Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Namibia Day 2: Klein Aus Vista

Desert Horses - Namibia

Day 2 in Namibia started with a walk to photograph the sunrise, and a fantastic breakfast at Canon Lodge. We weren't in a hurry to get on the road as we didn't have far to go. We saw both oryx and springbok on our way to Canon Roadhouse where we refueled and got on the road again. We arrived at the Desert Horse Inn early in the afternoon. The rooms were quite nice and after getting settled in we headed out to see the desert horses.

Wild Horses of Namibia

We spent the whole of the afternoon in the Namib-Naukluft Park watching the feral horses. Several theories exist about the origins of these desert adapted horses. The most commonly accepted theory is that they are descendants of horses used by the South African military in World War I. These horses have been living on their own in the desert at least since World War I. They've adapted to the sparse food and sparse water of the desert. They will sometimes go up to three days without water. Most of the horses looked like they were in relatively good shape but a few looked undernourished.

Undernourished Horse

A artificial waterhole was built at Gorub and this provides most of the water for the wild horses. It also provides water for other wild animals. While at the waterhole we saw most of the estimated 300 feral horses as well as oryx and ostrich. After sunset we even saw a jackal at the waterhole.

All of the scenery near Klein Aus Vista is gorgous. It seemed everywhere you looked was just stunning. I love deserts and think that they are truly beautiful places and Namibia had so many different and beautiful deserts.

Desert Expanse

We stayed at Gorub until after sunset and were treated to an amazing sunset. I recommend spending an afternoon here if you are in the area. I couldn't help but feel awed by these amazing horses. They've overcome so many obstacles to live in this dry barren place. You can't help but admire their determination and will to live.

Desert as sunset nears

Technical Notes: A tripod is a must for photographing the scenery, but a travel tripod may not be a sturdy enough tripod. My travel tripod worked for my wide-angle lens but the wind was such that I could not use it for my telephoto after dark. I ended up hand-holding the camera bracing my elbows on a table while using a vibration reduction lens to take photos once the light got low and the wind picked up. If you stay in the provided area to view the horses you are still a ways from the water so a 400mm or longer is the minimum you'd want unless you are photographing more environmental portraits.

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