“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”!
“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)
“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)
“Whosoever is delighted in solitude is either a wild beast or a god.” (Aristotle)
“When I die, I want people to play my music, go wild and freak out and do anything they want to do.” (Jimi Hendrix)
“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 don’t like formal gardens. I like wild nature. It’s just the wilderness instinct in me, I guess.” (Walt Disney)
“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)
“Whosoever is delighted in solitude is either a wild beast or a god.” (Francis Bacon)
“Dying is a wild night and a new road.” (Emily Dickinson)
“A journey at dusk”, by guide Andrew Schoeman. Photographed at Nxai Pan, Botswana. (andrewschoemanphotography.co.za/outdoorphoto.co.za)
“You were once wild here. Don’t let them tame you.” (Isadora Duncan)
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” (Mary Oliver)
“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)
“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)
“I am glad I will not be young in a future without wilderness.” (Aldo Leopold)
“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)
“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)
We had no choice. Sadness was a dangerous as panthers and bears. the wilderness needs your whole attention.” (Laura Ingalls Wilder)
“To those devoid of imagination a blank place on the map is a useless waste; to others, the most valuable part.” (Aldo Leopold)
“The Wilderness holds answers to more questions than we have yet learned to ask.” (Nancy Wynne Newhall)
“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)
“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)
“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)
“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)
“Enjoy, smile… wild… peace.” (C. JoyBell C.)
“Life consists with wildness. The most alive is the wildest. Not yet subdued to man, its presence refreshes him.” (Henry David Thoreau)
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.
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