Article Words : Wanderlust team | 08 November

Photo of the Year winner: Bringing South Africa's wildlife into focus

From lofty giraffes to bird-friendly buffaloes, come eye-to-eye with South Africa's incredible wildlife as we catch up with Photo of the Year winner Fred Barrington

Ahead of your trip to South Africa, what were you looking forward to most?

I was looking forward to seeing a wide variety of wildlife in good, or at least interesting, photographic light. I was hoping for some close encounters with the wildlife, in particular big cats and elephants.

The last time I went to Kruger, I could have reached out and touched the lions and I was expecting to get as close this time. Unfortunately it was not to be, despite best efforts.

What impressed you most about South Africa?

I have always found the people in South Africa very welcoming and friendly and I was certainly not disappointed this time. I particularly enjoyed staying in Elim, meeting the fascinating local people.

A rare shot, at the height of a giraffe (Fred Barrington)

Where was your favourite photographic location?

I would have to say that Elim was my favourite spot, because of the people.

Do you have a favourite shot?

I like the image of the monochromatic elephant as I think it shows a certain sadness in him, due to his age.

What types of wildlife were you able to photograph?

We were able to take pictures of most types of wildlife, including rhinos, hippos, elephants, giraffes, crocodiles, wild boar and many types of bird. The only disappointment was that, despite the best efforts of the rangers, the big cats proved elusive and so we didn't see any. I enjoyed following the baboons in the rain, as well as coming very close to a firefinch and various hornbills.

"All the elephants there are broken tusked" (Fred Barrington)

What was your most memorable experience?

My most memorable experience was in Botswana where we found some African wild dogs that hadn't been seen for months, which caused great excitement among the rangers. The dogs then mixed with hyenas, which is apparently very unusual.

In South Africa, my most memorable experience was actually getting stuck in the mud in Pafuri.

What has the trip meant to you in terms of your passion for photography?

My passion for photography was high before and still is.

An ox-pecker perched on the face of a buffalo (Fred Barrington)

The Trip

Fred Barrington split his trip between South Africa and Botswana, staying at Tuli Safari Lodge in the Northern Tuli Game Reserve (Botswana; tulilodge.com); Klaserie Sands River Camp in Kruger NP (South Africa; klaseriesands.com); Madi a Thavha Mountain Lodge in Limpopo (South Africa; madiathavha.com)


Enter this year's Photo of the Year competition for the chance to win a photo commission to Costa Rica or £3,000 cash.

Submit your entry here: Photo of the Year 2017

Silhouette at dusk (Fred Barrington)