Where photographs and even videos can’t capture the experience…


Skeleton Coast.

A Hauntingly Beautiful Enigma

Stretching along Namibia’s southwestern coast, the Skeleton Coast is a captivating and mysterious destination. Its barren dunes, rocky shores, and fog-shrouded landscapes create an eerie ambiance. The name itself reflects the remnants of a maritime past, with whale and seal bones scattered along the shore. Despite its ruggedness, the Skeleton Coast teems with life, from seal colonies to desert-adapted wildlife such as:-
This lone jackal

A plethora of pelicans,

Pelicans in flight:
(Apologies in advance if your browser doesn’t support HDR for playback it will be poorly lit)

And finally a flamboyance of flamingos!

Best watched in the video below to give you sense of the expanse of it all:
(Apologies in advance if your browser doesn’t support HDR for playback it will be poorly lit)

This awe-inspiring area showcased the breadth and depth of nature and offered us a humbling experience venturing into its vastly beautiful landscapes.

Ultimately our destination was the location of the Shawnee Shipwreck, as featured in the photograph atop this post.

Getting this photograph turned out to be quite the adventure in of itself…

Seeking the milky way

The joy of being in the desert is that there is no light pollution to obfuscate the stars. So we planned a 4.30 am wake up to capture the exact position of the milky way in this seascape with the shipwreck in the foreground. However when we woke up, or should I say got up from our sleepless windy night in tents, we found a cold grey fog masking everything… until it began to clear.

Then we went rushing down to the beach and set up our tripods (see second photo) pointed hopefully at the night sky, timed and aimed for precisely the right moment for the milky way to appear above the shipwreck and the fog to disappear.

Meanwhile, we got soaked over and over again by freak swells that kept rolling in, leaving us scrambling to pick up our tripods and rushing back to the dunes to save our equipment. It was all great fun until I dropped my camera in the sand in the hilarious panic of one particular wave.

Camera wreck? Certainly I was a nervous wreck!

Fortunately the camera was fine and the shipwreck was safely saved on the memory card. But the real memory was the experience of all this that can’t really be captured.

On the first night of our trip, the GoGravel expedition leaders asked us each what was our goal for the trip. Naturally, everyone focused on the photography. I was both recovering from my surgery and still disabled from a broken arm/shoulder, so I had set my sights low and simply answered: “I’m just looking to enjoy the experience”.

The light is always important in photography, but sometimes the light becomes the subject.

Now as I’m further recovered, I can say in all honesty that will always be what I look for when traveling and photographing. To enjoy the experience first and consider the photographs and videos just as reminders of where I was, who I was with and what I felt, the moment before pressing the shutter release.

On this trip, I’m reminded of the amazing camaraderie we all shared with the GoGravel team of Jandre Germishuizen and Hougaard Malan alongside the inimitable Marco Grassi. I’d like to thank them for the outstanding job they did both inspiring and guiding us and always helping us with our photographs first, before they ever considered adding to their own amazing photographic repertoire. 🙏🏻

Packing up camp, leaving nothing but our footprints for the wind to blow away.