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Namibia Landscapes and Wildlife Photo Tour

Namibia Landscapes and Wildlife: Termite Panic Attracts an Aardwolf – and Another!

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Ben’s News from the Namibia Landscapes and Wildlife Safari: Termite Panic Attracts an Aardwolf – and Another!

It was still freezing when we set out this morning. The -6*C sent a chill throughout the area and we thought for a while that we would not see much.
Well, what we saw was simply amazing …
First of all, we found the female leopard from two days back. She was out hunting, moving relentlessly through the bush in search of suitable prey. We followed as she went through bushes, walked purposefully down the road next to us, alert at all times for any sounds or sights that could indicate an animal.
Blue Eyed Leopard
When she found a signpost right next to the road, she jumped up to peruse the area thoroughly in all directions. She was at eye level with us as she turned in all directions to examine the terrain in detail.
After a good look around, she jumped back onto the ground and continued her hunt. We remained with her until she disappeared into a thick Mopane thicket.
When we left for our afternoon game drive we quickly noticed that there was something going on with the termites in this region. There seemed to be some type of termite emergency, but we could not determine the cause. But there were termites scurrying about simply everywhere, and we watched as many Black-backed Jackals in different places came out to take advantage of the feast, keeping our cameras ultra busy as the jackals enjoyed the bounty swarming on the ground.
Aardwolf Howling
The termite emergency also brought out other animals … notably an Aardwolf that we found right next to the road. He was so intent on feeding that he totally ignored us as we arrived and had plenty of time to compose some excellent photographs.
The aardwolf gradually wandered further from the road as he followed the termites, but by then we had filled our memory cards with some fabulous shots.
Then unbelievably we found a second aardwolf. This one was a little more aware of us and therefore quite skittish, but we still had time for a decent number of images before he moved away, a little more hastily than the earlier one.
We returned to the Camp really delighted with our sightings of the day … and for the majority in our group, this was the first ever decent sighting of a an aardwolf, and certainly the first ever opportunity to photograph them in the wild.
Tomorrow we plan to leave early to see if the termites are still panicking …
Join us on one of our exciting Safaris to spectacular destinations. For more info click this link to visit our web page – http://goo.gl/lSJvzK

Namibia Landscapes and Wildlife: Animals Hunker Down in the Cold

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Ben’s News from the Namibia Landscapes and Wildlife Safari: Animals Hunker Down in the Cold

The temperatures plummeted overnight and we woke up to a freezing -6*C this morning. Brrrrrrr!
And the animals felt it, too. They hunkered down and very few were out, even when the sun rose.
We saw a number of different Black Rhino as we travelled from waterhole to waterhole, hoping that animals would feel thirsty enough for a drink, but other than a few buck now and again, there was not much.
A highlight for the day came when we found a White Rhino – quite a rarity here, where there are far more Black Rhino! So, seeing both species in one day was pretty special.
7 Etosha Juan 030-30
Like the animals we also decided to hunker down, and returned to Lodge promptly at sunset.
Here’s hoping for some warmer weather tomorrow …

Join us on one of our exciting Safaris to spectacular destinations. For more info click this link to visit our web page – http://goo.gl/lSJvzK

Namibia Landscapes and Wildlife: The Hunting Leopard From Last Year Hunts Again

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Wim’s News from the Namibia Landscapes and Wildlife Safari: The Hunting Leopard From Last Year Hunts Again …

We left Swakopmund right after breakfast and enjoyed a pleasant drive to Etosha National Park.

After entering at Anderson Gate we headed towards Halali. On the way we topped to photograph Black Rhino and different herds of elephants.

Then, unbelievably, just before we reached Halali, I received a fabulous surprise. The leopard that I had photographed as she hunted successfully next to my vehicle surprised us again by suddenly appearing – again, right next to our vehicles.

image

She slunk around next to, and between the vehicles, and then climbed a large tree not three meters from us, from where she carefully scoped the area. We repositioned our vehicles to capture the best possible angles – and waited for her to jump down from the tree.

That really was a fabulous sighting for our first hours in Etosha, but it wasn’t over yet.

There is a water hole at Halali, and after we checked in we visited the waterhole. A herd of elephants arrived for their evening drink and shortly after they left a couple of hyenas pitched up.

We remained at the water hole until dinner time, and before we start in the morning we will take a quick peek at the water hole first …

Join us on one of our exciting Safaris to spectacular destinations. For more info click this link to visit our web page – http://goo.gl/lSJvzK

Namibia Landscapes and Wildlife: Mobbed by Pelicans

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Wim reports from the Namibia Landscapes and Wildlife Safari: Mobbed by Pelicans

We set out before dawn for our Bay Cruise. We were the first boat out and when the sun came up over the bay, the entire world transformed into a magical vista of rippling, changing colors.
Flocks of Pelicans spotted us in the first light, and hoping that we were a fishing vessel, they descended on us en masse.
8 Pelican and Wim
Even when we went at full speed, they kept up with us effortlessly, watching and hoping for a handout. They became more and more insistent, and started to land not only on the boat, but actually on our shoulders! It was fabulous!
8 pelican and someone
8 Wim and Pelican
But that was not all … different pods of Dolphins came up to investigate us as well, leaping gracefully around us, and enjoying their sports in our wake.
Then a Humpback Whale arrived and breached close by.
I cannot describe how marvelous every moment was.
We headed a little further out to where large waves were breaking across an invisible reef. Here seals surfed, jumped, and turned again to catch the next wave. The exhilaration was catching, and one almost felt like joining their sports!
Oh, there was just so much at every moment … I haven’t even mentioned the cormorants, gulls, and other birds that were everywhere.
When we returned to the harbour we decided to to visit the salt pans to photograph the flamingoes there, but it was a little windy and not great for photography.
So instead we found a sheltered spot right at the top of the beach, and overlooking the bay and the harbour. There we enjoyed a champagne celebration with dinner for Ben Cranke’s birthday – and a wedding anniversary for a guest couple. It was marvelous.
We reared to the hotel well after dark, extremely satisfied with another amazing day and looking forward to our next adventure – tomorrow …

Join us on one of our exciting Safaris to spectacular destinations. For more info click this link to visit our web page – http://goo.gl/lSJvzK

Namibia Landscapes and Wildlife: Fitzgeoghegan Wildlife

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Wim reports from the Namibia Landscapes and Wildlife Safari: Fitzgeoghegan Wildlife
What a fantastic destination this morning – we had our desert trip, and started in the amazing Fitzgeoghegan – a stark area of the desert sculpted billions of years ago, and home to an incredible diversity of life.
Among these we saw a Namibia Day Gecko that blended so perfectly with the rocks and sand that if it had not moved we may have missed it altogether.
Then a Desert Chameleon kept us intrigued for ages. It had found a cache of worms, and we photographed about ten ‘catches’ or maybe ‘snatches’ as the chameleon’s tongue unrolled with lightening speed to grab yet another worm. Then it swiveled its eyes around independently, checking the area carefully before snaring another worm. These chameleons fade as the day progresses to reflect the rays of the sun, and they turn a dark hue when stressed or angry.
Next we found one of the iconic snakes in the area – a sidewinder, with only the eyes visible above the sand.
8 SidewinderJuan Namibia 031-184
Their eyes are situated on top of their heads so that they can look around when sheltering in the sand from the heat of the sun. We captured some great images, and even more when the little adder (they are one of the smallest of the adders) came out and began its unique sidewinding movement across the sand dune.
When we encountered a group of Gray’s Larks and Herero Chats, our guide showed us that holding out a few worms in the hand would bring these birds to feed from your hand. What was more, the birds hovered for a few seconds just above our hands before grabbing the worms. We used wide-angle lenses for the closeup shots of these unafraid, almost tame birds.
Because we had enjoyed such an amazing morning we actually returned to the hotel later than planned, where we grabbed a quick lunch before setting out again.
This time we drove along the beach, and what fun that was! A few vehicles got stuck a few times. That really was great sport! Finally we arrived at our destination for the afternoon, a point where seals seemed to cover every surface as they basked in the sun on the rocks and sand. Those that weren’t lying in the sun enjoyed the surf, riding the waves again and again. Again our cameras were ultra busy.
8 Seal Jump Namibia Juan 009-169
Back in Swakopmund, we are heading to the famed ‘Brauhaus’ for our dinner, and tomorrow we would like to be on the beach early again to catch the sunrise …

Join us on one of our exciting Safaris to spectacular destinations. For more info click this link to visit our web page – http://goo.gl/lSJvzK

Namibia Landscapes and Wildlife: We Retrieve our Cameras

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Wim reports from the Namibia Landscapes and Wildlife Safari: We Retrieve our Cameras

We were up this morning at 04:00 to make sure that we reached Dead Vlei and our cameras before anyone arrived. We were there at least an hour and a half before sunrise, and at that time of morning, we had the whole area to ourselves. Bliss!
94 Dunes Juan 040-202
We had timed our star-trail photography to coincide with the Southern Hemisphere Winter Solstice, and as we approached our cameras, we were very keen and somewhat anxious to see the results … and as we looked, each of us could barely suppress a whoop!!! The images are just outstanding.
So we spent the last few hours at Dead Vlei in high sprits, photographing the animals and dunes for the final time …
94 Dunes Juan-044-206
Then we headed back to the Lodge for breakfast before we departed for Swakopmund.
Now, after a great drive across the country, we are ready to have dinner at the waterfront pub, and tomorrow we plan to start photographing the totally different coastal wildlife and vistas …
Join us on one of our exciting Safaris to spectacular destinations. For more info click this link to visit our web page – http://goo.gl/lSJvzK

Namibia Landscapes and Wildlife: Animals and Dunes

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Wim reports from the Namibia Landscapes and Wildlife Safari:

Our specific aim for this morning was to try and find Gemsbok to photograph against the dunes, and we were in luck. The light was perfect, numerous  Gemsbok were close by, and positioned beautifully for us with the the dunes as a backdrop. The morning seemed to flash by as we singled out pairs, groups, or singles to photograph. The choices were endless.
97 Dunes and Oryx Ben-1
This afternoon we thought we would go a bit further afield to maybe find a Springbok or two.
97 Springbok Juan 86-82
Our luck was in again and in addition to the Springbok we found more photogenic Gemsbok and quite a few Ostriches. Photographing wildlife in this setting is truly special.
97 3 Oryx Ben-1
This evening we popped over to Dead Vlei again. No … not to photograph this time – well, sort of! We set up our cameras there and have left them overnight with automatic timers to get some really good star trails.
97 Night at Dead Vlei Ben 2-1
So, naturally, our first stop in the morning will be to retrieve our camera gear …
Join us on one of our exciting Safaris to spectacular destinations. For more info click this link to visit our web page – http://goo.gl/lSJvzK

Namibia Landscapes and Wildlife: A Rare Privilege

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Wim reports from the Namibia Landscapes and Wildlife Safari: A Rare Privilege

Sometimes one has an item on ones bucket list that you think may just have to be a dream forever – and sometimes, rarely, that dream is realized.
98 on the Road-1
This happened on this trip … but let’s start with the magnificent morning. We were ready for the first glimpse of the sun, coloring the world with ever changing colors, starting with the softest, almost ethereal hues and developing into vibrant colors … changing the landscape with each passing moment.
The red dunes with the macabre trees changed and evolved as the sun crept higher into the sky.
We found a group of Ruppell’s Korhaan, and spent the next half hour photographing them.
Then for our ‘dream come true’ …
We crossed our fingers as we sought permission from the authorities to enter Dead Vlei in the late afternoon and to remain for a few hours after dark – and to our delight, we received the stamp of approval. Wow! This was something I never really thought would actually be possible, and it was granted!!!
You can imagine our delight as we set out in the late afternoon – to photograph the dunes in the setting sun.
And then, as the sun set, and we were left there completely alone, it truly felt as though we were alone in the planet.
The next few hours were simply magical. The stars seemed brighter than ever, with the crescent moon a shimmering sliver in the sky The massive dunes were huge shadows as they loomed around us, and eerie shadows appeared and disappeared everywhere. It truly was other worldly!
98 Dead Vlei post Sunset-1
Our cameras pointed in every direction, photographing the Milky Way, star trails, ghostly silhouettes – and at all times we were acutely aware of the silence and peace all around.
98 Night Scene Dead Vlei
Finally we packed up at 22:00, and with a feeling that all was right with with the world, and very aware of the privilege that we had been able to experience, we turned towards the Lodge.
And this time, to complete our stupendous day, we encountered an aardwolf. He was not at all concerned about our presence – he possibly doesn’t meet too many humans around the area at night.
Tomorrow we would like to explore a different area around here …
Join us on one of our exciting Safaris to spectacular destinations. For more info click this link to visit our web page – http://goo.gl/lSJvzK

Namibia Landscapes and Wildlife : Mindblowing

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Wim reports from the Namibia Landscapes and Wildlife Safari: Mindblowing!

Our safari got off to a breathtakingly beautiful start.
We left Gauteng early on a chilly winters morning, and drove straight through to Keetmanshoop.
We arrived at before 5pm, and after checking into the Quiver Tree Forest Lodge in Keetmanshoop we were eager to get going. After a quick stop to adjust our tyres for the terrain, we were ready to set off for our first photographic experience … in the famed Quiver Tree Forest.
Southern African people know the forest better as the ‘Kokerboom Woud’. The forest is a national monument in Namibia and has trees that are centuries old. The bushmen use the branches of the tree to make quivers for hunting – and the locals believe that anyone who visits the tree with respect and honour will have good fortune.
If that isn’t enough to being people flocking to the area, the photographic opportunities are – well – suffice to say that this destination should be on all nature photographers’ bucket lists!
After photographing the trees and amazing dolomite formations in the late afternoon and early evening, we returned to the Lodge for supper.
Then out again! Well, it was meant to be for an hour or two, but we simply could not drag ourselves away and finally only packed up when the clock crept towards midnight.
(Apologies that the images for this blog did not transmit due to erratic wifi connections – but here is a night-time image from Kubu island – and yes, that is a baobab, not a ‘kokerboom’! Hopefully the images will arrive tonight …)
 99 Juan Kubu-099-95
In the morning we plan to return for some early morning sunrise photography …