Namibia 2016 Gallery

Namibia 2016

I’ve finished processing my photos from a trip to Namibia, Africa last year (yeah, sometimes it takes a while to get everything processed). Here is a gallery of some of my favorite shots.

Several plains zebra line up to drink at the Okaukuejo waterhole, Etosha National Park, Namibia.

It was a truly amazing trip, as I was lucky enough to

  • Watch endangered black rhinos congregating around a waterhole in the dead of night
  • Walk among the tallest sand dunes in the world (over 1000 feet) in the world’s oldest desert
  • Witness a rare lightning storm in the desert as thunderclouds rolled over endless dune fields
  • Visit Deadvlei, an ancient river valley dotted with 700 year old desiccated tree husks in the heart of the Namib desert
  • Drive 2500 miles (mostly on dirt roads) over 11 days, see a good variety of countryside
  • See the desert-adapted bush elephants of Damaraland
  • Check out the gallery this and much more, including numerous birds and wildlife. Click each image to see the next, or use your keyboard arrows to navigate.

    Chanting With Goshawks

    A dark chanting goshawk perches on a short bush, Etosha National Park, Namibia.

    One of the species I was hoping to see in Africa this spring was the pale chanting goshawk. I got lucky in that I not only saw a few of them, but was also rewarded with a beautiful sighting of a dark chanting goshawk as well.

    The chanting goshawks get their name due to their tune-like “whistling” calls primarily during breeding season. At this time the males are rather vocal, and their calls resemble a kind of chant.

    A pale chanting goshawk perches on a sturdy branch, Etosha National Park, Namibia.

    Dark chanting goshawks prefer a habitat of open woodlands, while the pale species frequent open grasslands and more arid climates. Dark chanting goshawks have a sub-Saharan range, but are replaced by pale chanting goshawks in the south. Parts of Namibia fall in both species distributions, where you can see both in a single day.

    Each pale chanting goshawk I saw was perched rather high up, either near the top of a tree of in one case a power pole. However, I lucked out with the dark chanting goshawk because it was perched on a low bush, putting it directly at lens height.

    Gear I used to create the photos in this post:

    African Bush Elephants

    An african elephant lifts its trunk to trumpet, Etosha National Park, Namibia.

    I was very lucky to see and photograph both Asian and African wild elephants in a single year. My Asian elephant experience was in the thick forests of northern Tamil Nadu, India, while I got to get up close and personal with the larger African cousins on the plains of Etosha National Park in Namibia.

    And these guys were certainly huge! They are physically larger than Asian elephants, with larger ears and tusks. I saw a few drinking and having a mud bath next to a waterhole.

    An african elephant gives itself a mudbath at a waterhole, Etosha National Park, Namibia.

    This elephant would suck up large amounts of mud and water with its trunk and alternate flinging it up and over its head, and blasting its underside. The grayish white on the elephant’s skin is mud dried by the hot midday sun.

    An african elephant gives itself a mudbath at a waterhole, Etosha National Park, Namibia.

    At one point we were watching a large adult snacking on some leaves of a low bush. After finishing its meal, it starting wandering in our direction, getting closer and closer. The beast soon filled my camera frame at 70mm, and yet it came closer still, making me nervous. My mind’s eye was playing out a scenario which involved this guy getting upset and flipping our van. Luckily, our driver was prepared and when the elephant got within 20 feet, he threw the van into gear and got out of there.

    An african elephant flares its large ears as it grazes on branches, Etosha National Park, Namibia.

    It was a joy to just sit and watch these mammoth creatures. Similar to watching primates, you can see the intelligence and intention in their movements. Their amazing multipurpose trunks that they use to grab, smell, drink, touch, carry, and sometimes break is endless enjoyment to see.

    An african elephant eats leaves and grass, Etosha National Park, Namibia.

    As excited as I was to see these large bush elephants, I was looking forward to seeing the smaller, desert-adapted elephants in a few days time. Stay tuned for photos!

    African Leopard

    An african leopard hides in the shade as it closely watches a herd of springbok, Etosha National Park, Namibia.

    While in Etosha National Park in Namibia, I was lucky to photograph an Africa leopard. Our guide (the incomparable Kiran Khanzode) had found out from some locals that there had been a leopard kill in a particular area two days before. Since leopards typically hunt every two days (depending on the size of the game), we went to that area to see if we could see a leopard stalking prey for another kill.

    An african leopard hides in the shade as it closely watches a herd of springbok, Etosha National Park, Namibia.

    We pulled up our vehicle and scanned the area, but saw nothing but a small herd of springbok. Then a very small movement caught my eye and there in the shadow of a small tree was a leopard curled up around a fallen log. The leopard was busy scanning the herd of springbok, and in particular watching one break away from the rest and wander closer – oblivious to the danger lurking under the tree.

    A lone springbok grazes on grass in a clearing, Etosha National Park, Namibia.

    A waited with baited breath, hoping to see the leopard spring into action. All the while I was using my 800mm lens and Canon 5DSr camera to squeeze every bit of detail from the scene. Fortunately for the springbok, the leopard decided against a full frontal strike, and decided to wait for a better opportunity. The herd moved away, and the leopard decided to catch a midday nap.

    Gear I used to create the photos in this post: