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Top 25 Photographs from the Wilderness #19

“Okavango”, “Serengeti”, “Masai Mara”, “Zambezi”, “Kruger” and “Kafue”. These are some of the wildest places left and have hidden within them “wilderness” that can take those who visit it back in time on a powerful journey that explores our place on this blue-and-green planet. In this amazing collection of photographs is a glimpse into the awesome power of “wildness”, “the wild” and the part of us and nature that can never be predicted, controlled or overcome. In these last places on Earth, modern human beings are the refugees seeking sanctuary from the fast pace and frenetic activity of our daily lives. Wild places will always bring you firmly back into the present moment along with a mix of hormones that make us feel alive. I have guided people in all of these enigmatic destinations and have not yet met a person that were not struck silent by the inevitable and profound realisation that what makes our only planet so amazing is the beating heart of the wilderness, the source of the creativity, abundance and vibrance of life. The wilderness and these primordial landscapes are the birthplace of all religions. Every human being alive today should have their morals and belief systems rooted in a deep appreciation for the awesome power of the human mind in nature. In the coming decades we will dominate our last true wilderness area and lose those places that could have shown us how to persist for another 5,000 years and join species that have managed to fit in unchanged for generations.

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. 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”!

Is this seat taken? Tension between pride members at the kill. Photograph by guide Justin Glanvill at Cheetah Plains (cheetahplains.com)
Is this seat taken? Tension between pride members at the kill. Photograph by guide Justin Glanvill at Cheetah Plains (cheetahplains.com)

“An insincere and evil friend is more to be feared than a wild beast; a wild beast may wound your body, but an evil friend will wound your mind.” (Buddha)

"Dhole", photographed by guide James Kydd. “The dhole, or the Indian wild dog, like their African cousin, is a supreme athlete and extremely brave and loyal. We heard a story from our local guide Indrajit Lahey of a pack of 24 dogs that incredibly had attacked an adult tiger who had been threatening their pups. Apparently hey killed the tiger, but she took 16 of the dhole with her.” Photographed while at Jamtara Lodge, Pench National Park, India. (indritours.com/ jamtarawilderness.com)
“Dhole”, photographed by guide James Kydd. “The dhole, or the Indian wild dog, like their African cousin, is a supreme athlete and extremely brave and loyal. We heard a story from our local guide Indrajit Lahey of a pack of 24 dogs that incredibly had attacked an adult tiger who had been threatening their pups. Apparently hey killed the tiger, but she took 16 of the dhole with her.” Photographed while at Jamtara Lodge, Pench National Park, India. (indritours.com/ jamtarawilderness.com)

To see the world in a grain of sand, and to see heaven in a wild flower, hold infinity in the palm of your hands, and eternity in an hour.” (William Blake)

"Morning mist"", by Fred von Winkelmann. I woke up just after 4am and was lucky to catch these waterbuck standing in the mist of the flood plains. Photographed in Savuti, Botswana. (fredvonwinckelmannphotos.com)
“Morning mist”", by Fred von Winkelmann. I woke up just after 4am and was lucky to catch these waterbuck standing in the mist of the flood plains. Photographed in Savuti, Botswana. (fredvonwinckelmannphotos.com)
“Where every something, being blent together turns to a wild of nothing.” (William Shakespeare)
"Python’s meal", by Fred von Winkelmann. A young Afircan rock python, a constrictor, swallows a whole impala. Photographed in Moremi, Botswana. (wildlandsafaris.com/ fredvonwinckelmannphotos.com)
“Python’s meal”, by Fred von Winkelmann. A young Afircan rock python, a constrictor, swallows a whole impala. Photographed in Moremi, Botswana. (wildlandsafaris.com/ fredvonwinckelmannphotos.com)

“Whosoever is delighted in solitude is either a wild beast or a god.” (Aristotle)

"The last dance", by guide Marlon du Toit . “I found myself rallying for this wildebeest from the beginning of this epic fight for survival. He stood grounded for over three minutes until three lions muscled him to the ground.” Photographed in the Mara Triangle, Kenya. (marlondutoit.com)
“The last dance”, by guide Marlon du Toit . “I found myself rallying for this wildebeest from the beginning of this epic fight for survival. He stood grounded for over three minutes until three lions muscled him to the ground.” Photographed in the Mara Triangle, Kenya. (marlondutoit.com)

“When I die, I want people to play my music, go wild and freak out and do anything they want to do.” (Jimi Hendrix)

"Polar bears", by Dana Allen. A young polar bear and mother stand together on the ice, somewhere above the Arctic Circle. (photosafari-africa.net)
“Polar bears”, by Dana Allen. A young polar bear and mother stand together on the ice, somewhere above the Arctic Circle. (photosafari-africa.net)

“I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself. A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself.” (D. H. Lawrence)

"I see you", by guide Brendon Cremer. “A young male cautiously peeps over a grassy mound at us and his siblings as they play and chase each other around in the last light of the day.” Photographed at Duba Plains, Okavango Delta, Botswana. (brendoncremer.co.za/ outdoorphoto.co.za)
“I see you”, by guide Brendon Cremer. “A young male cautiously peeps over a grassy mound at us and his siblings as they play and chase each other around in the last light of the day.” Photographed at Duba Plains, Okavango Delta, Botswana. (brendoncremer.co.za/ outdoorphoto.co.za)

“I don’t like formal gardens. I like wild nature. It’s just the wilderness instinct in me, I guess.” (Walt Disney)

Chaos, dust and light by Ken and Michelle Dyball.  Photographed in the Masai Mara, Kenya. (purenaturesafaris.com)
Chaos, dust and light by Ken and Michelle Dyball. Photographed in the Masai Mara, Kenya. (purenaturesafaris.com)

“The land created me. I’m wild and lonesome. Even as I travel the cities, I’m more at home in the vacant lots.” (Bob Dylan)

"The pretender", by Alison Buttegieg. A leopard in a typical cheetah pose, peering over the  winter grass of the Kalahari. Photographed in the Kgalagadi Transfronteir park, South Africa/ Botswana. (Alisonbuttigieg.com)
“The pretender”, by Alison Buttegieg. A leopard in a typical cheetah pose, peering over the winter grass of the Kalahari. Photographed in the Kgalagadi Transfronteir park, South Africa/ Botswana. (Alisonbuttigieg.com)

“Whosoever is delighted in solitude is either a wild beast or a god.” (Francis Bacon)

"Saddle-billed stork attacking a marabou stork", by guide Gareth Carter. Photographed at Letaba, Kruger National Park, South Africa. (untamedodyssey.com)
“Saddle-billed stork attacking a marabou stork”, by guide Gareth Carter. Photographed at Letaba, Kruger National Park, South Africa. (untamedodyssey.com)

“Dying is a wild night and a new road.” (Emily Dickinson)

"The enforcers", by Alistair Swartz. A herd up African buffalo gather in a winterthorn forest. Photographed at Mana Pools, National park, Zimbabwe.
“The enforcers”, by Alistair Swartz. A herd up African buffalo gather in a winterthorn forest. Photographed at Mana Pools, National park, Zimbabwe.

“You were once wild here. Don’t let them tame you.” (Isadora Duncan)

"A journey at dusk", by guide Andrew Schoeman. Photographed at Nxai Pan, Botswana. (andrewschoemanphotography.co.za/outdoorphoto.co.za)
“A journey at dusk”, by guide Andrew Schoeman. Photographed at Nxai Pan, Botswana. (andrewschoemanphotography.co.za/outdoorphoto.co.za)

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” (Mary Oliver)

"Sun shower", by Ken and Michelle Dyball.  Photographed in the Masai Mara, Kenya. (purenaturesafaris.com)
“Sun shower”, by Ken and Michelle Dyball. Photographed in the Masai Mara, Kenya. (purenaturesafaris.com)

“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity…” (John Muir)

"Zebra and wildebeest", by guide Marius Coetzee. Photographed in the Masai Mara, Kenya (orxyphotography.com)
“Zebra and wildebeest”, by guide Marius Coetzee. Photographed in the Masai Mara, Kenya (orxyphotography.com)

“Something will have gone out of us as a people if we ever let the remaining wilderness be destroyed … We simply need that wild country available to us, even if we never do more than drive to its edge and look in.” (Wallace Stegner)

"Lone hartebeest", by Ken and Michelle Dyball.  Photographed in the Masai Mara, Kenya (purenaturesafaris.com)
“Lone hartebeest”, by Ken and Michelle Dyball. Photographed in the Masai Mara, Kenya (purenaturesafaris.com)

“I am glad I will not be young in a future without wilderness.” (Aldo Leopold)

"Erie vulture", by guide Keith Connelly. Vultures are not only being heavilty persecuted for traditional medicinal uses but they are now being poisoned by elephant and rhino poachers that do not want the birds to help rangers find the carcasses. Photographed at Motswari, Timbavati, South Africa. (motswari.com)
“Erie vulture”, by guide Keith Connelly. Vultures are not only being heavilty persecuted for traditional medicinal uses but they are now being poisoned by elephant and rhino poachers that do not want the birds to help rangers find the carcasses. Photographed at Motswari, Timbavati, South Africa. (motswari.com)

“To be commanded to love God at all, let alone in the wilderness, is like being commanded to be well when we are sick, to sing for joy when we are dying of thirst, to run when our legs are broken. But this is the first and great commandment nonetheless. Even in the wilderness – especially in the wilderness – you shall love him.” (Frederick Buechner)

"Kissing carmines", by guide Brendon Cremer. “A shot from my recent photo safari to the breeding colonies of the carmine bee-eaters along the banks of the Zambezi River. These carmines travel here in their thousands creating a spectacle not to be missed by any keen birder or photographer. Although entitled “kissing carmines” these two birds are far from kissing, they are actually fighting. The fights begin on the ground and escalate to full aerial combat, which makes for great photographic opportunities.” Photographed on the Zambezi Voyager, Kalizo, Zambezi River, Namibia. (brendoncremer.co.za/ outdoorphoto.co.za)
“Kissing carmines”, by guide Brendon Cremer. “A shot from my recent photo safari to the breeding colonies of the carmine bee-eaters along the banks of the Zambezi River. These carmines travel here in their thousands creating a spectacle not to be missed by any keen birder or photographer. Although entitled “kissing carmines” these two birds are far from kissing, they are actually fighting. The fights begin on the ground and escalate to full aerial combat, which makes for great photographic opportunities.” Photographed on the Zambezi Voyager, Kalizo, Zambezi River, Namibia. (brendoncremer.co.za/ outdoorphoto.co.za)

“There is a love of wild nature in everybody, an ancient mother-love showing itself whether recognized or no, and however covered by cares and duties” (John Muir)

"Lioness and cubs at play", by Ken and Michelle. Photographed in the Masai Mara, Kenya. (purenaturesafaris.com)
“Lioness and cubs at play”, by Ken and Michelle. Photographed in the Masai Mara, Kenya. (purenaturesafaris.com)

We had no choice. Sadness was a dangerous as panthers and bears. the wilderness needs your whole attention.” (Laura Ingalls Wilder)

Meditating meerkat pup, by guide Kyle de Nobrega. Photographed at Tswalu, Kalahari, South Africa. (tswalu.com/ inthestixx.com)
Meditating meerkat pup, by guide Kyle de Nobrega. Photographed at Tswalu, Kalahari, South Africa. (tswalu.com/ inthestixx.com)

“To those devoid of imagination a blank place on the map is a useless waste; to others, the most valuable part.” (Aldo Leopold)

"Lechwe", by Brendon Cremer. A red lechwe ram walks across the open plains of Duba Island at sunrise with the last traces of mist still resting on the ground behind. Photographed at Duba Plains, Okavango Delta, Botswana.  (brendoncremer.co.za/ outdoorphoto.co.za)
“Lechwe”, by Brendon Cremer. A red lechwe ram walks across the open plains of Duba Island at sunrise with the last traces of mist still resting on the ground behind. Photographed at Duba Plains, Okavango Delta, Botswana. (brendoncremer.co.za/ outdoorphoto.co.za)

“The Wilderness holds answers to more questions than we have yet learned to ask.” (Nancy Wynne Newhall)

"Just hanging out", by Dana Allen. A lioness on the Busanga Plains seeks the cool shade of a large fig tree in the late afternoon. Photographed at Shumba Camp, Busanga Plains, Kafue National Park, Zambia. (photosafari-africa.net)
“Just hanging out”, by Dana Allen. A lioness on the Busanga Plains seeks the cool shade of a large fig tree in the late afternoon. Photographed at Shumba Camp, Busanga Plains, Kafue National Park, Zambia. (photosafari-africa.net)

“One who will not accept solitude, stillness and quiet recurring moments…is caught up in the wilderness of addictions; far removed from an original state of being and awareness. This is ‘dis-ease.” (T.F. Hodge)

"Flamingos from the air", by Ken and Michelle Dyball.  Photographed at Lake Logipi, Kenya. (purenaturesafaris.com)
“Flamingos from the air”, by Ken and Michelle Dyball. Photographed at Lake Logipi, 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)

"Cheetah rumble", by guide Morkel Erasmus. “Two juvenile cheetahs engaged in playful jostling in the Kalahari desert, while their mother prepared to hunt.” Photographed in the Kgalagadi Transfronteir Park, South Africa/ Botswana.  (morkelerasmus.com/ wild-eye.co.za)
“Cheetah rumble”, by guide Morkel Erasmus. “Two juvenile cheetahs engaged in playful jostling in the Kalahari desert, while their mother prepared to hunt.” Photographed in the Kgalagadi Transfronteir Park, South Africa/ Botswana.
(morkelerasmus.com/ wild-eye.co.za)

“We need the tonic of wildness…At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.” (Henry David Thoreau)

"Treed caracal", by Ken and Michelle Dyball.  This young caracal left its hiding spot in the ground just in time as a stampeding herd of wildebeest ran over the same spot moments after. Photographed in the Masai Mara, Kenya (purenaturesafaris.com)
“Treed caracal”, by Ken and Michelle Dyball. This young caracal left its hiding spot in the ground just in time as a stampeding herd of wildebeest ran over the same spot moments after. Photographed in the Masai Mara, Kenya (purenaturesafaris.com)

“She was free in her wildness. She was a wanderess, a drop of free water. She belonged to no man and to no city” (Roman Payne)

"Battle of the beasts", by guide Andrea Campbell.  “Two males from a coalition known as the Selati males battle with each other for mating rights with a female from the Otthawa pride. Photographed at Savanna Lodge, Sabi Sands, South Africa. (savannalodge.com/ andreacampell.co.za)
“Battle of the beasts”, by guide Andrea Campbell. “Two males from a coalition known as the Selati males battle with each other for mating rights with a female from the Otthawa pride. Photographed at Savanna Lodge, Sabi Sands, South Africa. (savannalodge.com/ andreacampell.co.za)

“Enjoy, smile… wild… peace.” (C. JoyBell C.)

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“Life consists with wildness. The most alive is the wildest. Not yet subdued to man, its presence refreshes him.” (Henry David Thoreau)

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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. JR
    California, USA
    March 6, 3:36 am

    I enjoyed your photos so much. What a magical world we all live in! Thank you for taking the time to share these with those of us who would otherwise never be able to experience what you have seen. Your efforts are much appreciated.

  2. Floreda Sumayo
    talisay city Cebu Provinse
    January 24, 4:11 am

    Very nice

  3. Paul Runze
    Hastings, MN
    January 24, 12:32 am

    Superbe stuff. Makes me shiver and can’t wait for my next trip to this wonderful area.

  4. Rhonda
    San Francisco Bay Area
    January 23, 1:35 am

    Thank you so much for the choice of these beautiful photographs and thoughtful selection of quotations. This was very a moving experience to gaze and read through. I am grateful for this work.