The ‘Africa in Focus’ Photographic Competition, organised by Wilderness Safaris has been launched in partnership with leading manufacturer of optical and digital precision technology, Olympus.
Celebrating spectacular landscapes, unparalleled wildlife and culturally rich, and welcoming people that define Africa, this year’s competition boasts an impressive list of prizes along with a world-class judging panel, which includes two of the last year’s winners. Entries will open on 1 September and close on 15 October, with the winners announced on 15 November 2020.
“With the global COVID-19 pandemic inhibiting travel and challenging us on so many levels, now more than ever we need to reminisce – and dream – of Africa’s beauty, adventure, wide-open spaces, and true wilderness. In addition to inspiring positive action through these shared experiences, we want to inspire our travellers to reconnect with this beautiful continent,” says Hadley Allen, Wilderness Safaris Chief Commercial Officer.
Prior to visiting the Namib Desert, I researched the animals and weather. From my research, I anticipated that mid-morning the oryx travel to the tops of dunes in the Namib Desert to capture the cool wind and moisture blowing inland from the Atlantic Ocean. Based on this, I scheduled a helicopter with doors off in hopes of capturing an scene of the oryx at the peak. Luck favored the prepared this day.
There are four categories that entrants can choose from; African Wildlife, African Landscape, Conserving Africa’s Wilderness and People/ Cultures and Communities of Africa. Entries are not limited to Wilderness Safaris areas; instead, photographers, guests, partners, intrepid travellers and Africa enthusiasts are invited to submit any of their favourite images taken anywhere in Africa; non-Africa imagery will not be eligible for prizes.
At an entry fee of R300 (USD25) each photographer is allowed a maximum of five entries, more submissions will come at an additional cost. A range of exceptional prizes is on offer, including an all-expenses paid nine-night safari for two people sharing at a choice of three Wilderness Safaris Classic camps (Botswana, Namibia, Zambia or Zimbabwe) for the Wilderness Safaris Photographer of the Year. The top prize also includes a private photographic guide, international flights (economy) to the destination country, as well as charter flights all valued at USD20 000.
Headed by award-winning South African photographer, Isak Pretorius, this year’s judging panel also includes two of last year’s winners; Trevor Cole who was the Overall Winner as well Buddy Eleazer who was the People’s Choice Winner. Joining them will be world-renowned photography experts Keith Ladzinski, Shannon Wild, Chris Eyre-Walker and Gaël vande Weghe.
All submitted photographs will be displayed in an online gallery on Wilderness Safaris’ website. The top 10 of each category will be announced on 30 October and then on 15 November all winners of the competition with be announced. The People’s Choice Competition will commence from 01 – 10 November, which will give the public the opportunity to vote for their favourite image per category.
Proceeds from this competition will be channelled towards Wilderness Safaris’ Conservation Heroes campaign, which is providing basic food needs to people who have lost their tourism-related livelihoods. Addressing this need reduces the probability of ordinary people resorting to poaching wildlife for food. The initiative is also providing the necessary funds to increase wildlife monitoring in areas currently faced with poaching challenges. This is especially important for criminal poaching syndicates looking to capitalise on reduced law enforcement and tourism presence.