These pictures from the finalists of National Geographic UK's Travel Photography Competition are worth more a thousand words.

Portfolio: Joseph Burton - Tributary, Botswana

"This photograph was taken in January 2016 and features a bird’s-eye view of the approach to the Moremi Game Reserve in Botswana’s Okavango Delta region. Moremi is cut off from the remainder of the Delta and requires transit by light aircraft or helicopter. The shot was taken from a Cessna plane and shows one of the many ephemeral tributaries of the Okavango basin which snake through the landscape following the annual discharge of rain from the Angolan highlands."

Portfolio: Miguel De Freitas - Nambiti Game Reserve, South Africa

"It was an early morning rise for us when our game ranger had been informed of mating activity within a group of lions. When we found the group, the sudden torrential downpour put a halt on the lions' activity but created a different photographic opportunity. The lions were completely exposed to the elements with no nearby shelter on offer. Camera at the ready, it was only a matter of time before the lions did what they could in order to keep themselves dry... "

Urban: Ben Goodwin - Cristo Redentor, Corcovado, Rio de Janeiro

"It was the end of a long day of sightseeing and I had reached the top of Corcovado, only to be greeted by thick cloud as far as the eye could see. After a couple of hours waiting between rain showers and with light fading, I had almost given up hope of seeing the classic vista across to Sugarloaf Mountain. Suddenly, the clouds parted to reveal Rio de Janeiro in all its glory and I quickly set up my camera. As light flooded across the city, I noticed the shadow of Christ the Redeemer fill my frame and quickly took a series of shots, as a rainbow briefly gave the statue its own halo. "

Action: Sajith Buddhika Withanage - Yala National Park, Sri Lanka

"I was in the bush searching for a leopard for my clients when I saw this unusual behavior of a garden lizard in the middle of the road. Suddenly, I realised that the predator - a common bronze back snake - was not so far away... When the snake strikes, the lizard acted like a monk from a shaolin temple...
 The snake didn't enjoy the extra attention he got from the crowd. That slight distraction gave the loophole to the lizard to live another day."

Nature: Daren Baker - The Watering Hole, Fritham, New Forest, UK

"We decided to head into the Forest before heading home from our weekend stay and so glad we did. It was clearly evident that the light of the evening was going to be amazing... the water was still and lonely... then out of the purple heather came a herd of horses. I took a number of shots but waited patiently in the hope that they would circle the circle of water in perfect symmetry - and they almost did."

Action: Andrew Hone - Ngapali Beach, Myanmar

"The image was taken at sunset on Ngapali beach in Myanmar. What struck me at the time was how you can go to places you might think are remote, but you will always find people who love sport. From the heights of world football in Europe to a beach in Asia, everyone can find the same joy in the game, all you need is ball! These boys certainly have one of the more beautiful backdrops in which to play..."

People: Marcus Pozzi - Jaipur, Rajasthan, India

"I am fascinated by people in their own environment during their daily life. The train station is a key moment for many people and the second class is where one can better appreciate the adaptive nature of people. I ask permission before taking any photo and generally people are very generous, curious and helpful. I spent two mornings going from one train to the other and this is the result. "

People: Francis Cox - Bead Shop Man, Kathmandu

"Whilst on a tour of the Bhaktapur (Kathmandu) tourist area, I was walking among a number of local shops when the brightly coloured door and hanging beads of this particular shop caught my attention... I saw a sweet old Nepalese man in his national dress, who was happy for me to take my pictures. His was shy, almost timid and humble yet proud to dress bold, he took great pride in his colourful organised shop full of hand made beads. Unfortunately 24 hours after taking this image Kathmandu (Nepal) was hit with a devastating earthquake (25-04-2015) . Although traumatic for me I escaped with only mental scars, for the people of Nepal they lost much more; their family and friends. I never managed to find out the fate of my bead shop man; but one day I will."

Nature: Stuart Dunn - Horse Silhouette, Salalah, Oman

"Salalah was the starting point for an expedition I was about to embark on to cross the Rub Al Khali desert, also know as the Empty Quarter. I was preparing my equipment for the expedition when I spotted out the corner of my eye a young man training his horse on the beach backlit by this beautiful orb of a sun..."

People: Laura Dale - Parque de las Palapas, Cancun, Mexico

"This is a portrait of a woman dressed in skull-candy face paint and costume to celebrate the Day of the Dead festival in Cancun’s El Parque De Las Palapas, Mexico. The festival, locally known as ‘Dia De Los Muertos’ is an annual celebration in memory of loved ones who have passed away. Seeing the festival has been on my bucket-list for years, so when my trip to Mexico coincided with the celebrations I asked some locals where best to witness it. ... I couldn’t resist stopping her and asking for a photograph. I find her solemn expression juxtaposed with her colourful make up and accessories striking, and a nice portrayal of how the event celebrates what is usually considered a sad time."