National Geographic
Menu

Top 25 Photographs from the Wilderness #18

Africa is our closest representation of the “Pleistocene megafauna”, the massive land animals considered archetypical of the last ice age, the mammoths and mastodons, sabre-toothed cats, and giant sloths, horses, bears, tortoises, and much else that disappeared with the subsequent rise of humankind. To walk in Africa’s wild places is to listen to yourself and understand your place on this planet. It is in these last wild places on earth that can teach us a better way to live in an impossible future. If, in 10-15 years time, we do lose our last true wilderness area to development and consumption, it will be the end of all hope for us and the beginning of a new future without us. The wilderness will eventually come back and this blue planet will create new life that we have not yet imagined. Africa is the wildest continent left with an untamed quality to the landscapes, people and wildlife.

We are rediscovering that only through sharing more, using less and caring about our actions will we save this magnificent planet. Social media gives us the ability to share photographs, thoughts, ideas, and knowledge almost instantaneously with powerful effect. A great example of this is National Geographic’s “The Great Nature Project”. This is a worldwide celebration of our diverse planet through photographs submitted by people around the world. WE must all participate by tag all photograph uploads of plants and animals #GreatNature Become part of a Guinness World Record attempt to upload the largest-ever online photo album of nature photographs. The Great Nature Project is part of a new age of exploration by millions of people around the world with cameras and instruments gathering important data and research for a better world.

Guides, rangers, researchers, ecotourists, photographers, artists and conservationists around the world apply themselves everyday to sharing, studying, photographing, writing about and celebrating the “wild” with their guests, co-workers, colleagues, and local communities. These amazing photographs are a window into their world, a world where the lions, elephants, orangutans and leopards still reign supreme and we can dream of that perfect morning in the wilderness. These stunning photographs are selected from hundreds of submissions and are intended to bring the beauty, freedom and splendour of the wilderness to as many people as possible around the world.

Submit your best photographs from the wildest places to the Ranger Diaries website, and stand a chance of being featured in the “Top 25 Photographs from the Wilderness”!  

1.Chasing cheetahs by guide Morkel Erasmus. Two young Kalahari cheetahs chase each other around a surprisingly green Auob riverbed. Photographed in the Kgalagadi Transfronteir Park, South Africa/Botswana. (morkelerasmus.com/ wild-eye.co.za)
1. Chasing cheetahs by guide Morkel Erasmus. Two young Kalahari cheetahs chase each other around a surprisingly green Auob riverbed. Photographed in the Kgalagadi Transfronteir Park, South Africa/Botswana. (morkelerasmus.com/ wild-eye.co.za)

“The continent is too large to describe. It is a veritable ocean, a separate planet, a varied, immensely rich cosmos. Only with the greatest simplification, for the sake of convenience, can we say ‘Africa’. In reality, except as a geographical appellation, Africa does not exist.” ― Ryszard Kapuściński

Elephant dust by guide Andrew Schoeman. "Elephant Dust" A herd of elephants had kicked up a huge cloud of dust while feeding. The dust was beautifully highlighted by the setting sun, and this young bull elephant was feeding off to one side away from the bustle of the herd. Photographed on safari with ODP Safaris and the Zambezi Voyager. (andrewschoemanphotography.co.za/outdoorphoto.co.za)
Elephant dust by guide Andrew Schoeman. “Elephant Dust” A herd of elephants had kicked up a huge cloud of dust while feeding. The dust was beautifully highlighted by the setting sun, and this young bull elephant was feeding off to one side away from the bustle of the herd. Photographed on safari with ODP Safaris and the Zambezi Voyager. (andrewschoemanphotography.co.za/outdoorphoto.co.za)

“It’s better to be a lion for a day than a sheep all your life.” - Elizabeth Kenny

Predator wars, by Alistair Swartz. A few hyenas had been following the dogs the entire morning but had kept their distance. One of the hyenas strayed a little too close for the pack’s liking and with no warning the dogs attacked. Photographed at Mana Pools National Park, Zimbabwe. (rangerdiaries.com)
Predator wars, by Alistair Swartz. A few hyenas had been following the dogs the entire morning but had kept their distance. One of the hyenas strayed a little too close for the pack’s liking and with no warning the dogs attacked. Photographed at Mana Pools National Park, Zimbabwe. (rangerdiaries.com)

“Although we followed that hyena for the best part of half an hour, we never caught up with it.” - Louis Leakey

Surrounded and exhausted, by Alistair Swartz. “No sooner had the attack on the hyena finished, when a few dogs broke from the pack and locked onto an Impala ram that was browsing towards the edge of the flood plain. The speed and coordination was truly incredible to watch. The few dogs that were involved in the unrelenting chase, herded the Impala towards the rest of the pack. The dogs pursued the impala to complete exhaustion. They then surrounded it and moved in for the kill. Being on foot 20 meters from a pack of wild dogs killing an impala is an experience that not many people will ever get to experience. The ferocity and speed at which they consume the kill is a sight to behold.” Photographed at Mana Pools National Park, Zimbabwe. (rangerdiaries.com)
Surrounded and exhausted, by Alistair Swartz. “No sooner had the attack on the hyena finished, when a few dogs broke from the pack and locked onto an Impala ram that was browsing towards the edge of the flood plain. The speed and coordination was truly incredible to watch. The few dogs that were involved in the unrelenting chase, herded the Impala towards the rest of the pack. The dogs pursued the impala to complete exhaustion. They then surrounded it and moved in for the kill. Being on foot 20 meters from a pack of wild dogs killing an impala is an experience that not many people will ever get to experience. The ferocity and speed at which they consume the kill is a sight to behold.” Photographed at Mana Pools National Park, Zimbabwe. (rangerdiaries.com)

“Nature’s great masterpiece, an elephant; the only harmless great thing.” - John Donne

5.Thieves, by Alistair Swartz. After eating their fill, the adult dogs moved a little way from the kill and lay down to rest. A few of the pups continued to feed on what was left of the carcass. While this was going on, the clan of hyena had edged closer. Seeing that only the pups were on the carcass, four of the hyena rushed in and ripped it away from the pups.” Photographed at Mana Pools National Park, Zimbabwe. (rangerdiaries.com)
5. Thieves, by Alistair Swartz. After eating their fill, the adult dogs moved a little way from the kill and lay down to rest. A few of the pups continued to feed on what was left of the carcass. While this was going on, the clan of hyena had edged closer. Seeing that only the pups were on the carcass, four of the hyena rushed in and ripped it away from the pups.” Photographed at Mana Pools National Park, Zimbabwe. (rangerdiaries.com)

“Guns have metamorphosed into cameras in this earnest comedy, the ecology safari, because nature has ceased to be what it always had been , what people needed protection from. Now nature tamed, endangered, mortal , needs to be protected from people.” - Susan Sontag

Wild dogs attack a spotted hyena, Alistair Swartz. “This sparked the rest of the pack into action as they rushed to the aid of the pups. Three of the hyena made an escape, but once again, the pack managed to single one out. They viciously attacked it and in the process, injured the front right paw very badly. The paw seemed to be almost ripped off and the hyena had no use of it.” Photographed at Mana Pools National Park, Zimbabwe. (rangerdiaries.com)
Wild dogs attack a spotted hyena, Alistair Swartz. “This sparked the rest of the pack into action as they rushed to the aid of the pups. Three of the hyena made an escape, but once again, the pack managed to single one out. They viciously attacked it and in the process, injured the front right paw very badly. The paw seemed to be almost ripped off and the hyena had no use of it.” Photographed at Mana Pools National Park, Zimbabwe. (rangerdiaries.com)

“Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living. ” - Miriam Beard

Escape, by Alistair Swartz . “After a sustained attack, the hyena did manage to escape, although badly injured.” Photographed at Mana Pools National Park, Zimbabwe. (rangerdiaries.com)
Escape, by Alistair Swartz . “After a sustained attack, the hyena did manage to escape, although badly injured.” Photographed at Mana Pools National Park, Zimbabwe. (rangerdiaries.com)

“Everything in Africa bites, but the safari bug is worst of all.”  - Brian Jackman

Meerkat lessons, by guide Gary Parker. Photographed at Tswalu, Kalahari, South Africa. (tswalu.com/ untamedodyssey.com)
Meerkat lessons, by guide Gary Parker. Photographed at Tswalu, Kalahari, South Africa. (tswalu.com/ untamedodyssey.com)

“You know you are truly alive when you’re living among lions.” ― Karen Blixen

Reflections of a young King, by guide Keith Connelly. Photographed at Motswari, Timbavati, South Africa. (motswari.com)
Reflections of a young King, by guide Keith Connelly. Photographed at Motswari, Timbavati, South Africa. (motswari.com)

“Some people…find they need animals to look at and to learn from. They have discovered that men, not beasts, are uncivilized.” - Cynthia Nola

Mammoth storm,, by guide Keith Connelly. Photographed at Motswari, Timbavati, South Africa. (motswari.com)
Mammoth storm,, by guide Keith Connelly. Photographed at Motswari, Timbavati, South Africa. (motswari.com)

“Wilderness gave us knowledge. Wilderness made us human. We came from here. Perhaps that is why so many of us feel a strong bond to this land called Serengeti; it is the land of our youth.” ― Boyd Norton

Cheetah and cubs, by Ken and Michelle Dyball.  Photographed in the Masai Mara, Kenya (purenaturesafaris.com)
Cheetah and cubs, by Ken and Michelle Dyball. Photographed in the Masai Mara, Kenya (purenaturesafaris.com)

“There is language going on out there- the language of the wild. Roars, snorts, trumpets, squeals, whoops, and chirps all have meaning derived over eons of expression… We have yet to become fluent in the language -and music- of the wild.” ― Boyd Norton

Battle of the reptiles, by Caroline Scheiss. “A Turner's Thick-toed Gecko and Brown House Snake locked in a battle of sheer will power. It's unclear who preyed on whom, but obviously one of them had bitten off more than they could chew. See the rest of the images here: http://bit.ly/1de7i9g  (Wild Photographix)
Battle of the reptiles, by Caroline Scheiss. “A Turner’s Thick-toed Gecko and Brown House Snake locked in a battle of sheer will power. It’s unclear who preyed on whom, but obviously one of them had bitten off more than they could chew. See the rest of the images here: http://bit.ly/1de7i9g (Wild Photographix)

“You either get the point of Africa or you don’t. What draws me back year after year is that it’s like seeing the world with the lid off.” ― A.A. Gill

Splash, by guide James Haskins. “I worked hard to get into the right position to watch this lioness dash across the Savute Marsh in Northern Botswana. The motivation being that there is always action (worth capturing with a fast shutter speed) when a powerful animal such as this moves swiftly through the water. Her expression tells of her anxiety to cross the river quickly for fear of crocodiles and to catch up with her fellow pride members.” (wildlandsafaris.com)
Splash, by guide James Haskins. “I worked hard to get into the right position to watch this lioness dash across the Savute Marsh in Northern Botswana. The motivation being that there is always action (worth capturing with a fast shutter speed) when a powerful animal such as this moves swiftly through the water. Her expression tells of her anxiety to cross the river quickly for fear of crocodiles and to catch up with her fellow pride members.” (wildlandsafaris.com)

“Humanity was born in Africa. All people, ultimately, are African.” ― Unknown

The lightning bird, by guide James Kydd.  Among certain African tribes the Hamerkop (hammer head) is known as a bird that manifests itself in the form of lightning. Photographed in the forests outside Arusha, Tanzania. (indritours.com)
The lightning bird, by guide James Kydd. Among certain African tribes the Hamerkop (hammer head) is known as a bird that manifests itself in the form of lightning. Photographed in the forests outside Arusha, Tanzania. (indritours.com)

“Africa is cruel…it takes your heart and grinds it into powdered stone – and no-one minds” - Elspeth Huxley

Caracal before a Karoo storm, photographed by guide Andrea Campbell, Karoo, South Africa.
Caracal before a Karoo storm, photographed by guide Andrea Campbell, Karoo, South Africa.

“The darkest thing about Africa has always been our ignorance of it ” – George Kimble

16.Giraffe ‘s water, by Ken and Michelle Dyball  The magical pattern of water from a giraffe lifting its head after drinking. Photographed in the Masai Mara, Kenya (purenaturesafaris.com)
16. Giraffe ‘s water, by Ken and Michelle Dyball The magical pattern of water from a giraffe lifting its head after drinking. Photographed in the Masai Mara, Kenya (purenaturesafaris.com)

“In Africa you have space…there a profound sense of space here, space and sky” – Thabo Mbeki

Hippo explosion, by guide  Chad Cocking. “A lone hippo bull exploded out of the water to let me know who was boss of this waterhole” (motswari.com)
Hippo explosion, by guide Chad Cocking. “A lone hippo bull exploded out of the water to let me know who was boss of this waterhole” (motswari.com)

“It’s really beautiful. It feels like God visits everywhere else but lives in Africa” – Will Smith

The weaver, by Grayson Dicks. “A species of orb-web weaver spider repairs damage to his web.” (nyamazanephotography.co.za)
The weaver, by Grayson Dicks. “A species of orb-web weaver spider repairs damage to his web.” (nyamazanephotography.co.za)

“When you leave Africa, as the plane lifts, you feel that more than leaving a continent you’re leaving a state of mind. Whatever awaits you at the other end of your journey will be of a different order of existence” - Fransesca Marciano

Kalahari's most fearless, by Wim Vorster. Honey badger photographed in the Southern Kalahari, South Africa. (wildwebafrica.com)
Kalahari’s most fearless, by Wim Vorster. Honey badger photographed in the Southern Kalahari, South Africa. (wildwebafrica.com)

“Africa has a genious for extremes, for the beginning and the end. It seems simultaneously connected to some memory of Eden and to some foretaste of apocalypse. Nowhere is day more vivid or night darker. Nowhere are forests more luxuriant. Nowhere is there a continent more miserable” - Lance Morrow

Lion breath, by Ken and Michelle Dyball. Photographed in the Masai Mara, Kenya (purenaturesafaris.com)
Lion breath, by Ken and Michelle Dyball. Photographed in the Masai Mara, Kenya (purenaturesafaris.com)

“Africa has her mysteries, and even a wise man cannot understand them. But a wise man respects them.” - Miriam Makeba

Reflections of a wild dog, by guide Brendon Cremer. “We were very fortunate to find a few members of a pack of African wild dogs drinking from a waterhole on a hot summers afternoon. The algae filled water with its green tinge produced a great reflection with the contrasting colour of the dog’s coats.” Photographed at Elephant Plains Game Lodge, Sabi Sand Game Reserve, South Africa. (brendoncremer.co.za/ outdoorphoto.co.za).
Reflections of a wild dog, by guide Brendon Cremer. “We were very fortunate to find a few members of a pack of African wild dogs drinking from a waterhole on a hot summers afternoon. The algae filled water with its green tinge produced a great reflection with the contrasting colour of the dog’s coats.” Photographed at Elephant Plains Game Lodge, Sabi Sand Game Reserve, South Africa. (brendoncremer.co.za/ outdoorphoto.co.za).

“There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered” - Nelson Mandela

The retreat, by guide James Haskins. (wildlandsafaris.com)
The retreat, by guide James Haskins. (wildlandsafaris.com)

“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling but in rising every time we fall” – Nelson Mandela

Elephant and lion, by guide Keith Connelly. An elephant takes ownership of a waterhole. Photographed  at Mostwari, Timbavati, South Africa. (motswari.com)
Elephant and lion, by guide Keith Connelly. An elephant takes ownership of a waterhole. Photographed at Mostwari, Timbavati, South Africa. (motswari.com)

“Every morning an impala wakes up knowing that it must outrun the fastest lion if it wants to stay alive. Every morning a lion wakes up knowing that it must outrun the slowest impala or it will starve. It makes no difference if you are a lion or an impala, when the sun comes up in Africa you must wake up running” - Anonymous, Zambia

Watching her back, by guide Brendon Cremer. Shortly after witnessing this female killing an impala, a pack of hyenas arrived on the scene, alerted by the impala’s frantic alarm calls. Her mate whom she was with at the time, a much larger male, grabbed the kill and hoisted it up into a marula tree out of the reach of the hyenas. She too climbed to safety away from the pirates of the African bush. Photographed at Elephant Plains Game Lodge, Sabi Sand Game Reserve, South Africa (brendoncremer.co.za/ outdoorphoto.co.za).
Watching her back, by guide Brendon Cremer. Shortly after witnessing this female killing an impala, a pack of hyenas arrived on the scene, alerted by the impala’s frantic alarm calls. Her mate whom she was with at the time, a much larger male, grabbed the kill and hoisted it up into a marula tree out of the reach of the hyenas. She too climbed to safety away from the pirates of the African bush. Photographed at Elephant Plains Game Lodge, Sabi Sand Game Reserve, South Africa (brendoncremer.co.za/ outdoorphoto.co.za).

“Wild animals never kill for sport. Man is the only one to whom the torture and death of his fellow creatures is amusing in itself.” - James Anthony Froude

The chase, by  guide Tim Smith. “After following the pack of ten adult African wild dogs hunting for half an hour we finally made it to a waterhole with a rather large dam wall. As soon as the focused dogs reached the zenith of the wall their behaviour queued me to reposition our vehicle. In unison the pack, with ears cocked forward and heads lowered slightly but dead still, paced forward - they had a target. A warthog was the objective and after a short charge towards the dogs, the warthog made a run for it. The nimble dogs were not far behind and with pace, they managed to send it tumbling to the ground as the dust sparked up. After a matter of seconds, two grabbed the warthogs snout and from then on, it was a feeding frenzy. After two minutes the rapid blood loss was too much for the warthog, and it was silenced. (erindi.com)
The chase, by guide Tim Smith. “After following the pack of ten adult African wild dogs hunting for half an hour we finally made it to a waterhole with a rather large dam wall. As soon as the focused dogs reached the zenith of the wall their behaviour queued me to reposition our vehicle. In unison the pack, with ears cocked forward and heads lowered slightly but dead still, paced forward – they had a target. A warthog was the objective and after a short charge towards the dogs, the warthog made a run for it. The nimble dogs were not far behind and with pace, they managed to send it tumbling to the ground as the dust sparked up. After a matter of seconds, two grabbed the warthogs snout and from then on, it was a feeding frenzy. After two minutes the rapid blood loss was too much for the warthog, and it was silenced. (erindi.com)

ODP banner big

 

Okavango-Blog-Title.jpg

The mission of the Okavango Wilderness Project is to secure the Okavango Delta and its vast untouched catchment in perpetuity. The film Okavango is a rallying point for the global community of stakeholders, government officials, researchers, activists, tourism operators, community members, conservationists and guides that support the protection of the Angolan catchment. Readers can help build up to our 8-week expedition over 1,000 miles down the length of the Okavango River in 2015 by sharing this epic, once-in-a-lifetime research and conservation expedition down the full length of the Okavango River through an abandoned wilderness into the Delta. — Steve Boyes.

Please follow our new mini-blog at: http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/blog/okavango/

Comments

  1. Charles W. Stroud Jr.
    USA>Alabama
    December 5, 2013, 12:06 pm

    This is truly AWESOME to see! My friend in South sends me these wonderful pictures regular.
    Thanks c.stroud

  2. Onne from Wild Wings Safaris
    South Africa
    November 22, 2013, 7:00 am

    Some fantastic shots. Love reading the stories behind the photographs!

  3. Naimeesh Mistry
    November 21, 2013, 9:59 pm

    Wow, these photos show you just how bio-diverse Africa is in terms of animals!

  4. Reef
    N.E. Pa. U.S.A.
    November 21, 2013, 6:14 pm

    “Wild animals never kill for sport. Man is the only one to whom the torture and death of his fellow creatures is amusing in itself.” – James Anthony Froude

    Never say never, that is a foolish statement, for instants has he ever seen the carnage that one mink around any kind of foul can do? Domestic cats are another and Please give the human race a brake. We are all not as beastly as you make us to be.

  5. vijaya
    hyderabad
    November 21, 2013, 5:34 am

    wow really mind blowing photography, what a naturality, I really enjoying while seeing these photos, thank u for posting the photos