For the five years that the Africa in Focus Photographic Competition has been run, Wilderness has proudly awarded a unique and personalised safari to the winning photographer. Our 2019 winner Trevor Cole has been waiting patiently, and was finally able to take up his prize-winner’s journey in May 2022.
Trevor shares his experiences with us, including his new perspective on Namibia thanks to the wonderful Wilderness team here, and his incomparable guide, Abner Simeon.
After a significant delay you were finally able to use your prize. What was the anticipation like, and did your experience meet expectations?
Yes, there was indeed a considerable delay but Wilderness always assured us that the trip would happen. And so it did! The anticipation was a mixture of excitement and trepidation, the latter a result of almost perpetual disruption to travel plans over the last couple of years. The trip exceeded expectations. I know Africa well, having lived there for five years (Togo and Ethiopia), and I have been to Namibia three times previously. This time, however, was different. The locations were inimitable, and so too the whole experience.
What camps did you choose to visit?
We went to Little Kulala, Hoanib and Serra Cafema. Each in a different ‘desert’ location and each with its own uniqueness.
Can you give us one significant experience from each place you visited?
Little Kulala is an incredible place if you want to immerse yourself in the Namib Desert. It has the greatest dunes on Earth, and is 300 million years old. To visit Dead Vlei at dawn or dusk is simply an ethereal, other worldly experience. A place to revere, absorb and immerse yourself in its beauty. We opted to take both a balloon ride and a helicopter ride over the desert and this, for us, made the venture complete. To look down and reflect upon the quiescence of the desert from a balloon, and then the excitement of a helicopter ride to the coast at dawn, truly fulfilled dreams.
Hoanib is located close to the Skeleton Coast and again is an incredible location. To surround yourself with 40 000 seals on the coast, and have close encounters with desert-adapted lion and elephant on a river bed, truly made this experience special. To wake up in the early morning light and have giraffes grazing nonchalantly in front of our window was indeed special.
Serra Cafema, which I have been to before, is simply amazing. The location, the design of the lodge and the drive though desert mountains and dunes make it again unique. Here we relished visiting and photographing the Himba villagers nearby. The people were wonderful and their resilience comes from living in such an unforgiving environment.
It should be said that our experiences in all the lodges were only made possible by Abner, our guide, and the familial atmosphere in each location. The staff at Wilderness were outstanding.
How was the photographic experience compared to your prize-winning image from South Sudan?
Namibia never disappoints photographically. The light, the dunes, the desert-adapted game, the landscapes, and the Himba. There are few places on Earth which offer such diversity. The experiences in somewhere like South Sudan are very different, but the opportunities in Namibia are more diverse.
You too can stand a chance to win your own special safari by entering this year’s Africa in Focus competition. Entries open 1 August 2022. Learn more here.
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