Namibia: Tips for a Photography Road Trip Across Southern Africa

Preparation is key when it comes to scheduling a excursion to Namibia — a accurate land of extremes that can only be fairly described employing hyperbole. As stunning as Namibia is, to get the most out of your excursion, you need to be well prepared and well arranged. Below are my ideas for bringing again the greatest wildlife and landscape pictures from a trip across Southern Africa. 

Push, Really don’t Fly

Most flights into Namibia land in Windhoek, the cash. There are a handful of direct flights from Europe, or you can fly by means of Johannesburg. By picking out to fly through Johannesburg, you can hire a car in South Africa and generate to Namibia. It’s a extended journey — a bare minimum of two entire days — but you’ll get the chance to see the wonders of southern Namibia, which is an area that does not make many itineraries.

Namibia is an encounter enhanced by self-generate. If you fly from one particular location to the upcoming, you are going to overlook the spirit and scope of the land. Namibia is just one of the most sparsely populated countries in the planet, and the distances are extensive. To make the most of your time, a thorough itinerary is vital to deciding how very long you are likely to commit on the road.

If you are staying in any of the off-the-overwhelmed-keep track of lodges together the Hoanib Valley or Skeleton Coast, a 4×4 is critical. You will have to navigate riverbeds, salt streets, and sand streets, some quite deep. Viewing the shipwrecks on the Skeleton Coastline demands driving on deserted seashores. There, you are going to will need a car with large clearance and strong tires. Even if you’re not heading into distant places, a 4×4 is inspired the storms we drove through in Etosha, the country’s primary countrywide park, would have pushed a sedan or saloon automobile to its pretty boundaries.

No person wants to get trapped in the muck. You are unable to really get out for a push in spots like this.

If you’re going to Sossusvlei, significantly Lifeless Vlei, for sunrise, you are going to require to generate on your own or retain the services of a guidebook. The tour buses really don’t leave the primary car park right up until immediately after dawn. The path outside of the principal car park to get to Useless Vlei is best described as a sandbox, not a street, so make absolutely sure you’re at ease driving a 4×4 and fully grasp how to generate in sand. If you deflate your tires a very little, you are going to get far better grip, and it is considerably less possible you’ll dig your self down to the axles. When you’ve deflated your tires for the sand, make positive you have a pump to inflate your tires yet again for when you’re heading again out on the tarmac.

Ultimately, don’t depend on finding up a map in Namibia or on accessing the world wide web when you are on the street. The country is not as well signposted as you may think, and mobile company is spotty at greatest. A ton of the shipwrecks along the Skeleton Coast are quite tricky to uncover. Even on the web maps will not point you to certain wrecks. So, carry a map that you’ve marked up or choose screenshots of on-line maps demonstrating confirmed satellite views of the ships you are searching for.

Camera Devices


Like a great deal of Southern Africa, Namibia’s wildlife viewing is primarily based close to waterholes. In Etosha, a lot of waterholes are positioned much from the path, and considering the fact that you just cannot drive off the track, at least a 300mm lens is crucial to seize wildlife portraits. If you have the budget, consider bringing an extender as well. I took a Canon 300mm or 400mm f/2.8L along with a 1.4x III extender. Combining this with the megapixel count of the new Canon mirrorless perfectly allow you crop in restricted for portraits of distant animals, this kind of as this fatigued cheetah.

If you are bringing a 300mm or for a longer period lens, don’t try out to handhold your shots. Brace oneself on one thing reliable — a bean bag will assist you to stability large lenses on your vehicle’s window or door body.

Rain Handles

Be guaranteed to provide rain handles to guard your cameras from the rain and from the sand.

All those fantastic particles aren’t close friends to the electronics in your gear. Rain covers will also assistance if you stop up in a storm, which is probably through the wet season. See my critiques of rain addresses, in this article and here.


A single of Africa’s most significant reserves, the NamibRand Character Reserve, lies in a designated darkish sky protect. Problems in this article need a tripod and intervalometer to get constant and dynamic time-lapse shots. Newer cameras, once more, have constructed-in intervalometers, which make packing considerably much easier.


Examine up on the regulations if you’re going to provide a drone. All drones should be registered with the Namibian Civil Aviation Authority and selected hotspots, these as Lifeless Vlei, have really restrictive principles. I’d adore to have experienced a bird’s-eye look at of the dunes and useless camel thorn trees, but you will need to enjoy these locations with no breaking the principles. This shot was taken in excess of the Salt Functions in Walvis Bay, with authorization of the landowner. 


Look at bringing a seem recorder if you have area in your bag. The sounds of the large seal colony and crashing waves at Cape Cross or the singing dunes at Sossusvlei are items you are heading to want to recall. If you are taking pictures online video, it’s definitely truly worth obtaining some thoroughly recorded audio to overlay your photos. Namibia is notoriously windy, so splurge on a DeadCat windshield this will make all the big difference by deadening the sound of the blow.

Digital camera Configurations

Wildlife is always much more quickly than it seems. Even gradual-plodding elephants protect significantly far more floor than you’d expect, never thoughts a quick-walking cheetah.

Double examine your shutter pace you should really be shooting transferring animals at rapidly speeds, around 1/1,600th of a next. Something slower is going to significantly lessen your keeper amount. Similarly, look at halting down. I comprehend that soft bokeh is all the rage, but at a shallow depth of industry like f/2.8, a cat’s eyes will drift in and out of target as they breathe. Contemplate stopping down to assure tack concentration. If you are ready, get closer to eye degree as a result of a window as an alternative of a pop-up roof. This will support the track record blur out even if your aperture is stopped down a small. 

Preparing and Itineraries

I know that we all test to cram as a great deal in as feasible, but take into consideration investing far more than just one working day at each locale, as this will give you time to scout out your very best shots. For case in point, I’d counsel getting two permits for Kolmanskop, the ghost town that is now remaining taken about by the dunes. Wandering close to at dawn or sunset will be tricky if you haven’t scouted in daylight and so really do not know wherever you are going.

Similarly, if you have the option, test to take a look at these unbelievable areas at distinctive periods of the day. Sossusvlei, for instance, deserves a visit in the early early morning and the late afternoon. The turn of a handful of several hours makes it sense like a absolutely different location.

What Images to Look For

Namibia is dwelling to lots of uniquely adapted desert animals, these types of as desert tailored elephant, lion, and giraffe.

Test to seize the animals in their surroundings to differentiate your pictures from those people taken in other places on the continent.

As famous, and not like east Africa, Namibia’s wildlife viewing is centered close to waterholes. If you really do not instantly see some thing, resist the urge to drive from gap to gap, be client. From my standpoint, this is a single of the most vital skills related to wildlife images. The animals have to have to drink, and sooner or later, they will come to the holes for water. Driving in circles signifies you will commit time on the trails when you could be setting up in wait around for the animals, and you could miss your option. If you can, communicate to a neighborhood qualified about which holes are looking at the most motion in the course of your stop by. It’s also not a poor notion to consider choosing a wildlife tutorial or spotter to make confident you’re at the suitable locations.

Even though driving, contemplate stopping to get images of indicators and roadside points of interest. These b-roll photos will support to explain to the story of your trip as a great deal as a prized lion or elephant shot.

Modifying Midday Sunlight

When you get to the enhancing stage, try out a black and white edit to accentuate textures. It can be normally terrific to shoot in the hrs all-around sunrise and sunset, but you might be nonetheless very likely to be out midday. Certain, the landscape and wildlife are vibrant, but you could be amazed at what the sun’s sturdy distinction can illuminate in black and white.

A Few Notes on Namibia’s Fragility

Namibia’s most stark and lovely locations are fragile, so look at your impression.

  • Remain on the roadways or accredited tracks to avoid destroying lichen that could be hundreds of decades aged.
  • The trees at Lifeless Vlei are not props. Never touch or lean on them IG is comprehensive of fools performing this. At 600+ years old, they will split.  
  • Really do not graffiti or go away marks in the ghost cities: these areas aren’t playgrounds. Respect the surroundings as it is, without the need of shoveling or throwing sand about to get “the shot.” Depart these fragile sites as you observed them. 
  • Ultimately, be conscious of wherever you cease to get out. Even the desert has lions and other harmful wildlife.

All photographs offered by permit us go photo.