Kapama Private Game Reserve is now in its 4th consecutive year of holding a Ranger Photography Competition. Each and every year we invite and encourage our rangers and staff to unleash their creativity, explore the natural environment around them, express their passion and love for nature and give guests a taste of the abundant wildlife resident on Kapama Private Game Reserve.

Experiencing the magnificence of nature and wildlife is such an emotional experience. Our guests come to Kapama and want that ultimate photograph, to not only cement the once in a lifetime memory for themselves but to also share with their friends and family on the social channels that mean the most to them. The photos taken are so important. As our rangers are the ones that submerge our guests in these wildlife worlds, our rangers are a wonderful source of information to guide guests on where and how to take these great photos.

That is why we get so excited when we see the enthusiasm and excitement of our rangers whenever the photo competition comes around. This was the first competition for the year and we received over 200 photo entries from rangers across all 4 of our camps.

After careful consideration, the 200 odd wildlife photos were first drilled down to Top 20, Top 10 and Top 5 before the winner was announced.

Our judge, renowned wildlife photographer Heinrich Van den Berg, had a tough time in choosing the Top 5. So much so, that this time around, besides selecting the 3rd place, runner-up and winner, Heinrich had to make special mention of a few photos that really stood out for him.

Heinrich had this to say:

“Overall I really enjoyed the creativity of some of the photographers. There were some images entered where the photographer created the image instead of just taking it.

I love the two lions in sepia. I also like the elephant dust bathing. The curl of the elephant’s trunk mirrors the curl of the dust it was throwing over its back. The black and white image of the zebra works well, even though its legs were amputated. One can almost say it works well because of that. It’s good to see photographers trying to create these images.”

Well done to Viljoen Jordaan on the sepia lions, Tasha Van Den Aardweg for the black and white zebra photo and Andrew Taylor for the dust elephant.

As mentioned previously, over 200 photos were critiqued and assessed to reveal the Top 20, Top 10 and finally the Top 5.

Two photos that made it into the Top 5 were the elephant at sunset taken by Ranger Mike Brown from Southern Camp and sunset lioness captured by River Lodge’s Head Ranger Stefan De Weeld.

” The Elephant with the sun behind it is well captured and it is great to see photographers using backlighting and shooting the sun.” – Heinrich added.

And then there were three…

The Top Three

This left the following three photos to claim the spots of Third place, Runner-Up and Winner!

Third place went to the Giraffe mom and baby, taken by Kapama River Lodge Ranger Rassie Jacobs

Heinrich explains why this was selected: “The lighting makes this photograph. The contrast between the beautiful light and the dark background makes the Giraffe standout. The colours are beautiful and the fact that the animals are a different colour from the grass and bushes, and that the background again is a different colour, creates an image with three distinct colour shades, which really works well. The subject is perfectly captured and exposed. And it helps that the baby is cute.”


Runner – Up went to the Buffalo in Water, once again by River Lodge Ranger Rassie Jacobs.

“This is a brilliant photograph. I love the composition of the buffalo framed by the branches- not only above him but also in the reflection in the water. The subject and the frame of the branches are the darkest part of the image, which gives it its visual power. It is simple and striking. Well done.”

Rassie was awarded a gift card to the value of R2 000 from Outdoorphoto in Waterkloof Glen, Pretoria, for 3rd place as well as a gift card of R3 000 for the runner-up photo.

1st  place – Went to Stefan De Weeld – Kapama River Lodge Head Ranger

Heinrich highlighted why this Lioness & Vulture image made it to number one out of the entire collection.

“This is the kind of action you don’t often see, never mind photograph. The photographer captured the decisive moment when the Lion’s legs were perfectly in place and the vulture had its wings down and face visible. The eye looking at the vulture makes it a great image and the perfect moment to photograph it. What makes the image even better was the other vultures in the background. They create a story behind the action of the main characters. Brilliant photograph.”

Stefan was the lucky recipient of a Two-night getaway for two.

Christiaan Basson, General Manager – Tourism, once again handed over the prizes to the deserving winners at the official prizegiving held at the new River Lodge reception area, opened in November.

The level of photography of our Rangers is growing from strength to strength and we are looking forward to seeing what scenes of nature are captured in the next Ranger Competition of 2019.