Press Release

AWF and Nature’s Best Photography Announce the Benjamin Mkapa African Wildlife Photography Awards

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NAIROBI, KENYA AND WASHINGTON D.C. (March 3, 2021) — The African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) and Nature’s Best Photography (NBP) officially announce the new Benjamin Mkapa African Wildlife Photography Awards. Named to honor the late, iconic African leader and former Tanzanian President H.E. Benjamin Mkapa, this competition recognizes his leadership in conservation, education, and his passionate support for AWF programs.

'Bringing Africa to the World and the World to Africa' defines the global competition geared towards creating a platform for Africans to embrace conservation through photography and to value the beauty of its nature.

To help celebrate World Wildlife Day, the Foundation and Nature’s Best found it fitting to launch the awards as a precursor to the 60th Anniversary of AWF, since its establishment in 1961.

Speaking at the launch, AWF CEO Kaddu Sebunya stated, “We value innovation and technological mechanisms. Mechanisms that can scale up AWF’s work and impact, like digital technologies that can create new experiences by more directly connecting people to wildlands and wildlife. Breaking degrees of separation between people and nature and creating ownership, transparency, demonstrated impact, and personalization. This is what the Benjamin Mkapa African Wildlife Photography Awards is all about.”

In line with AWF’s mission to ensure wildlife and wildlands thrive in modern Africa and Nature’s Best’s to celebrate the natural world through the art of photography and visual storytelling, the competition’s goal is to engage, involve, and attract photographers at all levels of expertise, while encouraging young talent to become advocates for generational behavioral change towards wildlife conservation.

Professional, Amateur and Youth (18 and younger) photographers are invited to enter the competition opening on April 5, 2021 and running through June 2021. The results are scheduled to be revealed at an awards ceremony in November 2021. Entrants will have the opportunity to win cash, prizes, and awards totaling USD $33,000 (KES 3.6M).

The Grand Prize Winner will be awarded USD $5,000 USD (KES 547,000), an interview and portfolio in Nature’s Best Photography magazine, and publication in a special edition of Nature’s Best devoted to the Mkapa Photography Awards. The category winners will each be awarded USD $1,000 (KES 109,000) and will be featured in Nature’s Best special edition. There will be two Youth overall Winners: one African-based and one Global Winner.

The competition will enhance the visibility of African wildlife through the following categories: African Wildlife Behavior, African Wildlife Portraits, Wildlife at Risk, Fragile Wilderness, African Conservation Heroes, Wildlife In Modern Africa: Coexistence And Conflict, Art in Nature, and through Africa in Motion/Video category, participants will be able to submit footage of natural wildlife behavior and outdoor experiences in wildlands. 

In further elaboration of the new awards, Nature’s Best Photography President Stephen Freligh said, “Through my 30-plus years as a publisher of photographic works, I have personally witnessed the positive impact of combining the creative and documentary talents of professional, amateur, and youth photographers alike. Their memories are our new discoveries, and their stories are the window to the wild that allows our imagination to soar.”

About Nature’s Best Photography: Where People Bring Nature into Focus

Now celebrating its 25th anniversary, Nature’s Best Photography (NBP) was founded to inspire, educate, and motivate a better understanding, appreciation, and conservation of the natural world through the art of photography, storytelling, and personal wellness initiatives. This dynamic public engagement platform has produced award-winning publications, large-format print exhibitions, multimedia televised presentations, and prestigious museum events hosted around the globe.

Learn more about the Benjamin Mkapa African Wildlife Photography Awards

About African Wildlife Foundation

The African Wildlife Foundation is the primary advocate for the protection of wildlife and wildlands as an essential part of a modern and prosperous Africa. Founded in 1961 to focus on Africa’s conservation needs, we articulate a uniquely African vision, bridge science, and public policy, and demonstrate the benefits of conservation to ensure the survival of the continent’s wildlife and wildlands.

AWF MEDIA CONTACTS:  For interviews and media inquiries contact Wambui Odhiambo of AWF in Nairobi, Kenya at  or +254 728 886987 or Patrick Mitchell of AWF in Washington, D.C. at or +1 202-991-7508.

NBP MEDIA CONTACT: For interview opportunities and photo inquiries, email Stephen Freligh, NBP Awards Director, in McLean, Virginia, at or +1 703-307-7010.