Southern Namibia is an area of wild desert landscape and imposing rock formations. One of the jewels of this area is the Fish River Canyon, Africa's largest canyon.
Any journey through southern Namibia must include a visit to the famous Fish River Canyon. As unlikely as it seems we have never done so before and so found ourselves driving through rocky sandy canyons and pebble strewn hills to the national park camp at Hobas. There are a lot of antelope to be seen, and for the first time, the mountain zebra. Their camouflage is fantastic and they are so nimble on the rocks they were gone as quickly as we spotted them.
We returned that evening to find the wind howling as we tottered around the edge of a precipice in the dark looking for a quiver tree to pit in our starscape. In daylight it was a landmark but at night became invisible. The wind roared carrying all the dust of the kalahari with it. We finally found it and, despite a sinking feeling that the cameras would have a hailstorm of sensor spots for the next 6 months, we settled in for a few hours of fun in the dust and wind. The results were definitely encouraging and the night sky incredible.
Keetmanshoop is the gateway to the famous quiver tree forest. We have been there before and looked forward to more opportunities for landscapes at dusk and perhaps some night scapes and light painting. For the first time in the trip moonrise was late enough not to interfere with long exposure night scapes.
The quiver tree is part of the aloe family and named because it is said the bushmen used the branches as arrow quivers. The tree has a soft and hollow centre and is succulent. They grow in and on the dry rocky basalt and granite in places otherwise inhospitable to vegetation and so are often seen perched dramatically on rocky outcrops.
In Keetmanshoop there are a couple of particularly nice collections of trees, and one has a camp site adjacent allowing you to walk in to the forest at any time. We settled in to wait for the light.
The trees are beautifully textured and stark which do well in silhouette .
We spent a couple of happy hours with our tripods and a cold beer in the company of rock dassies waiting for the sun to go down and the milky way to come up. Unfortunately what we did not know was that the adjacent camp site had gestapo style periphery lights which caused havoc with the ambient night light over the forest. They also wanted to levy a night photography fee. Maybe we needed to pay them to turn the lights off!