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Marius Coetzee and his team at ORYX Photo Tours never ceases to amaze. They have guided myself and my family to Botswana, South Africa, Tanzania, Rwanda and Kenya. Marius and his team strike the perfect balance between unprecedented luxury and epic adventure. At no time will you feel your dream trip is anything less than extraordinary. They open your eyes to worlds seen by few and experiences enjoyed by even less. There has not been a single person I have recommended to ORYX Photo Tours to who has not returned and emphatically stated that their trip was the greatest vacation they have ever been on. When you've traveled with ORYX, you cannot help but sing their praises and hope others will be lucky enough to experience the same.
We had a great time at MalaMala! So much amazing sightings in both locations and it seems that leopards were favouring us!
Penny is a remarkable tour leader and photographic teacher; I gave her the pet name “Teacher” not sure if she liked it :), because she has a beautiful gift to teach others and share her knowledge on camera settings, creative wildlife photography and photographing in the wild from a vehicle. She went out of her way to make all of us feel at home and at ease and taken care of, in true ORYX Photo Tours style, but also that is the kind of caring person she is.
We were very fortunate to have Daniel as our driver/ranger, his knowledge of the reserve and the animals contributed to our amazing safari.
Thank you ORYX for making Mala Mala Game Reserve part of your photo safari destination and affordable to South Africans in these challenging times.
Penny Robartes was an a brilliant guide for me, always putting my shooting needs first, making sure that my settings were right, giving advice on how to shoot at a sighting and calming me down when a sighting became intense…no easy feat as there were plenty of those! Thank you for your support and advice, not only on safari, but afterwards as well, and giving me a new outlook on Lightroom!
The Serian camps were wonderful, I loved every minute that we spent there, accommodation, food, staff were great, I look forward to returning one day.
Thank you again for a wonderful photo safari, I will always treasure those memories. It was an incredibly special place and the whole experience was wonderful. Its hard to explain to people how beautiful it was with all the yellow and purple flowers and then it became the scene of utter carnage as well!
Where to start? First of all, thank you and the team at ORYX for putting together seamless hassle free guided tours where everything so well planned.
Then there is Penny, she provided the best calm, relaxed and generous help and guidance on this trip. Nothing was ever any bother and Penny and she is a true professional who is willing to share for a very amateur photographer like me to get the best images I can.
The side trip to Amboseli was brilliant with so many elephants massed together along with with some big cats and birds. The close proximity to Kilimanjaro provided daily spectacular backdrops and views. Our driver/guide Ali was so knowledgeable, calm and drove safely through very challenging conditions after the unusual big rains before we came.
Visiting the Sheldrick refuge was a great way to embed a long-term link with a successful rehabilitation project in Kenya and to follow the progress and life of an individual great icon of Africa.
Then up to the Mara this was just brilliant, the cats, other mammals, birds nestled amongst the green with sometimes dark threatening skies was outstanding. I have said this every trip but everyday there was at least one pinch me moment as we were privileged to see such natural beauty and encounters with animals. Dennis and Mark are brilliant team and they were really knowledgeable driver, guide and placing the vehicle in the best place safety and with consideration of the animals.
All three lodges were welcoming and comfortable to the point of hot water bottles in the bed, the first night I leapt out of the bed when I encountered the warmth mid bed as I thought a beastie had taken up residence! In all places the meals were outstanding.
I love East Africa and think there is one more photo tour in me with Penny as each country/region reveals new treasures and pinch me moments.
I recently completed a trip to Namibia with ORYX Photo Tours. This is my 6th photography tour with ORYX and I have at least 2 more planned. The beauty of this tour was the diversity of locations. We were in the desert with sand dunes, 900 year old camel thorn trees and desert wildlife; by the sea with seals and pelicans inches from us on the boat, climbing granite escarpments to a rock arch; and then a classic wildlife photo safari in the bush. This photo safari offered the most diversity of any trip I have taken.
Dale Morris, our photo tour leader, who seems to know everything about everything, couldn’t have been more helpful with all things animal, mineral, etc. He expanded my photographic horizons in terms of composition, camera setting, lighting, etc. I wish I could take all of the credit for the great images my friends have marveled at, but he is a huge part of them.
As usual, accommodations and food are excellent. The local guides were very helpful. I did a fabulous hot air balloon trip at sunrise and other members of the trip did a great helicopter tour.
The photo tours by ORYX are seamless from the time you land at your destination to the time they return you to the airport for your trip home. They are an excellent value for the dollar and provides experiences the ordinary traveler would not have. I can’t say enough good things about ORYX Photo Tours and their staff.
We had a fantastic photo tour with Greg, amazing locations and many unique photo opportunities, great lodgings too, all went smoothly from start to finish. Greg picked a great time to visit the Crater and the Serengeti it was as if we had them to ourselves. Crater Lodge Tree camp has an amazing position , whilst the rooms are somewhat quirky, we were well looked after and enjoyed good food and hospitality definitely in the best position to get down into the crater early. Namiri Plains was just perfect for us, a little more down to earth with the tented camp , nice and remote, well run, good food, a most memorable place.
Greg did himself proud, we look forward to our next photo safari with him, need to start saving up! We appreciate your help in arranging the trip.
Fabulous Kenya photo safari, well organised, with great accommodations and locales. We saw numerous mammals & birds with the help of our skilled local guides, who were also very well informed & helpful. Our photo tour leader and photographer Penny Robartes was excellent – I learned a lot from Penny about photography and took some of the best photos I have ever taken. All in all, this was an excellent trip and will certainly look to undertake further trips with ORYX Photo Tours!
Vera and I really enjoyed our month-long Ethiopian adventure! Everything went well, and eventually I will be able to process and stare the photos I took. Thank you very much for putting a great program for us. Your photo tour leaders and local guides were superb and a pleasure to travel with!
Ethiopia with ORYX Photo Tours was great! It's a fantastic country with a huge variety of nature and culture. Kirsten Frost did a great job and made the experience even better. This photo tour with ORYX was great and I can recommend it to every interested photographer!
I had a wonderful time with Greg. He's a great person to travel with, for his photographic expertise and for his naturalist knowledge, expertise and stories.
We had a lot of fun with Greg du Toit on this Kenya predator photo safari. His skills, his knowledge of the places we visited made this photo tour truly special. If you want a down to earth person to guide you true Africa, Greg is the man!
Everything went very smoothly and Kirsten was wonderful, not only as a photographer but also how he cared for the welfare of the clients. The catering was more than adequate and the service was very attentive. The accommodation was excellent under the circumstances and I have no suggestions on how to improve. Overall a most excellent photo tour experience!
Hi Nicolette, how lovely to hear from you with such a warm welcome back! The Lake Turkana photo tour exceeded expectations and has provided some great memories. Kirsten is a more than capable leader and his photographic skills are simply outstanding. We will certainly be booking another trip!
Well, what can I say about this fantastic photo tour? Firstly, the planning from ORYX’s was tops and secondly, the efforts from Kirsten while on the tour was super tops! The camp, and especially the food, was unbelievable given its remote location. The area and shooting sessions were great!
I have been on a few photo tours in the past but ORYX Photo Tours took the concept to another level. I joined because of the photographic opportunities but also because I was so well taken care of from the first email I sent. A BIG thank you! I am a very happy client who is now tempted to explore more with ORYX!
In any event we had the BEST photo tour ever! I had questioned prior to the trip if it made sense to be going back to India a second time with Marius, given all the places we want to visit, and I can unequivocally say it was ...and then some! Every stop of the tour offered unique and interesting experiences and photographic opportunities and with Marius as our "fearless leader" we were able to capitalize on the environment in a way we would never be able to do without him. We walked the back slum alleys of Jodhpur capturing the daily street life...sat in the sand dunes while camels ran up the dunes...photographed mating leopards in the magical rocky setting of Jawai.. visited with the local tribal chiefs as they prepared for a family wedding ...and found a path to a front row seat to photograph drinking tigers with full reflections (a personal bucket list item for me!)
All along the way we laughed and learned and shared in the enthusiasm exuded by Marius and just had so much fun!
Photographically we continue to learn and grow from our time with Marius "in the field" as he inspires us to see things from a new perspective with the use or our camera. He helps create magical moments for us to capture, teaching us more about light and shadows and composition. We return home after each trip more excited about our photography, as we practice our editing skills in search of creating better and more interesting images. Yes was a magical two weeks and I am only sorry it had to end!
This Madagascar photo tour provided a fascinating array of photo opportunities from the various types of lemur to chameleons, frogs, geckos, flying foxes, insects and rural life in Madagascar. Dale Morris was ever on hand with tips and advice for improving photos.
This Botswana photo safari, though short and focused, was amazing in all aspects. What made it so special was Kirsten, who is so creative and passionate about photography. We discussed what I hoped to achieve from this trip when we first met up and he patiently revised the basics of photography with me, as I only use the camera when I have time to take a break from work. Throughout this trip, Kirsten always allowed me time and space to explore and make mistakes, so that learning would be more effective.
The waterhole at Mashatu was magical and it was a wonderful change in pace when we could just sit at the hide and wait for different groups of birds and animals to come in turn to drink. When it became hot, the elephants started frolicking in the water, throwing caution to the wind, as they splashed themselves with wild abandon.
On our final morning, we arrived at the hide before dawn only to find 5 lions climbing on top of the hide, peering and investigating the camera and equipment which Kirsten had left around the hide overnight. It was so thrilling, only to be summed up by my exclamation, “On my goodness!” And the lions returned shortly after to drink from the waterhole when we were actually in the hide, barely meters away, allowing us to photograph them almost with cameras right in their faces! It was surreal.
Never in my wildest dreams would I have ever imagined taking such animated photos of wild life, star trails or videos, as I did on this trip. Kirsten is just an awesome teacher. Being a teacher myself, I know how special he is in that he understands the fears and challenges his students encounter, explains the solutions in a clear and methodical way, and helps the student achieve his aims. His youthful vigour was inspiring, as the days from the start to the end, were packed and filled with so much interest and enjoyment! In his presence, I couldn’t help feeling young at heart again! This photo tour to Mashatu was priceless and I am ever so grateful to have travelled with Kirsten!
My wife and I had an incredible photo safari experience with ORYX Photo Tours. From booking process to the preparations made by the ORYX team, we were well taken care of. This Botswana photo safari itself was full of unique sightings and great photographic opportunities. Penny Robartes (our ORYX guide) provided expertise in the sightings along with key information to improve capturing the best possible photos. The photo tour itself is brilliantly set up with distinct environments with Savute up first and finishing with Khwai. The Savute location is dryer with game concentrated around watering holes and marsh to the north. The Savute was dominated with lion sightings including the Marsh pride with cubs. The tracker was able to use tracks in the sand to find the lion cubs with an eventual greeting of the cubs and the adults capping off that incredible sighting. Khwai is a lush and green river front with an entirely different back drop and more unique animal sightings. Khwai did not disappoint with wild dogs, hippos, crocs, owls, and lots of great leopard sightings. Even though we had very good leopard sightings in the Savute, the leopard sightings in Khwai were unique. We were able to see a leopard chase down a Lechwe in the marsh splashing its way to knocking down the the Lechwe. Again, the tracker was able to find a leopard from the tracks in the sand. That leopard ended up with a kill and our opportunity to see it climb the tree with its kill right in front of us with the right angle and sun behind us. Penny provided instruction and what to expect from the animal behavior to capture the best possible emotion in the images.
Thanks again ORYX Photo Tours for an incredible photo safari.
How to Win:
Amateurs seek luck. Professional plan. Artists envision. I had a clear vision and set a goal to photograph big cats at night. To accomplish that goal, I hired the best guide and mentor, one with extensive experience capturing night cats and a stellar wildlife record including Wildlife Photographer of the Year, the fantastic Greg du Toit. His outfitter, ORYX Photo Tours, are the best. Photographers only. Prepare to work and only work. Marius Coetzee takes care of everything else. Everything.
Although this trip was my first wildlife photography experience, I accomplished what I set out to do and much more. Greg took me to private, mystical locations and arranged for the most knowledgeable ranger/tracker in each region. Because they were also photographers, they knew where to position their vehicles for the optimum shot. And not just any ordinary tourist-crammed transport, but a custom vehicle modified for photography. Mount camera, lock, load, shoot until you drop. Long days. Night time magic hour. Excellent photography.
The result? I won the wildlife series category for the 10th edition of the Julia Margaret Cameron Award for Women Photographers, a division of the international Gala Awards. My series is “Night Growl.”
A series is a story told with a minimum of five shots, each one able to stand on its on, but part of a cohesive synchronic whole. The secret to success is in the editing. How to shoot a winning series? Envision, plan, hire ORYX Photo Tours, show up, and work.
Penny, I really had a fantastic photo safari in Botswana thanks to you and ORYX Photo Tours for sure! I am still on a bit of a high. Even though this was my third time to Southern Africa and second to Botswana, and each trip has been special, this time having a focus was brilliant and your guidance was invaluable to achieving some excellent photos.
I had an absolutely marvellous trip away with Penny, she taught and guided gently with our new cameras so much. This Botswana photo safari was just right, great lodges, driver guides and the beasties and birds were on show or gently coached into view.
Thank you to ORYX Photo Tours for a terrific tour and to Penny especially for her skills with the camera, and helping me get started with new eyes for the shot.
We were lucky enough to have Mike Dexter as a guide during our recent photo tour to Mashatu. During the five days we were with Mike he shared his great knowledge of animal behaviour and the environment. It was a pleasure to work with someone who understands photographers and who instinctively knows the best place to position the vehicle. He was incredibly patient and was never in a rush to move on or to take his own photographs even when there were incredible sightings. Mike was very generous with his knowledge and if you had a query on anything that he was unsure of, he made sure he found the answer. For us Mike is the best guide we have encountered in several trips to Africa. Knowledgeable, interesting and a really nice guy to spend hours with. Barry and I would have no hesitation in recommending Mike for any guiding experiences.
We looked forward to this Botswana experience for a long time...and it exceeded expectations in every respect and at every step. Well-planned, logistics handled professionally and smoothly. Marius and Vanessa were more than helpful; they were thoughtful and cared to make this truly memorable and personalized. Cannot imagine a better guided adventure and fun to be with them too!
In fact, I already have recommended ORYX Photo Tours and to another friend at the Preserve and expect he will call upon you shortly to discuss a possible Botswana photo safari next year. Kathy and I will be back with our children - perhaps as early as next year -- to see the gorillas and introduce them to safari (the kids, not the gorillas!).
Thanks to Marius, Vanessa and the whole ORYX Photo Tours team. Rocked it!
Dear Marius and Kirsty,
Just wanted to thank both of you for a most wonderful safari in Mombo/Botswana.
Ali and myself did enjoy it tremendously. Game viewing, accommodation, service, you name it, it was all there and at it’s very best. We loved our stay and everybody, including from the airport onwards, couldn’t have been more attentive.
We even were lucky with the weather, as the raining season had finished and it has only started for the water to come from the Delta.
Thank you again for arranging a most memorable trip for us, hope you are all well and that we do get to see you sometimes soon,
Sabine and Ali
Thank you so much for such an amazingly perfect photo safari!!!! Despite our occasional weather difficulties, we were extremely pleased with all. You did an amazing job and have such perfect attention to detail. We felt spoiled and privileged throughout the photo tour. Greg did an amazing job as usual and we are thankful to have had the opportunity to travel with him again. ORYX Photo Tours has a first class operation and we will refer you to the many people who ask us about traveling to Africa. I have already recommended you to two other clients since I returned. Good luck and we hope to travel with you again in the future!
I wanted to let you know that all went well on my Botswana photo safari and we had a fantastic time. I have learnt a lot from Greg, and can already see the improvement in my photography. I am looking forward to Kenya, as I am sure we will have plenty of time to add some of the finer touches. All in all it was a good photo tour with fantastic opportunities, so well done on your organization too, all was brilliant.
Just a few words to say thanks a lot for the wonderful photo tour, that you and your team, organized for Laura and me. This year all worked perfect and in extraordinary timing. Thank you for the wine in the Michelangelo, and all in all, it really was an unforgettable trip in Africa. Laura is very happy and me too. We had very bad weather in Sharks, but ORYX did a perfect work, trying hard to reorganize everything for Laura and me. Greg like always the best in everything, like a person, and like a professional. Nothing...... just thanks again to all.
I thought I needed to drop you a line to inform you of my satisfaction with the high quality service that I have received from Kirsty in the past few days! I am very happy that she has been able to assist me with my changes to my trip. I am very grateful to her for her fantastic attitude and outstanding service!
Thanks so much to ORYX Photo Tours. It was another fantastic photo safari!
I would very much recommend all three locations to other guests.
Once again ORYX Photo Tours and Dale Morris have certainly excelled in organisation, photography skill development, finding the right places, at the right time to shoot and making sure everyone is being catered for.
Safety is at the forefront of Dale's mindset, for his clients ,while under his guidance and that was truly appreciated.
He is able to subtly and gently encourage those, where once may have feared to go, with development of their camera skills and wildlife .
You come away from your travels with a wonderful collection of photos that you are extremely pleased with.
Thanks ORYX and thank you to Dale!
My second photography tour with ORYX Photo Tours was as great as the first one. It was one of the most colorful holidays I’ve ever had! Madagascar was awesome! The hotels were lovely, the food really good, the beers were cold and cheap. The photo opportunities are innumerable, varied, colorful and it was great fun getting up close and personal with chameleons, tiny frogs and dragonflies. The lemurs and sifakas are just the best thing to watch and photograph, there are so many different ones, and yet they are all so very very cute.
A very big compliment to Dale Morris. He is the first person in 6 years who could convince me to switch to back button focus. He showed us a lot about spot metering and over- and under exposing, which was very necessary in the forest with all the dappled light.
Many thanks to you all, I believe you will see more of us!
We had an excellent Pantanal photo safari! We liked the itinerary and felt it was paced well. Dale Morris was a fantastic guide again (as we had him on our Madagascar photo tour). A big part of why we chose a Pantanal photo tour this time was because of how much we enjoyed touring with Dale. If we didn't live on other ends of the earth, I think Dale would be a great friend of mine. He's adept at photography, provides constant feedback on whatever we are shooting, and is knowledgeable about so much wildlife and ecology matters. He cares very much about the experience of the group and is always working for "the tribe" while traveling.
Going on this Svalbard photo tour was an amazing experience, one that left me close to tears at time at the sheer magnitude of what we saw in both the landscape and the wildlife. It was a supreme experience and found it surreal that as Africans with a rich and diverse natural environment around us, we had to travel almost 12 000km north to experience the best that nature has to offer. It was one of the few times I've truly felt a sense of awe and sheer isolation in nature.
I had a fantastic experience during my Svalbard photo tour and is so worthwhile going on the trip! We saw walruses, seals, polar bears, foxes, reindeers, whales (one blue Whale!) and a lot of birds. A lot of effort was implemented from the crew to find the wildlife and it was also great to be internet free for 9 days! We had wonderful days with a lot of unforgettable memories.
Peru has been on my bucket list forever and so it was so important to get the right guide on this once in a lifetime trip and Oryx did not disappoint. The itinerary was well thought out and planned - we covered the coast, the desert, the mountains and the jungle. This gave us a wonderful experience hitting the highlights of Peru. The amazing Machu Picchu was not the only highlight - the aerial view of the mysterious Nazca Lines was a childhood dream come true and visiting a Quechua family was so special and memorable. All local travel arrangements were seamless and accommodation was comfortable and service was good. Dan is an affable, kind, considerate person whose photographic insights were invaluable. Oryx had found a good partner in him. We all got along so well with him. I have no hesitation recommending this trip. Everyone should make a trip to Peru at least once in their lives!
I had the pleasure of attending the 2019 ORYX Borneo Photography Tour. It was a trip that far exceeded my expectations, with every day full day of activities and new experiences. The trip was well organized by ORYX Photo Tours and expertly run by our guide Dale Morris. You can not find a more experienced or enthusiastic guide than Dale. He makes every day unique and fun filled. The weather was hot and humid but this did not deter us. We saw a great variety of wildlife from tiny insects to pygmy elephants. The Orangutans were the highlight of the photo safari. We had multiple encounters up close and personal. We stayed at four unique lodges. Each lodge offered a different variety of wildlife. The rooms were very nice and the food was very good and plentiful. It was fun trying some of the local foods and the many different fruits. I have traveled extensively and this trip will go down as one of my ultimate favorites. Thank you ORYX Photo Tours and Dale for an experience I will never forget.
Borneo is an incredible country. Thanks to our guides, we were able to find some amazing animals; far more than most groups that don't have all that guide support. Our last full day at Danum was one of the best photo experiences of my life.
The recent first ORYX photo tour for Snow Leopards was outstanding. The communication from the first e-mail enquiring about the trip to the time we got back, was very good. Trouble broke out between India and Pakistan in another part of India during our expedition; you ensured our family were informed immediately of our well-being. Thank you!
The expedition was very well organized. Behzad ensured each of us acclimatized to the high altitude in the first two days. None of us felt altitude sickness. Behzad and the team also kept a close watch on our physical ability and mental awareness throughout the trip. Their attention was key in a very enjoyable experience.
The camp site was perfect. Behzad had pitched the tents well in advance of our arrival, to take the best position. The tents themselves were luxurious, with a bed ensuring we were not sore or cold by sleeping on the ground. The food was delicious, with pizzas, pastas, noodles, dumplings and Indian food for lunch and dinner. Breakfast was elaborate, with porridge, eggs, bread and cereal. Many varieties of tea and coffee were always available through the day.
The sightings were exceptional. Khenrab Phuntsog, the renowned tracker from BBC Planet Earth 2, is not only a great tracker, but also one of the lead conservationists in Hemis National Park. He gave many, many insights into the ecology, animal behaviour, culture and conservation aspects of what we experienced. He delivered in spades each day: we had 7 snow leopard sightings including one from a few hundred feet and two from the camp (a first, I am told), 5 tibetan wolf sightings, including one from the camp (a first again). We also saw a red fox, many blue sheep and birds. The calls on four different mornings of 'snow leopard' even before the first cup of tea, and the first time I saw a Snow Leopard, will always remain with me.
Behzad went over and beyond in helping us with our photography, setup portrait sessions, cultural experiences and helped with astro photography. He is an exceptional photo mentor, tour leader, cultural and snow leopard expert, and above all a very warm, funny and extremely friendly person.
This photo tour was supposed to see the Snow Leopard, to take it off my bucket list. Instead, it has turned into the first of hopefully many more trips to see the Snow Leopards again.
Thank you for such a wonderful experience!
I have had a fantastic photo safari! The time with Penny and the group based out of Nkorombo in the park was excellent. Penny’s blend of skills of leadership, organizing, people, and photography coaching all came together to make the trip a rewarding learning experience for all.
Now a few thousand photos to distill down, and I am optimistic that there are a few diamonds to be found in there.
And also starting to look at future trips, with ORYX Photo Tours, Penny, and various Serian camps all being part of the recommended mix.
The Kenya photo tour was beyond expectations. The staff was excellent and careful and they accommodated everyone's food issues. The drivers and guides were very savvy about photography. They positioned the jeep at each stop to take advantage of the light and the movement of the animal we were photographing. They were willing to stop for birds even though birds were not the focus of the trip. I am really looking forward to another ORYX photo safari. Penny was so excellent. I would travel with her again in a heartbeat.
Dear Penny, thank you so much for leading the most exceptional India photo tour…. it more than met my expectations of a happy and productive trip.
Thank you also to Marius for organising this personalised trip with a group of ladies who have met each other along the way in various other travel scenarios. It was so good to reconnect! Strong friendships of like minded people from different parts of the world were built which lent to a most entertaining and happy journey. Besides the group getting along famously, a huge thank you also to Bablu for looking after us so well and always watching our backs, collecting forgotten items and generally smoothing the way ….. his photography skills are totally amazing too!
Also not forgetting the team of guides and drivers….exceptional! Fun, fun, fun …..and some photography too! The team always had our best interests at heart and made every minute happy! What an amazing team!
Ranthambore and the photography opportunities was an adventure on its own….it is very hard to describe the tiger encounters, not to mention sloth bears!!! Each and every one took my breath away! The scenic and historical part of Ranthambore lent to the total magic for me! My trust and faith in our driver and team getting us to the right place at the right time was both exhilarating and I appreciated their dedication and care.
Varanasi was an experience second to none. The feel of India there for me was palpable. The way we were active on foot, in rickshaws by day and night in the hub of the Ganges River area gave us the true feel of noise, hustle and bustle, hoot and more noise! As well as serenity and calm! Again the chaos of the city worked!
Penny, thank you for your patience, kindness and co-ordinating the Bandit Queens ….. a group of strong minded, middle aged women all with a dry sense of humour ;), not an easy task! It truly was one of the best photographic journeys I have been on and the mix was totally right! By the sounds of the laughter echoing through the valleys ….. its got to have been a great trip!
Thank you! May we all share many more happy journeys together.
Is there such a thing as a perfect trip? My recent trip to Ranthambore National Park and Varanasi, India with ORYX Photo Tours was nothing short of fantastic and exciting! Tiger sightings in Ranthambore were spectacular and Varanasi was sublime. It was simply an unparalleled experience made all the more enjoyable as all ground arrangements from transport, hotels and local guiding were impeccable. Everything went off smoothly and without a hitch.
In no small part the trip was memorable because of our photography lead, Penny Robartes. This is the third trip I have gone on with Penny. She is just the most wonderful person to travel with. She is personable, cheerful and caring, always making sure everything went off smoothly. She is very generous with her knowledge and expertise, always patient and helpful advising us on composition, settings and editing. Her insights and instructions on photography were invaluable and my photography has definitely improved on account of her.
This was an exceptional trip and our experience was unparalleled. Thank you ORYX and Penny in particular for yet another terrific experience.
I've just returned from another ORYX photo tour adventure - this time to Ranthambore and Varanasi. This is my second time travelling with the lovely Penny Robartes - the first being to the Mara a few years ago. Penny continues to surprise and raise the bar.
From the organisation and logistics, to the photographic opportunities and tuition from Penny, and the group that was thoughtfully put together for this trip - everything was just perfect. The itinerary was a wonderful combination of wildlife and culture. I'd never seen a tiger in the wild before and this has been on my bucket list for ages - and thanks to the ace trackers and guides I got to see a tiger on almost every drive - 14 sightings of 11 different tigers and cubs - what an adrenaline rush that was. And thanks to Penny, I think I got some pretty decent images 🙂
Penny is truly remarkable and a real gem, and much more than a 'photographer guide'. Her genuine interest in people and cultures is obvious and her natural good-natured curiousity made her a superstar, not just with our group but with all we met along the way. Her mad photography skills combined with her generosity in sharing her knowledge resulted in my gaining so many new photographic capabilities - I have no doubt the rest of the group felt the same.
When on game drives or walking the streets of Varanasi, Penny was always there to guide us on settings or to point out opportunities that we might otherwise have missed. In between these sessions, she was also available to each of us for some very useful editing 'tutorials'...which were always combined with so much belly-aching laughter, and conversations about life, the universe and everything in between.
I can't recommend Penny Robartes highly enough - both my trips with her were far more than 'photography expeditions' - they would be more accurately described as 'good for the soul journeys.' I've already signed up for my next photo safari with her. So, mega thanks Penny - you are truly appreciated!
We are just writing to say how much we enjoyed our recent experience traveling with Marius on our ‘Mega Safari’ for 5 weeks through Africa. All we can say is wow…what a trip! We have travelled extensively and to Africa a number of times but this was designed and personally tailored in conjunction with Marius and ORYX Photo Tours to cherry pick the things we really wanted to see and photograph but had not yet managed to do so. The wildebeest migration in Kenya’s Masai Mara, the vivid flocks of Carmine Bee Eater’s annual nesting in the river bank in Zambia, quality leopard sightings and African hunting dogs. That was our must see list. We saw all these wonderful things and more..lots more! We have captured some once in a lifetime images.
During our initial discussions when considering the ‘Mega Safari’, Marius was able to suggest the best timing and arrange the best and most appropriate accommodation and link the connecting travel arrangements seamlessly (although the calmly efficient Kirsty in the ORYX head office deserves most of the credit for that we suspect!) The level of accommodation at superb lodges was of the highest quality. Marius is great to travel with. He is not only a gifted photographer willing to share ideas and photographic tips, he simply has an ability to make things happen. He works hard at looking for the best opportunities for photographers and his knowledge of Africa means you can travel with confidence, and focus on photography and simply enjoying the ride. For those people who may be considering a photography tour to Africa we can only say that our experience with ORYX Photo Tours has been outstanding. We have travelled before with Marius and ORYX…..and will do so again!
This was my second photo tour with ORYX. As I write this I am reminded of the full title of this young and dynamic company: ORYX Photo Tours.
The Antarctic is certainly at the end of our wide world and no doubt on many bucket lists. If you have thought of wanting to go to the Great White continent then plan and book now. If you are a photographer, then do it with ORYX.
We travelled in a group of nine with Marius Coetzee, founder of ORYX Photo Tours and expedition leader from 28 December 2013 until 15 January 2014. We were aboard the sturdy purpose-built Russian ice-capable research vessel, the Akademik Sergey Vavilov with a total of 90 passengers. The expedition was managed and run by super staff from One Ocean Expeditions based in Canada. They were professional in every regard, from on ship duties to Zodiac outings and landings, and there was a great emphasis on education with numerous interesting and informative lectures, including from their resident photographers Ira Meyer and Tony Beck.
Even with an expedition crew that has two professional photographic guides, you need to have someone like Marius Coetzee to really help you get the shots you want.
Marius has an easy way of discussing the days planned activities and sharing gems about the shots to get. His advice on equipment is first rate and in the field he will seek out the best vantage points and preferentially let his clients shoot. Even with more creative photographers he continuously looks for compositions and movement and shares his ideas freely. This is a rare capability in a first class photographic guide.
ORYX Photo Tours has an extensive network of ground contacts, and landings and transfers are facilitated professionally at ports and airports with no stress for the traveller. As an aside, Marius and I went up to Iguaçu Falls with a private guide, Miguel, and all of ORYX’s abilities including their choice of venue, accommodation and guide scored top marks.
Booking and communication details and other requirements are effortless with Kirsty at the home office.
Get out there and live your life: go on an expedition with ORYX Photo Tours.
Thanks Marius for a great photo tour! We had a wonderful time and you managed it all fabulously: Asanti Sana! Your tips and suggestions to make the photography more interesting were enlightening. Even the other passengers were impressed.
I’ve been back two weeks now, following a trip of a lifetime to Antarctica with ORYX Photo Tours. It was a phenomenal adventure and exceeded all expectations. Marius is a pleasure to travel with; he has a great sense of humor and is very attentive to all.
I was the least experienced photographer in our small group, but was given all the help and guidance I needed not just from Marius but from all in our group. Marius is very good at reading people and understanding what they will like and when they need help, he ensures that his clients get the shots they want and always puts them first.
I would highly recommend this photo tour to anyone who wants an epic adventure and go with ORYX Photo Tours as you won’t regret it! Wish I was still there, but alas not, so instead I’m in the process of booking my next trip with ORYX and Marius for later in 2014!
I arrived home safely at midnight on the 16th and was so busy at work that I’m just finding the time now to write to you. I only have positive things to say about the photo tour as Antarctica was a fantastic experience, Dale was perfect (as always) and the rest of group very easy to get along with.
It’s late in Geneva and I’ll be brief: there is no doubt that I will join another ORYX photo tour, I don’t know when, but soon I hope (and with Dale again for sure).
I recently got back from my Antarctica photo safari and it was absolutely spectacular. Out of about 10 photographer-guides I’ve traveled with in the past, Dale is the best overall. He’s a wonderful teacher, has almost no ego, and is always concerned about his clients getting great shots. I never fail to be impressed by his talent in photographing animals and landscapes, his technical ability, attention to detail, and aesthetic sensibility. He’s highly attuned to the animals and their behavior, which is one reason why his photos are so successful. My photos are much better when I travel with him.
I loved the Akademik Ioffe ship and staff. The mostly Canadian staff and Russian crew were excellent and exceeded expectations in professionalism and competence. The food was very good, with many courses and options, and different every single day. The cabins were comfortable with stunning antarctic views. The staff planned activities all day long to fill up the downtime days so we were constantly entertained and the 3 weeks flew by. There were other options for Antarctica, but I’m so glad I chose this one and it’s a memory of a lifetime!
In every respect, we truly did have a wonderful time in Antarctica. I do not know where to start… comprehensive and regular communication from the time of our initial enquiry, the friendly tone of all your emails, your promptness in responding to our enquiries, your care and concern.
The experience on Akademik Ioffe: this was our first cruise and it exceeded all expectations. The professionalism and friendliness of all staff, service, amenities, activities, conservation principles, amazing variety and healthy choices at every meal, a surprise birthday cake from Bob for me on 5 January (every birthday was celebrated with a personalised cake with a candle! – so thoughtful), fellow passengers from all ages and stages!
Graham learnt so much from Dale, not only about his camera, but also about new and varied angles for photographing wildlife! This was also our first photographic tour and we look forward to many more. Graham’s passion for birdwatching and photography was more than fulfilled– he has so many amazing shots and our bird count tally was increased by 50 new species!
It is difficult to relate to others what you experience in Antarctica – the stillness, purity, abundance of wildlife, pristineness, the ocean in every shade of blue, the privilege of being there…
I will recommend our photo tour experience with you all in a heartbeat!
Thank you again for helping us to achieve this bucket list item in such a memorable way.
Hi Nicolette, Thanks to you and the entire ORYX Photo Tours team. This was truly the experience of a lifetime. My only wish was that my wife was there to share it with me. Having said that Penny did everything possible to make this photo tour the absolute best it could be. She was so attentive – to both shooting and post production, that I know my photography skills took a big jump forward. I have been on many photography tours over the last 6 or 7 years and Penny’s instruction and attention were well beyond what I have experienced previously.
ORYX Photo Tours have been fantastic! From my initial enquiries, through supporting me with payments, to the information you provided beforehand. But most importantly Penny was an absolute super star and it was an incredible trip. Exhilarating, intense, thought provoking and really fun. Penny was patient, really easy to get along with (for 3 weeks on a boat is not easy to achieve!), supportive and taught us both so much. Having Penny with us the whole time opened my eyes to a different way of seeing things. She has an incredible creative eye, and the way we looked at animal behaviour, and thought about the context that surrounded Antarctica, moved my photography beyond basic documentary to something that had more purpose. Instead of solely trying to capture beautiful images we were trying to tell stories in a place where there are so many important stories to tell. This has not only made my photography better and more interesting (I hope!) but it also given it more meaning. And having more meaning for me has given me a whole new excitement and sense of purpose for my photography in general.
Many thanks for the warm welcome back, all your organisation went off seamlessly. We had an amazing experience and after South Georgia and the Peninsula, our souls were enriched and hard drives full of amazing photos. The rest of our photo tour was also amazing, with a lot of great memories. We are eventually getting over the jet lag and would really like to thank you and your team for all the hard work that you put into making this once in a lifetime expedition such a success!
Nancy and I had an absolutely fabulous time travelling and photographing with Dale on our Borneo photo tour. We came home with some spectacular images of primates, and with so many of them it’s going to take us weeks to get through them all and process all the ones we want to. We were very impressed with all of the arrangements ORYX Photo Tours made to assure that this was a very high quality trip. The ground agents, the lodges, the local guides, the transportation, were all absolutely first class.
Thanks again for such a superb trip. We hope to travel with ORYX Photo Tours again soon!
You have all been great to work with and the Borneo photo tour was amazing.
Everything was well planned and organized, the lodges were very pleasant, and the local guides were excellent. We saw every animal on the list and got great photos. I hope you know how lucky you are to have Dale, because he’s a star among photographer tour leaders.
He’s not only an extremely talented photographer for wildlife, macro, landscapes, and people, he’s a fountain of interesting knowledge about flora and fauna, and he has an innate ability with animals that’s a big advantage when photographing them. Even if we don’t see what we’re looking for while searching for wildlife, he can always find something cool and unusual to photograph in an interesting way, so it’s fun all day long and never boring. When it comes to non-photography guide-related tasks, he takes charge and is competent in every way.
Thanks again for everything and I look forward to traveling with ORYX Photo Tours again in the future.
Our Borneo photo tour was wonderful in every way!
Your local guide was a real “gem”, I must tell you:
Although never boastful, he was personally responsible for three special wildlife sightings that drew many other lodge guests and their guides to each scene.
The first sighting was of a beautiful/mature alpha male orangutan, already bedded down in his nest along the Kinabatangan River near Sukau Rainforest Lodge. He first sighted him (only slightly visible with binos) in the nest late one afternoon. We made a plan to returned to the sight at first light; hoping for a photo op as he exited the nest. We quietly/patiently watched for over an hour – waiting for him to rise. Meanwhile he radioed the lodge to report our sighting. The other guests raced over and were rewarded with a fantastic/lengthy photo op; as the orangutan lazily rose and slowly ate vines for breakfast – all at close range within the same tree he had nested in overnight.
The second sighting was of a Tarsier on a night drive in Danum Valley near the Borneo Rainforest Lodge. Without any eye-shine, he spotted only what he described as an odd small “lump” on a tree trunk just off the road. He immediately stopped the driver, leaped out and confirmed – it was a Tarsier! Again he radioed the lodge. Other guests that had searched for days for the Tarsier were rewarded with an awesome photo op. After fully satisfied with photos; everyone quietly left the Tarsier right where it was first sighted – undisturbed.
The third sighting was of tiny bioluminescent mushrooms in Danum Valley. We had first photographed the mushrooms at the Crocker Range near the Rafflesia Centre, but only during the day. He explained the bioluminescence of this particular mushroom. Hoping for a night shot, we searched hard for it throughout the rest of our trip. On the last night in Danum Valley, he was the one who found them! They were glowing brightly right in front of the lodge. None of the local guides at the Borneo Rainforest Lodge had spotted them. These amazing/unique mushrooms were right under their noses all along!
We could not be more pleased with the itinerary and your attention to every detail.
Thank you Rainer & ORYX Photo Tours!
We are back home after the beautiful experience we had on our Borneo photo tour! All the locations, especially the Kinanbatang River and the Danum Valley were great! We enjoyed having Dale as our guide, as well as the other travelers in our group. ORYX Photo Tours’s organisation was top class!
We had a great Borneo photo tour! Dale was his usual professional, helpful & wonderful self, and the local guide was most helpful. The other tour participants were very nice people and all in all, it was a very good trip.
Dale is an excellent photo tour leader and really shined despite Borneo’s challenges. Of course the orangutans and pygmy elephants make it all worthwhile but the jungle is dense, light limited, terrain sometimes difficult, heat and humidity overwhelming, and unexpected downpours always to be expected. Dale made sure we were prepared and made it all fun. He did his best to make certain we would all come home with some great photos. I look forward to traveling with him again next year!
I want to reiterate Sue’s comments about the extraordinary quality of our Pantanal photo safari. Having Dale and Giuliano as our mentors on this trip made it just outstanding. Accommodations were also excellent, especially the houseboat. Just to reemphasize: Dale’s photographic expertise and teaching skills were outstanding, matched by Giuliano’s naturalist’s skills and rapport with all of the personnel and staff we encountered at the various venues. Our friends and co-tourists on the trip were equally impressed, and we are still drinking caiparinhas and savouring wonderful memories.
First I want to thank you for all the quick responses to our questions and for your help in getting us organized. This was one of the greatest photo tours we have taken. The wildlife was spectacular and I got better pictures than I ever have before, due to Dale’s teaching. I admit to being lazy and intimidated in the past and though I have excellent equipment, I never went beyond the programmed and automatic functions. Dale convinced me to start using other functions and to consider the subject from other angles and completely changed the way I will do things in the future. I learned a lot. Everything was well done and the house boat was especially wonderful; it was a 5-star experience with friendly people, wonderful food and skilled boat drivers. We will certainly recommend ORYX Photo Tours to all our friends.
Dale is an excellent travelling companion and teacher, and we had a lot of fun on our Pantanal photo tour. Giulliano was a great host, and very patient with us all.
We had a wonderful time on our Pantanal photo safari with Dale and Guiliano. They were a really good match; flexible, thoughtful, understood all our interests and needs. The Pantanal and both young men exceeded our expectations. Dale was tremendously helpful and so enthusiastic. He is also just a terrifically interesting person with a wide variety of life experiences for one so young. He is a pleasure to be with. We found him to be a very good teacher, seeming to know what level of information each participant might need. I think he found the right balance of teaching and just being there and soaking it all in. He helped me be much less intimidated by my camera. The whole experience was first rate, thank you very much!
Dale was tour leader on our recent ORYX photography tour to the Pantanal of Brazil. His love of nature and passion for photography were obvious and the knowledge and experience he shared with us were a huge part of making this an outstanding and unforgettable trip. His photography lessons and advice nudged us into new ways of taking and composing photos and led to the best collection of photographs we have ever taken on any trip. He was a real asset to this Pantanal photo tour and his lessons will be remembered and applied. And he also tells great stories.”
Dale was an excellent guide. His enthusiasm is infectious and knowledge of the wildlife and environment is outstanding. He was a pleasure to be with and we all gained from his photographic expertise. We would travel with Dale on another ORYX photo tour without hesitation.
The Pantanal photo safari was excellent. The wildlife sightings every day were amazing, beyond my expectations. Other arrangements such as for food and accommodation were all good quality, for a very comfortable trip. Dale was great as the photo tour leader, he made sure everyone knew how to use their equipment for every situation, and made sure we were in the right place for best photo opportunities. Giuliano was also terrific, not only for his local knowledge in finding the wildlife, but also with his understanding of best photo opportunities.
We want to thank the entire ORYX Photo Tours team for providing an absolutely fabulous photo safari. We would particularly like to credit Dale and Giuliano for their care and attention in making this such a memorable holiday. We are especially pleased that they managed to convince the jaguars to show up for us on six of the nine outings on the river portion of the trip. You can rest assured that we will be recommending the ORYX Photo Tours to all of our travel and nature photography friends.
The wildlife of the Pantanal photo tour, as well as my tour extensions provided fabulous wildlife spectacles and photographic opportunities!
In particular I would like to thank Dale Morris for his contribution in the Northern Pantanal. He was most constructive in terms of his helping with my photography. I had been impervious to advice in the past but Dale was truly able to guide me and it shows in my images of our time together. He made himself really available to all of us; he had designed the program so we went from highlight to highlight; he was always wryly self-effacing, considerate and courteous. I’m not sure whether the wildlife behaving so well was also a credit to Dale!
My thanks to the ORYX Photo Tours!
We had an absolutely wonderful time on Pantanal photo tour in Brazil, with great service and a truly amazing time.
Dale was great and I would like to commend him in particular as he taught Clarissa and I so much on that trip and enabled us to take some good shots despite our cameras.
We loved the accommodation and the best food was on the boat and the first stop where the accommodation was fair but situated in the best spot with excellent food!
I thought I should write to you of the amazing photo tour we had to the Omo Valley with Dale. The trip was well organised and we were well taken care of. Dale was a wonderful leader. He was generous with his knowledge and we learnt a lot from him. He was kind, considerate and a lot of fun!
The local arrangements were excellent too, the drivers were very pleasant and Melkamu in particular was fantastic.
It would be remiss of me not to also mention Kirsty, who was always responsive and efficient.
You can be sure we will be recommending ORYX Photo Tours to our friends!
I second all of what Shobha has said. We had such an amazing time. The Dale-Melkamu combination was fabulous, as were all our drivers. We always felt well taken care of and safe.
Dale was not only generous with his knowledge but also his lenses. He truly has a wealth of information and we really learnt so much from him. His wicked sense of humour was also much appreciated 🙂
Thank you as well the ever efficient Kirsty!
We hope to be doing more photo tours with ORYX in the not too distant future!
My trip to the Omo Valley with ORYX Photo Tours and Marius Coetzee was like a dream, like a walking meditation. Every detail was so very well ironed out that you forget you are in some of the remotest parts of the world. He will always have his ear to the ground for the rumblings in the valley. Giving you indelible memories is what he is after. No corners are ever cut to ensure your comfort. If some unexpected situation does arise, his steady and calm leadership will keep you centered. You know that he will put your safety first no matter what.
From photography point of view, his genius is talked about a lot all over the internet so I won’t delve on it. What I would like to highlight however is how generous and patient he is as a teacher. He quickly assesses your level of expertise and gives you appropriate pointers. His passion and zeal is consistent whether you are amateur fumbling with a new camera or a well versed photographer yourself. Sometimes he will push you out of your comfort zone to get better images and and then other times he knows to give you creative space.
I have wondered at times if he has more than two eyes. Not sure how he picks on you making faulty composition, helping someone set their camera, keeping an eye out for the senior member so that she does not fall and watching where the “red bag” of a forgetful client went all at the same time!
This is not a photo expedition. This is treasure of life experiences. You genuinely forget that Marius is your expedition leader. He becomes your friend and family.
Game over. All the good things come to an end and it is now the time to say bye bye to Ethiopia.
The trip to the Omo Valley has been a real photographic expedition and a great adventure. I travelled to lot of places with different people but I must say that this photo tour was very special. I had the chance to meet Marius Coetzee few years ago and I had the impression that, besides the fact the he his really a great photographer, he is also a real tour leader with clear ideas of what he is doing. I do normally travel with my wife and not too much oriented to groups but this time it was different. We acted like a team and everybody was just fantastic and I was honoured to share this time with you all.
Now, many companies sell the Omo Valley photo tours. Just forget about. If you are a photographer just Google "ORYX Photo Tours" and sign a tour with them! This was not only a ‘photo tour’ this was a real experience with real people and a real leader.
Thanks Marius and thanks ORYX! I also had the chance to improve my photography with you, and thanks to my entire companion. You were all great and it was a pleasure to share this experience, and I will gladly travel with you again (and this time with my wife!) on the Mongolia photo tour in 2016. Travel safe, travel with ORYX Photo Tours!
Last day of a fabulous and extraordinary three week adventure in Ethiopia! Massive thanks to Marius Coetzee and Kirsty Horne at ORYX Photo Tours for a superbly organized trip and also to Eyob our legendary local guide!
Anyone wanting an epic trip, I can highly recommend Ethiopia – stunning scenery, friendly people, great food (and beers) and so much more… and go with ORYX Photo Tours - you won’t regret it!!
I had a simply phenomenal time and loved Ethiopia every bit as much as you forecast! The other participants on the trip were great fun – we were from five different continents – and all got on extremely well. Thank you for an exceptional, inspiring photo tour! Everybody said how wonderful you had been, Kirsty, always responding in a friendly, efficient way as if we were your only clients. Thank you, ORYX Photo Tours!
What I can say...words sometimes cannot justify and explain experiences those experiences need to be lived so one can understand them. Kirsty from day one when I sent the initial email you replied within hours and since never ever anything seemed to be problem..to be honest it was your prompt responses that made me make the final decision to book with ORYX Photo Tours…so for that huge "Thank you Kirsty" - you are amazing :).
Marius – I really don’t have words to describe your commitment towards your clients, your passion for photography, your people skills and ability to deal with different situations. Kirsty, you have asked if the tour was up to my expectations. To be honest well above exceeded my expectations as uncle Marius was the best :).
This Omo Valley photo tour and the people that I met will always stay in my memories...how can one forget the adventures that we had from crossing rivers, negotiating with uncles, to meeting up the most isolated tribes and learning more about photography….I’m looking forward to be with the same group of people on the Mongolia photo tour! And final thoughts... Marius you are young passionate entrepreneur and you should be very, very proud of yourself my friend :).
Regards and lots of love.
It does not matter whether you are an adventurer, photographer, traveller or tourist, the Omo Valley in Ethiopia, has a special appeal. Its exotic name conjures mystery, mysticism and certainly, a road less travelled. It is in this valley that several tribes with their traditional ancient culture and customs reside. Each tribe has their particular features and uniqueness. The Mursi with their lip plates, the Karo with their beautifully painted bodies, the Hamer with their Ochre hair and they offer excellent opportunities for “unguarded moment” photography. However, with increasing tourism, it has been a practice that the person to be photographed will demand payment for each photograph taken. Do not be deterred as this is probably one of the ways that the tribesmen can earn some tourist dollar. Do not expect luxurious accommodation but the basic accommodation is liveable and adds on to the rustic experience of your trip of a lifetime. In some places we had to stay in tents which are large and comfortable.
Returning to the Omo Valley, I found that the experience second time around was better than the first. This was mainly due to the people that I was travelling with. The leader of our team was Marius Coetzee, a superb photographer, who is the CEO of ORYX Photo Tours. The trip undertaken by me and my two Australian travelling companions, was a customised photography tour and Marius was always ready to share with us his experiences and tricks of the trade of a photographer extraordinaire. The organisation by ORYX is immaculate and excellent and the vehicles, drivers, cook, guide used were world class. The company took care of everything including negotiating the payments for the photographing of the tribes and preventing the unnecessary hassle of us having to negotiate for a price to photograph an individual and then spending endless time and effort debating over a few cents.
It was 13 days well spent, I returned from the trip certainly a better photographer and more knowledgeable in the culture of the various tribes of the Omo Valley. Furthermore, I appreciate how difficult it is for the tribes to cope with the changes to modernity. I certainly also left the valley as a better human being.
Words really fail me in trying to thank you adequately for leading and orchestrating an unbelievable, enlightening, photographically enriching, rough, tough, soul searching and at times happy and sad, all rolled into one, photo tour to the Omo Valley, Ethiopia.
I have come out of the experience not only having acquired new photographic skills but also understanding so much more about myself and what I need and would like to achieve as a person on a harsh but beautiful planet!
The organization of the trip was faultless and Ethiopia were fantastic. The vehicles held up under incredibly rough conditions without a blip and considering the kilometers travelled, days on end, the group and team were like a close knit family unit…. chilled and respectful towards each other and photographic models we encountered along the way.
Literally, I was blown away and loved every moment! Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I hope you will be able to lead many like minded people to the Omo before things change too much!
Thank you Marius and ORYX Photo Tours, please also convey my thanks to September for the delicious food whilst camping…. Although, I’m also missing my omelette and hot red wine in a tumbler 🙂 Good times!
I travel overseas 18 times a year, many of these being photo tours. Ethiopia is not an easy destination – truly beautiful but definitely hard roads and weather conditions.
This is a trip that I had been planning for 2 years. I went through every single Tripadvisor review on Ethiopia and looked at many webpages of travel agents and photographers offering photography tours to the Omo Valley. During our trip, we bumped into a few other travel expeditions by other travel companies. It is clear that the deal given to me by ORYX Photo Tours was the best. Everything was carefully planned, we did not have to compete with other tour groups. Very happy with this trip altogether…my highest recommendations. Thank you Marius once again for making all this possible!
The Omo Valley in Ethiopia is becoming more accessible by virtue of new roads and developing infrastructure. In typical ORYX spirit we go the road less travelled. Ethiopia is truly a photographic dream, there is vibrant colour at every turn and each roadside scene beckons framing and clicking. Even before we have reached destination Omo I knew I had captured some special moments and portraits. ORYX have been guiding photo tours throughout the Omo for 6 years and their experience, knowledge and know how is evident throughout. They are one of very few companies to travel to the Northern Omo to photographic the delightful Suri people. We camp just outside Kibish for 3 days in ORYX’s mobile camp and it’s just us, the Suri people and ORYX’s wonderful chef “September”. Surreal for sure! ORYX’s photo leaders are hands on suggesting angles, settings and tricks to make sure you get the best opportunity for incredible shots. I won’t give too much away as I don’t want to spoil the fun for those that are toying with the idea of exploring the Omo Valley, except to say you must go and you won’t find a better company than ORYX Photo Tours to take you there.
I’ve been to seven countries on the African continent, and many other countries around the world, and I have to say that this trip ranks among the top as one of my best trips ever. I liked the length of time we spent at each of the locations, which gave us the best chance for wildlife viewing of the wolves and geladas (our viewings were so much better than I could have imagined). I’m partial to mammals, so this itinerary was perfect. I really enjoyed the company of the other guests too.
But I have to say, what made the difference was probably having Dale as a photo tour leader. Not only is he a fantastic photographer, he has so much knowledge on animal behavior. And I like that he also has a background in conservation. He is obviously passionate about animals and the environment, which is so important on trips like this where we are viewing an endangered animal like the Ethiopian wolf. I am also a very novice photographer, but he wasn’t pushy about instructing me. He was always ready and willing to provide feedback and tips, but he always made it my choice if I wanted to try something new in the moment or at a later time, so I wasn’t overwhelmed. He also was a very patient instructor and didn’t talk down to me when I didn’t get something at first. I do think my photos from this trip are much better than my usual because of him. I wouldn’t hesitate to book another trip with ORYX Photo Tours with Dale as the leader.
I just returned from the Omo Valley trip and must say it was the most interesting cultural photo tour I have ever taken. In looking back at my photos I am overwhelmed by the amazing people and places we visited. We were able to visit a number of tribes, all with different beliefs and customs. In addition we spent 5 hours at a Bull Jumping ceremony with access that few people get. We also were able to attend a morning ceremony of harvesting blood from cows. The blood is mixed with milk and the tribe drinks it for protein. This wasn’t a staged ceremony, it was a daily ritual. Everything we saw was authentic.
Marius was always on the look out for photo opportunities. You never knew when he would stop the car, and we would pile out, lay on our bellies in the dust, and have someone drive a heard of goats or cattle our way in order to catch the light hitting the dust to get just the right image. We made several stops at markets and were always the only non-local people in attendance. The trip was perfectly coordinated by ORYX and we had a fabulous local guide, Afe, who added local knowledge to the trip. ORYX Photo Tours has a long standing relationship with most of the tribes we visited.
Knowing the Chief and elders ensured our safety and made it easy to photograph the people.
I can’t imagine any detail that was overlooked. Our safety and comfort and photographic education were always paramount.
After going on a trip with ORYX, I don’t want to do anything other than small group travel again. There were 3 guests, a local guide Afe, Marius, and we also had another professional photographer with ORYX, Sam, who gave us invaluable advice. I used exposure settings and compositions I had not considered, and got great results. I can’t say enough positive things about ORYX.
I’ve been on about a dozen photo tours and this was definitely one of the best organized and best led trips. Especially impressive given the challenges of the location.
Dale did an amazing job dealing with both the expected / inherent difficulties and I’d gladly travel with him again!
I had a wonderful time with Dale, he has a great personality and really worked hard to help us get good images. He clearly cares about client satisfaction, demonstrated great patience and did everything in his power to make everyone comfortable.
All in all, he was a great photo tour leader — and coupled with the top notch service of your ground team, it was an enjoyable experience overall. The camp setting was also done very well — we felt like they really took great care of us and kept us safe, while not jeopardizing an authentic experience.
My photo tour to Ethiopia was simply phenomenal! I enjoyed every moment of it! If only I could press restart and relive it all again.
Dale, was really a great guide. I could not have asked for more in someone taking our group to such ends of the earth. He was very knowledgeable and hands on in making sure EVERYONE had a great experience and that we each made the types of pictures we were after. I can honestly say, his guidance sent my photography to new levels. I’m such a better photographer now. Even the feedback he delivered helped raised my game and the results are proof of his commitment to excellence. I would photograph a subject and he would be over my shoulder looking at my camera settings and my images. He would offer to rethink the image or adjust the light. And instantly the picture would become better. He also challenged me to think about new angles and to play around with composition. I’m so thankful for him. I really am! I not only became a better photographer under him, but I made a friend in Dale. I’ll never forget this experience or him. As I told Dale, coming to Africa this way was a dream come true. He took my dream and exploded it. He made my entire experience better than I could have ever dreamed for myself.
Our local guide/fixer, was also fantastic. He kept his cool during tense moments with the Surma people. He was very knowledgeable about any and everything Ethiopia related. I even called him a walking history book! There is no question he can’t answer about Ethiopia or it’s beautiful people. What a wonderful guy.
Also, I’ve got to say a very special thanks to YOU. Nicolette, throughout the last year you have been simply amazing. You’ve answered all of my ridiculous questions and quelled my concerns. Thank you for being the glue that holds all of this together. THANK YOU!
I can’t wait to show off my work to my friends, family, co-workers and the world. I have tons and tons of brilliant shots. I think I’ll take a few of the best and enter contests and have them printed. After posting just 3 photos from my trip, I’ve got two enquires about purchasing prints. That’s never happened before and I’m thrilled to see what will come next!
I had a wonderful time, fascinating and full of learning not only the photography, but with new colleagues and about a way of life, like the Himbas of Namibia, that could be made extinct, in time.
I believe the team supporting Kirsten did an outstanding job, September the chef, the drivers and the others who went about securing us and assisting us with baggage, cameras etc. Well done! I would particularly like to mention Bray who quietly and efficiently ensured that resources were available to us and that the subjects for photography were in place. The camp was well appointed and comfortable.
And of Kirsten…well in his own right he is an outstanding photographer. He also is a good teacher and I endeavoured to put into practice his advice. He was extremely patient. It was one of the photo tours where I returned feeling I had more understanding of the camera and the art of photography. He deserves my full thanks!
This Finland photot tour was outstanding in every way. The photographic experience was superb, with magnificent opportunities for capturing images of whooper swans, grey geese and numerous other birds to the extraordinary sights and sounds of black grouse lekking, to eagles, to a magnificent great grey owl, to a close up experience with a bear and an even closer experience with a wolverine, along with many other creatures. The success of our trip was ensured by Jari Peltomaki, whose deep knowledge of, and commitment to conservation of the natural environment deepened our appreciation of what we saw. As you know, Jari has a well earned international reputation in wildlife photography and was very willing to pass on his experience and techniques. His swift reaction to our practical needs and his unfailing good humour made every day a warm and pleasurable experience. Altogether this was a memorable event in our lives.
The Finland photo tour with Jari was great. We spent a lot of time in hides, but saw all the targets and more. My favorite night was spent alone in a bear hide on a frozen lake, first a visit by a bear in the late sunshine, then a pair of white-tailed eagles and a pair of golden eagles came through, amongst other birds looking for scraps from the bear. After sundown another bear came by, and as midnight approached a wolverine ran around the area. Next morning we had a brilliant fiery dawn before being collected from the hide!
I had a truly outstanding photo safari experience with Mike. We spent a lot of time talking about technique, equipment and critiquing photos. He obviously has a wealth of experience in wildlife photography and does a great job sharing that with his clients. I would highly recommend him!
Having travelled with ORYX Photo Tours on two previous occasions when I decided to visit India again they was the first choice company to arrange it for me .I wanted some culture to sit alongside an Indian wildlife experience. The trip was perfect – great hotels, great sightseeing and best of all wonderful wildlife. Our tiger sightings were phenomenal and I we really could not have asked for more. The local guides were excellent and Marius Coetzee (our photo tour leader) could not do enough for us and improved everyone’s photography over the course of the trip. We have all decided to travel with ORYX Photo Tours in India again next year and look forward to another great trip.
Andries and I would like to thank the ORYX team for a memorable India photo tour. The tour was exceptionally well planned. The only hassle we as guests were left with was to try and get the best photo of a tiger. We can only but highly recommend ORYX Photo Tours and will not think twice about using their services again in future.
Dale Morris was an excellent tour leader. Apart from being a very pleasant person, he also went out of his way to share his wealth of knowledge on photography with us. We started the tour with our photos looking like normal holiday snap shots, and ended up taking some pretty professional images. Thank you Dale for your patience and willingness to help us.
We are writing to provide some feedback on our short trip to India with ORYX Photo Tours, to visit several game parks with Tiger spotting a priority. We had a small group of 4, ably led by Dale Morris, a genuinely friendly and helpful leader. Dale is a skilled and award winning photographer whose enthusiasm for photography was infectious. Dale was a delight to travel with and ensured that everything worked as planned. We managed to see quite a few tigers and also enjoyed the classic sights of the Taj Mahal.
I have recently returned from my second ORYX private photo tour to India with Marius, and wanted to say how much I enjoyed it and to recommend ORYX Photo Tours to anyone considering taking a wildlife photographic trip.
We knew where we wanted to go – Corbett, Keoladeo, Ranthambhore and Pench – but left all the planning and details in the very capable hands of ORYX. We were not disappointed. Everything had been taken care of, from accommodation in the best locations and travel between national parks, down to tips for our drivers and guides, so that we only had to think about the wildlife and the photography – a real luxury.
Marius is an inspirational photographer, and a superb travelling companion. He has seemingly endless patience, and his knowledge and advice have helped even this novice photographer capture some exceptional images! Nothing is too much trouble for him, and his experience has proved invaluable in enabling us to take shots that I know we would not have if he had not been with us. We had the most amazing tiger sighting in Ranthambhore – no mean feat – and fulfilled our wish to see dhole in Pench, as well as many other wonderful wildlife moments on the trip, which were entirely due to him – so a very big thank you to Marius.
I have been on numerous safaris in Africa, and have been lucky enough to have had many amazing wildlife experiences, but the ORYX's tours to India have been in a league of their own. We are already planning our next tour to India with Marius, and hope that there will be many more to come!
Having recently returned from my third trip to India with ORYX Photo Tours in three consecutive years, with the fourth one in 2015 already on the drawing board, I would urge all those who have not yet been to consider it very seriously as a perfect holiday destination.
The aim of our first trip was to see the glorious Taj Mahal at Agra and, if possible, catch a glimpse of the majestic Bengal tiger yet having succeeded in both, nothing could have prepared us for the excitement we experienced as we raised our cameras those first photographs of them. Thus began a love affair with India.
From the moment we met a surprisingly young Marius Coetzee, safari guide and prize-winning photographer at Dubai Airport, we realised he was what one might loosely describe as a mover and shaker, inspiring immediate confidence. Coupled with this was his ability to relax with people of all ages, putting them at ease, thus making mealtime conversations stimulating and fun, so traveling on one’s own need not be a concern. Our first visit to India in 2011 was his too, yet having worked in Natal where there is a large Indian community, he instinctively knew how to get on with the locals, appreciating their customs and habits, yet earning their respect by his sound common sense and mature capability.
He stands no nonsense and this is soon understood! This is so important in India, particularly on wildlife safaris, where the drivers’ and guides’ goodwill, and anxiety to please, are so crucial in Marius getting us into the best possible position to find – hopefully – and photograph the rarer species like a tiger or dhole (wild dogs), for despite the photographs one sees, India is very different to the Masai Mara and one actually has to look quite hard for shy predators.
However, the jungles we visited in the northern and central national parks are absolutely stunning, each with its own individual characteristics, though more like upstate New York than the Amazon, and there is an abundance of game and birdlife. Marius drew on his techniques as a top South African safari guide by playing close attention to alarm calls by spotted deer (chital) and langurs (silver haired, long–tailed monkeys), resulting in wonderful tiger and dhole sightings on a number of occasions, earning him obvious, if slightly grudging, admiration from our jeep drivers and guides, who consider themselves to be the experts on Indian wildlife.
India also has the advantage of a culture stretching back over 3,000 years and cities such as Varanasi, the glorious Holy City built on the banks of the Ganges, and beautiful Udaipur in Rajastan, are a photographer’s delight especially if encouraged by one’s enthusiastic tour leader to reluctantly rise at dawn in order to capitalize on the golden morning light. One never tires of the rich tapestry of colours provided by the glorious silk or cotton saris worn by Asian women with such innate grace and one can only wonder at how immaculate much of their clothing is when many have only a communal water pump or local river in which to do their laundry. Whether you are an aspiring but novice photographer – we started off with little automatic Lumix cameras with built-in zooms, progressed to Nikon DSLRs and under Marius’s tutelage, are now producing more than passable photos, to our great surprise – or an experienced one, in which case you would benefit hugely from Marius’s photographic/competition expertise and advice, intriguing India has absolutely everything you could possible ask for. From the moment the February morning mists lift and the beauty of this enigmatic country is revealed, I am certain you will succumb to its magic, whether your penchant is wildlife, architecture, scenery, or all three.
On each occasion, ORYX has provided us with an Indian guide of the highest caliber, intelligent with an almost encyclopedic knowledge of birds and wildlife, and a touching willingness to do everything possible to make our lives easier, from hailing porters and checking-in our luggage at airports to accompanying us on shopping expeditions to ensure we were given the fairest prices. They, in turn, appointed the best possible local guides at the historic sites we chose to visit and, looking back, thanks to efficient planning, everything worked like clockwork from the moment we were collected at the airport to our departure a fortnight later, no mean feat in a country like India. For a holiday that is anxiety-free, yet filled with exciting sights and sounds, ORYX Photo Tours' India is the perfect combination. Enjoy India!
I have recently returned from my fourth private photo tour to India with ORYX Photo Tours and have to say that the trip exceeded all my hopes and expectations, and I cannot recommend ORYX highly enough. Our trip was 2 years in the planning, with the excellent team at ORYX doing a marvelous job throughout. Our tour leader, Marius Coetzee, had suggested that we time our visit slightly later than usual and go in March, in the hope of catching the iconic sight of a tiger lying in a water pool to cool off. We have had many incredible tiger sightings on our previous ORYX tours, especially in Ranthambhore National Park, and were not disappointed on this latest trip. In fact we achieved our aim on the first afternoon game drive in Ranthambhore! In all we visited five national parks over 3 weeks; each park had its individual delights and we have returned home with some really wonderful wildlife images, including tiger, leopard, sloth bear and dhole.
We knew from previous experience that everything would be taken care of – down to the tipping of our local guides and drivers – by Marius and our Indian guide, so we were left free to concentrate on the amazing wildlife and our photography. Nothing was too much trouble for them, everything ran like clockwork thanks to excellent organisation, and ORYX could not have done more to make sure that our trip was everything we could have hoped for. I would recommend ORYX Photo Tours to anyone who is interested in wildlife and photography, and will definitely use them again.
I grew up admiring the beautiful portraits and landscape shots hanging in my grandparents’ house. Later, I recall my cheek muscles constantly hurting as the subject of my mom’s developing love of photography. So when I was gifted a Nikon DSLR camera in early college, I felt like I was following the footsteps of my mom and grandfather before her. Through photography I wanted to be able to capture the sentiment of a moment; to tell a story through the light in a person’s eyes. Marius gave me the tools to begin to do this on our trip to India with ORYX Photo Tours.
Marius helped me see what makes a good photograph, taught me new techniques like hi-key, how to shoot in different light and how to process an image using Lightroom. At the end of this trip I am thrilled to have a good portfolio of photographs I can print and look back on proudly, but even happier to have refined my skills and developed a deeper passion for photography.
Thank you for another great photo safari! It was a fantastic time in India, and although I’m very glad to be home, I already miss it.
It was great getting the opportunity to meet the other clients, and Dale did a wonderful job as our guide and I really appreciate all of his hard work and dedication both in and out of the field, and I loved his willingness to engage in personable conversations at the dinner table. He was very willing to listen and learn about the world through someone else’s perspective. He also taught me some new tricks with my camera that I had no idea about, but they made life so much easier.
Thanks again for everything!
We had a fantastic trip, and by now I am sure that you know that we saw eighteen tigers and approximately 25 different sightings of tigers!
Our trip to Jawai was also fantastic, and I can only best describe it as mind blowing! The conservation of these leopards in the environment they find them selves, is truly remarkable. The Rabari people are incredible and their survival, which in it’s self is threatened, but they live in harmony with the leopards in the hills of Jawai!
In as far as the lodges were concerned, well from the first to the last day, we were accommodated in world class accommodation. The management, staff and people in general were fantastic.
The cuisine was simply of the very highest standards. All arrangements were very slick and as customary with ORYX Photo Tours and Marius Coetzee, everything was 100% perfect! Marius, the warrior, was always at my side to assist the “old man”! The old man also acted as his “father” and got him a few privileges in return for his service and assistance!
Our hosts were fantastic and I can honestly say that i am more than happy and satisfied with the whole photo safari!
Thanks to you and your colleagues for all that you did to make the trip such a pleasure and all I take from there are wonderful memories! Thank you!
The trip was awesome – the whole family really loved it! As for Greg himself, he was a total hit! Greg is another level. So very happy he could join us, and I doubt it will be the last time either. He certainly helped me out a lot, and also had incredible patience with my mum & sister who were beginners. Thanks so much for organizing this for us – ill definitely give ORYX a shout for our next safari.
My wife and I were in Kenya at the beginning of August 2012 for ten days with Marius Coetzee of ORYX Photo Tours. Although he could not have organised that the two million wildebeest migrate into the Masai Mara, we were lucky that they arrived three days before we did! He organised everything else. We spent an amazing ten days taking pictures every afternoon and evening.
Marius is a consummate host. His happiness in the wild is infectious and his knowledge of animal behaviour insightful and very useful in anticipating things for a picture. He has the patience to wait for it to happen. ORYX makes high quality travel arrangements. All transfers and internal flights were facilitated with the greatest of ease, and the lodges chosen were top notch. I had the most amazing holiday, and took some really fantastic photographs.
My non-photographer wife had a fantastic time. She did not spend every photo shoot with us, but her every whim was catered for at the lodges and she recharged her batteries. Marius paid special attention to her to ensure she was not left out and checked regularly at the lodges that she was looked after.
Thank you, Marius and ORYX. I will definitely recommend you to my photographic colleagues and will no doubt become a regular client!
My partner Dee and I and two friends from the UK Jan and Max have recently returned from an outstanding two week safari Kenya photo safari in the Maasai Mara with Marius Coetzee of ORYX Photo Tours.
I have been going on safari in Africa for 40 years and I can honestly say that this was the best organized and planned safaris that I have ever been on. Marius travelled with us and I have to say he was the perfect host.
He was always enthusiastic, pleasant, on time and nothing was ever too much trouble for him. Marius is an award winning photographer but for me his best attribute was the fact that he was keen to pass on his knowledge. He was much more intent on us getting the “perfect shot ” than on getting the ” perfect shot ” himself. I can assure you that this is unfortunately not always the case with professional photographers. Marius chose outstanding camps for us and because of his unique relationship with the camp managers and guides we always received VIP treatment. As anyone who has been on safari a number of times knows the positioning of ones vehicle makes all the difference. Due to Marius’ experience and innate understanding of the animals we always seemed to be in the ideal position for photography and game viewing. For anyone who wants a safari of a lifetime and is keen on improving their photographic skills I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending Marius and ORYX Photo Tours.
Many many thanks for putting together such a wonderful photo safari for us. We can’t tell you how much we appreciated all the attention to details. You guys are so passionate about Africa and the tours you put together. It really gives your clients a great feeling. I will always use you guys for traveling and would like to join some of your photo tours.
A belated and brief note …in the air now to Cambodia…to thank you for all the organization you so capably put together to make our Masai Mara and Amboseli such a success. It met every expectation and more…..much more.
The camps chosen for us could not have been better in any way. The attention to detail was superb. And of course the star of the trip was Greg with his humble but extensive knowledge of the law of the bush and animals. His sensitivity to all things around him be it is clients….now friends…his rapport with all the African guides, his extensive insight of the flora and fauna was quite amazing to experience in his quiet and knowledgeable way. He is a gem and treasure in every sense of the word. He enriched my personal experience to such an extent that I can quite honestly say this trip has been life changing…..it has made me reflect on many aspects of my life and I know going forward will make a marked difference.
Thank you both for making this all happen and I hope to travel with you again in the future.
I simply had the most incredible photo safari of my life!
It was awesome and all arrangements made worked like clock work. Well done to all of you in the back room for your efforts in making my safari such an incredible experience.
I have just completed my fourth photo safari with ORYX Photo Tours.
It was a trip which was specifically designed and planned for me by Marius Coetzee and which was lead by Greg du Toit.
On a safari with Greg last year we spoke about photographing the big elephant tuskers and rhino of our incredible continent.
He had no hesitation when he suggested that the best places for us to visit was Tsavo East (Satao Camp), and Solio Lodge in the Laikipia region in Kenya.
He promised to speak Marius to see if it could be arranged, as it was not one of their scheduled trips.
This was a “pioneering” trip for us, as it had never been arranged for any of the other ORYX clients before.
Despite this fact, no challenge is too big for Marius to attempt. He organized the most incredible safari for me, and that says a lot, because I have had some incredible trips with ORYX!
This safari totally exceeded my expectations, and a big thank you goes to Greg who led the trip, and Marius who planned and delivered, once again!
Then I would also like to give a huge amount of credit to Kirsty and Rainer for their efforts in all that they do, and have done to make this trip as well as all my other trips so memorable.
The ORYX Photo Tours team will be recommended where ever I can, as I had the most incredible photographic safari ever!
I commend you Marius for your vision and insight, as well as your incredible organisational skills in how you put the entire trip together, all arrangements were well organised and worked like clock work.
Finally Marius, no words will ever do justice to this incredible trip. Thank you to you and Greg for recommending it to me, and to you both for all that you did to make it such a success.
I hope that my humble photographs give you, as well as any future prospective clients a taste of what we experienced.
The birth of the reticulated giraffe was especially high on the list of our highlights, such an incredible and rare sighting, and we watched and photographed the whole event!
It was truly a trip of a lifetime and I will have no hesitation to recommend it to any of your other clients.
They are most welcome to contact me should they need any information.
Marius, as Tina Turner’s song so aptly puts it; you and the ORYX team are “simply the best” in the business!
Thank you to the ORYX Photo Tours for providing the support which made this trip a great memorable trip for us! I am sure a lot of behind-the-scenes went into the planning of these trips.
Our party of three recently traveled to Masai Mara with Greg on a wildlife photography workshop. While two of us have previously traveled to Africa on another photography workshop, it was the first trip to Africa for the third member of the team. Our experience on this trip has far exceeded each of our expectations.
The abundance and diversity of wildlife in Masai Mara was spectacular (ranging from some serious herds of wildebeest and zebras, prides of lions, cheetahs, leopards, elephants, giraffes and a rhino etc), providing numerous photographic opportunities. We also witnessed impressive crossings of wildebeest and zebras.
Greg was great not only because of his wealth of knowledge in wildlife, he also gave invaluable advice as to how to best capture the amazing scenes happening in front of us from both a technical perspective and also a art/creative perspective. He was generous to share with us his take on different subjects on location, and his award-winning technique and creativity. He also ensured that we were in the best location and have the best angle for each sighting, where we witnessed other vehicles being in the wrong place from a photographic standpoint. He was very friendly and approachable and was fun to be with during our times with him.
The camp selection and the guides at the camps were great (the guides had eagle-eyes to spot animals from a serious distance).
All in all, it was a great trip and we hope to come back to Africa as soon as we can!
First I want to say I agree totally with everything that David, Kim and Bob Purcell said about our Masai Mara photo safari. As Bob said, we choose the trip because we so enjoyed our previous ORYX trip with Dale Morris to the Pantanal of Brazil; we hoped the one to Kenya would have the same superb organization and accommodations, and provide sufficient opportunities to really observe the wildlife and countryside. Not only were our expectations met, they were exceeded in each and every case.
As the main person struggling to learn how to take better photographs, I really appreciated how David and Patrick, the guides, and Greg all worked together to give me the best lighting and angles and opportunities for fantastic shots. Greg was a great teacher ,first by example and second by providing guidance on settings and subjects and always being quick to answer my questions. Best of all, he was helpful without being intrusive. As I look through my many pictures, I can clearly see that the ones toward the end of the trip are better than the ones from the beginning; thanks Greg.
I was very glad we did not have to spend time in Nairobi, and Macushla house was the perfect place to set the mood for the safari beforehand and to compare favorite memories afterwards. The number of animals, happenings, and landscapes we saw is still difficult to comprehend; each day was an adrenalin rush with something unexpected and amazing always popping up thanks to the skills of Greg and the guides. Greg is an encyclopedia of knowledge and provided lots of interesting details and observations that made the trip so much more enjoyable; we really got at least two trips- a photographic one and a nature expedition. It was an unexpected perk to find that Greg was an expert on birds so we got to indulge in one of our favorite hobbies and greatly increased the number of bird species we have seen in the wild. When I mentioned that I would like to see a bush baby, a hyrax and a hornbill, Greg and Patrick managed to find me all three and we even got to hear the hornbill’s haunting call.
This photo safari was one of, if not the best, I have ever had. There were no bad moments, it was always fun , exciting and extremely pleasant. Totally awesome. I look forward to taking other ORYX photo tours in the future.
Let me also extend my abundant thanks for such a special photo safari. I feel like we are still processing all the amazing things we saw, and will be sorting photos for some time (there are some really great ones).
I wanted to add a few thoughts regarding the logistics of the trip as well. The accommodations were really first rate, at Macuschla House and then at both bush camps. As Greg noted, it is great to experience the subtle differences in the environmental settings of Naibor and Kicheche, and the changes in animals around the two camps. The hospitality at both camps was fabulous, but the intimate atmosphere at Kicheche bush camp really stayed with me. By using both camps, and by taking the leisure of more than a week for the trip, it was possible to see all nearly all corners of the Masai Mara and understand what a special place it is.
Finally, in talking with other people about the trip, I realized that having a private, dedicated guide for our group really made it special (and certainly made the logistics easy for us). Neither David nor I came prepared to take advantage of Greg’s expertise as a photography tutor, but I want to extend a huge THANK YOU to Greg for sharing his abundant knowledge and expertise as a naturalist and guide. And for his patience with our continual questions and requests to stop to look at everything, even the rocks. It was a brilliant Kenya photo tour.
To follow up: our Kenya photo safari was truly fabulous! While our memories are fresh, I want to touch on a few points:
1) A brief adjustment time at Macushla house before and after the safari was perfect! In particular, Macushla house was a stroke of genius for the following reasons: away from population centers and terrorists , close to the elephant orphanage and giraffe center, as well as an excellent crafts cooperative/restaurant, and close to Wilson airport. Finally, it is a very comfortable and low-key facility with excellent food and staff.
2) We were interested in the ORYX Kenya photo safari because of our very positive experience with the Pantanal photo tour rather then because it was a photography tour. We are basically naturalists and birders (okay, amateurish birders): Suzanne is the only avid photographer among us. Basically we much prefer the slower pace of photography tours instead of the hectic pace of a birders’ tour. Consequently, it was a great pleasure to discover that Greg is an outstanding naturalist and birder as well as a world-class photographer. We think that there would be even more interest in Greg’s tours if your website indicated how multitalented he is. Birders and naturalists who lack an interest in photography would certainly be interested in Greg’s other skills. Greg played a very large role in assuring the success of our Safari in many ways.
3) Both tent camps were outstanding venues. All aspects of these facilities were top notch. In particular, the staff and especially the guides were highly professional. It was wonderful to see the mutual respect between Greg and the camp guides in finding just the right places for us to go and just the right things to see and do.
4) The balloon ride was frosting on the cake. I was the only one of us who had ballooned previously. We were all thrilled by it and had a new appreciation for the vastness of the Masai Mara from the height of a balloon. The perfect place for a balloon flight!
In summary: Well done!
We had a fabulous time, the other couple, Marion and Manfred, were great traveling companions and Greg is a really great guide and a pleasure to be around. The day room at House of Waine was an inspired idea; last time we came back from the Mara through Nairobi we had a really tedious time. This was so much better. Your communications and organisation have been excellent and I truly expect that we will be in touch again in due course. Nicola and Marion have already had conversations about our future travel together.
We are safely back from a fantastic Kenya photo safari. We enjoyed every minute of this trip! We loved the Masai Mara and had a fabulous time with Greg who is not only a fantastic photographic guide but also a humorous and sympathetic personality.
We like to thank you for the perfect organisation of the trip. A special thank you again for the day room. We appreciated the possibility to spend some time at the comfortable House of Waine!
We would certainly like to do another photography tour in the near future!
The Kenya photo safari was excellent from beginning to end. We had some excellent wildlife observations, particularly of predators, but also zebras, giraffes, elephants in the beautiful Mara landscape.
The camp, staff and local guides were very good, and it was great to travel with Penny given her well-deserved reputation in the Mara. The efforts Penny made with all the participants to see and capture the wildlife in a manner reflecting her style, and provide technical help from shooting to processing were beyond expectations.
Quite simply, my trip to Africa was the best 14 days of my life. Every detail of the journey was flawlessly executed by ORYX Photo Tours and I can’t thank them enough for their expertise and ability to arrange all of the details to perfection. I would recommend them to anyone who is looking to experience Africa in the way it was truly intended… And I’m thrilled to have found the perfect company to plan all of my future photo safaris, and wouldn’t dream of going elsewhere.
We had an excellent honeymoon with happy memories and seamless travel around Kenya and Zanzibar. Thank you for your assistance in arranging everything so nicely, we look forward to our next African photo tour with you!
The Kenya Mara Migration photo safari was absolutely magical – the magic of the Mara was definitely more than enhanced by the lovely Penny. She truly is a gem. Right from the time we met her at the Ole Sereni, we knew this was going to be a great trip. Penny is an amazing teacher – from advising on settings and composition, to Lightroom and editing – she was on the ball all day, and even in the evenings, when we got tutorials on editing (I was telling her she should have a YouTube channel, she would have quite a following!). All this she did with kindness and patience, and unbridled enthusiasm. Even a couple of other guests at the Nkorombo camp commented on how hardworking she is, and that we were a lucky group to have her guiding us. But more than the photography and her mad skills, Penny is one good person, and as Shobha said, ‘make sure you hang on to her’ 🙂
The Best of the Mara Migration photo safari was my first real wildlife photography tour and it didn’t disappoint. There was plenty of drama and loads of excitement.
We learnt patience while sitting in our jeeps willing the fickle-minded wildebeest and zebras to make the plunge but the dangers of giant crocs lurking in the waters spooking the animals was a spectacle in itself … then there was the amazing sight of a pride of lions having a family feast and cheetahs devouring their kill, the unexpected sighting of a lone and majestic leopard – each day had its own magic.
Patience wasn’t the only thing we learnt. We had the good fortune of being led by the super-charged and incredibly personable Penny Robartes. From the crack of dawn to post-dinner post-mortems of the day, she was always on the go. She was generous with her artistic and technical knowledge. Mastering settings and composition and Lightroom ‘tricks’ was a lot of fun with Penny and there was always a large and healthy dose of humour. That makes all the difference.
We as a team enjoyed Penny’s company and her self-effacing manner makes her difficult not to like. I would go on another expedition with her in a heartbeat. I cannot recommend this trip and Penny highly enough.
The organisation and arrangements for this photo safari trip too were nothing short of superb.
Thank you ORYX Photo Tours for yet another unforgettable experience!
This was my first experience with ORYX Photo Tours and I came on this trip with high expectations, especially on the migration and river crossing part. What struck me most was the massive wildlife in the area and how close we came to it at various sightings. It is almost unreal to get to see close ups of Lion kills, Cheetah kills and a Leopard in only 3 days. The local Masai scouters in great cooperation with our ORYX photo tour guide, Penny Robartes, did a fantastic job and kept the energy up throughout 12-14 hours day trips. Excellent photo coaching by Penny on site was also a great contribution for higher quality images… Well done!! I have now added several thousands of new great images that I will enjoy reviewing in the months ahead.
I wanted to thank you again for a great Kenya photo safari. I personally learnt a great deal from you, and I know that Mark and Eszter share that view. I also appreciated the fact that you gave preference to us over your own shots – no doubt missing some great opportunities. It was exactly what I was looking for!
The photo safari was wonderful! Not only was Penny helpful with our photography and Lightroom skills, she was a great companion: Fun, friendly, insightful and educational. She made our trip all the more memorable. I am anxious to put all her Lightroom tips to use and feel much more confident in my camera skills. Looking forward to seeing Antarctica through Penny’s eyes in the upcoming weeks!
We had a wonderful week with Penny in the Mara! So much wildlife and wonderful lodgings. Penny spent so much time helping me advance my skills from last year and Cindy really got so much out of it as she came in similar to my experience last year. Penny is so wonderful to work with and her approach to photography is refreshing. Thank you to all the ORYX Photo Tours team for once again making such a memorable Kenya photo safari for Cindy and I!
The tour has been so amaziiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiing and stunning. Marius did such a great job. The whole tour was perfectly organized and prepared. I cannot complain about anything, not even a small thing. I am looking forward for the next tour with ORYX Photo Tours. Thank you again and all the best!
It was an absolutely surreal photo tour (Marius, I know you’ve heard me say this several times, like a broken record) – but it truly was perfect. Everything just fell into place, not least because of all your planning and Peter’s amazing skills. The photography was epic, the company good fun, and Marius leading the group nothing short of brilliant. Whatever we dreamt of, we got – camels, donkeys, goats…sunsets, sunrises, clouds…couldn’t ask for anything more.
Wow! What an amazing photo tour to Lofoten it was!
All arrangements were excellent, the itinerary well-chosen and the guides (Roy assisted by Arild Heitmann) excellent. The guys were great company, diligent in persuading us up steep slopes, across icy beaches and into the teeth of ferocious winds to get “that perfect shot” ….and they were never wrong. They took great efforts to assist and instruct, always making great suggestions on how to look for the shot that offered something special and told more of a story than just waves breaking on a beach (for example). I learned so much and had a wonderful time to boot!
So I am now officially an ORYX groupie and photographic addict.
Thanks for the wonderful opportunity!
As a working journalist, I travel for a living and Madagascar is one of the most logistically challenging places to travel to. It is a world unto itself, in every sense of the word. When given a recent book project on Madagascar and in need of some photographic work there was only one person I knew who could help me. Marius Coetzee has been a guide for over 11 years, and there is no one I could feel safer with in a country as challenging as Madagascar.
Marius is patient; he is kind, and above all inspiring! If you are going to Madagascar, he is the guy. If you are going any place else, he is probably the guy too!
We had a GREAT time with Dale. Everything was as expected as we have learned to expect the unexpected. We would go with Dale and ORYX Photo Tours without any hesitation. We have NOTHING to complain about. Olive learned a lot of things from Dale. How not when you get such a crazy guide.
We have recently returned from our Madagascar photo tour with ORYX, led by Marius Coetzee. We had long wanted to see and photograph the dancing Lemurs. Marius was an excellent leader of our small group of photographers and made sure everything went like clockwork. Having the transport and accommodation arrangements handled so professionally made the trip worry free. Marius’s knowledge of the best photographic locations meant we were able to get some terrific Lemur and Indri shots. Marius was more than willing to provide photographic guidance and made the photo tour to this unique place a special experience.
This photo tour completely exceeded my expectations and was exactly what I was looking for for Madagascar (wildlife all day, every day). You were all extremely responsive, professional, and courteous.
Accommodations were all nice and the food was always good. Internal flight delays were handled so smoothly by you that they didn’t have an impact on the trip overall.
All of the local guides were great, especially Nono.
Dale was definitely the best photographer-guide I’ve ever travelled with. His photos were gorgeous and he was incredibly generous, patient, and enthusiastic about sharing his knowledge. He kept us entertained all day with new photographic opportunities, and involved us in experiments with new techniques, usually with amazing results. As a guide he had excellent natural leadership ability, and as a person he was warm, friendly, interesting, genuinely nice, and fun to be with.
Everything we did was so much fun, and I will always have wonderful memories of this trip. Would definitely travel with ORYX Photo Tours again.
Thanks so much!
Thanks, the Madagascar photo tour was excellent. Got some great photos, and also learned a lot from Dale on techniques very useful in Madagascar, macro and night photography. Discussing with other guests, I think we all expected to be put in good photography locations to see what we could do, but the effort Dale put in teaching us all new techniques was beyond expectations.
Without ORYX Photo Tours and the local help it would have been impossible to travel in the country. The help was exceptional in dealing with the changes and I never worried we wouldn’t get to where we wanted to go. Dale works very hard to ensure everyone has the best possible angles for shooting and helped me with flash settings and tips at the start. Shooting in Madagascar is different than other destinations I have been to and the assistance in getting started was appreciated. I appreciated the fact that Dale, while taking shots got us in position first before “firing”. That doesn’t always happen with guides, especially when there is a special moment. Thanks again for an introduction to the wildlife of a very unique and challenging country. I’m sure most first time travelers to Madagascar don’t have such a rewarding photo experience!
The trip was one of the best photo tours I have had in recent years. Although the landscape was challenging as well as the ability to get clear shots of the animals in the rainforest, your representatives in the field made the trip. The organization you hired in Madagascar were first rate. The ability to meet the challenges of Air Madagascar as well as the other bumps on the road were outstanding. Do not lose this group. Dale Morris is a real pro. Not only did he organize the photoshoots to optimize our ability to get the right shots, but his expertise in the field as it related to the more technical aspects of photography (flash, exposure comp, lens selection etc.) made the trip. Do not lose him. I would have no trouble recommending ORYX Photo Tours to my camera friends in Toronto, and I look forward to dealing with your organization in the future.
I am back home after an inspiring photography tour with ORYX once again. As before the practical arrangements were flawless, and the guiding superb. First time I travelled with Dale, but it came as no surprise that he is first class. Thanks to ORYX Photo Tours and to Dale for a great experience!
It was an excellent photography tour. We are thrilled with the images we are now in the midst of sorting. We got all of our targets and have some wonderful photos. It’s a tough place but ORYX Photo Tours and especially Dale and local guide Nono handled everything with aplomb.
I have been on many tours around the world and yours was the best!
Kirsten, whom I understand has just joined ORYX Photo Tours, is so very creative and has such undeniable natural talent – he has a wonderful eye for photographing wildlife and people from different and unusual angles. I was constantly amazed at the photographs which he took! Although I was relatively new to photography, he was wonderfully patient with me regarding the technical details with the use of the camera and his explanations were simple and easy to understand. He is so humble even though he is so knowledgeable, and has a quiet, sweet and unobtrusive manner, mingling so well with the local Malagasi people and children. By putting them at ease, he was able to take very candid photographs which would often relate a story. He is also a very observant and caring individual – we shared many light hearted moments throughout the tour. It was so easy for me to open up to him with the many questions I had on photography and despite all this, he was always polite and patient. Time and time again throughout the tour, whenever I had trouble with my camera in optimising the settings, he would instinctively come up to me to help me, without even waiting for me to ask for assistance. I am so grateful for his kindness and generosity in sharing his expertise with me, including taking time off during the down time period after lunch in the sweltering heat of mid-day to go through the basics of processing images. At such a tender age, Kirsten has so much potential as a photographic guide – I am really excited to see what the future holds for him. At the end of the photo tour when I reached Johannesburg airport, I took quite a while to come out of customs as they threatened to detain me at the clinic, having just come from Madagascar which was experiencing an outbreak of plague. When I eventually emerged from the customs counters, I realised that both Dale and Kirsten had kindly collected my luggage and were patiently waiting for me at the luggage belt. I was ever so thankful for their kindness. I have not seen this level of professionalism before with any other tour group and they have my highest respect. They have been so very inspirational.
I just wanted to thank ORYX for organising the Madagascar photo tour for 2017 which was led by Dale Morris and Kirsten Frost. Both were exceptional and exemplary guides who really demonstrated a passion for teaching photography and for being totally committed to ensuring the best possible experience for all the tour participants. It was my first tour with ORYX Photo Tours and certainly my best tour ever. I was so very impressed with the high level of professionalism and integrity which both of them demonstrated.
Dale patiently taught me how to use my macro lens and flash and this introduction opened up a whole new and exciting world for me! I never knew that macro-photography was so interesting and it is only just the beginning! He was constantly trying to find the best angles for all the tour participants to photograph the lemurs. He taught me how to use my wide angle lens to take the lemurs from a low angle with a sunburst effect! He taught me how to get down and dirty on the ground to obtain wonderfully low angles for photographing the narrow ring tailed mongoose and the nightjar. He taught me how to pan fast moving subjects. He taught me to take note of the background when taking photos. He even set up a mini studio in the forest for photographing the colourful frogs and magnificent chameleons. Everyday brought a new learning experience!! I was so grateful for some of the images which I obtained – something I never dreamt I would ever achieve. Dale even introduced me to fine art photography and night photography of the majestic baobab trees, and suddenly, the artistic potential of photography became so exciting! Dale has my highest respect as a guide. He was able to control the pace of the tour, ensuring that all participants were well taken care of. He has the innate ability to anticipate problems and, in fact, overcame all the problems with the internal flights in Madagascar, remaining calm, unflustered and in complete control throughout. He even anticipated that the final internal departure flight might be a problem (it was eventually cancelled) and, in so doing, he averted a disaster by alerting ORYX which then chartered a flight for our group. This speaks volumes for the entire ORYX Photo Tours team led by Marius, who must be a visionary leader to have hand-picked such a good team.
In summary, it really has been a singular honor and a privilege for me to have travelled with both Dale and Kirsten. I hope to do so many more times in the near future. Thank you once again for making one of my childhood dreams to visit Madagascar come true. I praise God from whom all blessings flow.
The trip was really excellent and ORYX has some really great guides with Dale and Kirsten. They kept an eye on all the logistics and worked nonstop to get up early and get us on location. If there’s a good photo shot to be had, they both always made sure we had plenty of opportunity to get the pictures we want and many helpful suggestions for making better shots, weather it’s an alternative angle or tweaks to the camera. Some tour guides tend to get caught up in the moment and shot a lot of pictures themselves but they never shot photos themselves unless to test the lighting or if we were all done and I appreciate this because it’s hard to resist in such a location. The local guide was also excellent and I peppered him with questions about the people, the language and the culture and learned a lot. Would I do another trip with them and Oryx? Definitely!
I had the time of my life on the Mongolia photo tour with Marius. Western Mongolia is an enchanted place and I am blessed to have been able to experience those people and that landscape. And I never thought I would travel with and work again with anyone as good as Dale Morris but Marius was every bit Dale’s equal. He was a joy to travel with and he taught me reams of good new stuff about photography.
Mongolia was a trip like no other! Although it was tough in many ways, the experience was totally incredible. Watching first hand the lives of the hardworking nomad families we stayed with and experiencing the unique culture of eagle hunting was truly remarkable. The added poignancy of the death of an eagle, made it emotional even. This photo tour has made a lasting impression.
Team ORYX was a fun lot and what could’ve descended to a week of grumbles and complaints never happened. Everyone got on well with each other.
Marius was a fabulous lead – jovial, funny, ever willing to impart his photography skills, he made the photography tour that much more enjoyable.
Our Mongolia photo tour was amazing, and Sam and the ground team were just wonderful! Travelling with a pro taught me that I have much to learn and this was a great beginning.
We had an amazing time on our Mongolia photo tour and can’t quite believe it is all over! Thank you to you and your team for the excellent organisation. Sam was absolutely wonderful!
Mongolia was fascinating, a photo tour which I will always remember with a smile on my face. Lovely group, Sam was just beautiful, tour guides and drives endlessly helpful and kind, I cannot praise everybody enough.
We would happily recommend this tour to everybody, who wants great company, interesting people and see a totally different and interesting way of life.
Thanks for arranging it so beautiful, you and your team deserve all the recognition! Sam was not just the perfect hostess, but also was extremely patient with us and taking photographs.
Hope to go on another trip with your team soon.
Keep well and successful (as you deserve!)
The Mongolia photo tour with ORYX was an adventure like no other. This trip took us deep into the Kazakh culture in western Mongolia, well beyond the Eagle Hunter Festival that draws most visitors. Before the festival we spent four nights living with eminent eagle hunters and their multigenerational families. We were with them as they took meals, shoed horses, milked cows, and harvested animals from their herds. After sunset photo strolls, we helped drive the goats home for the night. We thus arrived at the event as well-connected insiders. In our private tent we hosted eagle hunters and celebrities including Aisholpan Nurgaiv, star of the documentary “The Eagle Huntress.”
The two-day festival itself is beyond description, and not just because of the mesmerizing competitions involving eagles, horses and humans. There is non-stop action everywhere you look. Scores of mounted hunters roam the grounds with enormous birds on their arms. Silk-clad archers display their prowess near vendors selling colorful hand-crafted items at attractive prices. You can hear five languages in five minutes.
Best of all, there is nearly no restriction on where and what you can shoot.
Leading our tour was Samantha Reinders, a seasoned pro shooter who taught us to become better photographers both through instruction and by example; she also was unwavering in her determination to get us into the best position for great shots. The photo tour staff was marvelous, a true team eager to respond to any request. Travel in Mongolia can be unpredictable, and they always had a backup plan based on local knowledge. They also sparked spontaneous, unforgettable experiences with local residents as we drove through the magnificent countryside. Overall this is an extraordinary, unforgettable value in the photography tour category.
We are home now and trying to get over the jet lag. As for our photo tour with you – it was fantastic! We loved the home stays with the families. Very cozy and interesting. The drivers and crew were so good and we felt very well fed and taken care of. As for the Eagle festival itself – what an amazing experience! We just loved the different competitions and the whole atmosphere. Having the ger where local celebrities gathered for photos was excellent and we enjoyed that immensely. Just having a place to go to have a little rest every now and then was a comfort too. Sam could not have been more helpful with ideas for shots and ensuring we were not in need of anything. All in all it was a great photography tour and we would do it again in a heartbeat. Thanks so much for all your help in organizing things!
We had a fabulous experience in Mongolia! Again, we want to thank ORYX Photo Tours and especially Sam Reinders for such an outstanding Mongolia photo tour!
Margaret and I have had another ORYX photo tour! Every aspect of a couple of weeks in Namibia was perfect. There was never a flat spot and you ensured we did everything that was possible. The choice of lodges was just right for our purposes. You interacted with the local guides to enhance the total experience. Our photography is improving. From being just mug amateurs a couple of years ago using auto for everything, we are now into focal lengths, back lighting, slow shutter panning and much more. Still a long way to go, but we are enjoying it immensely. Again, thanks for a fabulous experience, and we eagerly await our next photography tour to Brazil next year.
There was only one serious problem with my photo safari: it was beyond description excellent! Hahaha! We experienced excellent weather in each venue where the photographic opportunities abounded. There was a good mix of scenery and animals.
The red sand dunes venue was packed solid with people making it difficult to obtain any meaningful images but I did capture a few. However, the sand dunes near Sera Cafema (our last stop) were incredible. Actually the dunes were astounding. And our visit there with the Himba tribe ladies was something else. I had them come from the back of a dune over the top is a line perpendicular to the cameras and to the afternoon sun. They walked, stopped for us to shoot, walked a bit more, shoot again, and so on. Epic beauty and epic photography.
The first stop provided us with a night sky that I’ll not forget. Venus setting, the Milky Way bright, the Southern across shining, oh my gosh. We did some light painting of two trees there that was superb. I mean really great stuff. There we saw a cheetah with an adolescent cub. And of course a lot more wildlife.
The second stop provided us with a sunset line up of 6 elephants walking in single file to a watering hole. Mom in front and Dad in the back. Surreal in beauty and silence. The lodges were terrific and the meals even better. We were treated better than royalty at each stop. The commuter plane flights and crews were great fun. Amazing scenery from up above.
Oh yes, the Skeleton Coast. Goodness gracious was that a sight to behold. I know I’m rambling. Thanks to you for assisting me in my endless preparations for this journey. I was a bit over prepared but that is better than needing something while in the bush. As for Greg, what a treasure. He is a blast to shoot with, and I’ll shoot with him again in the future. He’s a thinker as much as he is a shutter release pusher. His knowledge of the bush is astounding.
Again, sincere thanks to you and to Marius. A photo tour of a lifetime!
Just a quick note of thanks Marius for tailoring and running yet another top photo safari for us through some of the best parts of Namibia to see some things we really wanted to see and photograph.
As usual with ORYX Photo Tours everything worked well (thanks Kirsty) with great lodges and excellent guides on the ground. Michelle and I as well as our friends Leigh and Marg all came away with great images, thanks to your ability to get us in the right place at the right time to maximize photographic opportunities and to take advantage of the best light and conditions.
Your photographic tips and encouragement keep us constantly inspired to do better. We would heartily recommend ORYX Photo Tours for any aspiring photographers looking to improve their skills as well as to maximize opportunities for capturing some great wildlife photographic images for their portfolio.
We all dream of experiences in the bush that will stay with us during the times we need to remember something to lift our spirits. Capturing a moment the best you can, that’s what photography is about isn’t it. And in the bush when you are in awe of the beauty around you, capturing that image is so rewarding. It brings hours of smiles and sharing and for years to come that safari and taking that photograph will stay with you, remind you of the smells, sights and feeling you had when taking that photograph.
We have been fortunate enough to experience a photo safari with Marius Coetzee co-founder of ORYX Photo Tours in hauntingly beautiful Namibia this year. This bespoke trip created by ORYX, with Marius’s great hosting and photographic teaching made all my dreams come true. Having been on many safaris I can honestly say this was the best. Marius and his love for photography inspired us and seeing the beautiful landscape captured through your lens…..words can’t describe it.
Marius, ORYX Photo Tours and the soulful people of Namibia thank you for 14 days that will stay with me forever.
To the ORYX Photo Tours Team,
Thanks so much for another memorable safari with you guys. Namibia exceeded my expectations – we even were able to shoot the stars! The group was good and Greg did an outstanding job managing three different personalities and shooting styles. Plus, handling all our luggage and many other details, I think we wore him out! We all had a great time. It’s been a great end to a photo safari to spend a few days at Mala Mala. Roan is an exceptional guide and we have had some great sightings as well as some time to relax before my journey home – ugh. And, lastly for the ORYX staff – I just don’t know how you guys do it…..booking the best lodges for viewing and shooting opportunities….you guys are always on top of all the details that make a complicated itinerary go well. As I’ve said before, your meet and greet staff are the best. It’s so reassuring to me when traveling alone to know I will be met and escorted through the maze of the Joburg airport.
All the best and until next time.
What an amazing photo tour!!! Almost in tears leaving Namibia.
The people, the food (My Caffe Macchiato in the middle of the desert??), the accommodation, the landscape, not to mention the photos...all too beautiful to leave behind!
Greg was ever so professional and entertaining that it made the 29 hrs flying well worth it.
Would do it all over again.
The staff were so wonderful and looked after us beautifully, the bush dinners and the long table laid on skeleton beach were such a treat. The farewell by the staff chanting, playing and dancing were a most pleasant experience...
Thanks so much for organizing. It made it all an unforgettable experience.
Until the next one!
I must sincerely thank you and compliment you on an absolutely outstanding private photo safari to Namibia’s Skeleton Coast and Serra Cafema to photograph, in particular, the Himba people.
Again, I was blown away at not only the content we covered, but the adventure, suspense and utter professionalism that dominated the trip. You have again gone the extra mile for comfort, happiness and of course passion for photography and adventure. I loved the mix of wildlife and cultural photography not to mention the personal time we spent in the villages with the Himba people. You certainly have a wonderful report with them and I witnessed the immense joy they had in interacting with you.
After hearing that “Krocodil” had given birth to a little boy after our initial visit and meeting “Marius II” in the village the next evening, special to say the least. A humbling time too and time to reflect on life with gratitude.
To cap it my surprise trip to the middle of the dune banks for moonset, sunrise and a great breakfast just topped it. After enticing me to jump into the “Laughing Dune” on the Skelton Coast and getting a feel for the enormity of these dunes this was really not only special but showed me the magnitude of them. Driving in the dunes I felt secure and safe and the guides too were both professional, knowledgeable and part of the family.
I truly loved every moment and have come back with so many memorable images, I’m struggling to find favourites….love them all.
Thank you Marius and all at ORYX Photo Tours for organising.
What a trip!
I have had one of the most memorable photo safari ever!
This is despite the many great trips I have experienced with ORYX Photo Tours.
I have heaps of photos to sort out, but that's I suppose what it is all about! The service, the people, accommodation and length of stay was quite brilliant. I have no complaints, only praise!
Thank you for your efforts regarding all my arrangements. I appreciate all that you have done to make my photo tours so memorable and enjoyable.
Keep well, and I will be in touch as Marius and I are busy with some future travel plans.
I travelled with Sam in Ethiopia to photograph the tribes of the Omo Valley in some remote and difficult areas. She was an inspirational guide with a very relaxed and natural style. She really helped us to get to the heart of the local culture and had a wonderful way with people, always calm and respectful. She obviously has great compassion and curiosity and brings with her years of experience as a photojournalist and traveller. She was just fantastic at finding different ways to approach a situation, always looking for creative ways to tell the story. I also found her very supportive in helping each photographer find their own voice and style. She is a lot of fun too so makes a great travelling companion! Sam is a really talented photographer and I would wholeheartedly recommend her as the perfect photo tour leader to spend time with exploring people and cultures more deeply.
I really enjoyed my photo tour with Sam, Bob, Patty, Afe and the rest of the team. The photographic opportunities were great and plentiful as usual. Sam and Afe make a great team and we were well taken care off by all staff members.
I was particularly chuffed with the new ORYX campsite in Kibish, just imagine my surprise and delight (and the others as well) when we saw that we each have our own ablution facilities! On my last trip we had a discussion about camp facilities and Afe in particular wanted to know what kind of changes they can make, and I gave a few suggestions. I’m very happy that they listened and delivered!
Marius Coetzee’s Ethiopia – Vanishing Tribes of the Omo Valley Photo Tour was the trip of a lifetime. I had an incredible experience that went far beyond my expectation. The tribal visits were a rare opportunity to see a way of life that has existed for hundreds of years before it changes from the paved roads into the Omo Valley. Marius presented many unique photo opportunities that we could not easily duplicate, and guided us what to do and how to do. He was also there to coach us in improving our photographic and post processing techniques. I took the opportunities and was delighted with the results. Spending time with Omo Child was a truly spectacular highlight of the trip. Greatly appreciate to Marius. I’d like to thank Kristy and Nicolette who answered all my questions and made arrangement before and after the trip. I am happy to highly recommend Marius as a travel host and would definitely travel with ORYX Photo Tours anywhere in the world in the future.
We have returned from our Omo Valley photo tour with ORYX and Marius Coetzee as our guide. This is a hard trip but it surpassed all our expectations. The journey down to the Omo Valley was through a changing mosaic of dramatic scenery ranging from high mountain passes to lush lowland to semi arid desert. Marius is an experienced and highly organised photo tour leader who had a deep and extensive knowledge of the history, culture and wildlife of the region. His organisation cannot be faulted and he has an engaging and fun personality.
We would definitely travel with ORYX Photo Tours and Marius again. We would recommend this trip to anyone who wants an extraordinary and memorable experience.
Marius, Hubert and myself would like to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the wonderful photo tour through Ethiopia. The trip to the Omo Valley with you was a very special experience that we will never forget in our life. A great photo tour leader has become a real friend for us!
The round trip in the north was great fun and Henok was a perfect guide and also became a friend. Henok is the perfect ambassador for his country, wonderful!
Big compliment to ORYX Photo Tours and especially to you for the perfect organization and realization of our once in a lifetime trip!!!
I could not fault the arrangements for my Panama segment and Ignacio and his team were outstanding. Full credit to Ignacio for his patience with my obvious lack of photographic skills, especially in low light conditions, which was magnified by the damage to my equipment in Costa Rica. He was constantly advising on how I could make the most of all conditions and even went to the trouble of downloading the Nikon User manual so that he could fully understand my equipment.
The two guides were amazing with their expertise and patience as well as an extraordinary ability to find birds. They were always offering to help carry my equipment or to make a pace that allowed me to keep up.
Nando was a very caring and knowledgeable and his excellent English and driving skills would make him a valuable resource both as a driver/guide to Ignacio in photographic tours but also as a highly skilled bird guide. I would have no hesitation in using him again should I return to Panama.
Ito was amazing in his home town and his ability to find rare and interesting birds almost at will were a skill that should be appreciated. The finding of Quetzals at any time either by location knowledge or call ups were very impressive. I felt very comfortable in his company and appreciated the skill set he brought which made this segment to the western highlands, so memorable.
I have used guides in many parts of the world and these are at the top of the list and were far superior to my Costa Rican guide.
Best wishes to the ORYX Photo Tours team!
When I signed up for the ORYX photography tour to Papua New Guinea, I thought I might get a few nice images of exotic birds, but I thought the chances for seeing any bird of paradise were remote based on the experiences of a professional wildlife photographer and acquaintance. I thought seeing one display was impossibly improbable. Having gone with ORYX and their terrific guide, Rich Lindie, I am enthusiastic to announce that I was totally wrong. Rich has encyclopedic knowledge of birds and their habitats, so he knew exactly where to look for the birds of paradise. I came away with good images of five species of birds of paradise, two of whom were displaying for females. The extra cream was a morning spent with the Huli Wigmen, where we got to see their school and watch them apply their makeup, both at least as photographically interesting as their dances. If you wish to photograph the beautiful and exotic, do not miss this tour.
This was an amazing experience from start to finish. Mike provided some vital guidance prior to our trip, assisting me in buying the right equipment and correct setting for our first photographic safari. Mike is an excellent wildlife photographer, working well with the guides to ensure we had the best spot for photographs. Not only did we return with some amazing pictures we also learnt a lot about safari photography and post-processing in lightroom. I can’t recommend Mike highly enough!
Thanks to Marius, Kirsty, Dasreya and the rest of the ORYX Photo Tours team for putting together a fabulous journey and experience for us. All arrangements were perfect and smoothly done. Both Rekero and Kicheche were simply superb. Hemingways was also super, I would definitely recommend this to your other guests.
The week with Greg was simply fabulous and it went by too fast. We’re already plotting with him for another set of dates. Will come back to you on this!
The Rwanda photo tour was awesome – the whole family really loved it! As for Greg himself, he was a total hit! Greg is another level. So very happy he could join us, and I doubt it will be the last time either. He certainly helped me out a lot, and also had incredible patience with my mum & sister who were beginners.
Thanks so much for organizing this for us – I will definitely give ORYX Photo Tours a shout for our next safari.
Thank you so much for organizing our recent photo tours to Botswana and Rwanda. All the arrangements for travel and accommodation were impeccable! Your recommendations worked out perfectly for us and we are very grateful to you all.
Although Botswana was a great experience, Rwanda and the Gorilla trekking was of course the highlight. The fact that you, Marius, were able to join us for this part of the trip added an extra dimension. Your local knowledge and organization ensured we received the best possible attention and that certainly enhanced the quality of our experience. You also provided good company and needless to say your photographic expertise helped to ensure that we returned home with terrific photos as well.
Rwanda is a beautiful country – we had no idea it was as clean and as safe as it is. We enjoyed the short stay at Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge where we were very well looked after by the hosts, Nelis and Tracy. The first Gorilla trek was such an exciting experience; it is difficult to describe the exhilaration felt upon meeting a Gorilla in the wild for the first time. We enjoyed fantastic viewing that day with the Gorillas in the open for the most part. The second day was equally, if not even more exciting though and quite a different experience with a different Gorilla group including several active Silverbacks moving around in the bamboo forest. Absolutely fabulous and makes it fully understandable why Gorilla trekking is described as the best wildlife experience in Africa.
Thank you again for all you did to make this photo safari very special and one we will never forget!
I had a super time and lots of fun with Dale and Marius but I do need to thank Nicolette and Kirsty for answering all of my questions in such a prompt and efficient manner. Their emails were always informative and cheerful. Ethiopia and Rwanda are not the easiest locations so the support was much appreciated. In fact without it, I probably would not have travelled with ORYX Photo Tours. I look forward to another ORYX photo safari at some point in the future. Fondest regards and, again, many thanks!
King’s Camp (Timbavati) rank among the best wildlife watching and photography places I have experienced, not only in Africa but in the world. The abundance of Leopard and the quality of the sightings is just amazing. Drivers and trackers do a fantastic job, and the avoidance of “game jams” thanks to the policy of only two vehicles allowed at a sighting is a great advantage. Leopard is clearly the main attraction at Timbavati, but there were great sightings of Buffalo, Elephant and White Rhino. Accommodation and the entire infrastructure around King’s Camp is just wonderful. The rooms are a delight, food excellent, very nice birds around the gardens, great bar and library, and some of the very best service I’ve experienced anywhere. We were pampered in every way imaginable. As a wildlife enthusiast and photographer who has been around, I certainly recommend King’s Camp and Timbavati as a superb, rewarding and very productive photo safari destination. I hope I find the time to go back some time soon.
I’m not sure if I can adequately express my enthusiasm for our South Africa photo tour. Sharing time with some of the most exotic animals on the planet will continue to be one of my most treasured memories. What I loved most, was the proximity and intensity of the experience with leopards. Although I am not a wildlife photographer, I am an adrenaline junkie, and hearing the hiss of an adult leopard is one of the most exciting times I can remember. In my most spectacular day dreams, I could not have thought up lodges like Kings Camp or Leopard Hills. ORYX Photo Tours put together a trip that was virtually bespoken to both my husband and my tastes. We were able to share an adventure together, and this was possibly the best trip we have taken together. This was achieved by a seamless set of logistical operations, not a hint of a problem with travel, accommodation, food, or even photography opportunities. Mother Nature may be unpredictable, but ORYX Photo Tours seems to have managed a way to make her a little happier.
Organization by ORYX Photo Tours was faultless. It really felt like we were getting the best of everything, even when compared to other visitors, and Marius’ excellent relationship with apparently every ranger and tracker in the reserve was a big bonus, making communication with other vehicles especially productive. His extensive bush experience and photographic sense added a lot of value to the trip.
ORYX Photo Tours did us proud, from Kirsty’s exceptional logistics management, the support & help, and mostly Greg’s complete professionalism. Looking forward to June for our Tanzania photo safari!
Thank you for arranging such a wonderful South Africa photo safari for us. The lodges were great. The logistics were superb from the moment we got out of our intercontinental aircraft! Driver/guides were very good, and we enjoyed Greg’s pleasant company and photographic advice. Thank you also for the gifts Greg brought to us. They were very much appreciated. We look forward to traveling with ORYX Photo Tours again some time in future.
I actually do not have the words to describe how incredible this South Africa photo safari was. I can only thank you for bringing back this little piece of heaven called the Sabi Sands back into my life again. Your ORYX Photo Tours!
We arrived home two days ago after a most incredible and wonderful South Africa photo tour. The highlight of our trip was the Kings Camp safari but everything was fabulous!! We really appreciate Dale for so many reasons. He was excellent in teaching us, being personable, sharing his knowledge, expertise and passion for wildlife photography. We learnt so much. It has been busy trying to catch up after our vacation but this weekend we hope to start applying some of the ‘editing’ that Dale taught us. We would highly recommend this experience and DALE!! An absolutely wonderful experience!! We really hope that we can do something similar in the future and would definitely be calling ORYX Photo Tours (and Dale).”
Thanks so much for all you did to make our photo safari experience epic! We really appreciated all the extra efforts to each detail. Especially, our bags and transport service….what a way to get through the airports with you guys – we were whisked away from the gate and escorted through customs. And, we love our ORYX bags – especially Russell.
It was such a privilege to spend a week with Greg. On all levels he is a joy to spend time in the bush with. It’s really apparent through his passion, knowledge and talent why he is The Wildlife Photographer of the Year.
We had some amazing sightings. From following mating leopards for 5 hours on my birthday to packs of wild dogs, cheetahs, and 19 different leopards. Oh, and two snakes! And of course, spending some time with Claire was very special to us.
A fantastic South Africa photo safari experience from pre-travel through the safari to post travel – all the little details necessary for our comfort and enjoyment were taken care of with the minimum of fuss. We had a great time helped by the professionalism and friendliness of the ORYX Photo Tours team. All our needs were anticipated and attended to but most importantly every day was fun and an adventure.
ORYX Photo Tours took excellent care of me, and Marius was proactive in sharing his knowledge gleaned from years of photographing wildlife. I definitely returned home a better wildlife photographer and with some lovely images for the portfolio. Testament to Marius and the ORYX team is that I have already signed up for another photography tour next year – bring on more magic moments!
ORYX Photo Tours is a world class company. The members bend over backwards to get you the results you desire, and make sure your experience goes off without a hitch. Their customer service is so extraordinary it’s hard to put into words; the closest I can come is they treat you like family. The photographic results and experiences you take away from the field will leave you breathless. If you are on the fence as to whether or not you should book through ORYX Photo Tours – hop off – I promise, you will not regret it.
Greg Du Toit is incredible! He took the time to make sure everyone understood the technical aspects involved in getting the shot, even if it meant he had to sacrifice not getting the shot for himself. His focus is getting the client the results they desire. Not only is he knowledgeable about photography, but he teaches you about the animals and environment. As 2013 wildlife photographer of the year he is an excellent source for providing you with a critique should you ask for an analysis of your work. Also, he is one of the most humble human beings on this planet.
Penny Robartes is a young, fun, and excellent guide. She is very organized and dedicated to getting the client the results they want. She lead us all around the beautiful city of Cape Town and we hit magnificent spots for sunrise and sunset. Not that I would have minded at all, but she never once carried a camera while she was with us. Instead her entire focus was interacting with the group. If you had questions, she had answers, if you just wanted to chat, she would chat. Hands down she is one of the best guides at ORYX Photo Tours.
I had a great experience with your teaching methods on how to better use my camera and really appreciated your beginning tutorial sessions in Lightroom. I think all you shared with me will help me advance in my photographic goals. I think the one thing you did that helped us best was to look on our computers at the images we took after our first outing. This allows us to see first hand where we needed to make corrections.
Though only a few weeks, it seems like ages since we were travelling the beautiful and fascinating lands of southern Africa. I can assure you that our entire trip, from arrival in Joburg to our last day in Zambia was an incredible and memorable experience for all four members of our family. You and your team did a fabulous job in coming up with the perfect itinerary for us and also in executing on all of the planning and logistical details. As we’ve reflected on our time abroad, we particularly enjoyed our time at Leopard Hills (which I know is a special place for you as well). We can’t say enough about how extraordinary it was to drive the Sabi Sands with the company of such an engaging and expert ranger/tracker pair – and to know that upon return we would be as comfortably and hospitably looked after by the entire team at the lodge.
We’ve also returned home with an incredible portfolio of digital images from safari, Cape Town, winelands, etc. – thanks for your guidance on that front. Now we face the challenging task of making them into a lasting record of our African adventure – a fun project for the rest of the summer. . . .
We hope all is well with you and also sincerely hope that we’ll be able to work with you on other adventures in the future!
Kirsten was great! For someone so young to be so skilled at leading a photo tour it is highly impressive. He is fun, friendly, warm, inquisitive, encouraging and enthusiastic in teaching new techniques and skills. I hope to travel with him again one day, he is going to go far!
We share such deep gratitude to you, Marius and everyone at ORYX Photo Tours for arranging such a memorable, remarkable photo safari recently to South Africa, Kenya and Rwanda…absolutely first class! You all made our trip so painless with all the personal touches!
Also, big thanks for the shirts and caps! We’ll wear them with pride! Justin, John and Soddy were just delightful guides who made us feel like “royalty”, and were so informative!
Perhaps someday we’ll be able to arrange another trip through ORYX. Meanwhile, be well, and know you are all doing phenomenal work! With extreme gratitude!
Just a brief message to express our gratitude for all you (Kirsty) did in setting up this unforgettable photo tour. Dale was awesome, and went out of his way to ensure Judy and I were comfortable and constantly amazed at the natural wonders we encountered. Judy was sharing her I Phone pix on Facebook in real time, which have been shared and re-shared by hundreds of her friends. We were so close to the animals, that she had to keep telling everyone they were her phone pix, and not Canon Full Frame telephoto images! You were correct in suggesting this tour as a first time African adventure. Londolozi Founders Camp was spectacular, and the personnel there were outstanding. I can’t wait to start post-processing my photos, and will be happy to share them with you. All the best!
Overall the Svalbard trip was excellent! We were very impressed with the planning, flexibility in adjusting to ice conditions etc., and especially with the outstanding leadership and skill of our guides Roy and Frede. The opportunities for wildlife photography were superb and I could not possibly pass on suggestions for any improvement in leadership, management and viewing approach. This was as good as it gets and we are grateful for the efforts of all involved. In addition we are greatly appreciative of the friendly and effective crew of the ORIGO who were always ready to help. A valuable aspect was the Captain’s ready willingness, in fact encouragement, to let us stay up on the bridge at all hours and watch the magnificent scenery and wildlife slip past as we sailed through this remote environment. Our thanks go to all the staff!
It was an amazing trip! It was a combination of stunning landscapes and magnificent wildlife. Roy and Frede, as well as the entire crew of the ship were great and I enjoyed every minute!
We had a really magical time. Svalbard is a truly beautiful place…. We had great guides, light, sightings, fellow travellers and food.
Ngorongoro Crater was a spectacular photo safari in an amazing location in Tanzania. The service and hospitality shown by the staff at camp was exceptional and the wildlife and photographic opportunities were out of this world. I would highly recommend this African experience for both photographers and people who enjoy being in the bush.
Our Uganda photo tour was absolutely fantastic!
We weren’t bored for a minute, and everyday we encountered new unforgettable, once in a life time experiences.
Our guide Ham did an unbelievable job in looking after us and ensuring that our experience was as awesome as possible. He really went out of his way and deserves a notable mention in making it the trip it was.
The Gorillas were the highlight of the trip, and truly surpassed our expectations. Although the Gorillas were the highlight, everything else we did was incredible too, from hiking and spotting the forrest elephants in Bwindi to chasing Chimps in Kibale and watching the tree climbing lions and a giant Forrest hog in Ishasha, and not to mention the incredible birding every where we went!
Thanks so much for setting this up for us, we loved it and will most definitely recommend ORYX Photo Tours and the trip again!
I thought I should write to you of the amazing trip we had to the Omo Valley with Dale.
The trip was well organised and we were well taken care of.
Dale was a wonderful leader. He was generous with his knowledge and we learnt a lot from him. He was kind, considerate and a lot of fun!
The local arrangements with Dinknesh were excellent too, the drivers were very pleasant and Melkamu in particular was fantastic.
It would be remiss of me not to also mention Kirsty, who was always responsive and efficient.
You can be sure we will be recommending ORYX to our friends!