome sand dunes as well as Deadvlei -- the area of the dead trees -- in sunrise and sunset light. You will use long lenses as well as wide angles to capture this spectacular scenery. In addition to the stunning landscapes, you will also want to photograph oryx on the dunes as well as a number of bird species such as pied crows, cape sparrows, ostriches, and lilac breasted rollers. Overnight Sossus Dune Lodge. (B, L, D)
DAY 6, Tue. May 1. This morning we drive about 4 1/2 hours to Walvis Bay and check into the Pelican Bay Hotel about lunch time. We relax, have lunch, and then when the light gets good we'll photograph around the lagoon to capture flocks of flamingos, pelicans, and other water birds. You also have the option of doing a flight over the dunes if weather permits. Dinner will be a la carte at "The Raft" restaurant opposite of the hotel. Overnight Pelican Bay Hotel (B, L, D)
DAY 7, Wed. May 2. Just before 6am we walk down to the dock and board a boat for a cruise around Walvis Bay. What is so incredible about the time we spend on the water is that African white pelicans come so close that you can use a 14mm lens to fill the frame with them! Some will land right at your feet, hoping for a free fish. In addition, fur seals climb aboard and also want a hand out, and sometimes they will actually hug your leg. It's a remarkable experience. We return to the dock at 9am and then have breakfast. In the afternoon we fly to Johannesburg and overnight. (B, L, D).
DAY 8, Thur. May 3. We will be met and transferred to domestic departures for a flight to Skukuza where we will then we driven to our bush lodge at Sabi Sabi. Overnight Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge - suites (B, L, D)
DAYS 9 - 13, Fri. - Tue. May 4 - 8. For these five days you will be able to get close to the most exciting animals on the planet. You will see many types of environments from stands of trees to grassland to riverine, and these natural South African habitats add to the artistry of the images you'll capture. We leave every morning before sunrise to take advantage of the magical light of a low angled sun, and we return in late morning. In the afternoon, after tea time, we set out again when the sun beautifully illuminates the land. Southern Africa has far fewer tourists than the East African destinations of Kenya and Tanzania, and you won't find the same kind of competition here in positioning the vehicle for optimum shooting. This is truly wildlife photography at its best. Overnight Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge - suites (B, L, D)
DAY 14, Wed. May 9. We enjoy a final game in the early morning followed by breakfast. Then it's time to pack up for your return flight to Johannesburg and to connect to your homeward flight, knowing we've had the most incredible of all wildlife and nature experiences.
Tour cost: $10,750 Includes:
> All lodging fully inclusive (all meals included) based on double occupancy
> All game drives
> Charter flight from Windhoek to Luderitz
> Charter flight from Luderitz to Sesriem
> Ground transfer from Sossusvlei to Walvis Bay
> Boat cruise on Walvis Bay
> Flight from Walvis Bay to Johannesburg
> Air round trip from Johannesburg to Skukuzai (Sabi Sabi) and return
> All transfers to and from the airports mentioned in the itinerary
> Teas, coffees, sundowner drinks on afternoon game drives
> Conservation fee, 14% VAT, 1% Tourism Levy
> Services of local drivers and guides
> Photo instruction; critiques on demand
Not included: International airfare from your home to Namibia and from Johannesburg back home, items of a personal nature, drinks at meals other than tea and coffee, visa fees if applicable, airport taxes, alcoholic beverages, tips to local guide/drivers and porterage.
Single supplement: $1850.
PLEASE NOTE: As the tour prices have gone up in Africa (due to very high government taxes as well as supply and demand), the demands of some of the companies that own the lodges have changed. The lodges we will be using for this trip require a 20% non-refundable deposit. Therefore, I ask for a $2000 deposit per person for this photo tour when you sign up for it, and it is non-refundable. To protect your deposit money as well as the balance of the tour cost when you make that payment, you should definitely plan on buying trip insurance. If for some reason you can't come on the tour, your money will be refunded to you by the insurance company.