Earlier last month we began our first Namibia Exploration to test out the Explorations itinerary for the 2016 season. This included a team of three Explorations guides, Franco, Valentinus and Jeremia, and photographer Dana Allen. The remarkable images below by Dana showcase just a small taste of what you can look forward to in this diverse country. We did not stick to a specific Explorations itinerary but rather explored many of the different routes, places and attractions that will form part of your journey.
Swakopmund – we decided to take a stroll around this picturesque town known for its beautiful colonial German architecture. One of our first stops was at a coffee shop where they happily served excellent beer too. We walked around town and stopped at the lighthouse before indulging in a spot of shopping with the assistance of Valentinus. We strolled to the jetty afterwards, a striking landmark which affords photographers some truly amazing shots.
Walvis Bay – for a full day of activities, meeting up with two new guests, Allister and Morgan. We enjoyed a Catamaran Cruise where we had an amazing interaction with a seal which came abroad.
After an entire morning of seals, a pelican on the boat too, Heaviside’s dolphins and very good food.
A morning spent on the 4x4 Sandwich Harbour Tour climbing the dunes and enjoying a drinks stop.
One of the highlights of the trip was seeing a palmetto gecko.
Our first stop the next morning was at the Zeila Shipwreck between Swakopmund and Hentiesbay where Franco explained the fascinating history of the wreck.
The legendary Skeleton Coast and the ghostly remains of a mining operation near Toscanini.
Continuing along the famed Skeleton Coast we turned off at the Cape Cross. Here we stopped to see the fascinating lichen plains at Wlotskasbaken. Valentinus explained by demonstrating with water how lichen becomes brighter once wet.
We continued towards the Skeleton Coast Gate via the Ugab Gate and somewhere in the middle of nowhere on the beach we stopped to have lunch.
Initially the plan was to go straight to Terrace Bay and for about 40 km it was quiet in the vehicle. Only Franco and Dana were wide awake when suddenly Dana shouted LIONS! The rest of our afternoon was spoiled by desert-adapted lions at the Uniab Springs!
It was amazing to see these big cats in the area. The Uniab Springs is not very far from the ocean and we could see the sea from the hammock dunes on which the lions rested. There were four lions, although only one was visible as the other three had disappeared into the dunes. We sat patiently and waited for them to appear. They had obviously come out of the desert and had their eyes on a herd of oryx close to the springs.
After a while lion researcher Dr Phillip Stander arrived. We were very happy to see him and he was very happy to see this pride, as he had been searching for them for days. He reckons we were extremely lucky to have seen them! They had arrived at Uniab Springs around midday and we saw them around 16:00; the next morning they left the area again, so I agree we were very lucky. We then enjoyed the afternoon watching the lions. They made an attempt to hunt the oryx, but with no luck in the end.
Oupa Teek was our Damaraland Guide and we left the camp around mid-afternoon, first to look for elephant; we saw their tracks in the riverbed, but Oupa Teek also saw lion tracks. We then drove in the direction of Peters Pool to find the lions. We managed to see three close to a spring. The lions walked up to a sand bank. Dana took some great shots of them, especially with the dust in the background.
An elephant herd that we saw on the same day. There were about 18 of them with two small babies in the group. Being among the elephants was just incredible.
An exceptionally lucky find while at Damaraland Camp.
Damaraland Camp - We were determined to photograph a scorpion with the UV light, and all walked around camp that evening trying to find one, which was not easy at all. We gave up after a while and went to the boma do some stargazing.
Just as we returned from the boma Franco and Valentinus found a small scorpion. Obviously this little guy was not the perfect candidate for Dana’s pictures, but we gave it a try. Valentinus pointed the UV light on the scorpion and Dana managed to take a few pictures.
On our last afternoon together we visited the impressive sandstone formations after a lunch at Doro Nawas.
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Photographs by Dana Allen
Copy provided by the Explorations Namibia Team.