Enraptured by the nation’s welcoming locals, the many faces of its desert and its breathtaking sunrises, photographer Stefan Haehnel documented the journey through the desert in analogue. Follow him through the scorching landscapes in the series below. Haehnel narrates his experience: “The south of Africa has always been this blank spot on my personal map. I’ve never been further south than the Sahara Desert. When I got invited to go on a one-week road trip to Namibia I had no expectations whatsoever about this country. This made it exciting, mysterious – I guess I fell hard for it.
People who’ve never been to the desert might expect something totally different – perhaps a homogenous, almost boring landscape. But it’s the complete opposite! The desert has so many faces one simply cannot imagine. For seven days in a row, I just couldn’t stop observing. I especially fell in love with the sunrises.
I got up really early every morning, as I didn’t want to miss this magnificent moment, when the first sun rays tickle your skin, your eyes… The desert is so rough and dry and beautiful. In the mornings everything seems very peaceful, but then, when the temperatures are rising, the scenery changes and it all can get quite hostile. It feels as if the sun is literally burning.
During our trip we passed endless gravel roads and cities like Windhoek, Swakopmund and Walvis Bay. We did a safari in the famous Etosha National Park and met lots of very friendly and open locals: Etuna, the shepherd, Albert, the mine worker, Kavena, a professor at the University of Namibia.
Namibia is more than two times larger than Germany, but only has just over 2 million inhabitants. We traveled over 3500 kilometers from Windhoek to the Atlantic Ocean, north to Etosha and back. But still we only saw a very small part of this fascinating place – I guess I need to come back.”