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Travel writer of the year 2013: Call for entries

Banish the winter blues by reliving an incredible wildlife journey in the form of a short story. Who knows – it could lead to further adventures... 

Travel writer of the year 2013 competition launch spread.

Banish the winter blues by reliving an incredible wildlife journey in the form of a short story. Who knows – it could lead to further adventures... 

Get on the write track

  • Your entry should be a piece of travel writing (no more than 800 words) that includes an encounter with a wild animal.


  • This experience need form only a part of the overall story, but the narrative must have cohesion and there should be a clear reason for including the encounter in the piece.


  • Think about what distinguishes travel writing from other forms of writing. Some people would say that it is the journey, not the destination, that counts; others might say that all good travel writing involves some element of self-discovery.



First prize

  • The winner will receive a 10-day Expert Africa safari for two to Tanzania. Starting with a flight from London to Kilimanjaro, you’ll then hop by light aircraft to the northern Serengeti.


  • Starting at Sayari Camp, you’ll explore the kopje-strewn landscape for three days. Predators such as lions and leopards are numerous here, and there’s a chance of spotting a rare black rhino. Game drives will be in open-sided 4WD vehicles, and short walks on the plains will also be available.


  • You’ll then fly to Rubondo Island in Lake Victoria and spend four nights at Rubondo Island Camp, the only accommodation on this lush and largely unknown haven.


  • Rubondo Island’s lakeshore, forests, wet marshes and remoteness make for a very different, yet equally compelling, experience to the more familiar plains wildlife of the Serengeti.


  • As well as game drives, other activities on offer on Rubondo include hiking in search of wild chimpanzees, boat safaris and fishing for Nile perch.


  • This safari usually costs £3,962 per person, based on two people sharing a double or twin room. All international and internal flights are included. More details from Expert Africa or you can call 020 8232 9777. 


  • The winning story will be published in the July 2013 issue of BBC Wildlife, and also online along with one runner-up and up to three commended stories.


Other prizes


The Judges

Hilary Bradt co-founded Bradt Travel Guides and ran the business for 35 years before retiring to focus on writing and sculpture. Her latest book is Connemara Mollie.

William Gray is a writer and photographer specialising in wildlife, adventure and family travel. His latest book, Wildlife Travel, was published in 2011.

James Fair has been running the travel-writing competition for some 12 years and has written extensively on travel and conservation for BBC Wildlife.

Brian Jackman has been a travel writer for 40 years and is best known for specialising in African safaris, though he also has a soft spot for the UK’s peregrine falcons. 

Chris McIntyre has been an Africa specialist for more than 20 years. He runs Expert Africa and writes Bradt’s travel guides to Namibia, Botswana and Zambia. 

1 Click here for full terms and conditions. By submitting an entry, you accept the rules and terms and conditions.
2 The competition is open to all writers aged 18 and over, whether previously published or not, other than employees of Immediate Media Co and the Expert Africa/Sunvil Group and their immediate families.
3 One entry per person.
4 The story should be no longer than 800 words.
5 If entering by post, the story must be typed with double-line spacing on A4 paper and on one side only. Do not write your name on the story. Instead, write one anonymous tag word in the top right-hand corner of each page. Write the same tag word on an envelope containing the completed entry form. Staple this envelope to the back of the story. Stories will not be returned.
6 Entries may also be made online at, and must be accompanied by an online entry form.
7 The story must not have been entered in or won a prize in any other competition anywhere in the world, nor have been previously published. It must be your own original work and not written jointly with or by any other person.
8 By entering, you grant Immediate Media Co the non-exclusive right to reproduce your story for any purpose in connection with the competition at any time in any media without compensation.
9 All entries must be received by 31 March 2013. Proof of posting is not proof of receipt.
10 Stories will be judged by an independent panel. We reserve the right to change the advertised judges.
11 The judges’ decision on all matters relating to the competition is final. No correspondence will be entered into.
12 BBC Wildlife reserves the right to withhold prizes if, in the opinion of the judges, the quality of entries falls below the standard required.
13 Winners will be notified by email in May 2013.
14 The safari prize is provided by Expert Africa. The prize can be taken in low-season periods up until 31 March 2014.
15 Three dates will be offered, one in each of these low-season bands: 6 January to 31 March; 1 June to 30 June; and 1 November to 19 December (Sayari Camp is closed in April and May).
16 Expert Africa reserves the right to change aspects of the trip if necessary. There are no cash alternatives and the prize cannot be transferred to another person.
17 Entrants need to be fit enough for normal safari travel, including getting into and out of small aircraft without assistance. They also need to be comfortable riding in 4WD vehicles across bumpy ground for extended periods.
End Date: 
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