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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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.