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Africa Geographic Travel

Winners from the highly acclaimed Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition are currently exhibiting their works at the Iziko Museum in Cape Town. If you happen to be in the Mother City between December 2011 and March 2012 it’s well worth a visit.

RUNNER-UP, Cyril Ruoso, FRANCE. Tiny warm-up. Folded up into a fur-ball, this youngster is warming its extremities in between bouts of play and feeding. He is part of a band of about 70 or so Qinling golden snub-nosed monkeys living high up in China’s Qinling Mountains, surviving on lichen, leaves, bark and buds. ‘If mother is not around tocuddle up to, then sitting like this is the best way to keep warm in the extreme winter cold,’ says Cyril. Sitting apart from its mother also makes such a little monkey vulnerable to attack by goshawks or golden eagles. The species is endangered, and this subspecies probably numbers no more than about 4,000. The total population of all races of golden snub-nosed monkeys is only 8,000–20,000.

© Cyril Ruoso/ Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2011

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III + 400mm f2.8 lens; 1/200 sec at f2.8; ISO 400.

Now in its 47th year, the competition is owned by the Natural History Museum and BBC Wildlife Magazine and is sponsored by Veolia Environment. It is internationally recognised for taking a lead in the artistic representation of the natural world and continues to be held in high esteem with a reputation for being the Oscars of the wildlife photographic calendar.

This year, the international judging panel of respected wildlife experts and nature photographers reviewed more than 40,000 entries from aspiring amateurs and established professional photographers from all corners of the earth. As a sign of the competition’s growing international reach, this year saw first-time submissions from countries as far afield as Cambodia, Moldova, Brunei and Kyrgyzstan. There was also a notable increase in photographs submitted from countries such as India, China and Russia.  

The exhibition will be showcased on a display of lightboxes in the Iziko Museum from 7th December 2011 – 7th March 2012.


Dates: 7th December 2011 – 7th March 2012

Location: Iziko South African Museum, 25 Victoria Street, Gardens, Cape Town

Hosts: NHU (Natural History Unit) Africa and Iziko Museums

Entrance Fee: Adults – R25, Students and pensioners – R10, all visitors under 18 years old – free

Next competition: To enter next year’s competition, go to call for entries is 15 December 2011

HIGHLY COMMENDED, David Fettes, UK. Pool of hippos. It was the end of the dry season, and David was lying belly-down at the edge of Long Pool in Mana Pools National Park, Zimbabwe. Hippopotamuses were arguing with each other as they vied forspace – ‘hurling water about’, says David, ‘and giving warning yawns to each other and to me.’ As he watched through his lens, the evening light illuminated the scene, and one glowing hippo rose slowly from the water. ‘I felt increasingly vulnerable,’ says David, ‘weighed down by a 500mm lens, conscious that lions or elephants could be approaching from behind to drink and aware that crocodiles were in the lake.’ But though the hippo glared at him, David was outside its personal space, and the huge animal gradually sank back under the water.

© David Fettes / Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2011

Canon EOS-1D Mark II N + 500mm f4 lens + 1.4x converter; 1/200 sec at f5.6; ISO 400.



Africa Geographic Travel

I’m Holly - born and raised in the rural British Counties, my mother began life on a sugar farm in Zululand. After reading Anthropology at university in London, working for a political activist filmmaker in India, and doing a short stint under the bright lights of Bollywood – I decided it was time to return to the motherland. To earn a crust in the name of wanderlust, I finished up a post grad in media and hotfooted around South Africa as a freelance travel journalist.