Latitude: 22° 40.6211′ S Longitude: 14° 31.4368′ E
Day 5 brought the good ship Expedition to the port of Walvis Bay, Namibia.
Walvis Bay is the most important port in all of Southwestern Africa. It not only is the primary port for Namibia, but also Botswana and parts of Angola, South Africa and Zambia. Formerly a whaling station (walvis means ‘whale’ in German), today it is the best natural deep water port in this corner of the continent.
Prior to 1990 Namibia was a territory of South Africa known as South West Africa. After Namibia gained independence in 1990, Walvis Bay remained a small South African enclave because of its importance. It wasn’t until 1994 when Nelson Mandela became the president of South Africa that Walvis Bay was returned to Namibia. Continue reading “Day 5, West Africa Cruise – Walvis Bay / Swakopmund”
Latitude: 26° 38.4852′ S Longitude: 15° 09.2238′ E
Today we made our first stop on the trip: Luderitz, Namibia.
I had been looking forward to Luderitz for one reason: the Kolmanskopf Ghost Town. I had seen photos taken by other photographers that blew me away. Kolmanskopf is a German diamond mining town just outside of Luderitz that was established in the very early parts of the 20th century and abandoned about 50 years ago. The buildings and some of the furnishings are still in place and are slowly being reclaimed by the desert.
My goal was to get several images of the abandoned buildings, half filled with sand. To that end, I’d say my mission was accomplished.
Latitude: 28° 30.4763’ S Longitude: 15° 34.7887’ E
A day at sea for a passenger vessel is a challenge for the crew. You have a group of people who are stuck in a small space with nothing to do. There is no television. Internet and telephone connectivity is either non-existent or severely limited.
On larger cruise ships, they usually try to fill time with frivolous things like bingo, movies and shopping for cheesy art and jewelry. The Expedition, thankfully, fills time with more informative and intellectual pursuits.
Today, for example, there was a lecture on the German colonial involvement in Namibia and the Namibian resistance. Another lecture which was an introduction to photography and finally an even lecture on African cosmology, including a nighttime walk on the deck of the ship to look at the stars (with the ships lights turned off).
Future lectures include native birds, more history, geology more history, more photography and more wildlife.
What is wonderful isn’t just the fact that these lectures are offered, but that almost all of the passengers are willing to show up to every single one.
I visited Namibia for the first time in November 2013. What I experienced was far beyond my expectations. I found it to be a land of contradictions. It is a place where you can experience daily fog in the desert. Where you may have to wear a coat in the tropics. It has some of the oldest land and human artifacts on Earth, yet it is one of the youngest countries in the world.
It is also a spectacular place for photography. You could almost throw your camera in the air and be guaranteed a great photo.
This collection is the result of a five day trip I took into the Namib Desert and a shorter two day trip to Damaraland to visit the ancient rock carvings of Twyfelfontein. Both are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.