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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 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!
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 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!
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!