Pangolin Photo Challenge 2021 logo

Welcome to the 2nd Annual Pangolin Photo Challenge!

The 2023 Pangolin Photo Challenge will be starting in June.

Throughout the year we will be challenging you to get out and practice your wildlife photography skills. As wildlife photographers, we shouldn’t just wait until we travel…we should be photographing nature wherever we are. This is your opportunity to join in the fun, improve your photography and support our conservation initiative at the same time.

The total photo safari prize fund for 2022 is over $60,000!

There will be plenty of prizes up for grabs for the best images in each challenge, an overall portfolio prize, a people’s vote as well as a lucky draw prize, which you can win a safari, just for entering an image.

The challenges are going to be adjudicated by some of the best wildlife photographers in the world. They will also be sharing exclusive content, advice and photo tips with you throughout the challenge.

To enter the challenge all we ask is that you donate a piece of equipment (via our online shop) to the pangolin rescue and rehabilitation centre that our non-profit Pangolin.Africa, supports. There are plenty of options to buy and all of it is crucial to the rehabilitation efforts.

This is the Pangolin Photo Challenge for Amateur wildlife photographers. There is a separate PRO Challenge with different rules, entry requirements and prizes for Pro wildlife photographers, wildlife photo tour leaders, full time (or freelance) qualified field guides and trackers which you can find here.

Watch the video below to see how The 2022 Pangolin Photo Challenge works.

The Pangolin Photo Challenge 2022 is judged by The Pangolin Photo Hosts and over 30 top international wildlife photographers.
Birds of the world challenge

Closed for entries

water water everywhere challenge

Closed for entries

twos company challenge

Closed for entries

the small stuff challenge

Closed for entries

the best of 2022 chalenge

Closed for entries

Please note that even if you have missed one of the deadlines you can still enter an image for the missed challenge into the overall portfolio prize  – One image from each category will make up the portfolio of five images judged at the end of the year for the grand prize!

pangolin Body warmers

Each winner of the Pangolin Photo Challenge will receive a limited edition Pangolin body warmer available for collection when you arrive in the Chobe!

These body warmers will be available to purchase later in 2022. If you would like to be notified when they are available please subscribe to the Friday Focus Newsletter by clicking here.

Pangolin Photo Challenge Details and Rules

5 x Challenge Winner Prizes 

The winner of each of the five challenges will win the following
Five days at The Pangolin Chobe Hotel for two people. Valued over $4,500.

  • 4 nights at the Pangolin Chobe Hotel (Full board)

  • Twice daily photo activities in The Chobe (Photo Boat and Game viewer)

  • All meals and drinks

  • Advice and assistance from The Pangolin Photo Hosts

  • Afternoon image review and editing sessions

  • Airport pick up and transfers from Kasane Airport

  • All park fees, bed levies and taxes

  • A limited edition Pangolin Body Warmer

5 x Challenge Runner-up Prizes 

  • Pangolin Photo Safaris Voucher for $2000

15 x Highly Commended Prizes (3 per challenge)

  • Pangolin Photo Safaris Voucher for $1000

5 x People’s Vote Prizes (one per challenge)

  • Pangolin Photo Safaris Voucher for $1000

Winner of the Pangolin Photo Challenge 2022 Best Portfolio

10-day Chobe, Delta and Kalahari Safari for two people. Valued at $20,000

  • 3 nights on The Pangolin Voyager Houseboat

  • Charter flights courtesy of Mack Air

  • 4 nights at The Pangolin Photo Camp

  • 2 nights at Ker and Downey’s Dinaka

  • Accompanied by a Pangolin Photo Host throughout

  • All meals, drinks, park fees, bed levies and taxes

  • 2 x Limited edition Pangolin Body Warmer

1 Lucky Prize Draw – every image entered (max 5) is a ticket to the draw.

The winner of The Lucky Prize Draw wins:

7 day Best of Chobe Photo Safari for two people valued at $7,500

  • 3 nights on the Pangolin Voyager Houseboat (Full board)

  • 3 nights at the Pangolin Chobe Hotel (Full board)

  • Twice daily photo activities in The Chobe (Photo Boat and Game viewer)

  • All meals and drinks

  • Advice and assistance from The Pangolin Photo Hosts

  • Afternoon image review and editing sessions

  • Airport pick up and transfers from Kasane Airport

  • All park fees, bed levies and taxes

  • 2 limited edition Pangolin Body Warmers

Please note that the vouchers are redeemable for new safaris booked after the award and only for safaris that include the Pangolin properties in Botswana. The vouchers must be redeemed for travel before 1st June 2024. If the winner of a voucher already has a safari booked then the voucher validity can be extended upon request.

How the Pangolin Photo Challenge works

The Pangolin Photo Challenge is designed to help you keep your creative juices flowing and inspired throughout the year…and not just when you are on holiday.

The challenge is in five parts and in the end, if you have entered an image in each of the challenges you will have a portfolio that is your chance to win the grand portfolio prize of a 10 day safari for two.

Is there an entry fee? 

To join in the challenge we don’t ask for an entry fee. Instead, we ask you to make a donation to our non-profit organisation Pangolin.Africa in the form of a purchase of equipment for the Pangolin rescue and rehabilitation centre that we support in The Northern Cape, South Africa. This can be done, exclusively through the Pangolin.Africa store which you can find here

Who can enter?

The Challenge is open to everyone, from any country with the following 2 exceptions.

You may not be:

  • Employees of Pangolin Photo Safaris and their immediate relatives/household.
  • A professional wildlife photographer, photo tour leader, qualified full time (or freelance) field guide or tracker. There is a separate PRO Pangolin Photo Challenge which can be found here.

How do the Challenges work?

Each challenge has a theme or subject which is explained in full on each of the relevant entry pages for that challenge. Once you have registered and made your donation through the online shop your account will be live and you can enter your images into each of the challenges.

You can enter only one image into each category and the image must have been taken by you in 2021 or 2022 (except for the last challenge, Best of 2022, which must have been taken only in 2022). Feel free to delve into the images that you took last year and if you happen to take a better photo this year, that suits the challenge, you can swap it out.

Each challenge has a closing date at different times of the year. For example, Birds of the World will close first at the end of April and the last challenge, Best of 2022, will close at the end of the year.

When each challenge closes the judge will take approximately 2 weeks to go through the images and select a winner and runner up for the challenge. 

How does the Grand Portfolio Prize work?

If you have entered all of the challenges throughout the year you will have a portfolio of five images – one from each of the challenges which will be submitted to the judges.

Only portfolios containing five images will be considered for this prize.

During the course of the year, you are able to swap out images, for any of the challenges, if you feel you have taken a better image. The image will not be considered in retrospect for a challenge that has closed for judging but you can enter it as part of your portfolio for the grand prize at the end of the year.

For example, if you took a fantastic picture of a bird (for the Birds of the World challenge) in the local park but you had already entered another image a week earlier from your garden the older image with the newer better photo with the older one.

All submissions and the ability to swap out images will be closed on December 31st for final judging of the portfolios.

Who are the judges?

At Pangolin, we are lucky to work with some of the best wildlife photographers in the world. We have called in some favours and asked them to feature as guest judges alongside The Pangolin Photo Hosts.

For details of who the guest judges are then please click here.

We have chosen judges from all around the world who photograph a wide range of subject matter and they are very much at the top of their game!

How does the people’s vote work?

Throughout the year, you will be able to vote for your favourite images and encourage your friends and family to do the same. You are allowed one vote per person for each of the five challenges – so five votes in total. We would suggest spreading out your votes over the course of the year as images are submitted. You must register to vote (if you arent an entrant) so we can restrict the number of times people can vote but you do not have to make a donation to do so – although all donations to Pangolin.Africa is always welcome. The People’s Vote will close 10 days after each Challenge closes and we will announce the Challenge winner and runner-up as well as the People’s vote winner at the same time.

Where do the images have to be taken?

There is no geographical limit as to where the images have to be taken. We want to see images from all around the world. They do not have to be just from Africa. All images will be judged on their photographic merits and execution and not on the subject matter.

The Pangolin Photo Challenges explained – Here is what we are looking for:

Birds of the World

Birds of the World is pretty straightforward and easy. The bird or indeed birds must be wild and not baited in any way.Birdbaths are allowed but no seeds, fruit or meat etc can be used to entice the bird.

As the name implies the bird can be from anywhere in the world.

Water water everywhere.

Water, water everywhere. In this image, we are looking to have water as a component of the image.

It does not have to be a mammal but can be any form of wildlife including birds, insects, reptiles, fish. We will not accept flowers, trees and grasses etc and any landscapes must have an identifiable animal as part of the scene.

This is a great opportunity to get to the coast, visit a park with a lake or pond or even get out a photograph on rainy days…you never know! We will even accept frozen water (snow and ice) as well as water in the form of mist and fog!

Not just clouds though…that’s a bit too easy!

Two’s Company

Two’s company allows us to explore relationships in wildlife photography. This relationship could be between two subjects of the same species or indeed of different species interacting.

We will allow all wildlife in this challenge category but not plant life. The focus of the image has to draw attention to the interaction of two individuals.

Even if the scene you shoot is that of a herd/flock/family, for example, as long as the eye is drawn to two individuals we will allow it.

The Small Stuff

Before you start to worry that you need a macro lens for this challenge then rest assured, you don’t! The Small Stuff allows us to focus (excuse the pun) on some of the more overlooked subjects….and not just the big stuff!

The rule of thumb here is that the subject needs to be approximately the size of a tennis ball or smaller. This can include some small mammals, birds, insects, reptiles and we are also going to allow plants – or parts of plants if that’s the focal subject – eg flowers.

The main rule is that the subject must not be coerced, altered, captured or damaged. Again the use of baits is prohibited.

The Best of 2022

This is where you can submit your favourite wildlife image from the year – but please don’t enter anything similar to other shots from the other challenges. The image must have been taken in 2022.

The grand portfolio prize will look at all 5 of your images and judge them on their individual merits and then the portfolio with the highest score will win.

This can be any wildlife or natural subject including landscapes that don’t necessarily have to have an animal in the image – as long as it’s natural and not man-made or urban.

Who can enter the Pangolin Photo Challenge 2022?

The competition is open to all amateur photographers aged 13 or over from any country in the world with the following two exceptions.

  • Employees of Pangolin Photo Safaris and their immediate relatives/household.
  • All Professional wildlife photographers, photo tour leaders and qualified (full time or freelance) field guides and trackers. If you are any of these then you may enter the PRO challenge which can be found here.

(Please note that any winner of a safari or voucher who is under the age of 18 must travel with another person aged over 18)

This Pangolin Photo Challenge 2022 is divided into five challenges – Birds of the World, Water water everywhere, Twos company, The Small Stuff and The Best of 2022.

One image will be allowed per entrant per challenge. You may enter the same image in different challenges but this will count against you if you are hoping to compete in the Grande Portfolio prize.

Image Submission

The Image submitted to the Pangolin Photo Challenge must adhere to the following conditions:

The submitted image must have been taken in 2021 or 2022 (except for the Best of 2022 Challenge which must have been taken in 2022). The metadata of the file will be inspected to ensure qualification. The capture date will be published on the website along with the image. Please make sure when you export your image from your editing programme of choice that you select to include the Meta (aka Exif) data with the image. This contains your settings for the display.

All images should be a faithful representation of the original scene in the natural world. The subject should be wild and not captive. The scene should not be staged for photography. Composite images will not be allowed (except for night photography images). Post-production adjustments can be used but excessive use will count against the image’s overall standing with the judges.

The judges may request the original image file for review when the shortlist has been completed. This will precede their judgement and declaration of the challenges and portfolio winners and runners up.

Please note. An image that has previously won a national or international nature photography competition prior to The Pangolin Photo Challenge will NOT be considered. If chosen as a winning image and later found to be in contravention of this rule it will be disqualified.

The judges reserve the right to refuse photos that they deem unsuitable at their discretion. The image must be the sole property of the submitter and have no third-party publishing rights/restriction attached to them.

The image must have been taken by the submitter. Your images must be submitted as jpeg files without a watermark. The platform that we use will place a standard watermark on your image to protect it and also allow for the image to be judged anonymously.

The judging process is conducted blindly so all watermarked images will be rejected. Once the winners have been selected competition organisers will delete all the submitted images from their servers or cloud-based storage.

The owners of the winning images give permission for their images to be used for the purposes of promoting the Pangolin Photo Challenge. All entrants give permission to Pangolin Photo Safaris to display their image on the Pangolin Photo Safaris website and social media channels.

Editing- The Dos and Don’ts


  • Adjust your image in post-production but don’t get carried away. Adjustments in exposure, contrast, white balance, sharpness and local adjustments are allowed.
  • Cropping is fine but make sure that it is not in some strange shape nor cropped too small so as to lose image quality.
  • Turning your image from colour to black and white (or similar) is fine.
  • You may remove sensor spots from the image.
  • We will allow for HDR manipulation and focus stacking as long as they are used with restraint.
  • Panoramas are allowed.


  • Add anything to the image in post-production
  • Use effects like frames or canvas mimicry
  • Include a watermark on the image at all as the judging is done blind.
  • Remove any object in the image that would constitute more than 5% of the image (except for sensor spots).


No images that have used live or dead bait when capturing the image will be allowed in this photo competition. If the judges suspect that a subject has been coerced, baited or harassed the image will be disqualified from the competition.

To clarify we do not consider photographing a bird or mammal drinking or bathing in a permanent water source (waterhole, man-made lake/reservoir, garden pond or birdbath) to be a baiting scenario. If the body of water has been stocked with fish for example for the purposes of capturing images of birds fishing we would consider this to be baiting. This includes hides where fish are replenished regularly rather than a natural breeding ground for the fish. If you are not sure then please email us at with information on the scenario in question and we can make a judgement call.

Agreement or participation

By entering an image into this photo competition you agree to and are bound by the rules set out above. Entrants agree to have their names added to the Pangolin Photo Safaris email newsletter database. This will be the primary method of communication and updates.


The judging of The Pangolin Wildlife Photographer of the Year will be carried out by The Pangolin Photo Hosts and Directors as well as guest judges selected for their skill and expertise in the field of wildlife and landscape photography. The judges’ decision is final, binding and non-negotiable.

We are listed with Photo Contest Deadlines

We are listed on Photo Contest GURU – Photography Competitions Directory – Online List of Photo Contests

Can I enter more than one image?

You may enter and replace each image for each challenge as often as you like. The idea of the challenge is to keep you photographing throughout the year. Therefore, if you take an image that you believe is better than the image previously submitted you can swap it out.

Pay close attention to the closing dates of each challenge as images submitted after the closing date will not be considered for that particular challenge. They will be considered in the portfolio prize at the end, however.

How old can the image be?

The image must have been taken by you in 2021 or 2022 (except for the Best of 2022 challenge which must have been taken this year). We don’t want images taken before January 1st 2021.

What format should my image be in?

We have had to set a file size limit to 10Mb as we have to upload all the images and make them downloadable by the photo hosts in Botswana – where the internet access is not very robust. The file type should be jpeg.

Why can’t I submit images with my watermark?

The judges of the photo challenge are the Pangolin Photo Hosts based in Botswana, along with our guest judges and to be fair to all entrants they will be judged blind.

What will happen to my images after the contest ends?

As soon as the competition ends, we will then delete all the images that were submitted.

Can I enter if I am a professional wildlife photographer?

All amateur wildlife photographers can enter with the following two exceptions.

  • Employees of Pangolin Photo Safaris and their immediate relatives/household.
  • All professional wildlife photographers, photo tour leaders, full time (or freelance) field guides and trackers. There is a separate PRO Photo Challenge which can be found here.

Due diligence will be performed if deemed necessary. The decision to allow or disallow the image resulting in this investigation will be for the directors of Pangolin Photo Safaris to make. This decision will be final and binding. Negotiations or discussions will not be entered into. If an image wins a challenge (or the portfolio prize) and it is later discovered that the photographer is deemed to be in contravention of the rules then the prize will instead be awarded to the runner up in the same challenge. The judge’s decision is final.

I can’t upload my image. Can you help?

If you are struggling to upload your image or enter the competition please email and we will assist where we can.

What if I am not able to travel before the safaris and vouchers expire.

All of the safaris and photo safari vouchers must be redeemed for travel before the 1st of June 2024. if you are not able to travel then the safaris and the vouchers will be forfeited. The winners of the safaris and vouchers must travel themselves. The safaris and the vouchers cannot be resold.

Will you be showing all the images in one place?

Yes. The system we are using allows all the images to be viewed again after they have been entered. They are also searchable by the name of the photographer. In addition to that, the system also displays the settings used by the photographer to help you better understand how the image was taken.

Competition prizes sponsored by

Pangolin Chobe Hotel Logo
WPOY Banner
pangolin Photo Camp logo 250
mack air logo
Pangolin Voyager Logo