Namibia through the eyes of photographer Kyle Goetsch

For landscape photographer Kyle Goetsch, Namibia holds irresistible allure. Along with breathtaking photos, he shares his perspective on the country that is many an overlander’s dream destination.

From his base in Cape Town, photographer Kyle Goetsch travels to untouched corners to capture beautiful landscapes. Armed with a Garmin device from Tracks4Africa, he travelled along Namibia’s gravel roads earlier this year and came back even more hooked. He answers our questions about what makes the country so special.

When did you first travel to Namibia and what do you remember from that first trip?

I first travelled to Namibia in 2018. I had always wanted to visit Namibia: the images I saw coming out of the country always made me want to go visit. So, in 2018, I borrowed a friend’s 4×4 and I loaded it full of camping gear and off I went on a 10-day adventure. What I remember the most from that trip was the vastness of Namibia combined with so many unique landscapes. You could travel 8 hours between campsites and in those 8 hours, drive through 8–10 different landscapes, from grasslands to deserts to rugged mountains.

What is it about the country that speaks to you?

This is a tough question. I think if I had to break it down fundamentally, it would be my desire to explore. Namibia is one of those countries where you can drive off and explore without seeing other people. You still get that sense of what the world was like before we covered it with man-made objects.

The Namib Desert, wild and untouched. This photo shows dunes near Walvis Bay and was taken from a helicopter. Pictures by Kyle Goetsch

What type of traveller will get the most from overlanding in Namibia?

My answer is completely biased, but a landscape photographer or a traveller with a passion for photography will get the most out of overlanding in Namibia. I say this as the landscape photographer will get up at 3am to drive to a good location and watch the sunrise. He will also make sure not to miss a sunset either. I find the camera has allowed me to see and appreciate beautiful scenes and landscapes I would not have experienced if just travelling as a hiker or camper.

The sight of these giraffes crossing a salt pan is a moment Kyle treasures.

How often do you visit Namibia and why?

Not as often as I would like. I would love to visit it at least once a year. I wasn’t able to go last year due to Covid, but made up for it this year by going three times between January and March. The why is easy for me, there are still so many places I haven’t explored or photographed yet. Also my passion is trying to capture unique or rare weather conditions so when there is rain in Namibia, I have to go.

Which new discoveries did you make on your trip?

I would say Epupa Falls on the Angolan border. It was always a place that lived in fantasy for me, somewhere up in Africa. To be able to actually go there and see it and photograph the area was amazing. I will be back there, hopefully soon.

Also read: About travelling Kaokoland

Kyle captured Epupa Falls as the first light hit the water. “What a magical place to explore as a landscape photographer,” he says.

Is there a place in Namibia you don’t get tired of photographing?

This is an easy one. Sossusvlei. There is just so much photographic potential there. I could spend a month there and still get unique images.

What is your favourite road? And the road you try to avoid?

My favorite road would be driving up from Kolmanskop to Sossusvlei through NamibRand Nature Reserve. Absolutely stunning road to travel on. My least favourite is any tar road. I try stay off the tar as much as possible due to the trucks.

Zebra grazing in NamibRand Nature Reserve. “Watching Namibia transform from desert sands to amazing green grasslands has definitely been a highlight for me this year,” says Kyle.

Where do you like to camp to get away from the crowds?

I try go to Namibia when it isn’t peak tourist season as it can be extremely difficult to photograph with lots of tourists around. Generally, I stay in many of the main/popular camping areas due to access to locations. For example, I camp at Sesriem campsite as they give an extra hour of access to the park before and after sunset.

What is your favourite roadside snack in Namibia?

Definitely a Wimpy lime milkshake. (Perhaps a reward for travelling along those tar roads? – T4A.)

The contrast between the desert dune and the life-giving water makes for an unforgettable photograph. “When there is rain in Namibia, I have to go.”

What is the one sight/viewpoint you can’t drive past without stopping?

This is hard as I stop at most of them. Basically, any stop with a grand vista and a kokerboom and I’m stopping to see what I can photograph.

Where should one watch the sunset?

Always watch sunset from a location where you don’t see signs of civilisation. For me, being able to sit up on a dune or overlooking a mountain vista without any signs of people is the most amazing thing. The chance to simply appreciate the entire scene as it has been for thousands of years.

The sun’s last rays paint the sky above Spitzkoppe in fiery tones.

What is your approach to border crossings?

Border crossings aren’t that bad, they just generally take longer than you think. Always have all your paperwork done and ready, this makes the process as smooth as possible. And just have patience. Everything is on African time.

For more incredible landscape photography of Namibia and South Africa, follow Kyle Goetsch on Instagram.

To explore the Namibia’s incomparable landscape along lesser-known routes, get the Tracks4Africa Namibia Self-Drive Guide Book. Along with destination descriptions and detailed accommodation listings, the guide contains essential information on trip planning, navigation, red tape and vet fences. The table of distance and travel times is invaluable for route planning. Arm yourself with our paper map or GPS map to the country and you’re ready for adventure.

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