Namibia is a unique place in African continent. One of few countries to be colonized by Germany, the cities still have strong German ties. It is the country known best for its Namib National Park, where they have the best deserts in Africa not named Sahara. So naturally, that was where I was headed.
Very early in the morning I made my way to Dune 45. This was a popular spot for sunrise. Everybody climbed to the top of that sand dune to see a dawn of the day. But I didn’t go up. I felt Dune 45 was what I wanted to shoot, not what I wanted to climb. I backed away from it to photograph people climbing it, and it became one of my favorite shots. As sun kept on rising, there were some beautiful lights hitting these dunes, also resulting in some great imagery. It was an enchanting morning.
After that I visited Deadvlei, a famed desert with burnt out trees. I’ve seen a very memorable photograph from National Geographic, of this area, and I really wanted to challenge myself. However myself being in a trucking tour group didn’t allow me enough time to be there, nor did I have a chance to be at the premise in the early morning. So I’m not 100% satisfied with the photographs there. One day I wish to return on my own and stay a few days there, to get some unique images of the desert that I know I can.
Swakopmund was an interesting city, as its downtown has a strong German influence, along with Windhoek, the capital. Checking out the city life was also a fun experience. Although I didn’t have enough time there as I was eager to go back to the wild. After all, wildlife was what I was here for.
The highlight of my time in Namibia was the Etosha National Park. Contrary to the country being more known for its deserts than wildlife, I found this national park to the one of the best parks in all of Africa, if not best. Ever since then I’ve been to the likes of Serengeti and this place still stands as something special.
One thing I really liked was one of the campsites having a waterhole just outside. At night times there were chairs and little bit of light illuminating the scene. You could grab a beer and sit by, enjoy some cool breeze and just watch a bunch of animals come and go, drinking waters and interacting with each other. It was an unforgettable night. If you visit Namibia you’ve got to go there. It will be worth it, I guarantee.
Once my time was up in Namibia, I crossed over to Botswana. Botswana is known to be more of a rich men’s Africa. I’ve heard you can see some fantastic wildlife with a lot of money, at some remote huts and hotels only helicopters can reach. Well, I am not a rich man so I’ve went into Okavango Delta as the most of us commoners do, on a canoe. The swamp area was full of unearthly landscapes, and I’ve loved watching the local guides navigating the ways on canoes with their long wooden sticks. This place still stands to be where I’ve seen the most beautiful sunset in my life. I’ve been to 63 countries so far so you know sunset here is magical. I’m just glad I could’ve photographed it.
Being in Okavango Delta was so much fun, but I didn’t see much of wildlife. I thought I wasn’t getting much luck in Botswana but I was underestimating the Chobe River. This place was full of wildlife from crocodiles to hippos to elephants. I was only there for a few hours and we saw more wildlife in that time span than in days we’ve spent in other wildlife reserves. The elephants there was especially entertaining. I loved their big family mentality and how they went about spending a day together. Reminded me a lot of human families.
So.. Namibia was a full of surprises. Botswana, I didn’t even know much about the country and I came to love it. But I was only getting warmed up. Next up, part. 3, where I’ll make my way to Zambia, to see the great Victoria Fall. To be continued!