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Africa Geographic Travel

CEO NOTE: 25 June 2021

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What an incredible array of Photographer of the Year images we feasted our eyes on this year! James adds more detail in the gallery below, but know this from me: Each year, I feel so honoured and humbled that so many passionate people share their images with us that my head feels like it will explode. And I marvel at the dazzling variety and the brief glimpses into this majestic, mysterious continent that is my birthplace and home. PROUD African!

After you scroll down to our 2021 Photographer of the Year gallery (the last for this year), please take the time to read our other stories. The first story is an unfolding tragedy that has a CALL TO ACTION – this is where YOU can help. Please share this appeal to anyone that cares.

Keep the passion

CEO note


Simon Espley – CEO, Africa Geographic

From our Editor-in-Chief

I am one of those people who thinks summer is around the corner as soon as the winter solstice passes. This is bat-guano illogical of course. In the rarified atmosphere of Johannesburg, we are still a good two months from any warmth – on the odd occasion this mad city has received snow, it has normally been in September. Yet while it is skin-scaling dry, frosty and despite the fact that no South African architect has worked out how to insulate a home (for hot or cold), nature still finds a way to provide a little wonder. Yesterday, I was banging away at my computer when the call of a grey hornbill interrupted my thoughts. I assumed my wife was editing a video of the birds but then, lo and behold, two of them landed in the magnolia tree outside my window. I dived for a camera and, rather like a first-time safari-goer, took 400 mostly unusable pictures in my feverish excitement.

Our first story below is rather devastating. Some shady dealings, bizarre legal decisions and a lot of weapons-grade dim-wittery have seen the last barriers to an open cast copper mine in Lower Zambezi National Park finally removed. We are still hopeful for an 11th-hour political or legal intervention but this may be a pipedream.

Many are the naturalist photographers who bemoan the presence of collars on wild animals. A collar definitely detracts from a feeling of wilderness but, as our second story below shows, they are integral to our understanding of the wild species we aim to conserve and they appear to have a little adverse effect on the animals concerned.

With that all out of the way, it is time to celebrate photographs of beautiful Africa. In our third story below, we share the experiences of last years winners as they travelled into the Greater Kruger recently (Covid-delayed) to share stories and take great pics.

And finally, with a great drum roll, trumpet fanfare and ululation, we reveal the winner, runners-up and highly commended images of this year’s Photographer of Year. Well done to EVERYONE who submitted their art, your gracious willingness to share your creativity with us is hugely appreciated. I shall look forward to next year’s competition in eager anticipation.



Story 1
Tragedy: there WILL be a large-scale, open-cast copper mine in the heart of the Lower Zambezi National Park in Zambia – the latest development

Story 2
Do tracking collars, that have revolutionised data available to wildlife researchers, harm the animal’s welfare? Read the research

Story 3
Our 2020 Photographer of the Year winners enjoy their Covid-delayed safari prize in the Big 5 Sabi Sands Game Reserve, Greater Kruger

Story 4
And the winners of our 2021 Photographer of the Year are …


DID YOU KNOW: A new mRNA vaccine confers full protection against malaria in mice – exciting times in the fight against the scourge of malaria

WATCH: In celebration of World Giraffe Day on 21 June, this video captures the first release of endangered west African giraffe in Niger (1:42)


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I am a proud African and honoured to be CEO of Africa Geographic. My travels in Africa are in search of wilderness, elusive birds and real people with interesting stories. I live in Hoedspruit, next to the Kruger National Park, with my wife Lizz and 2 Jack Russells. When not travelling or working I am usually on my mountain bike somewhere out there. I qualified as a chartered accountant but found my calling sharing Africa's incredibleness with you. My motto is "Live for now, have fun, be good, tread lightly and respect others. And embrace change". Connect with me on LinkedIn

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