After the great success of 2018, the Indlovu River Lodge Wildlife Photography Competition is back. And yes – there are four brand new categories this year!

From March to June you may enter two photographs per month in each of the four categories. As always, At Close Quarters photographic guides, Villiers Steyn and Lance van de Vyver, will judge the entries.

This is their single biggest tip: “Enter the right image into the right category! A head-and-shoulders photo of a leopard is not a close-up and if a bird in flight has blurry wings, you haven’t frozen the action. Carefully go through your collection of photos before you choose your entries. After all – you only have a few chances each month…”

A public favourite and judges’ choice winner will be chosen every month, all of which will receive a small monthly prize and automatically become eligible for the grand prize! Scroll down to view the four brand new categories.


Category 1 - Animal close-ups

Who doesn’t like zooming all the way in? And with so many relaxed animals in our African parks, long telephoto lenses make it possible to capture some superb close-up shots of the continent’s beautiful animals. And that’s what we’re looking for in this category – close-ups that show body parts, skin patterns, eyes, teeth and textures of wild creatures. If you think you’re close enough, go even tighter!

Category 2 - Freeze the Action

In last year’s competition we challenged you to capture movement, but in this category you have to do the exact opposite. We’re looking for fast shutter speed-shots that froze the action as it happened in front of you. It could be a fish eagle taking off, a pair impalas locking horns or a leopard jumping into a tree – the more impressive the action, the better your changes of winning this category.

Category 3 - Birds

Since we know how many people love photographing birds, we just had to include this category. We’re not only looking for bird portraits – you can enter photos of flocks, bird close-ups and birds in flight as well. However, since competition will be fierce in this category, first consider whether your close-up and action photos have a better chance of winning one of the other four categories before you enter it here.

Category 4 - Creative Visions

In this category we’re looking for anything out of the ordinary that shows a creative touch. It could be unique compositions, skin patterns, flipped or blurred photos – anything remotely abstract stands a chance in this category. We challenge you to think outside the box and to play around with new settings, techniques and compositions.




A 4 Night Stay for two at the beautiful Indlovu River Lodge worth R40 000-00!

Indlovu River Lodge is situated near Hoedspruit, in the Karongwe Private Game Reserve (part of an area called the greater Kruger National Park). The richly diverse 9000ha reserve hosts all of the Big Five species of Africa in a free roaming environment. With an abundance of general game species as well as extraordinary bird life you can expect to encounter a wide range of species on the game drives.

UNDERGROUND HIDES: Indlovu River Lodge has two underground hides that are a wildlife photographers dream.

  • Shoot from a few mm above water level
  • Eye-level
  • Adjustable director’s chairs on wheels for 5 persons plus guide
  • Gimbals on independent support system
  • Carpeted to minimise noise
  • Water holes regularly visited by Big 5 and wide variety of other animals and birds


Judges Choice:

You stand a chance to win R750/month for the judges choice per category.
Each month the judges will announce a winner for each of the 4 categories. These winners will receive a prize of R750 and be in contention to win the grand prize.

Popularity Award:

You stand a chance to win online photography courses to the value of up to R1000.
Each month all images entered, that meet the criteria of each category, will be posted on Indlovu River Lodge’s Facebook page. The image with the most likes will win the popularity award for the month. PLEASE NOTE: Images may not be loaded by the 1st of each month, however they will be loaded by the 5th of each month.



Step 1: Like these 4 social media pages

Step 2: Read through the competition rules

Competition Rules:

  • You may only enter two images per category per month;
  • Images have to be at least 1920px long edge;
  • Basic processing of images (exposure, white balance, contrast, clarity, sharpness, etc.) in Photoshop or Lightroom is allowed, but not the removal of objects from the scene or the unnatural manipulation of the images;
  • Only wild endemic animals photographed in Africa are allowed;
  • Judges reserve the right to exclude images that don’t meet the category briefs from the monthly selection on Facebook;
  • Entrants must LIKE both the Indlovu River Lodge – Big 5 Game Reserve and At Close Quarters – Safari Specialists Facebook & Instagram pages.
  • The grand prize must be claimed before the end of 2019 and is not transferable.

Step 3: Fill out the entry form below

IRL Wildlife Photography Competition 2019 – Entry Form

1Entrant Details
3Social Media



Villiers Steyn

 “My life would seem emptier without my camera, for photography allows me to immortalise important events and sightings, allowing me to re-live all those amazing experiences over and over again.

I have been taking photos ever since I can remember. I was our high school photographer when I grew up in Pretoria, photographing everything from sports events and socials to stage shows and class photos.

My camera never left my side in the seven years after school when I completed my Masters Degree in Nature Conservation, focussing on leopard movement patterns and densities in Botswana’s majestic Northern Tuli Game Reserve. It was here, in Mashatu Game Reserve where I was based and constantly surrounding by animals, where my love for wildlife photography bloomed.

After completing my studies in 2008 I started my own photography business, Vision Photography, and embarked on another exciting seven-year journey, this time as a freelance travel writer. I published over a 100 feature articles on Africa’s wildest and most beautiful game reserves and national parks, focussing on South Africa and its neighbours. With the backing of South Africa’s top travel publications, Getaway, go!, DriveOut and Country Life, I was able to experience and photograph the best this extraordinary region has to offer.

My love for people and teaching made adding photographic safari guide to my repertoire in 2010 a natural evolution for me as photographer. There are few things as fulfilling as sharing a great sighting with my guests, and even more so when I’m able to help them capture those memories through the lens of a camera.”

Lance van de Vyver

“I am passionate about wildlife and have always had a dream to be involved in conservation in my own unique way. Through the power of photography, guiding and teaching I have found my calling and believe I can make a difference. To be able to bring pictures and stories into the living rooms of thousands of people all around the world is amazing, but to have clients leave from a trip with their own messages and images is even better.

I have been taking images all my adult life, dabbling in many genres from weddings, portraiture, food, product and sport, however I am always the happiest photographing wild places and animals.

I was born and raised in New Zealand with a Kiwi mother and South African father. After completing a Zoology degree, followed by a visual imaging degree majoring in photography, I moved to South Africa to become a photographic guide. 

With the combination of my Zoology degree and Level 2 FGASA qualification, my ability to read, observe and interpret animal behaviour is a huge advantage whilst on safari.

The past five years of guiding have been some of the best of my life and I have been so lucky to witness some incredible things and meet amazing people along the way. I hope the next five are even better and hope to see you on safari with me some time soon.”

Lance has been published and won numerous awards for his photography, both in South Africa and New Zealand, with the highlight so far being a finalist in the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards in 2016.