The road along the Namibian coast, where the desert runs into the sea, is dotted with crosses, marking the places where someone has died. You wouldn’t think there would be so many accidents along this deserted highway, but the road is straight, and untarred, people get bored or distracted, or perhaps they have had too much to drink, and the next thing they know, perhaps the last thing they know, is they are spinning into oblivion. This image, from our first trip to Namibia, marks just one of those lives lost. For me, coming at the end of a year in […]
Twenty miles south of Swakopmund, along the coastal road, lies Walvis Bay, of minor historical significance (it remained a British enclave during the German colonial period, and was incorporated into the newly-fledged Union of South Africa in 1910) but no real charm or appeal. The lagoon, however, offers some of the best bird watching in Southern Africa, and supports almost half of the region’s flamingoes. There is also a salt works, which in the coastal light can provide some interesting images – a Canadian might be reminded of snowfields. I thought I would include in this post a photo of […]
From the Fish River Canyon, Luderitz and Sossusvlei, our 2006 journey in the Land Rover through southern and central Namibia took us to the disconcertingly turn-of-the-century ‘little Bavaria’ of Swakopmund, on the coast. We camped on the beach, and did day trips north, towards the Skeleton Coast, and south, to Walvis Bay, with its flamingoes, bird life and salt factories, as well as inland, to the dunes. Looking back at the photographs from our journey makes me think about the difference between travel and tourism: tourism, to my mind, is about going to distant places to shop, sightsee, and take selfies, while travel […]
Don’t forget to bath, at the end of a hot day digging diamonds in the desert….Here’s one more image from Kolmanskop. Which gives me an opportunity to explain, as I was asked to in response to my previous post, that the Sperrgebiet in Namibia is a forbidden area: the road to Luderitz passes through it, but you may not stop your car or get out, as there are diamonds scattered just below and even on the surface. Well, there were, until most of them were mined out, which is why Kolmanskop is now deserted – but still it is possible […]
In the Sperrgebiet, or ‘forbidden area’ outside of Luderitz lies the abandoned mining town of Kolmanskop. You need a permit to visit, as Rob and I did on our 2006 Namibia trip in the Landy, but it’s worth it: here’s a small town, complete with bakery and shop and miners’ houses, slowly being infiltrated and swallowed by the desert. It’s one of those places that make you think about human endeavour in a wider, more geological and philosophical perspective, and it makes for some good photos. Here is a baker’s dozen.
Not only Sossusvlei itself but the whole area surrounding is extraordinary: the landscape unfolds in every direction, with every shade and tint of light and colour, every curve and contour you can imagine. Here are five images.
From the red dunes of Sossussvlei you slog your way up the sandy slope to Dead Vlei, the dried out bed of a swamp, or lake, with its dead trees crucified in the morning heat. This must be one of the most photographed places in Namibia, but still irresistible to the photographer, and a place of timelessness and wonderment to the observer. Here are some images. I was going to do them in black and white, but Rob prefers them in colour. See what you think.
Luderitz, on the southern coast of Namibia, is a time capsule of German Art Nouveau architecture, a sleepy fishing port at the end of a windswept road across a lunar landscape. Our stay there, in December of 2006, after our explorations of Sossussvlei and the Fish River Canyon, was a bit longer than we had planned – in fact, we were lucky to make it. Somewhere along the road, as we were overtaking a huge pantechnicon, at around 120km per hour, we had a blow-out, and came within microseconds of being killed. Fortunately I managed to bring the Land Rover to […]
Without question, the most emotionally intense moment of our visit to Namibia in April was the morning we spent, in an open vehicle, with the desert elephants near Twyfelfontein. I have written about this already, in an earlier blog: here is a portfolio of photos that I hope will give you some sense of what is is like to be in their presence, to share their space and appreciate their behaviour.