Namibia – The beginning. Windhoek to Quiver Trees at Keetmanshoop

Over a year ago I decided that I wanted to revisit Namibia, but as a tourist rather than a volunteer.  I’d seen so many photographs of various places here that I decided it had to be done.  As I knew that I would spend a lot of time taking photos on this trip, I invited four other people to come with me whom I’d met through the African Impact photography course that I had taught on.  As soon as they all said “Yes” in March of last year, I set about making bookings for car hire and accommodation with varying degrees of frustration, from helpful and prompt replies from a couple,  “we are already fully booked” from another, and a short reply after chasing three times over a period of weeks informing me that no prices were available for 2017 and bookings could not be taken until October!

Hundreds of emails, weeks & months worth of planning, and one year later, we all met in Windhoek, the capital of Namibia.   It was lovely to meet everyone again and introduce them to each other, and after a good night’s sleep we were collected at 0800 prompt to go and pick up our 4×4.   A very efficient and thorough explanation of the dos and don’ts was given followed by a detailed look at the workings of the car, and then we were off.  I volunteered to start off driving in the city as three of our group drive on the right and everyone apart from me has an automatic car.  Having said that, traffic in Namibia is so light it’s not hard to drive anywhere. United Kingdom is approximately 243,610 sq km, while Namibia is approximately 824,292 sq km. However, 62 million fewer people live in Namibia.  This is how the UK would fit into it.

We had the longest drive of the trip on our first day, luckily on a main tarmac road, and it took just over 5 hours, arriving at our destination at the perfect time – just before sunset.  The trees are Aloe trees but are called Quiver Trees because bushmen traditionally used their branches to make quivers from them. 

I’d ascertained that the best time for photos was dusk and dawn and we had about an hour before it got completely dark.   

This tree was full of social weaver birds nests.

We then checked into our accommodation, which was pretty quirky to say the least –  nobody believed me when I said that we were staying in ‘igloos’, but that’s what they are called, and this is why.

 An early night followed dinner as we had agreed to get up before sunrise to photograph the trees again at dawn before setting off at 07.15 for our next destination.  We did get some beautiful sunrise photos though so it was worth the early start.

We also had to negotiate with the resident Warthogs before we could get in for breakfast!

I’m running another tour of Namibia in September 2018.  If anyone is interested in joining me check out the details here.  You can come to learn how to take better photos as I’ll happily teach you how to use your SLR or mirrorless camera creatively, or just come with me and see all these great locations. 

“The trip that Julie arranged to Namibia hit all the right notes. Her attention to detail ensured that we had a perfect itinerary with lodging that at times was nothing short of decadent. One could not imagine a better guide and Julie’s preparation was meticulous. You will find no better or encouraging tutor if you are looking to improve your photography skills. Among her many gifts, Julie never forgets that taking photography should always be fun. If you want a once-in-a-lifetime trip to an amazing country with opportunities to visit breathtaking landscapes and see extraordinary wildlife, I whole-heartedly recommend a journey with Julie.”     Gary – Tennessee, US.