There are destinations that each photographer dreams of visiting. For Zhenya Savina this destination is Namibia. Every time she would read about it, she would begin imagining herself capturing the region’s authenticity. She imagined climbing the sand dunes and photographing the desert elephants facing extinction.
In order to visit and start capturing Namibia’s authenticity in its purest form, Zhenya Savina decided to visit in February when the tourist season was not yet in full swing. With daytime temperatures reaching between 45-50 degrees, it is only possible to withstand the sun early in the morning or after 5 pm.
As many reserve locations sometimes require a 4-6 hour drive, Zhenya was lucky to have collaborated with Mercedes Benz, and have some of her work published in National Geographic Russia. However, this collaboration was just a snippet of the adventures that were to come.
When we were just planning the trip, we immediately decided that we would explore the country by car.Zhenya Savina
To overcome the desert-difficulties, Zhenya relied on the leading travel company in Africa, Wilderness Safaris – from which the project received its name. Through this additional collaboration, the project “Wilderness Safaris” gained its starting point and included writing about the experience, creating a video, and sending the material to Veter Magazine. During the trip, Zhenya visited the camps Little Kulala and Damaraland Camp.
Little Kulala Camp
According to Zhenya, the experience of working on a project from Wilderness Safaris was extremely unique. Due to the attention to authenticity, style, and high quality service, both camps in the Namibian Desert exceeded the expectations.
Not only were the camps in the field of Luxury African Accommodation, but they also carried out numerous activities to support local communities, organisations, and protect the wildlife.
Litte Kulala Camp is located in the heart of the Namibian Desert, within the private Kulala Nature Reserve. As a guest you a granted access to one of the most famous dune parks, Naukluft. It was here that Zhenya’s dream of climbing the sand dunes came true, as she and her crew watched a stunning sunrise and captured images of the sand dunes shifting their shapes and lines.
Damaraland Camp resulted in a successful partnership between Wilderness Safaris and the Torra Nature Reserve. The camp was built using various sustainable methods in an attempt to minimise the impact on the environment and support the principles of sustainability.
The camp has, therefore, energy generated by solar panels, food produced by local farmers, and only people from nearby villages and tribes are allowed to work in the camp.
At Damaraland Camp, she saw the elephants she had daydreamed about seeing, and spent hours watching their movements. However, this was not the only phenomenon. Zhenya was able to witness an extremely rare happening: rain in the desert.
We saw elephants in the following days of our stay at Damaraland Camp. They come to the deltas of dried up rivers to feast on tree branches.
Zhenya is a German-based freelance photographer, originally from Russia, focusing her work around people and places. Zhenya’s work has been published in Vogue Brides, National Geographic Russia, Brides UK, Frankie Mag AU, and The Noisetier, amongst others.
After having been named one of the top 10 best wedding photographers in Russia, Zhenya is now focusing more on photographing brand stories, campaigns, magazine editorials and travel related projects.
To see more of Zhenya’s work, visit her Cherrydeck profile or her website, here. During lockdown, the photographer has also been commissioned by mhplus via Cherrydeck — you can see the collaboration, here. 🍒