PICS: NatGeo Nature Photographer of the Year 2016 final entries

Cape Town - The 2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year contest has come to an end. But if you didn't get your entry in before the cut off time on 4 November, here's something to comfort you... 

We've selected some of our favourite photographs from the final week of the competition. And boy oh boy, they are breathtaking! 

From the wild scenes of Namibia, to even wilder ones from the iconic sardine run on the Wild Coast of South Africa, our favourite photographs in this collection all hail from the African continent (but we might be bias here...). 

You can see a collection of entries to the 2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year here

A photograph by Frenchman Greg Lecoeur show the Sardine Run, which occurs annually along the coasts of South Africa, in all its splendour. 

Photo and Caption by G. Lecoeur/2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

Sardine Run
"I captured this image during the migration of the sardines along the wild coast of South Africa. Natural predation, sardines are preyed upon by cape gannet birds and common dolphins. The hunt begins with common dolphins that have developed special hunting techniques. With remarkable eyesight, the gannets follow the dolphins before diving in a free fall from 30 to 40 meters high, piercing the surface of the water head first at a speed of 80km/h to get their fill of sardines."

Another favourite was shot by Carsten Krüger from Germany, and show two young hippo playing around in a pool in the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, further north. 

Photo and Caption by Carsten Krüger/2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

Perfect Symmetry

"This photo portraits two hippo "teenagers" playing around in a hippo pool near Seronera (Serengeti National Park, Tanzania), preparing to challenge each other to a "real" duel maybe in some years. You may ask yourself: Is this a simple Photoshop trick? No, it isnít. It was just the most symmetric picture out of a long photo burst series."

You can see a collection of entries to the 2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year here

Photographers from around the world were competing in four categories namely, Landscape, Environmental Issues, Action, and Animal Portraits. 

"The four categories of this year’s contest will give photographers a chance to capture the complexity and beauty found in the world around us," remarked Sarah Polger, senior producer for National Geographic Travel and manager of National Geographic photo contests. 

"We anticipate compelling and revealing images." 

The photographers are competing for a grand prize consisting of a 10-day trip for two to the Galápagos with National Geographic Expeditions, and an incredible chance for two 15-minute portfolio reviews with National Geographic photo editors.

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