April 20th - May 7th, 2017
Namibia, Botswana, and Zambia Photography Tour II 2017—join Dan and Tanya in the African countries of Namibia, Botswana, and Zambia by air! Experience the unspoiled iconic landscapes of Namibia, one of the world’s most spectacular desert ecosystems. Feel like you’re going back in time in this sparsely populated, enchanting land where colossal sand dunes and red rock canyons create striking shapes and colors under an endless African sky. Safari time in Botswana! Journey through the Chobe River valley and explore the savannah’s healthy and abundant African wildlife populations. And let’s not forget the awe-inspiring Victoria Falls!
2017 Namibia, Botswana, and Zambia Photography Tour Travel Plans
This landscape, culture, and wildlife photographic adventure will take you up in the air above the beautiful sand dunes of Namibia. For ease and luxury, we’ll have chartered planes to take us from location to location throughout Namibia and direct to Botswana. Complimentary aerials over the dunes by helicopter, fixed wing, or hot air balloon. Our safari time in Botswana will be by land (one seat row per guest) and by water in special boats designed for photography. We’ll stay at some beautiful boutique lodges and have a few “sundowners” to relax. Enjoy staying within walking distance to Victoria Falls while in full stream. We have arranged for extra luggage allowances throughout the trip so you can bring your gear with no stress. Fifteen nights/sixteen days…
Thursday, April 20
Depart US and fly to Johannesburg (JNB), South Africa.
Friday, April 21 (D)
Arrive any time of day in Johannesburg. Staff from the Intercontinental hotel will meet and guide you to the hotel, just a few steps away from the airport. Overnight Intercontinental Johannesburg O.R. Tambo Airport
Saturday, April 22 (B, L, D)
This morning we’ll take a domestic commercial flight from Johannesburg to Windhoek and then board a charter plane to our first destination, Fish River Canyon. Located in the northern part of the Nama Karoo, a vast, open region dominated by low-shrub vegetation, Fish River Canyon is the second largest canyon on Earth!
Fascinating flora and fauna have adapted to the harsh environment of this rocky, rugged 500,000 million-year-old landscape. We’re sure to see lonely quiver trees, one of the rarest plants in the world, found only on the continent of Africa. Wildlife such as oryx, mountain zebra, giraffe, springbok, kudu, leopard, steenbok, baboon, wild horse, and ostrich are often seen throughout the canyon area.
At Fish River Lodge, we’ll have dinner and spend the night on the edge of the stunning landscape of Fish River Canyon. A memorable sunset shoot will end the evening. Overnight at Fish River Lodge
Sunday, April 23 (B, D)
A sunrise shoot of Fish River Canyon followed by a hearty breakfast. Mid-morning, we’ll board our charter flight and head to Luderitz. Luderitz is in the Succulent Karoo region—different from all other deserts in the world—not prone to prolonged drought since rainfall is reliable and predictable. The Succelent Karoo boasts the richest succulent flora in the world, harboring about one-third of the world’s 10,000 succulent species. Forty percent of the plant species here are endemic, found nowhere else in the world! A region of unparalleled botanical biodiversity, it is the only plant hot spot that is entirely arid. We’ll have dinner and overnight at the Luderitz Nest Hotel.
Monday, April 24 (L, D)
Today we’ll start our day early to visit the fascinating ghost town of Kolmanskop located in the unwelcoming land of the Namib Desert. Breakfast at leisure in the ghost town this morning at the local cafe.
In the 1900s, Kolmanskop boasted one of the richest diamond deposits on Earth. The German government declared it part of the “Sperrgebiet,” or forbidden diamond territory. This thriving and bustling town provided much needed shelter for diamond workers; opulent homes and shops protected them from an extremely harsh environment with no hint of moisture. Fresh water was hauled in by train and pumped into their storage tanks. Though isolated, the town’s residents afforded every possible luxury, however, by the early 1930s, the diamond deposits began to deplete and the area experienced decline. To add to the town’s demise, most inhabitants departed when the world’s richest diamond-bearing deposits ever were discovered south of Kolmanskop in 1928. In 1956, the few who remained left the town completely deserted.
Today, rolling drifts of knee-deep sand shape gentle curves in the abandoned houses and buildings that remain. Though a haunting monument of the day’s boom and bust, this desert ghost town provides an engrossing history along with incredible photo opportunities.
We’ll also photograph an iconic symbol of this area, the wild horse herd of Namibia. These Namib Desert “ghost” horses have miraculously learned to adapt to the extreme heat with minimal water sources, their origins shrouded in a cloud of mystery.
Like its former inhabitants, we’ll depart Kolmanskop for our next destination. A scenic five-hour drive will take us to Sossusvlei. Depending on time, we may make a stop or two for photography, and we’ll definitely stop for lunch and a slice of apple pie—claimed the best in the world by some! Well, you can decide for yourself 🙂
Overnight Sossusvlei Lodge
Tuesday, April 25 – Wednesday, April 26 (B, L, D)
For two full days, we’ll indulge in all this area has to offer. Our lodge is near the entrance of Namib-Naukluft National Park, giving us access to the many natural wonders this park has to offer. Complimentary aerial flights over the dunes mornings and evenings by helicopter, fixed wing, or balloon. Our private bus will also go into the park daily (aerial flights are based on weather and availability, two per guest).
Here we will find Sossusvlei, a clay/salt pan, home to the highest sand dunes on the planet! Crests of vivid pink, orange, and the oldest dunes an intense red, create striking landscapes with the contrasting white vleis (clay pans) and vast blue sky. Dwarfed by the sheer size of the dunes, you may find this one of the most mind-blowing sights you will ever see!
Deadvlei, translated to “dead marsh,'” is another white clay pan known for its ancient camel thorn (acacia) tress, now only dark skeletons against the white pan floor and bright red-orange dunes. The trees thrived hundreds of years ago when the Tsauchab River flooded, however, the climate eventually changed and the sand dunes encroached, blocking the river from reaching the area. The trees remain intact—the wood does not decompose because of the dry climate—so they sit, blackened from the scorch of the sun.
The Tsauchab River also carved the Sesriem Canyon over millions of years. This is one of the few places in the area that holds water all year round. The canyon was an important source of water for early settlers in the area.
There will be free time midday, when the sun is hot and too harsh for photography. Take a nap, enjoy a dip in the sparkling pool, or have yourself an ice cold beer under the shady trees in the Acacia beer garden. Overnight Sossusvlei Lodge
Thursday, April 27 (B, L, D)
A late morning charter, and we’re off to Swankopmund. We’ll check into the hotel upon arrival, get some lunch, and then your free to explore the town’s palm-lined streets and chat and barter with the locals. Mid-afternoon, we’ll meet up and head toward Walvis Bay Lagoon, one of the most important wetlands in Africa. Walvis Bay is a protected area, a hibernation area for thousands of migratory birds. We’re especially interested in photographing the radiantly pink greater flamingos whose flocks often inundate the lagoon. A variety of marine life such as dolphins and fur seals are also commonly seen here. Dinner at the hotel tonight. Overnight at the new Strand Hotel Swakopmund
Friday, April 28 (B, L, D)
Breakfast at the hotel and then we’ll join Tommy, an esteemed local guide, on his “Living Desert” tour. Tommy has put together a memorable 4×4 trip through the dune area just outside Swakopmund. Discover the life of this desolate landscape—the search is on for desert creatures such as the Namaqua chameleon and Peringuey’s adder! Learn of the plants and minerals that make up the “Living Desert.” Endless photographic opportunities on the excursion! It was one of Tanya’s favorite things on her scouting trip. Dinner and wine tasting at the hotel tonight. Overnight Strand Hotel Swakopmund
Saturday, April 29 (B, L, D)
Our next journey takes us on a morning charter flight to Opuwa. Here we’ll have an opportunity to meet the local indigenous Himba people. We’ll visit their village to photograph and learn of their culture, traditions, and lifestyle. These semi-nomadic herders are striking and have become an iconic image of Africa. Overnight Opuwo Country Lodge
Sunday, April 30 (B, L, D)
We’ll eat breakfast and have one more photo shoot with the Himba people before taking our charter flight to Windhoek. Most likely, we’ll be ready for a small break at this point, so we’ll spend an evening for some R&R at The Olive Exclusive All Suite Hotel. Experience luxury in Namibia’s capital city. Each suite in the hotel reflects a different region in Namibia and has its own lounge area with fireplace and wide glass doors which open onto a spacious deck where you can relax on a shady daybed. Indulge in a bubble bath with sweeping mountain views. This is your day to relax! Or explore Windhoek on a short city tour and get in a little local shopping. We’ll meet and have dinner as a group in the hotel’s Olive Restaurant, featuring a seasonal menu with inventive signature dishes. Overnight The Olive Exclusive All Suite Hotel
Monday, May 1 – Thursday, May 4 (B, L, D)
Spend the morning enjoying the luxurious Olive hotel. We want you to be nice and relaxed for our next destination, Sanctuary Chobe Chilwero in Botswana. Midday we’ll fly to Chobe by private charter and transfer to the Sanctuary Chobe Chilwero to check-in.
We’ll spend the next few days on safari in Chobe National Park, game viewing on land in 4×4 vehicles and also by chartered boat designed for photography—get up close and personal with Chobe’s most popular resident, the elephant. Chobe is home to the largest concentration of these gentle giants in all of Africa! Along with scores of elephants, the park also has an abundance of sable and roan antelopes. Rare sitafungas and wild dog are often seen. The lush riverfront attracts giraffe, lion, cape buffalo, and is the only place in Botswana where Puku antelope can be seen. The savannah lures zebra, wildebeest, warthog, impala, and kudu. An occasional leopard may even appear 🙂
Sanctuary Chobe Chilwero is a luxurious riverside retreat in the heart of the bush, offering unparalleled panoramic views across the islands and floodplains as far across as Namibia. Full size spa, swimming pool, and inclusive beverages and gourmet food. Natural Exposures is also including a $100 credit to enjoy at the lodge spa or gift shop. We’ll stay at Sanctuary Chobe Chilwero for four nights.
Friday, May 5 (B, L, D)
Breakfast and one last morning game safari in Chobe by boat or 4×4, and then we’ll take the approximate two-hour transfer to Livingstone, Zambia. Here, we’ll have the remainder of the day to explore Victoria Falls, claimed to be the largest waterfall in the world, a spectacular sight to see! This awe-inspiring World Heritage Site has much to offer—photograph to your heart’s delight while walking the trails, get a unique view from Knife Edge Bridge or Victoria Falls Bridge, head below the falls to get a river-level view and scope out this prime territory for falcons, black eagles, and other raptors, or if you’re really feeling adventurous, get an aerial view of the falls (not included). Bring your poncho! Farewell dinner tonight. Overnight Avani Victoria Falls Resort
Saturday, May 6 (B)
Morning shoot at Victoria Falls. At around noon, we’ll board a domestic commercial flight and head back to Johannesburg to connect with our evening flights home.
Sunday, May 7
11 Guests Maximum
EXPLORER RATE*: 13,700
NON-EXPLORER RATE: ADD 400
Price per person, based on double occupancy
Single Supplement: 1250
*Less than 9 guests booked, add 500 per person
All pricing in USD
$2000 Per person due at time of booking
Visa, MasterCard, AmEx, Discover, or check accepted
Deposits are non-refundable. If cancellations are necessary, we require this request in writing. We will do our best to resell your space. Only if we can resell your space, we will refund (minus deposit and discounts given to sell your space). No partial refunds are possible for unused services.
June 1, 2016: $5000 First Installment
October 1, 2016: Final Payment
Please make check payable to Natural Exposures and mail to:
810 N. Wallace, Suite E
Bozeman, MT 59715
- Meals (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner) with wine, beer, or non-alcoholic beverages where indicated
- Accommodations where indicated
- 24-seat private bus with local guide while touring
- Park fees and all transfers during trip
- Bottled water on bus
- Internal commercial and charter flights noted in itinerary
- Local taxes such as tourism levy and government tax
- Activities as specified including photographic aerial flights at Sossusvlei
- 100 USD credit at Chobe Chilwero Lodge
- International flights/airport taxes
- Visa fees
- Travel/emergency evacuation insurance
- Miscellaneous personal expenses or medications
- Excess baggage fees
- Gratuity for guides
- Any optional excursions and activities
Flights to Book
April 20, 2017
April 21, 2017
Arrive in Johannesburg (JNB), South Africa any time of day.
May 6, 2017
Depart Johannesburg (JNB), South Africa on an evening flight, arrive home May 7
Emergency Evacuation Insurance
All guests MUST carry emergency evacuation insurance. It is required by our tour operators and the information will be collected prior to trip time. We recommend InsureMyTrip.com and/or Global Rescue (use code natexp).
Terms & Conditions
Natural Exposures cannot control nor is responsible for abnormal weather, natural disasters, or any other disaster that might affect the trip. Travel insurance should be purchased to cover any missed flights or medical problems that may affect/delay your travel. National Parks have the right to change our itinerary.
By booking a trip with Natural Exposures, you agree to the following CANCELLATION AND LIABILITY POLICY
Accommodations for 2017 Namibia, Botswana, and Zambia Photography Tour
April 21, 1 Night
Intercontinental Johannesburg O.R. Tambo Airport
This Johannesburg airport hotel provides convenience, style, and all of the upscale facilities you’d expect from an award-winning hotel, including a spa, business center, and Quills African restaurant.
April 22, 1 Night
Fish River Lodge
Making the most of the beautiful vistas, the Fish River Lodge has been built in harmony with its stark, striking surroundings. Completed in 2009, all the buildings that make up the lodge pay tribute to the amazing landscape, offering spectacular views of the Fish River Canyon from sunrise to sunset.
The architecture and interiors of Fish River Lodge have taken their queue from the rugged landscape that surround it. Contemporary, and at times monastic, the lodge was designed to reflect the unique beauty of its location.
2013 and 2015 Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence
April 23, 1 Night
Lüderitz Nest Hotel
The award-winning Lüderitz Nest Hotel is one of Namibia’s leading resort hotels and is located directly on Lüderitz Bay with its own private tidal beach with walk-on jetty – unique in Namibia! All spacious en suite rooms have direct sea views. Hotel features include swimming pools, sauna, the Crayfish Bar & Lounge, and free Wi-Fi in rooms.
April 24-26, 3 Nights
Situated adjacent to the oldest desert in the world, Sossusvlei Lodge is a luxurious retreat in this premier area of Namibia. Shaded by camel thorn trees, the lodge blends in perfectly with the spectacular desert surroundings and bears testament to the ingenuity of an eco-friendly design.
A dip in the sparkling pool or an ice cold beer under the shady trees in the Acacia beer garden makes for the best relaxation after an eventful day. The al fresco terrace offers magnificent views of the floodlit waterhole where you can watch the passing parade of oryx, springbok, jackal, ground squirrel and hyena, whilst enjoying exquisite food and wine. Indeed a visual and culinary contrast, bearing in mind the relative remoteness of this exceptional location.
The separate accommodation units are carefully laid out to perfectly blend in with the magnificent surrounding natural environment. Each fully air-conditioned accommodation unit has a patio, en-suite bathroom with shower and a spacious bedroom under canvas with adobe-style plaster walls.
April 27 and 28, 2 Nights
Strand Hotel Swakopmund
Uniquely located on the iconic and historic Swakopmund Mole and surrounded on three sides by the Southern Atlantic Ocean, rooms and suites will offer the finest uninterrupted sea views available anywhere in this quaint historic town.
Its architectural inspiration finds its roots deep in Namibian German history and reflects this in a tasteful contemporary manner. The interiors are residential in nature, and the brief to all designers involved was to create a non-hotel, hotel.
Strand Hotel Swakopmund promises guests a warm Namibian welcome and a stay, during which they will be hosted in a relaxed, uncomplicated manner.
Rooms feature tea and coffee stations, mini bars, hair dryers, free WiFi, telephones, and air conditioning.
April 29, 1 Night
Opuwo Country Lodge
The lodge is situated on a hilltop facing northwest with breathtaking views overlooking a valley with magnificent sunsets and offering 360° view of the surrounding area.
All rooms have en-suite bathrooms and are fitted with air conditioners. Deck chairs and umbrellas set the scene for a relaxed day around the pool or cool off after a hard day’s drive. The lodge has an excellent bar and restaurant where guests can crack a cold one and enjoy mouth watering meals, a private lounge next to the wine cellar offers an relaxed atmosphere and place to enjoy an evening with friends.
April 30, 1 Night
The Olive Exclusive All Suite Hotel
The Olive Exclusive – the first ultra-luxurious sanctuary of its kind in the Namibian capital – is cool, contemporary and stylish but with a warm heart and authentic African soul. Its sleek, modern lines are complemented by organic textures, natural furnishings, an eco-friendly approach and dedicated personal service. Simple elegance is key, from the organic rough-hewn wooden benches and side tables, through the sculpted chunk of granite that serves as a coffee table in the guest lounge, to walls clad in abstract Namibian landscapes by well-known South African designer and photographer Micky Hoyle.
The seven suites are individually decorated so each reflects a different region in Namibia, and each has its own lounge area with fireplace and dining room, for private dining. Wide glass doors open onto spacious decks where you can relax on a shady daybed, enjoy al fresco lunches or, if yours is a premium suite, take a dip in your own private plunge pool. Such are the creature comforts that you may find it hard to leave: sink into an extra-length bed dressed in crisp, pure-cotton linen, or indulge in a bubble bath in a free standing tub with sweeping mountain views. Air-conditioning, high definition satellite TV and iPod docking stations are standard, as is a computer with WiFi access. Then there’s a fully stocked mini bar, complete with a premium wine selection, so you can toast the setting sun in fine style.
The Olive Exclusive boasts a quality restaurant featuring a seasonal menu, with inventive signature dishes. The fully stocked bar also features a classic selection of fine whisky. It’s the perfect luxury base from which to explore Windhoek and its surrounds before heading off on a Namibian safari.
April May 1-4, 4 Nights
Sanctuary Chobe Chilwero
Sanctuary Chobe Chilwero is a luxurious riverside retreat in the heart of the bush on the edge of Chobe National Park, home to the world’s largest remaining population of elephants.
Sitting above the Chobe River, the lodge offers unparalleled panoramic views across the islands and floodplains as far across as Namibia. This is an incredibly luxurious lodge with just 15 guest cottages, as well as the only full spa on the Botswana safari circuit. Relax in the split-level swimming pool, unwind with a pampering session in the spa, or enjoy the gourmet food that the lodge has become known for.
May 5, 1 Night
Avani Victoria Falls Resort
Get that perfect blend of AVANI style and comfort in the heart of Zambia. AVANI Victoria Falls Resort, a sought-after Livingstone hotel, gives you the perfect spot to work, rest, stay, and play with the iconic Victoria Falls at your doorstep. Chill out with time by the pool or head out to explore everything Livingstone has to offer. Come back for a great night’s sleep. It’s all the details that matter… done well!
Rooms feature WiFi, tea and coffee making facilities, hairdryer, personal safe, satellite TV, air conditioning, and insect repellent devices.
Helpful Information for 2017 Namibia, Botswana, and Zambia Photography Tour
- Commercial flight from Johannesburg, South Africa to Windhoek, Namibia
- Livingstone, Zambia to Johannesburg, South Africa
- Windhoek to Fish Canyon Lodge
- Fish Canyon to Luderitz
- Sossusvlei to Swankopmund
- Swankopmund to Opuwo
- Opuwo to Windhoek
- Windhoek to Kasane, Botswana
- Two aerial flights per guest in Sossusvlei included (by heli, fixed wing, or hot air balloon based on availability and weather)
Safaris in Botswana
Safaris will be in boats specially designed for photography (seats 8) featuring built-in tripods or on 4×4 safari vehicles by land (three vehicles for group). We will rotate between water safaris and land safaris to provide for more opportunities for a variety of photography.
We will be visiting four countries during this trip, so be sure that your passport is valid for the time required by each country and also that you have enough blank pages in your passport for entry into each country. We are not responsible if you do not meet the entry requirements for the trip!
A passport with at least six months validity is required for both Namibia and Botswana. Zambia requires your passport to be valid for at least six months after your intended date of departure. Passports must be valid for at least 30 days after your date of departure from South Africa.
According to the US Bureau of Consular Affairs, here are the required number of visa pages:
2 – Entry into South Africa (consecutive blank pages)
1-2 – South Africa to Namibia
1 – Namibia to Botswana
2 – Botswana to Zambia
2 – Zambia to South Africa
Make sure you have enough!
For US citizens staying under 90 days, visas for Namibia can be obtained at the port of entry. A visa for Zambia can be obtained at the port of entry for $50 and is valid for 90 days. Botswana does not require a visa for stays under 90 days. A visitor visa will be issued at the port of entry in South Africa for those staying 90 days or less.
It is advisable to carry your passport containing any valid visas and also your driver’s license while traveling in Namibia to avoid any issues with the national authorities.
For the latest updates on entry requirements for US citizens, please visit the US Bureau of Consular Affairs website for each country.
A yellow fever vaccination will be required to re-enter South Africa from Zambia.
Travelers entering Namibia/South Africa from countries where yellow fever is endemic/WHO designated yellow fever countries are required to present their yellow WHO vaccination record or other proof of inoculation.
Please obtain a current and valid “International Certificate of Vaccination as approved by the World Health Organization (WHO)” (commonly called a “yellow card”) or statement of medical exemption (also on the same yellow card) for yellow fever at least 14 days prior to arrival into South Africa. Get this before you leave the US/Canada!
No vaccinations are required to enter Botswana or Zambia.
It is best to be up to date with your routine vaccinations and visit with your doctor before the trip to discuss your personal needs. Suggested vaccinations are:
- Hepatitis A and B (combo shot series)
- Routine vaccinations such as tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, measles, mumps, rubella, polio
Namibian dollar (NAD)
Zambia kwacha (ZMK)
Botswana pula (BWP)
English is the official language of Namibia. People commonly speak two or three languages, and almost half speak Oshiwambo. Afrikaans is still widely spoken and functions as the lingua franca, or the language adopted as a common language between speakers whose native languages are different.
Zambia has many indigenous Bantu languages. English is the official language and major language of business and education.
The official language of Botswana is English, spoken by around 90% of the population.
Have a question?Have a question about this tour? We're happy to answer any queries you may have.
Testimonials from Natural Exposures' Explorers
"If you ever want to travel to another country and you want to go first class, travel with Natural Exposures. They are number one in showing their guests the best time ever in the classiest way. I would recommend Natural Exposures Tours to everyone. If you want to go in style, go with NE!"
Michelle Duggan, Massachusetts
"Tanya and Dan’s logistic skills provide a seamless photo tour where one can truly enjoy the experience. With unlimited photographic opportunities Dan’s instruction has taken my photography to a higher level."
Linda Henry, Oregon
"I just wanted to again thank you for a wonderful week of photography and relaxation away from the office. It was a really a good group."
Sue Wolfe, Texas
"What a trip
What a group
What a fabulous everything
To our next encounters with nature"
Maud and Leon Soriano, Florida