Along the Namib Desert

Now it’s getting serious, seriously

On the C13 and D707 to Namtib Lodge and into the Tiras Mountains. Reduce air pressure: Rear from 4.6 to 3.6 – Front from 3.3 to 2.7 bar. For the next three weeks, we only drive on gravel and sandy roads.

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Namtib Biosphere Reserve

Linn and Thorsten give us a warm welcome. As we are staying 4 nights – most guests only stay one – we are given permission to drive around the entire area of the reserve. The reserve is 164 km2 in size. 70 km2 are “pastureland”, the rest is mountain land. The reserve also has hiking trails.

The biosphere reserve is like an omega surrounded by the Tiras Mountains. Towards the west and southwest, the Omega opens up to the red sand dunes of the Namib Desert. The play of colors of the sunrises and sunsets fascinates every day anew.

Little Hunters Rest Camp

At the “Little Hunters Rest Camp” we are partly alone. We don’t want to leave here at all. Time to take a closer look at the extended photographic equipment – here the MDKv5 motor head.

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We enjoy the barren landscape and the gnarled, old camel thorn trees. The lighting moods are subject to constant change.

Ranch Koiimasis

Just 70 km further along the D707 is the entrance to the Koiimasis ranch – our home for the next five nights. We must emphasize here that you can buy excellent oryx meat (marinated and vacuum-packed) and excellent chicken eggs at Koiimasis, unless someone like us has bought up the entire stock in advance. If you’re on the road for a long time, the fridge can sometimes get lonely and empty …

The campsite is located at the beginning of a small canyon. It’s actually idyllic, but as photographers we would prefer an open landscape, because here in the canyon you can only see a small section of the sky – and we almost missed the best shots:

No real rain has fallen for three years. Is he finally coming? No, the few drops didn’t even reach the ground.

There are also hiking opportunities on Koiimasis. In particular, however, the “Viewpoint” on a cliff must be mentioned, from where you can enjoy a wide view and a fantastic sunset. The stormy and gusty wind, which had the potential to blow us over, was also “dreamlike”. Fortunately, we have a sturdy tripod with us, which we additionally stabilize with a 10 kg bean bag. Otherwise nothing would have come of the time-lapse shots.

Namib Rand Nature Reserve

It is about 160 km from Koiimasis to the Namib Rand Nature Reserve, more precisely to the Namib Rand Family Hideout. We were able to buy meat and eggs from Koiimasis, but drinking water and food have become scarce. We are therefore glad that we can not only stock up on diesel in Betta, but also on the most necessary food and drinking water in the kiosk.

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The Namib Rand Family Hideout has group accommodation in the old farmhouse as well as two campsites far apart with their own toilet and shower facilities. We get the “Orion” pitch with its own waterhole.

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We are thrilled all round. The landscape corresponds to our dreams. We are very well looked after by Titus – a capable Ovambo – unfortunately we forgot to take pictures. We are allowed to climb the dunes on foot, yes, go wherever we want on foot. A 23 km long 4×4 tour with deep sand passages is laid out for the vehicle. Tutus encourages us to do the tour despite our inexperience. We are given a radio – if we get stuck, we can call Titus by radio, who would then free us.

We start the 4×4 tour at sunrise. Indeed: some sandy passages are tough – but we get through without shoveling sand. We lowered the air pressure to 1.8 bar at the front and 2.6 bar at the rear, but we didn’t have the courage to do more, even though we had been recommended 1.5 bar at the front and rear for deep sand passages during 4×4 training.

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The Namib Rand Family Hideout is ideal for star photography
– as long as the sky is not overcast. On one of the three evenings, the conditions are ideal and our first time-lapse sequence of the Milky Way succeeds.

Gitzo 4 series tripod, additionally anchored with bean bag, RRS ball head, Nikon D750, Nikkor 14-24mm/2.8 at 14mm. 15 seconds, aperture 2.8, Iso 3200, shutter release every 18 seconds using the pixel timer, processed with Lightroom 6 and Gunther Wegner’s “LRTimelaps Version 4”.

One thing is for sure, we’ll be back here and if we come back, we’ll add another day (sGw).
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