I’m an independent photographer and writer who loves African wilderness. The meaning of my life is founded on my relationship with the continent’s wild places and their wild animals.

I was lucky to be born and grow up in South Africa, a country blessed with remarkable natural beauty and diversity. My home is 30kms south of Cape Town, on a hillside between the Atlantic Ocean and Table Mountain National Park. But I spend several months every year travelling to other wilderness areas around Africa, using my camera and words to share what I experience and learn.

African wilderness is perhaps unrivalled for it’s diversity – and sheer impact. From Cape Point to the Zambezi River, from the Congo rainforest to the plains of East Africa, from the Namibian desert to the Virunga mountains, each is unique and incomparable. This ancient continent is humankind’s original home, the land where Homo sapiens evolved. It deserves our utmost respect. It gave birth to us, and it continues to nurture us – physically and pyschologically. Wherever you live in the world, whatever your race or nationality, the wild places of Africa are in your blood and in your brain. When you visit Africa, you are returning to the motherland.

All of nature – including humankind – is sacred. It is through our relationship with wild places that we can redefine our notions of what it means to be a successful human being. When we spend enough time in the presence of wild creatures, we can relearn to be a human animal again, to step off our self-important pedestal and live in balance with the rest of nature. When we immerse ourselves in wilderness, we can rediscover the primal ecstasy of deep connection with ourselves, each other and all of life. African wilderness offers us the opportunity to recalibrate our priorities.

The continent’s national parks and wildlife are its most valuable assets, and give its people a powerful identity. The rest of the world has almost destroyed their wilderness and wildlife. But Africa – despite huge challenges – is still home to the biggest numbers of large wild animals on the planet. We Africans are immensely proud and protective of our vast forests and deserts, mountans and savannas, bushveld and oceans. “Africa is rich. It is the rest of the world that is poor,” wrote zoologist and artist Jonathan Kingdon.

I am available for photographic and writing commissions that inspire people to protect – and experience – African wilderness. I have produced content for various conservation NGOs, safari companies, magazines and newspapers. I published my first book South Africa’s Wildest Places, after three years of exploring the 30 finest national parks and nature reserves in my home country. So far, I have explored and photographed more than 100 protected areas and conservancies in 12 African countries: South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Zambia, Kenya, Tanzania, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, and São Tomé and Príncipe.

Through my photography and writing, I hope you can be inspired to stand up – and speak up – for the wild places and their animals. I urge the world to prioritise the conservation of Africa’s last remaining undeveloped lands and oceans. To me, there is no more important cause. Poaching of wild animals is a huge threat, but so is the relentless transformation of natural habitat by mining, agriculture, forestry and urban expansion. Please support the local communities, organisations and conservationists that safeguard the last wild places. Organisations like African Parks, Frankfurt Zoological Society, Conservation Lower Zambezi, Grumeti Fund and Pride of Table Mountain deserve your support, as they are making a real difference on the ground, right now, where it counts. I have personally worked with these organisations, several times, and can vouch for their integrity, commitment and undoubted value of their work.

Then, come to Africa to experience the magic of its wilderness for yourself. Your tourism money directly supports many local people who work for safari companies and conservation organisations. People must benefit from conservation, and without a thriving and ethical safari industry, there is no incentive for local people to protect African wilderness. So please come visit!

You can contact me on scott@lovewildafrica.com.

We have to be able to go there, also. Be it the desert, the savannah, the mountains, the sea or the wild lands of ice and snow, we have to be able to go to the places where we most belong and where we are most ourselves.

Ian McCallum