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2021 Africa In Focus Photo Competition Launches with Brooke Bartleson Wilderness Safaris Experience

To celebrate the fifth edition of its esteemed “Africa in Focus” Photographic Competition, Wilderness Safaris, in partnership with Olympus cameras, is proud to announce its world-class judging panel, comprising award-winning wildlife photographers Brooke Bartleson, Shannon Wild and Suzi Eszterhas, along with luxury travel maven Melissa Biggs Bradley, and pioneering Zimbabwean conservationist, Moreangels Mbizah. Brooke Bartleson will also be joining Wilderness Safaris on a Botswana safari in July, to help further capture this time of renewed optimism for travel to Africa. Non-profit, Children in the Wilderness (CITW) is the sole beneficiary of this year’s competition.

Entries for the 2021 “Africa in Focus” competition open on 1 September and close on 15 October, with the winners announced on 15 November. Entries are not limited to Wilderness Safaris areas; instead, photographers, guests, partners, intrepid travellers and Africa enthusiasts are invited to submit any of their favourite images taken anywhere in Africa. At an entry fee of R300 (USD25) each photographer is allowed a maximum of five entries, more submissions will come at an additional cost.

The categories for submission are:

  • African Wildlife
  • African Landscapes
  • People/Cultures & Communities of Africa
  • Conserving Africa’s Wilderness

“We are particularly delighted to introduce the Young Photographer award for photographers who are 18 and younger, given that nurturing future environmental heroes is a key focus area for us and our non-profit partner, CITW”, noted Wilderness Safaris Chief Commercial Officer, Hadley Allen.

A range of exceptional prizes for the Wilderness Safaris Photographer of the Year is on offer, including an all expenses paid eight-night safari for two people sharing at a choice of three Wilderness Safaris Classic camps (Botswana, Namibia, Zambia or Zimbabwe). The top prize also includes a private photographic guide, international flights to the destination country, as well as charter flights; total value for the overall prize is some USD22 000.

All submitted photographs will be displayed in an online gallery on Wilderness Safaris’ website. A shortlist from each category will be announced on 30 October and then on 15 November all winners of the competition with be announced. The People’s Choice Competition runs between 01 – 10 November, giving the public the opportunity to vote for their favourite image per category.

“In addition to top wildlife photographer and Olympus Explorer, Brooke Bartleson, being one of our esteemed 2021 ‘Africa in Focus’ judges, we are also delighted to be hosting her on a six-night safari to Botswana in July. In her capacity as judge, Brooke is not only promoting photographic safaris to encourage the return of travel to Africa, but while in Botswana she will take the opportunity to further enhance our expert guides’ photography skills to the benefit of our guests’ photographic experiences”, added Hadley.

Moreover, a key focus of Brooke’s safari will be participating in the latest Botswana essential supplies distribution in Eretsha village near Wilderness Safaris Vumbura Plains Camp. Running since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, Wilderness Safaris Conservation Heroes COVID-relief programme has already assisted some 60 000 people from 35 communities with over 13 000 food parcels and other provisions.

“As an Olympus Explorer and ambassador with an immense passion for wildlife, I am thrilled to be working with Wilderness Safaris to help take its ‘Africa in Focus’ competition to new heights: to drive more entries and ultimately help CITW further conservation education for children in rural communities – something that really resonates with my desire to stretch my own field of vision. My upcoming Wilderness trip to Botswana is also a personal dream come true, particularly as it’s an opportunity to share knowledge and skills with the company’s legendary guides, as well as meet the local community at Eretsha during the food handover”, said Brooke.

Akihiko Murata, Chief Operating Officer of OM Digital Solutions Corporation, the manufacturer and seller of Olympus-branded equipment, added that OM Digital Solutions Corporation was proud to continue its partnership with Wilderness Safaris and its support of the annual photo competition. He further said that as a pioneer of conservation tourism with a reputation for protecting and supporting local communities and biodiversity protection, Wilderness Safaris is providing a lasting impact for change, and they are thrilled to be a part of it.

“With all proceeds from the competition going to CITW to help facilitate sustainable conservation through leadership development and education of children in Africa, we are delighted to be working together with such a range of visionaries to help make our 2021 competition our best one yet. As CITW currently commemorates its milestone 20th year of operation, we hope that the competition helps raise much-needed funds to drive its range of unique programmes to continue making a positive impact in our partner communities”, concluded Hadley

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