Selecting Namibia for My Travel Destination

travel destination deadvlei in Namibia
Thank you for sharing this photo, Aravind.

When I told my friends and family members I was traveling to Namibia, the normal response was, “What?”, then “Where?” They had never heard of the country which is north of South Africa on the Atlantic Ocean side of the African continent. Then, people would ask me to spell it for them. “N-A-M-I-B-I-A”.

If you would have asked me a couple years ago, I would have probably said the exact same thing. So, why did I travel to Namibia?

With so many destinations in the world, how did I narrow down the choices to this special country? That’s easy. I was looking at photos on National Geographic online and did a double-triple-quadruple take on one of them. Yes, I was looking at a photo and no, it was not a painting. I had to look at it so many times because I couldn’t believe this place actually existed. So, one amazing photograph was all it took to entice me to fly 12,000+ miles to visit Deadvlei in Namibia.

Thank you Frans Lanting!

Click here for the original photo by Frans Lanting.

Here are a few of mine inspired by Mr. Lanting.

deadvlei in sossusvlei, Namibia

deadvlei in sossusvlei, namibia

That’s why I traveled to Namibia. Not only did I get to see, experience and photograph Deadvlei, my adventure included a lot more unexpected surprises. 

Why did you choose your last travel destination?

Panorama Preview of Namibia

I’ve been home from my trip since September 5th and frankly, I’m still so overwhelmed with how amazing Namibia was that I’m having a hard time condensing all my thoughts down into legible and concise thoughts. And…of course processing several thousand photos takes time.

So, here is a brief glimpse of what’s to come:

BlogNamKhomasHocklandExcarpmentPano

 

BlogNamibiaKhomasHocklandpano2

BlogSossusvleipano

Can you tell I love panorama compositions?

Enjoy!

Hermanus Shoreline, South Africa

While I didn’t spend much more than an hour or two in Hermanus, South Africa, waiting to catch a view of the whales, I still appreciated the beauty of the area and the power of the Atlantic Ocean. The weather had been unpredictable with rain and wind, but I was lucky enough to catch some blue sky. This is a place I wouldn’t mind visiting again someday.

Hermanus Shoreline, South Africa

Black Headed Heron, South Africa – Re-Cropped

After my last post, I kept returning to my photograph of the Black Headed Heron taking off. It’s one of my favorite photos from the trip, despite the fact that it is far from perfect. The bird lifted off much more quickly than I expected so I missed getting the perfect composition and had to resort to cropping the image. There’s no way to fix the fact that the tip of the wing was slightly cut off, but I just wasn’t happy with the cropping I’d done.

Luckily, I always save the unprocessed original, so here’s my second attempt, along with another photo of the heron as it flew away in the distance.

black headed heron in South Africa

 

BlackHeadedHeronblog2

Much better…

Here Birdy, Birdy- Mosaic Sanctuary Birds

Between the quad ride and driving with my guide, Vitalis, around the Mosaic Sanctuary, I not only enjoyed the beauty of the environment, but found myself fascinated by the birds.

Flamingos in the wild? Beautiful.

Flamingo Birds

One of the funniest birds I’ve seen in South Africa, the Guinea Fowl.

South African Birds

But my favorite was definitely the Black Headed Heron. Vitalis knew the habits of this magnificent bird and put me in the right position for each shot. Thank you, Vitalis!

The Black Headed Heron is one of the most beautiful birds.

 And in flight…

Birds Black Headed Heron in Flight

These were just the first of the trip. They make me smile as I remember how speechless I was. I know, a first time for everything. 🙂

Waiting for Whales – Hermanus, South Africa

There is something about whales that I find amazing. The only opportunity I’ve had to see them in person is when I traveled to Antarctica in 2009. So, it was a delight to see a Southern Right Whale just off the shores of Hermanus, South Africa on my trip last month.

I imagine if I lived in or near Hermanus, my butt print would permanently be etched on one or more of these rocks.

Wait for it…

Hermanus, South Africa

Sometimes nature just takes my breath away.

Hermanus, South Africa

Experiencing an Ahhhh Moment – Mosaic Farm

Mosaic Farm Luxury

You know that moment when you’ve finally arrived? That moment when you just want to collapse? That ahhhh moment? When I was shown my suite after 40+ hours of flights with layovers and a two hour drive, I experienced that moment.

I was finally in Africa, South Africa to be exact. I pulled in to Mosaic Farm near Hermanus and was welcomed by Vitalis and Simone. I stepped out of my car and they called me by name. All the tension left my body and I could have melted on the spot.

They quickly took over handing me snacks and drinks while my luggage was taken to the suite and I relaxed in the Lagoon Lodge. Then it was time for Simone to show me where I was staying. I’m sure my jaw dropped to the floor when I stepped inside. I’m not sure I’ve ever stayed anyplace that was so luxurious.

After wandering around in disbelief, I laughed with delight. Then, it was time for a brief catchup nap in the lap of luxury.

What a way to start a trip of a lifetime.

Love Locks – Frankfurt

Love Locks Bridge Frankfurt

There are thousands of locks in all shapes and sizes, each of them representing the love between two people. It’s a growing collaborative sculpture that expresses the beauty of love and relationships. 

The Eiserner Steg Bridge in Frankfurt, Germany, was originally built in 1868-1869 and updated in 1911.  I’m not sure when the padlocks began appearing, but I’m glad that they are allowed to remain on this historic bridge.

I met a nice couple from Malaysia who were in Frankfurt on vacation with their children. We took pictures for each other and had a wonderful time sharing stories on the overcast day. 

Then I pulled the lock out of my bag. It had traveled with me all the way from the U.S.  The special love of my life is my son. So our love lock is now attached to the bridge. 

Love locks in Frankfurt Germany

As I headed back to the train station so I could return to the airport before my flight, I wondered about the people who had put their own locks on the bridge. Are they still together? I sure hope so. The locks are a way to freeze a moment in time when love and hope are strong.

If you ever head to Frankfurt, Germany, I highly recommend visiting the Eiserner Steg Bridge. It was the highlight of my brief time in Frankfurt.

I love you, Travis!!

 

Bubble Man of Frankfurt

Sometimes getting lost in a big city is a good thing.

I left the airport in Frankfurt for a brief tour of the city during my layover. Almost from the moment I stepped out of the train station I was lost. The streets listed on the map were so small, I had a hard time reading them. A few blocks later, I decided to ask for help. A friendly couple stopped and pointed me in the right direction. I traveled a few streets too far and ended up on a pedestrian style mall. There I found the Bubble Man. He was a street performer unlike anything I’ve ever seen before and he spread his joy with bubbles. 

Bubble Man Frankfurt

The children laughed chasing the bubbles down and the adults laughed along. There is something about bubbles that sends me back in time to when I was a kid. I found myself giggling out loud.

Bubble Man Frankfurt

The Bubble Man reminded me of a conductor and we all stopped to appreciate his music. About five minutes later, the rainstorm hit and the magic was packed away. I never would have found him if I hadn’t been lost. What a fun moment in time.

Thanks for sharing your joy, Bubble Man!

Preparing for a 10 Hour Layover

skyline of Frankfurt at Hauptwache
The layover hits almost right in the middle of my 40 hours of travel to Cape Town, South Africa. 40 hours? Yes, 40 hours, 10 of it in Frankfurt, Germany.

I can choose the very conservative option of playing it safe and hang at the airport. It may be less stressful, but I think sitting for ten hours in preparation for my 11 hour flight to Johannesburg would drive me crazy.

The other option is to take the train from the airport into downtown Frankfurt to visit a few of the sights and to have an early dinner that includes anything other than airport food. The ability to get my body moving and my blood pumping sounds great. While I’ll be careful about what I plan so that I’m back in the airport in plenty of time for my next flight, I can still take a few hours to see a very small part of Frankfurt. It’s a beautiful city in the country of my ancestors and I don’t want to miss out.

Here is how I’ve prepared:

  1. Reviewed and printed the map for the Frankfurt airport
  2. The train to downtown actually leaves from the terminal where I’ll be and there is an information booth nearby where I can get the scoop prior to leaving
  3. Checked out possible places I want to visit on Trip Advisor and other tourism sites
  4. Discovered I can leave my carry on luggage at airport storage so I can travel light
  5. Made sure my travel outfit will include comfortable shoes and a jacket

I’m looking forward to this part of my trip almost as much as the rest. It will be good to get out an walk for a few hours. I have a few surprises planned and will be posting photos.

Do you play it safe on long layovers or go experience new adventures while you are on the ground?