The 2023 competition is split into two main sections; Professional and Enthusiast/Hobbyist/Amateur.Within those sections, there are several categories available for entry. You can see the full list of categories below.


From elephant shrews to elephants, from honey badgers to bats. This category calls for photos that express the animals‘ character and share a unique insight into their individuality. Don’t be scared to surprise the judges with your unique take on the category.


Showcasing the incredible diversity of birds. We are looking for unique images of South Africa’s amazing array of birdlife. From the most common garden birds to the rarest of species, we want to be wowed!


Evoking atmosphere and a sense of place – with the habitat as a major element of the picture. We are searching for images that portray the importance of the environment and ecosystems that sustain the wildlife within them.


The blue planet: 71% of its surface is covered by water. Oceans, rivers and lakes accommodate an infinite abundance of life. This category gives us an insight into a hidden world with its animals, plants and habitats both in fresh and salt water. This category covers both below and above, but water should be at the core of the image.


We’re searching for unique, inspired, and beautiful images that showcase the amazing style of black and white photography. Judges will be looking for creativity and innovation in the use of the medium. This is the perfect opportunity to show us those gorgeous hi key and low key images you’ve been saving as well!


Showcase the stunning diversity of South Africa, from the cultural landscapes in your local community to the remote, untouched corners of the nation. Captivate us with your journey through mesmerising light and the country’s natural beauty. We’re eager to be utterly enchanted by your perspectives on South Africa’s various settings.


We’re seeking the extraordinary in the ordinary. Whether through macro photography or finely cropped images, reveal your subject in striking detail. Show us a fresh perspective on the everyday, unveiling the hidden wonders that exist within the grander scenes. We’re excited to discover what we’ve been missing.


This is an open category for imagery showcasing the incredible and vast continent that is Africa. This is a new category for SAPOTY and we cannot wait to be inspired by everything you’ve got to show us. From the greatest of apes to the smallest of birds – we want to see it all. Please note that images entered this category still need to fit within the specifications of the above categories (mammal, birds, etc.) but each image needs to be captured outside the borders of South Africa.


Young South African POTY awards are given to the photographers who’s images are judged to be the most striking and memorable. Free to enter, it is open to those aged below 18 before 1st December 2023. The images can be of any subject from the above categories in South Africa.