National Geographic Society Newsroom

Top 25 Photographs from the Wilderness #4

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, 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!


Ranger Diaries WON “Best Environmental Blog” and “Best Photographic Blog” in the 2012 South African Blog Awards!!! Congratulations and we look forward to 2013!


James Kydd / Editor of
Sociable weavers returning to their nest. “We wanted to photograph a sociable weaver nest at sunset. From a vantage point high on the mountains we found the perfect nest, and just before sunset walked out to our third highlight of the day, flushing a scrub hare along the way. The nest was massive, it must have weighed more than a tonne and was almost touching the ground where it had bent the shepard’s tree over. It was the noise that was so captivating: hundreds of the little birds shooting in and out of the nest holes, their alien chattering and squabbling filling the air. And to top it off the first barking geckos of the spring emerged from their burrows and added their iconic voices to Kalahari dusk.” (James Kydd / Editor of 


“If all the beasts were gone, men would die from a great loneliness of spirit, for whatever happens to the beasts also happens to man. All things are connected.”  – Chief Seattle –


Louis Lock /
Painted reed frog, (Louis Lock /


“The contemplation of celestial things will make a man both speak and think more sublimely and magnificently when he descends to human affairs”  –  Cicero –


David Lloyd /
Flick of the tail. “The potential for the picture was there when I saw this giraffe flick out his tail with the one on the horizon present, but I’d missed it initially. I waited for what felt like an eternity before he did it again while hoping the distant one would stay put. Eventually, the tail flicked out, everything else stayed in place, and I got my picture.”” Photgraph by David Lloyd ( in the Masai Mara, Kenya. (David Lloyd /


“And only then, when I have learned enough I will go to watch the animals, and let something of their composure slowly guide into my limbs; will see my own existence deep in their eyes…..” – Rainer Maria Rilke –


Elaine de Bruin
Green mantis. “I photographed this tiny mantis while it was sitting on top of a Bergonia flower. The mantis is 1cm in size.” (Elaine de Bruin)


“Nature is a mutable cloud which is always and never the same.”  – Ralph Waldo Emerson –


Addo love. Two elephants in very close contact, something that is very common during their daily interaction. Photographed by Mario Moreno in the Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa ( (Mario Moreno)
Addo love. Two elephants in very close contact, something that is very common during their daily interaction. Photographed by Mario Moreno in the Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa ( (Mario Moreno)


“In the silence of the woods, you will not be alone.”  – Chief Seattle –


Marlon du Toit
Those eyes. “As a hyena approached the base of the tree, this ten-month old leopard cub looked up at his mother for re-assurance.” Photographed by guide Marlon du Toit at Singita, South Africa. ( (Marlon du Toit)


“To rarely speak  –  such is the way of Nature.”  – The Tao Te Ching –


Brendon Cremer /
An elephant’s scene. “An image from the ODP photosafari that I recently led, on board the Nguni Voyager, Chobe River, Botswana. A small herd of elephants were feeding on on the banks of the river at sunset. The light had got too dark to shoot anything other than silhouettes, so with the use of a flash i managed this picture. The look-alike stars are actually insects lit up by the flash.” (Brendon Cremer /


“I am never alone in this wild forest, this forest of elders, this forest of eyes.”  – Richard Nelson –


Mario Moreno /
Sunset stalker. “This lioness was stalking a group of lechwe on the other side of a flooded area in the Okavango Delta in Moremi National Park, Botswana.” (Mario Moreno /


“If a person does not see, hear, or smell civilization, he or she is in wilderness.”  – Roderick Frazier Nash –


Keith Connelly
Portrait of a Cape buffalo. Photographed by guide Keith Connelly at Lion Sands, South Africa. (Keith Connelly)


“The whole world was a nest on its humble tilt, in the maze of the universe, holding us.”  – Linda Hogan –


Gavin Lautenbach /
Young male leopard feeding on a giraffe. Photographed by Gavin Lautenbach ( at Londolozi, South Africa. (Gavin Lautenbach /


 “I wonder at all the things I think I’ve touched but haven’t.”  – Barry Lopez –


Marius Coetzee /
Mara Sunrise “I have been dreaming of this image for many years, Giraffe being silhouetted perfectly by the African sunrise. I spend a month in the famed Masai Mara in search of the image. My client and I left before sunrise in search of our subjects and luckily for us we found a small journey of giraffe slowly walking to an open plain. We immediately got into position and waited patiently for the sun to make an appearance. The first 2 giraffes crossed and for a split second one of them turned around to keep on eye on the rest of the journey.” Photographed by guide Marius Coetzee ( in the Mara, Kenya. (Marius Coetzee /


 “In Wildness is the preservation of the World.” – Henry David Thoreau –


Lee Whittam
Lion in water. “An unlikely match – water and cats – gave me this great photo opportunity.” Photographer by guide Lee Whittam in the Okavango, Botswana. ( (Lee Whittam)


“It is always worthwhile to sit or kneel at the feet of grandeur.”  – John Burroughs –


Elaine de Bruin
Jumping spider. There are about 5,000 species of jumping spiders in the world. They have some of the best vision among invertebrates and use it in courtship, hunting, and navigation. (Elaine de Bruin)


 “Wisdom begins in wonder.”  – Socrates –


Will Nicholls /
Immature Little Owl. “This is a juvenile little owl that I photographed outside of its nest. Amazingly, this photograph only took an hour and a half to get on my first evening in the hide. Normally I wait hours and hours, often unsuccessfully, for my subjects but I think I had a stroke of luck here!”. (Will Nicholls /


“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.”  – Marcel Proust –


James Kydd /
Into the forest. “The smoke from distant fires, the winter thorns and the lala palms all added to the atmosphere of this mystical forest we watched this mother and calf disappear into”. (James Kydd /


“Now I know what it is to sit enthroned amid the clouds of sunset.”   –  Rudyard Kipling –


Marlon du Toit
Forest Queen. Photographed by guide Marlon du Toit at Mana Pools National Pak, Zimbabwe “En route back to camp and in the absolute last light of day I captured this beauty at 1/60th of a second, a memory forever etched in my heart .” ( (Marlon du Toit)


“Allowing nature to take over proved easier than I imagined.”  – David Masumoto –


The ear of one of the many old bulls that we spent time with in the Savuti area, northern Botswana. (Lee Whittam /


“In big wilderness we have a chance to seek answers to questions we have not yet learned to ask.”  – David Brower –


Wim Vorster /
A kudu bull photographed early one morning in the Kruger National Park, South Africa. (Wim Vorster /


“What is it that so many people find enchanting in animals?  Their essence  –  their BEING  –  is not covered up by the mind, as it is in most humans.”  –  Eckhart Tolle –


Andrew Schoeman /
“Final approach” A fish eagle moments before catching a fish. Photographed by Andrew Schoeman ( on The Chobe River, Botswana. (Andrew Schoeman /


“Everything natural  –  every flower, tree, and animal – has important lessons to teach us. Stop, Look, and Listen.”  –  Eckhart Tolle –


Edward Peach
Young male leopards are much more curious and inquisitive than their older selves. This male has particularly beautiful eyes. Photographed by guide Edward Peach of Ivory Tree Game Lodge, Pilanesburg, South Africa. (Edward Peach)


“In the end, our society will be defined not only by what we create but by what we refuse to destroy.”  –  John Sawhill  –


Keith Connelly
Elephant bull photographed in the blue evening light of a Super Moon by guide Keith Connelly at Marataba, South Africa. (Keith Connelly)


“We are speaking of things that are barely visible  –  of the most intimate and fragile things, of flowers that open only in the night.”  –  Carl Jung –


Lee Whittam /
“Part of the well known lion prides of Wilderness Safaris Duba Plains Camp in the heart of the Okavango Delta, Botswana. This was one of 9 kills we witnessed during the course of a 4 day safari there.” (Lee Whittam /


“I tried to prove that the never ending search for the essence of the wild was the underlying motive of all trips and expeditions.”   –  Sigurd Olson –


Ryan Hillier
Killing bite. The intense stare of a male lion ending the life of his warthog prey. Photographed by guide Ryan Hillier of Kwandwe, South Africa ( (Ryan Hillier)


“Unless you respect the earth, you destroy it.”  –  Oren Lyons, Onondaga chief –


Martin Heigan
Rhino calf chasing ostrich. “A very playful baby white rhinoceros calf having fun with the wildlife. The ostriches and warthogs didn’t enjoy the game as much as the mischievous little rhino”. (Martin Heigan)


“Listen to what you know instead of what you fear.” – Richard Bach –


Will Nicholls /
“A red deer stag peering through the bracken at me”. Photographed in Scourie, Scotland. (Will Nicholls /


“Nature is so powerful, so strong ….  It takes you to a place within yourself.”  –  Annie Leibovitz  –


“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:


“Like” the Bush Boyes page and stand a chance to WIN one of two amazing Citizen watches… Go to:

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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.