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Top 25 Photographs from the Wilderness #3

Explore the wilderness with us… Within the next 10-15 years we will see the last-remaining wilderness area on earth dominated by the demands of growing human populations and undermined by accelerated climate change. When the earth’s last wild places are gone, all we will have are fenced off protected areas dependent on constant intervention to persist...

Explore the wilderness with us… Within the next 10-15 years we will see the last-remaining wilderness area on earth dominated by the demands of growing human populations and undermined by accelerated climate change. When the earth’s last wild places are gone, all we will have are fenced off protected areas dependent on constant intervention to persist and marginalized by the demands of sustained development in emerging markets. Guides, rangers, researchers, ecotourists, photographers, artists and conservationists around the world apply themselves everyday to sharing, studying, photographing, writing about, protecting, conserving 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…


Ranger Diaries and The Bush Boyes have teamed up to bring you the “Top 25 Photographs from the Wilderness”. These stunning photographs are selected from hundreds of submissions and are intended to bring the beauty, freedom and splendor of the wilderness to as many people as possible around the world. Please submit your best photographs from the wildest places to the Bush Boyes wall or Ranger Diaries wall, and stand a chance of being featured in the “Top 25 Photographs from the Wilderness” published each week. This initiative is all about SHARING and CARING about wild places. Please “Like” this blog post and share this link with as many people as possible… So begins the “Ranger Revolution”… Anyone can be an “Honorary Ranger” if they share and care about the wilderness, stimulating positive change for wild places around the world… Join the revolution now! Vote NOW for Ranger Diaries:,343


Marius Coetzee

Chobe sunset, by guide Marius Coetzee of Oryx Photographic Expeditions. Grey heron photographed in the Chobe National Park, Botswana. (Marius Coetzee)


“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” (John Muir)


Lee Whittam
Competition, by guide Lee Whittam of Essential Africa Guided Safaris, photographed at Wilderness Safaris Mombo Camp, Botswana. “These youngsters were part of a large pride of 27 lions that had just brought down a wildebeest. Typical of any kill scene with lions there was a lot of competition between them which made for some interesting shots.” (Lee Whittam)


“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)


Chris Fallows
Running cheetah, by guide Chris Fallows (, photographed in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Botswana. “A flat out chase proceeded right in front of us. The cheetah can reach a top speed of 110km per hour and she got pretty close to this. It was phenomenal to see. The springbok lamb picked up on her too early for the cheetah to be successful but with rain exploding off her back as she sprinted full stride it certainly made for a spectacular sighting.” (Chris Fallows)


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


Stephen Cunliffe
The dogs of war, photographed by guide Stephen Cunliffe ( at Liuwa Plains National Park, Zambia. “When a superior predator arrived, the dogs refused to go quietly and put up a staunch defence against the thieving hyena” (Stephen Cunliffe)


“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)


Alan Yeowart
Spots on a branch, photographed by guide Alan Yeowart at Singita, South Africa. Leopards can be such elusive and secretive cats, making their conservation status very hard to determine. (Alan Yeowart)


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


Mario Moreno
Chobe silhouette, by Mario Moreno ( Taken in the Chobe National Park, Botswana, reputed to be home to around 100,000 elephants. (Mario Moreno)


“It is a commonplace of all religious thought, even the most primitive, that the man seeking visions and insight must go apart from his fellows and love for a time in the wilderness.” (Loren Eisley)


Amy Attenborough
Rude awakening, by guide Amy Attenborough of AndBeyond, taken at Phinda, South Africa. “This mischievous cheetah cub readied itself before giving its sleeping mother a smack.” Phinda is renowned for its incredible cheetah viewing. (Amy Attenborough)


“Nothing truly wild is unclean.” (John Muir)


Stephen Cunliffe
Lechwe in the clouds, photographed by guide Stephen Cunliffe ( in the Bangweulu Swamps, Zambia. “Bangweulu means “where the water meets the sky” and indeed the two often become hard to distinguish.” (Stephen Cunliffe)


Zambia’s Bangweulu Wetlands are recognized by the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (the “Ramsar Convention”) as one of the most important wetlands on earth.


Lee Whittam
Nile crocodile, photographed from the air by Lee Whittam of Essential Africa Guided Safaris. Taken in the Linyanti, Botswana. (Lee Whittam)


“I thought of the wilderness we had left behind us, open to sea and sky, joyous in its plenitude and simplicity, perfect yet vulnerable, unaware of what is coming, defended by nothing, guarded by no one.” (Edward Abbey)


Keith Connelly
The dwindling few. Black rhino photographed by guide Keith Connelly at Kariega, South Africa. Over 600 black and white rhinoceros have been slaughtered this year in South Africa, the last remaining stronghold of these creatures. Conservation authorities do not have the finances or manpower to effectively combat the trade driven by China and Vietnam. (Keith Connelly)


“A flower’s structure leads a bee toward having pollen adhere to its body . . . we don’t know of any such reason why beautiful places attract humans.” (David Rains Wallace)


James Kydd
The sentinel, taken by guide James Kydd at Baines’ River Camp in the Lower Zambezi, Zambia. “The winter thorn forests in this wilderness were breath taking, enormous trees teeming with baboons and other wildlife”. (James Kydd)


“A world without huge regions of total wilderness would be a cage; a world without lions and tigers and vultures and snakes and elk and bison would be – will be – a human zoo. A high-tech slum.” (Edward Abbey)


Marius Coetzee
The greatest show on earth, by guide Marius Coetzee of Oryx Photographic Expeditions. Taken in the Masai Mara, Kenya. “More than 1,6 million animals take part in this migration yearly in their search for fresh grass and water. On my first afternoon in the Masai Mara my clients and I were fortunate to have a ‘crossing’ less then 800 meters from our camp.” (Marius Coetzee)


“I think it is far more important to save one square mile of wilderness, anywhere, by any means, than to produce another book on the subject.” (Edward Abbey)


Brendon Jennings
Rhino vs. Lion, by guide Brendon Jennings, photographed at Kariega, South Africa. The rhino asserted its dominance and chased the lion off. (Brendon Jennings)


“In wildness is the preservation of the world.”(Henry David Thoreau)


Amy Attenborough
Okavango giant amongst the lilies, photographed by guide Amy Attenborough of AndBeyond. Image taken at Sandibe in the Okavango Delta, Botswana. (Amy Attenborough)


Did you know? The Okavango Delta is not a UNESCO World Heritage Site…


“Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit.” (Edward Abbey)


Edward Peach
Black beauties, photographed by guide Edward Peach of Ivory Tree Lodge, Pilanesberg, South Africa. “These two black rhino where coming towards me and (unfortunately) the sun was behind them. I tried to get a photo in order to document the notching in the ears for identification and research, and it turns out shooting with the sun behind the subject does have its advantages…” (Edward Peach)


“The idea of wilderness needs no defense, it only needs defenders.” (Edward Abbey)


Lee Whittam
Back off! Photographed by guide Lee Whittam of Essential Africa Guided Safaris in the Okavango Delta, Botswana. “These lionesses had young cubs that they were protecting in a nearby palm thicket. When the male arrived they shot out and confronted him and eventually sent him on his way. (Lee Whittam)


“In wilderness I sense the miracle of life, and behind it our scientific accomplishments fade to trivia.” (Charles Lindbergh)


Mario Moreno
Sunset gathering, by photographer Mario Moreno (, taken in The Kruger National Park, South Africa. Although the youngster is playful, this is the time the adults must be at their most vigilant, just before the fall of darkness when the night predators have all the advantage. (Mario Moreno)


“No one should be able to enter a wilderness by mechanical means.” (Garrett Hardin)


Lucien Beaumont
Enemies at the dining table, by guide Lucien Beaumont, photographed at Londolozi, South Africa. “This young male leopard lost his kill to the hyena, but boldly stayed close by hoping for a lapse in concentration by the larger predator and the opportunity to reclaim his meal, and take it to the safety of the trees.” (Lucien Beaumont)


“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is symbolic as well as actual beauty in the migration of the birds, the ebb and flow of the tides, the folded bud ready for the spring. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature – the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after the winter.” (Rachel Carson)


Mark Hankin
The classroom of the wild, by guide Mark Hankin, photographed at Kwandwe, South Africa. Cheetahs actively teach their young how to kill, a risky lesson with the potential threat of attracting other larger predators, but vital to their development. (Mark Hankin)


“What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.” (Crowfoot (Blackfoot))


Dave Pusey
Showing off for mom, by guide Dave Pusey, photographed at Leopard Hills, South Africa. “A week old giraffe calf found it’s feet and decided to show off its new found agility to its mother, and us!” (Dave Pusey)


“Wilderness is the raw material out of which man has hammered the artifact called civilization.” (Aldo Leopold)


Grant Pengilly
About to be swallowed whole. Image by guide Grant Pengilly of Singita Lebombo, South Africa. “We watched this African rock pyhton swallow this baby impala, right out in the open. It took the large snake about 35 minutes to finish its meal.” (Grant Pengilly)


“Wilderness is a resource which can shrink but not grow… the creation of new wilderness in the full sense of the word is impossible.” (Aldo Leopold)


Subramanniyan Mani
Bonnet macaque by Subramanniyan Mani. This monkey is endemic to southern India. (Subramanniyan Mani)


“In God’s wildness lies the hope of the world – the great fresh, unblighted, unredeemed wilderness.” (John Muir)


Marius Coetzee
Panic in the pan, by guide Marius Coetzee of Oryx Photographic Expeditions. Photographed in the Serengeti, Tanzania. (Marius Coetzee)


“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.” (John Muir)


Cameron Appel
Leopard in monochrome, by Cameron Appel, photographed at Londolozi, South Africa. “The old 5:5 male, backlit, waiting for a hunting opportunity.” (Cameron Appel)


“Our dead never forget this beautiful world that gave them being. They still love its verdant valleys, its murmuring rivers, its magnificent mountains, sequestered vales and verdant lined lakes and bays, and ever yearn in tender fond affection over the lonely hearted living, and often return from the happy hunting ground to visit, guide, console, and comfort them.” (Chief Seattle (Suquamish))


Keith Connelly
Royal portrait, by guide Keith Connelly, photographed at Lion Sands, South Africa. “One of the Kruger males staring at us in the half-light.” (Keith Connelly)


“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” (Henry David Thoreau)


“Every year, my brother (Chris Boyes), Pete (“the Nare”) Hugo, Giles (“Prince William”) Trevethick and I (Dr Steve Boyes) cross the Okavango Delta, top to bottom, on mokoros (dug-out canoes) to survey the distribution and abundance of wetland birds, advocate for World Heritage Status, and share this amazing wilderness with accompanying scientists, explorers and special guests. My wife, Dr Kirsten Wimberger, joined us for the first time this year. No one will forget what happened on the 2012 expedition…”


In 2013, we are embarking on the Okavango River Expedition. This will be a 1,750km odyssey down the Okavango River from the source near Huambo (Angola) all the way down the catchment, across the Caprivi Strip (Namibia), and into Botswana to cross the Okavango Delta via one of our planet’s last untouched wilderness areas. Our objective is to support the Okavango World Heritage Project and achieve UNESCO World Heritage Status for the Okavango Delta and the entire catchment. See:


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Meet the Author

Author Photo Steve Boyes
Steve Boyes has dedicated his life to conserving Africa's wilderness areas and the species that depend upon them. After having worked as a camp manager and wilderness guide in the Okavango Delta and doing his PhD field work on the little-known Meyer's Parrot, Steve took up a position as a Centre of Excellence Postdoctoral Fellow at the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology. He has since been appointed the Scientific Director of the Wild Bird Trust and is a 2014 TED Fellow. His work takes him all over Africa, but his day-to-day activities are committed to South Africa's endemic and Critically Endangered Cape Parrot (Poicephalus robustus). Based in Hogsback Village in the Eastern Cape (South Africa), Steve runs the Cape Parrot Project, which aims to stimulate positive change for the species through high-quality research and community-based conservation action. When not in Hogsback, Steve can be found in the Okavango Delta where he explores remote areas of this wetland wilderness on "mokoros" or dug-out canoes to study endangered bird species in areas that are otherwise inaccessible. Steve is a 2013 National Geographic Emerging Explorer for his work in the Okavango Delta and on the Cape Parrot Project.