This week I attended the celebration of the African Wildlife Foundation”s Sixtieth Anniversary and the Benjamin Mkapa Nature’s Best Photographic Awards ceremony. The late Benjamin Mkapa, ex President of Tanzania, was an iconic supporter of conservation and the event was graced by the presence of his widow Anna Mkapa along with our CS Tourism Hon Balala. The importance of conservation organisations such as AWF, along with wildlife tourism, cannot be overstated, especially during critical recent times.
I was delighted to accept awards for two images on behalf of my Kicheche partner, Paul Goldstein, who was unable to attend as he was back doing what he loves best, guiding photographers out on the plains.
They are not only remarkable shots but important ones. It was not a poached elephant but a recently deceased one and I vividly remember him telling me about how the whole business affected him. He spoke passionately about how many butchered corpses lie across Africa not from natural causes. Elephants are not poached in our Conservancies thanks to all of you visiting and rigorous transparent management, but still, one dies every 15 minutes elsewhere. It is a harrowingly composed image and it matters.
The second is classic Mara North country. Patrick Koriata, our Bush Camp guide, was not asked to scale the boscia tree, he just did it. Effortlessly. The poignancy is amplified by the brooding storm and not untypical sumptuous sunset. It speaks volumes, a magnificent Maasai gazing over a precious but precarious landscape nurtured, protected and enriched by tourists. Some of you will recognise this, the striking poster child of our Conservancy Guardian campaign which has brought together those who truly care for the future of this incredible wilderness. Nice work Paul and, like Patrick perched in the tree, let’s work together to watch over these landscapes.