About Scott Ramsay
I work as a freelance photographer and writer, focusing on African conservation, protected areas and adventure travel.
I was fortunate to have grown up in Cape Town, spending plenty of time hiking on Table Mountain and swimming and scuba-diving in the oceans surrounding the Cape Peninsula. Sometimes my family would go on holiday to the Kruger National Park.
After university, I travelled a bit, then moved to Joburg, South Africa’s largest city. My job as a sales representative was a good one, but the congestion, deadlines, sales meetings and concrete environment duly took its toll on my happiness. I started looking for a way out from the frenetic, city-based lifestyle I was leading.
My office was on the 17th floor of a building in Johannesburg, and I found myself spending more and more time looking out the window, daydreaming about hiking in the Drakensberg, or swimming in the rock pools on the Wild Coast, or lying on the beaches of De Hoop. Most of the time, I daydreamed about the elephants, baobabs and fish eagles in the lowveld of the Kruger National Park. Then I’d think about travelling on to the Indian Ocean coast, where I’d spend my days swimming among the coral reefs.
Prompted by an incessant depression brought on by city living, I started reading more and more about the impact of nature on one’s life, and how important it is to the human psyche. Authors, activists, poets and photographers of different generations and nationalities all influenced me enormously. People like John Muir, Henry David Thoreau, Eugene Marais, Ian Player, Ansel Adams, Edward Abbey, Mary Oliver, Magqubu Ntombela, Wangari Mathaai, Beryl Markham, Wilfred Thesiger, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Jack London, Jacques Cousteau, Henno Martin, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Rainer Maria Rilke, Jane Goodall, Wallace Stegner, Jim Feely, Bernard Moitessier, Laurens van der Post and especially Walt Whitman…
I eventually moved back to my home town of Cape Town where I started working for Getaway, Southern Africa’s biggest and oldest adventure travel magazine. I was fortunate to be able to travel to some of Africa’s great wilderness areas, and it confirmed for me what I had always suspected: that these are our continent’s greatest assets, and they – along with our people – are our most valuable contribution to the world. The protection and expansion of Africa’s wild places is of utmost importance.
After several years of dreaming, I decided to actually do something about it. I planned a trip which would allow me to cover most of South Africa’s wilderness areas, and to document the people, places and wildlife. I approached South African National Parks, CapeNature, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, Eastern Cape Parks and iSimangaliso Wetland Authority, and suggested the concept of Year in the Wild. They all were enthusiastic and supportive!
I will visit 31 of the country’s most special natural areas, interviewing the people who make conservation possible, including the rangers, scientists, communities, ecologists and managers. I’ll also be taking plenty of photographs of the wildlife, land- and seascapes. I hope to inspire people to visit these areas responsibly, and to become advocates for their continued conservation.
If someone can see for themselves how special a wild place can be – whether it’s lying underneath blazing stars in the Kgalagadi, or walking through fields of millions of Namaqua daisies, or walking with Zulu rangers among rhino in Imfolozi, or discovering millennia-old rock art in the Drakensberg or Cederberg, or standing atop Mapungubwe Hill on the Limpopo River, or jumping off waterfalls in Mkambati on the Wild Coast…if they can see for themselves, then these places have a better chance of being conserved, and the local communities can enjoy their benefits.
I hope to share as much of my journey as possible with you…