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I just booked a trip with my family to Namibia over Easter. 14 days. The northern route with all the classic stuff. I really look forward to it.:D

 

I searched the forum for Namibia and saw that quite a few are (or have been there).

 

I wonder what advice you can give on (1) what too see and shoot; (2) whether there is a need for special protection of the camera(s) and lenses; (3) what cameras to bring (I intend to bring to M8s and an Xpan, I do not have an SLR and do not intend to get one just to have a long lens); (4) what lenses are particularly useful (for example, I assume there is little occasion for available light hand-held shooting and that a super fast lens is not that important but that the MATE can be quite useful to avoid changing lenses in dusty conditions); (5) what other equipment is heplful?

 

Thanks in advance and I will post shots when back :D.

 

No harm to post shots here or include links.

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I've done a number of safaris to Namibia most recently in August last year. I only travel with my 2 M8 bodies, one with the 16-18-21 Tri Elmar and one body with the 28-35-50, as you've correctly said to minimise changing lenses in dusty conditions. A tele is also a good idea I always take my 90mm Elmarit along as well.

I also carry an Epson P7000, storage device to back up pics on a daily basis.

 

All packed into a Lowepro backpack case, very easy to carry on board planes, especially the light aircraft used for inter-camp transfers..

 

Some of the most amazing scenery you will ever see, beautiful light. Make sure you've got 2 or 3 extra camera batteries, as I found that batteries were draining unexpectedly, this has only ever happened to me in Namibia, I'm quite sure because of extreme temperature changes between night and day in the desert.

 

Needless to say, a soft brush & cloths for dusting cameras off.

 

Please feel free to ask ask any more questions,that I may not have answered.

Have a great trip!

Regards

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Guest malland

If you go to game parks you will be seeing game, most of which can only be photographed with strong telephotos. Last year I went to Etosha in the north and Wolvdans in the south. I used a Nikon D300 with the spectacular 70-200mm/f2.8 VR lens, which gives an EFOV up to 300mm and excellent stabilisaton. Even that was often on the short side, as the 1.4x tele-extender that I had brought was defective. The latter would have given an EFOV of up to 420mm, which would have been good to have.

 

The M8 will be fine for landscape and some game, but for great game shots you really need a "real" telephoto. If this is a once-in-lifetime trip it would be a shame not to have strong telephoto.

 

—MItch/Potomac, MD

Bangkok Hysteria©: Book Project - a set on Flickr

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Hi there GMB,

 

You are going to have a fantastic time in Namibia. There are two forum members who have the good fortune of living here (the other being my brother). To answer a couple of your questions - bear with me, this is going to be a long post...

 

Namibia is one of the most varied countries on earth. We have wildlife, tropics, the oldest desert in the world - the Namib, huge landscapes and vast open land. It depends what you enjoy shooting the most. Since you're doing the northern section, I presume you will be doing the Etosha Pan. This is one of the most amazing places on earth for wildlife - everything from Lions, Rhino's, Oryx right through to the Desert Elephants. Often one can get close enough for some decent shot's with lenses around 200mm (135 on M8 also works - gives 180mm FOV). At time's however you will want lenses up to 600mm (especially for birds) - again it depends what you enjoy the most.

 

Then we have amazing landscapes. Up north there is the Brandberg (Burnt Mountain), the Waterberg Plateau, Spitzkoppe, Skeleton Coast, the Petrified Forest etc. I'm not sure how far north you are going and if you're going to Epupa Falls, Marienfluss, Van Zyl's Pass and those places (these are really remote, extreme 4x4 terrain with the closest thing to civilization being 100's if not 1000's of kilometers away). Like I say, this is God's country and the things that you will see here will put anything else in the world pretty much to shame (sorry I'm a Namibian with every bit of my heart).

 

In terms of camera's - you'll be fine with M8's and the XPan (will give you some amazing landscape images). Lenses, I would suggest a cv 15 or 12 for the extreme coverage, a 28 or 35 for general photography, 50 or 75 for portraits and a 135 Tele-Elmar for Wildlife (like I say one does get pretty close to the wildlife and 180mm FOV is actually quite good). You really don't need to have any special protection - I have been trekking around here for a long time and often the M8 just sits in front of my Land Rover at my feet, covered in dust - just keep the lens caps on and power off. Don't change lenses in sand storms, and when changing lenses make sure that the power is switched off. Also, be aware that lenses get sand blasted very quickly in a sand storm - I have lost windscreens and headlights on my Land Rover, with other vehicles coming out with no paint on them anymore - absolutely silver metal - again keep the lens cap on when not shooting.

 

I would say a Cron is more than fast enough, even Elmarit's are ok. We have 360 days a year of pure Sunshine... Easter is a wonderful time to visit this country - this year third week in March - that is early and it is still extremely hot (temperatures easily into the low 40's still, especially in the north).

 

One thing that I must add here. I don't know how far north you are going and how much of the situation in Zimbabwe is being reported there by you. If you are heading into the Caprivi Strip or along the Kunene/Zambesi River, have yourself and your family inoculated for Cholera. This is a waterborne disease and Zimbabwe is a neighboring country with cases having been reported around Katima Mulilo. In Zimbabwe nearly 3,000 people have died and over 50,000 are infected. The disease has spread to Mozambique, Zambia, South Africa and Botswana. We here in Namibia are lucky that we live in a desert - no rivers, no cholera but the north has been affected. Also, the north is a Malaria area. Watch out for mosquito's and take prophylactics.

 

You are most welcome to send me private mails and I will help and give advice as much as I can. Also, you are most welcome to meet us when you are here in Windhoek - we can give you far better tours of Windhoek and surrounds than any tour guide ever will.

 

One other thing that I would suggest. I don't know if you're flying with Air Namibia direct from London/Frankfurt or if you are flying via Johannesburg. If possible, fly direct from Heathrow or Frankfurt. Johannesburg is an absolute nightmare - ask Stuart about his experiences there. Air Namibia has brand new Airbus A340 aircraft that are maintained and serviced by Lufthansa Technical Services in Frankfurt. It is a world class airline that you can fly without any worries.

 

Kind Regards

Andreas

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Sorry, forgot to mention.

 

Your GSM cell phone will work here. All tar roads are fully covered and all major centers have 3G/UMTS coverage. Infact, most of the country, except the really remote regions, have full time cellular coverage. Our electricity is the same as in Europe - 230V at 50Hz. Adaptors for the European 2 pin plug cost less than 1 Euro.

 

Lanuages spoken here are mainly English, Afrikaans and German. This was a German Colony and this is still part of our culture with some of the best preserved colonial buildings in the world. Afrikaans is very similar to your Flemmish in Belgium.

 

If you are driving yourself, we drive on the Left hand side of the road - same as in the UK. Speed restrictions in towns is either 60 km/h or 80 km/h, main roads 120 km/h. Sand roads are best driven between 80 km/h and 100 km/h.

 

The current exchange rate for currency is 1 Euro = 13.00 Namibian Dollars/South African Rand. You can check the latest exchange rates at XE - The World's Favorite Currency and Foreign Exchange Site (Namibian Dollar (NAD) / South African Rand (ZAR) = 1:1 - both are accepted as valid payment)

 

Andreas

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The thing I would recommend is an Visible Dust Arctic Butterfly for de-dusting your sensor. I went on a photo-safari and we found that we needed to de-dust every day if we were changing lenses. The dust is so dry that I did not need to do a wet clean - the AB was fine.

 

If you are hiring a 4 x 4 with an external spare wheel make sure the locking nuts are tight on it but undoable and that there is a working jack plus wheel nut wrench. I have had a spare wheel fall off on a Nissan Bakkie and it was bouncing along the ground on its safety chain. On a Land Rover on a back road in the Great Karoo, we had a puncture and could not move the spare wheel nuts. Luckily we were near a farmhouse and he had a big lug wrench, which with a piece of scaffolding pipe as an extended lever, worked.

 

Wilson

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Georg,

 

If Andreas, from Windhoek, tells you not to worry too much about dust, he certainly knows best.

 

But if you still worry, as I did last summer, I would vouch for an Ortlieb Zipcity bag: Dustfree, handles fine. Cheap too!

You can pack it in your hold luggage during the flight and only use it on long stretches on un-tarred roads.

 

ORTLIEB product description

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.................

 

If you are hiring a 4 x 4 with an external spare wheel make sure the locking nuts are tight on it but undoable and that there is a working jack plus wheel nut wrench......

 

 

And why not take an extra spare wheel if you will really rough it? Better safe than sorry!

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I went the northern route last year and it was absolutely fantastic. Also our kid loved it (Lion King etc...).

Things not to miss:

--Sossusvlei Dune 45 sunrise (Namib Desert)

--Walvis Bay boat tour (seals, dolphins, pelicans, flamingoes etc etc)

--Oysters at the Tug in Swakopmund (Namibian are the best in the world)

--Tropic of Capricorn sign family picture

--Brandberg (the massive at golden hour)

--Etosha (game)

--Waterberg (beware of baboons)

As for photo equipment frankly a sealed pro set with 10-400mm zoom lenses would be the best to cover all what one can see in Namibia. I damaged one unsealed lens due to sand.

Because od sharp sunlight a polarizer is handy.

Namibia and its friendly people is such an amazing place I'd like to go back again soon.

Finally, if you drive a 110 LR don't leave your keys in the back door when you open it. The spare tire will break them.

Also rental places ( I had a great fully equipped 110 from Safari Drive) often exaggerate with tire pressure. 3.5-4 bar will get you stuck in sand and punctures on gravel will happen. 2.4 for the roads and down to 1.5 for sand.

 

Have a great time!

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.....

Things not to miss:

--Sossusvlei Dune 45 sunrise (Namib Desert)

 

Agreed with the rest of the list but Dune 45?

 

Last July the crest of Dune 45 was flattened by tourists shoes (a sad sight but nothing a good storm could not cure though) and the lone dead tree at the bottom was a sorry and very visible depository of toilet paper.

 

We did two morning trips and on the first we left Dune 45 immediately. The second day we whisked through to Dead Vlei as early as possible and were treated to this:

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Hi Everyone,

 

I'm actually amazed how many of the forum members have visited our country. I'm so happy that you guys enjoyed it. Namibians are probably one of the most friendly people on earth and we really do try make everyone feel welcome here. If anyone needs help or wants more information, you are more than welcome to email me.

 

Andreas

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Guest malland
...I'm actually amazed how many of the forum members have visited our country...
Andreas, I expect to be in Windhoek April 7-11 and will visit a mining exploration operation near the Rossing mine. Then I'm going on for two weeks safari in Botswana. While I'm bringing my M8, I'm also taking the D300 and the 70-200mm lens with the 1.4x tele-extender. Having lived years ago in East Africa, at a time when it was safe enough for my wife and me to go camping by ourselves all over Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, I think it's inadvisable not to have a strong telephoto when you're going to see a lot of game: at the time in East Africa I had a Leica IIIc and the 135mm lens as my telephote — while that gave me some good pictures I really missed a lot of good game pictures because I didn't have a longer focal length.

 

Kennst Du Helmut von Cheetah Travel? He couldn't have taken some some of his best pictures without something like a 300mm lens.

 

—Mitch/Potomac, MD

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Agreed with the rest of the list but Dune 45?

 

Last July the crest of Dune 45 was flattened by tourists shoes (a sad sight but nothing a good storm could not cure though) and the lone dead tree at the bottom was a sorry and very visible depository of toilet paper.

 

We did two morning trips and on the first we left Dune 45 immediately. The second day we whisked through to Dead Vlei as early as possible and were treated to this:

 

What a shame with Dune 45, We went there before, at the low season and it was empty at sunrise. Great view on the Namib...

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I just booked a trip with my family to Namibia over Easter. 14 days. The northern route with all the classic stuff. I really look forward to it.:D

 

I searched the forum for Namibia and saw that quite a few are (or have been there).

 

I wonder what advice you can give on (1) what too see and shoot; (2) whether there is a need for special protection of the camera(s) and lenses; (3) what cameras to bring (I intend to bring to M8s and an Xpan, I do not have an SLR and do not intend to get one just to have a long lens); (4) what lenses are particularly useful (for example, I assume there is little occasion for available light hand-held shooting and that a super fast lens is not that important but that the MATE can be quite useful to avoid changing lenses in dusty conditions); (5) what other equipment is heplful?

 

Thanks in advance and I will post shots when back :D.

 

No harm to post shots here or include links.

 

Got an idea for you. IF you don't want an SLR get the G1 (borrow) with the 45-200mm lens. You'll be able to put your Leica lenses on it as backup and for long telephoto it'll be perfect (effective 90-400). You really will need it for Walvis, Etosha and many places.

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Another thing: In general all over central and southern Africa people -and children- are friendly and happy to have their picture taken. In fact yo will often be asked to do so. Show your LCD afterwards! There is none or very little of the paranoia that plagues our First World. But, be courteous and ask first and respect possibe religious or other objections. Resist demands for payment. It is not customary to pay in this region, and it would be a pity if this were to turn into the begging we see elsewhere in the world. A print is appreciated very much, so if you get given an adress, don't forget to really send one! And I would rather miss the plane than forget to take a long lens. A Visoflex III and 250/4.8 are not heavy, may be primitive, but work excellenty and won't break the bank. The longer follow-focus stuff, I can tell from experience is unpractical to drag around, albeit very good in results.

 

In fact, if you wish, I will happily lend you the 250+Viso.

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Guest malland

Actually, I've taken street photos in Tsumeb, in northern Namibia and there is no problem at all in taking pictures of people — it's also a matter of your body language. Sure, you can ask for permission, but then you get posed pictures which usually are not that interesting. If I asked for permission for most of the pictures in the link under my signature below there would be much interest in looking at them.

 

—Mitch/Potomac, MD

Bangkok Hysteria©: Book Project - a set on Flickr

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Just as I said, problems are very rare, you are most likely to make friends by taking photographs. But there is taking pictures and there is sniping. A candid shot can be followed by a smile. And there is a Muslim section of the population as well, and they are sometimes not too appreciative of having their picture taken without consent. Or at all.

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Just as I said, problems are very rare, you are most likely to make friends by taking photographs. But there is taking pictures and there is sniping. A candid shot can be followed by a smile. And there is a Muslim section of the population as well, and they are sometimes not too appreciative of having their picture taken without consent. Or at all.

 

Muslim? In Namibia? That's interesting, which part of Namibia did you go to?

CIA know nothing about it, but they are known to have erred before...

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/wa.html#People

 

They give figures of 80-90% Christian and 10-20% indigenous.People are well educated for this part of the world (85% literacy) and should be treated accordingly. Blacks constitute 87% of the 2.1 million population. Whites and mixed races 50/50 of the rest. Can a Namibian contribute?

As for taking pictures of people... Some will expect a tip (like touristy Himba who cover their naked bodies with henna), some will accept a small gift (pen, bottle of water), peddlers will be happy to sell you an item...Of course a request and smile will help. As for begging indeed it is rare and when it happens it is more sophisticated. You'll be asked for a bottle of water (who'd refuse?) and then offered some worthless stone for a dollar. Happens in the countryside.

Above is the most likely average tourist experience (based on mine). Doing a non-touristy tracks (my plan for the next visit) could be different.

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Muslim? In Namibia? That's interesting, which part of Namibia did you go to?

CIA know nothing about it, but they are known to have erred before...

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/wa.html#People

 

They give figures of 80-90% Christian and 10-20% indigenous.People are well educated for this part of the world (85% literacy) and should be treated accordingly. Blacks constitute 87% of the 2.1 million population. Whites and mixed races 50/50 of the rest. Can a Namibian contribute?

As for taking pictures of people... Some will expect a tip (like touristy Himba who cover their naked bodies with henna), some will accept a small gift (pen, bottle of water), peddlers will be happy to sell you an item...Of course a request and smile will help. As for begging indeed it is rare and when it happens it is more sophisticated. You'll be asked for a bottle of water (who'd refuse?) and then offered some worthless stone for a dollar. Happens in the countryside.

Above is the most likely average tourist experience (based on mine). Doing a non-touristy tracks (my plan for the next visit) could be different.

Sorry, thought there were some in the North. Anyway it was more meant as a general remark about the region.

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