iSimangaliso Sodwana Shootout Festival 2017

Powered by Nauticam
22-27 May 2017
For more information about the iSimangaliso Sodwana Shootout Festival 2017 please contact:

iSimangaliso Sodwana Bay Shootout photographic competition 2016

A fantastic event was recently hosted at Sodwana Bay, where selected media had the opportunity to experience the many treasures of Sodwana Bay, exposing them to the inspiring landscapes above and below the water that provide the perfect destination for this unique photography event.

From this magnificent platform we launch the 2017 shootout event, which will take place from 22-27 May 2017. Full details to follow.

iSimangaliso Sodwana Bay Shootout photographic competition 2015 – results

Exceptionally high photographic standards and a record total prize value of over R200 000 were seen in this year’s iSimangaliso Sodwana Bay Shootout powered by Nauticam (Dive Action Cape Town), capturing some of the incredible diversity and fragile beauty to be seen both above and below the ocean in the World Heritage Site. This shot was entered in the Advanced Underwater category, taken by photographer Geo Cloete.

Originally an underwater competition, the categories were expanded in recent years to enable non-diving photographers to enter in the ‘Land’ category as well, with photographs taken anywhere in the Park. This resulted in an interesting mix of images coming through including the recently introduced lions in the uMkhuze section of iSimangaliso.

According to event organiser Brian Ring of Reefteach, one of iSimangalio’s licensed Sodwana-based dive operators, “The event went off extremely well and once again showcased not only the natural attractions of this coastal jewel, but also provided a great fun family event during the school holidays with environmental education, informative talks by marine specialists and a range of musical entertainment.”

Professional photographer Allen Walker, also a past winner and one of the judges of this competition, said that “The iSimangaliso Sodwana Bay Shootout 2015 powered by Nauticam is one of only a handful of competitions around the world held at a specific location, where all the competitors compete in the same conditions, rules and amount of time. Entrants need to produce world class portfolios over a five-day shooting period and at the end of the day the best underwater photographer is judged the overall winner! This is the truest test of any underwater photographer’s skills and the fairest form of competition amongst competitors from South Africa and around the world. Sodwana Bay did not disappoint with a week of outstanding diving conditions and with some top notch photographers back in the competition, we saw the standard of photography once again make this event of world class standard. We hope to see this become the premier South African underwater photography contest with the support of all South African and international underwater photographers”


The winning overall photograph, of a Midas blenny, was taken by seasoned professional photographer Dr Geoff Spiby, who travelled from Cape Town with family and friends to participate. Geoff also won the Advanced Underwater category with his portfolio entitled “At home where I usually live on the reef”, and his son Kevin scooped the prize for photographing the most fish species during the six-day competition – 135 of the 1200+ species that are known to occur in this section of the Park. Geoff was thrilled with his fabulous prizes, which included underwater camera housing equipment and a shark diving trip to Fiji, saying “A big thanks to all the organising team and judges and especially to Barry Bey-Leveld from Dive Action for sponsoring the Nauticam housing.”
Repeat winner Estienne Janse van Rensburg once again took first prize in the Advanced Land category with a sunset portfolio of pictures entitled “Jesser’s Gold”.
The Creative category brought to light some wonderful interpretations of marine portraits, with Herman Jacobs taking first prize for his ‘sushi fish’, above left.


Submissions were of an exceptional standard, capturing a myriad colours, shapes and species of the miraculous underwater world of Sodwana Bay.
Pulling the hugely successful event together, the team included Brian and Corlia Ring, Eve Marshall, Melanie Louw and Cathy Bloemhof. Pictured here are key sponsors iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority and Nauticam, Dive Action Cape Town: Bryan Haskins Nauticam (key sponsor); iSimangaliso Marketing and Brand Manager Lindy Duffield; Brian Ring (Reefteach); iSimangaliso Tourism Information Officer Thandi Shabalala and Barry Bey-Leveld Nauticam (key sponsor).

According to iSimangaliso’s Business Director, Terri Castis, “The work of the committee, other local Sodwana Bay businesses and the Ozabeni Honorary Officers ensured that we had another successful event that highlighted some of the reasons for iSimangaliso’s inscription as a World Heritage Site – its outstanding universal values of biodiversity, ecosystems and superlative natural beauty. We were particularly grateful to the new sponsor Nauticam that came on board this year, our marine specialists who presented excellent talks: Georgina Jones, Neville Ayliffe, Dennis King, Kerry Sink & Rose Thornycroft.”, and to the judges who gave their time: Hendrik Louw, Allen Walker and Barry Bey-Leveld.

Sincere thanks to the sponsors of the iSimangaliso Sodwana Bay Shootout 2015, who collectively sponsored over R200 000 worth of prizes as well as other contributions to the event:

Aliwal Shoal Adventure & Blue Pixel Photography, Amanda Clifford, Angela’s Safari Camp, Back 2 Basics (Ponta), Beqa Adventure Divers, Dive Action Cape Town, Dolphin Encounters, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, Flexi Club, Gala-Gala Eco Resort & Blowing Bubbles Diving (Ponta), Manex Marine, Mary Bason, Natural Moments Bush Camp, Nauticam, Nemo Dive Charters, Oceanscape Sportswear, OK Jock Morrison Mbazwana, Omnico (Pty) Ltd, Pisces Dive Charters & Retreat, RAID, Reefteach Lodge, Scubapro, Sodwana Bay Lodge, Submerge, Supa-Trade Spar Mbazwana, Thule, Toad Tree Cabins, Triton Dive Charters and Lodge, WEI Volunteers, White Shark Projects and Wilderness Safaris.

Media enquiries should be directed to Bronwyn Coppola at or +27 83 450 9111, or to Media Officer Siyabonga Mhlongo at or +27 84 382 0884.

2014 Event

You can visit the past event listing from the 2014 event here.