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Newsletter 29 - sent on the 21 July 2019
Photograph UNESCO World Heritage in Jordan, Laos & Namibia
Apologies for sending out another mailout so soon after the last one; usually we only manage an average of one a month, but things have been moving really fast over the past week or so.
Just after we sent out our last newsletter, the news broke that amongst the new sites to be included on the UNESCO World Heritage list was the enigmatic Plain of Jars in Laos. I love this incredible collection of giant, ancient stone jars, and am really thrilled that they have now reached the pinnacle of international recognition. It has got me thinking about other UNESCO listed places on our currently available tours, so I thought that I would detail some of the fantastic World Heritage places that you will be able to photograph with us.
Also, we have had a run of bookings over the past week or so, and our last two trips in 2019 – to Jordan and Laos – are now being confirmed and each only have a small number of places available. Our two departures to Namibia at the end of next year are already half full. If you are hanging on for some reason before booking, then please don't delay!
Impressions of Jordan
The most famous of all of the UNESCO World Heritage places in Jordan are of course, the ruins of the ancient Nabatean City of Petra. We spend three nights at this incredible place - enough to give a full two and a half days of exploration. This is the minimum that you will need in order to get to many of the more far-reaching places, such as the hilltop monastery, especially if you want to make the most of the atmospheric sunrise and sunset light.
Other UNESCO sites that you will enjoy on this trip are the Qasr Amra, one of the best-preserved desert buildings of the Umayyads and renowned for its rather risqué 8th-century frescoes; and the Wadi Rum Protected Area. This vast desert region boasts many fantastically eroded rock structures and is most famous for being one of the hangouts of Lawrence of Arabia. We explore the area in a 4WD and spend an atmospheric night in a comfortable desert camp.
There are a number of places on our itinerary that are in the process of being inscribed by UNESCO, and these include the spectacularly well-preserved Roman city of Jerash and the remote and harsh beauty of the Dana Biosphere Reserve.
Impressions of Jordan departs from Amman on the 22 October 2019 for 11 days, and costs from £1795 per person based on twinshare. A single supplement option is also available. At the moment we have just four places left on this trip. To see all of the fantastic places we visit on this trip, check out the full itinerary here, or you can find the booking form here.
The pdf for this trip can be downloaded on this link.
Impressions of Laos
The Plain of Jars is the latest of the stunning sites in Laos to be included by UNESCO, but it is not the most famous place in the country. This accolade has to fall to the incomparable city of Luang Prabang. This is a breathtakingly well preserved city, that still manages to retain much of its charm. Noted for the collection of beautiful and historic Wats, or monasteries, Luang Prabang is best known for the lines of monks that walk the city at dawn collecting alms from the faithful.
Much of the history of the Plain of Jars lies shrouded in mystery, which is a part of its attraction. Some believe that they are ancient stone coffins, others that they were used to brew alcohol to celebrate a great military victory. What is known though is that battles were fought here during the Indochina War, and you can still see a lot of war remnants in the area.
The other great UNESCO site in the country, that we will visit, are the ruins of Wat Phou in the South, near Champassak. This was a part of the Khmer civilisation that was centred on the Cambodian ruins of Angkor Wat, and is still used as an active pilgrimage site. One site in the process of being listed is Wat That Luang, in the capital city, Vientiane.
Impressions of Laos departs from Luang Prabang on the 27 November 2019 for 14 days, and costs from £1995 per person based on twinshare. A single supplement option is also available. At the moment, we have only four places left on this trip. You can see all of the other fantastic places that we visit on the full itinerary here, or you can find the booking form here.
The pdf for this trip can be downloaded on this link.
Impressions of Namibia
Even with more than a year to go, our twin trips to Namibia at the end of 2020 are already more than half full. The most famous UNESCO location in the country is the Namib Sand Sea, which stretches from the dunes of Sosussvlei to the long Atlantic Coast. We spend two nights at Sosussvlei, staying inside of the actual park and a beautiful and luxurious lodge, which gives us exclusive access to the area at sunrise and sunset - well worth the extra cost, and a significant part of the cost of this trip!
We also visit the other UNESCO site in the country, the massive collection of ancient petroglyphs at Twyfelfontein, which gives an insight into the long history of human life in the country.
A number of places are in the process of being inscribed, including the Fishriver Canyon and the incomparable Etosha Pan. We spend two nights in each of these places, giving you the chance to photograph at sunrise and sunset, and in the case of Etosha, have two chances to photograph at the Okakuejo Camp - which has arguably the best floodlit waterhole in Africa, which is one of the best places in the continent to see the critically endangered Black Rhino.
We have two dates organised for Impressions of Namibia: departing Windhoek on the 23 September and 14 October, each for 15 days. The first trip is led by Steve Davey; the second trip by photographer Jamie Marshall. The cost is from £3995 per person based on twinshare. Already half of the places on these trips have been booked.
To see more of the amazing places that we visit on this exciting photography tour, you can see the full itinerary here, or if you want to book up a place on the trip, you can find the booking form here.
How we run our tours
The difference between my tours and a lot of other photographic trips, is that I realise that you deserve a holiday! I know that most of the people who travel with me work hard all year, and whilst they want to have as many photo-opportunities as possible, they also want to to relax and enjoy themselves on their precious time away. So expect to have a lot of laughs, entertaining meals and the chance to sit around and enjoy a few drinks at the end of the day.
I am also not the sort of photographer who will be insulted (and sulk) if you decide to take the day off and chill by the pool, or even go shopping! It is your trip after all. I also believe that the more that someone enjoys their time in a country, the more engaged and motivated they will feel, and the better their photographs will be.
Collaborating with Intrepid Travel to provide the land arrangements for my tours doesn't just give you the benefits of their years of experience in the adventure travel industry and protection of their industry bonding, it means that we will be accompanied by one of their superb local leaders. I go out of my way to give these leaders a lot of time and freedom to help you to immerse yourself in the country and learn about its history and culture.
Of course, you will have all of the opportunities for photography that you could ever want. There are some times when an early start for photographing the sunrise is an integral part of the trip, but there will also be a number of optional sunrises. I will be getting up, and anyone who wants to join me is welcome, but if you want a lie in, then no one will look down on you.
The tuition on the trips is a mix of short illustrated talks about different aspects of photography, projects to try to help you to develop skills and lively review sessions. I also spend all of my time with the group, pointing out photographs and approaching people for portraits on your behalf. You will learn a lot just by seeing how I work, approach the World and create photographs. I am also always available to answer any questions, look at pictures and help you with any problems or issues you might have.
I work hard to develop a nurturing environment on my trips. I don't hold with the 'camera-club' competitive mentality, where people put down other photographers and try to find fault with their work. Because of this, what tends to happen is that those with more knowledge share this knowledge with others, and what is important in the reviews, is how each person improves and develops from their own starting point - not how they compete with others.
As someone has said about one of my tours, and the closest thing to a mission statement that we have:
"Your love of photography and travel is infectious and I can honestly say I have never laughed or learnt so much on a holiday before!"
Better Travel Photography
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