• Johan Van Zyl, Professional Wildlife Photographer and Photography Safri Tour Guide in South Africa, Mpumalanga

I had the privelege of growing up in one of the most beautiful towns in South Africa, which is Nelspruit, located in the Lowveld of Mpumalanga. Nelspruit is situated about a 30km scenic drive to the world-renowned Kruger National Park. My love for animals and the wildlife started from a very young age, and with the surroundings I had, this was easily encouraged. My family are fortunately all nature lovers too and many weekends were spent in the ‘bush’ fueling my endless enthusiasm and sharing this passion with people close to me.

At the age of 12 our family moved to Uganda where I lived and schooled for 2 years. I returned to South Africa to continue my schooling, however, my parents stayed on for another close to 10 years. Uganda didn’t only expose me to a diversity of cultures, but also taught me the understanding of what the different cultures mean and the importance of these people’s daily ways of living and surviving, sometimes under very challenging environments. At that young age it was simply a matter of enjoying the fishing on Lake Victoria with the locals, trekking through the rain forest to catch a glimpse of the Mountain Gorillas or sharing a dance with the Pygmy Warriors, now, I understand the important subtle life lessons and experience gained behind every adventure I had.

After school, there was no hesitation in knowing the line of work i would enter. I signed up for a Guiding Course hosted in the Eastern Cape (Southern Coastline of South Africa) with Ulovane Environmental Private Game Reserve, which actively allows its students to participate with outside practical training to accommodate the theory. I completed this course and then continued to Guide and Manage camps in South Africa, Zambia and Botswana for the last 9 years. It has been over the past 6 years that u have developed a deep love and passion for Wildlife Photography, with a specific interest in the endangered African Wild Dogs and Birds in general. However, there are so many beautiful areas to experience that i always try to cease the opportunity presented to me at that moment. For me there is nothing more rewarding than passing all that i have learned onto my valued guests. First of all how to reach the optimum levels of what their equipment has to offer, and secondly, experiencing the excitement and content reflected on their faces that comes along with capturing that ‘perfect’ image. My experience in the bush and travels wouldn’t be possible however, without the love and support from my wife, family, friends and mentors, and of course, my guests. I am truly grateful for the paths I have crossed and I look forward to the many more thrilling and captivating adventures ahead.



“When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.”
“There is only you and your camera. The limitations in your photography are in yourself, for what we see is what we are.”
“Black and white are the colors of photography. They symbolize the alternatives of hope and despair to which mankind is subjected.”