Meet the judges
Leading wildlife photographer, writer and guide
A respected industry voice in wildlife photography, Atkinson shoots a variety of wildlife subjects – big cats and wild dogs count among his favourites. His images have featured on the covers of Africa Geographic and US National Geographic Kids magazines. He is also a regular contributor of text and images to African Birdlife, Africa Geographic and Pix magazine.
A widely travelled naturalist with more than a decade’s full-time experience as an expert guide in Botswana, Atkinson continues to lead groups to southern and East Africa’s wilds. He also leads group photo tours beyond Africa, to destinations such as Brazil’s Pantanal wetland and Sri Lanka.
Ecologist and Wilderness Safaris chief marketing officer
Roche started out in the ecotourism industry in the mid-’90s. He cut his teeth as a guide, trainer and assessor for ecotourism operator CCAfrica (now &Beyond) in the Kruger National Park, fulfilling roles that ranged from group ecologist to sitting on the conservation committee. He migrated from the field and joined Wilderness Safaris in 2005, where he has filled various roles on the creative and sustainability teams.
In the past few years he has moved into marketing – this is where he believes he can better aid ecotourism and its impact on Africa-wide conservation. He holds an honours degree in environmental history and a master’s degree in springbok ecology. Roche is widely published in academic and popular media and the co-author of a popular book of guiding stories.
HEINRICH VAN DEN BERG
Acclaimed wildlife photographer and publisher
Van den Berg specialises in nature, environmental and travel photography. He has spent many years in the field, capturing photos of African wildlife and the continent’s natural beauty.
Acclaimed as a wilderness photographer, he was the first photographer to win the Eric Hoskings Award in the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition for two consecutive years. He has won the international Camel Trophy Photographic Competition, and in 1998 became one of the Camel Trophy’s first official international photographers. He was also the 2005 winner of the international Fuji Getaway Photographer of the Year award.
His photos grace numerous books, calendars, magazine portfolios and photographic products worldwide. He is experienced in the field of publishing, having photographed and published more than 30 photographic books.
Sunday Times Travel editor
Ash is a career travel journalist whose job has taken him around the world, occasionally to places that normal people would have no wish to visit. He has spent a lot of useful time gazing at the planet from various kayaks and other river craft and from the back of an ancient mountain bike.
He joined the Sunday Times in 2004 after spending a few years working on magazines such as Style, Men's Health and the much-missed Out There. In 2005 he was appointed deputy-editor of the travel section which is what he wanted all along, and moved to the top job in July 2015.
Main photo: A honey badger scoops a sip of water. By Willem Kruger