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South Africa Testimonials
This was my last safari for this year with ORYX photo tours. I am on a journey of photographic discovery, of the natural world, as well as of my own artistic expression.
I have been so blessed to have the means to follow this passion but even more so, to have been able to travel with ORYX as a company and Daniel Bailey as my guide. Their collective direction and guidance have provided me with opportunities to freely experiment and test my skills. I have collected some incredible images and experiences, not least of all this latest safari.
Covering Londolozi and MalaMala in 8 days, I revisited some favourite characters in the leopard population. It has been so special to return and find a precious cute cub grown into a formidable male leopard.
This area of the world is where my soul breathes, under towering trees that have incalculable years under them, lining a living, moving Sand River which houses all manner of bushveld experiences that have become special memories for those who have visited her. My own new memories have a two-crocodile tangle over a hyena carcass, summer storms and rainbows of promise, delights of dung beetles rolling their wares away, new leopards I had not yet encountered, mating leopards and a little training in flash photography (need a lot more practice here…. Going to need to rebook :)) amongst many more sightings.
Perspective - is the most valuable skill I have been able to develop through this journey to date, in photography and in life. With the ORYX team supporting me, I could leap into adventures I may not have had the courage to take on alone.
Wishing all at ORYX a blessed festive season! I look forward to the adventures 2023 will bring
This was my fourth trip with ORYX Photo Tours: There was no better way to enjoy wildlife and to improve the own photographic skills. A small international group - all dedicated wildlife photographers - with a professional wildlife photographer. I learned a lot and saw amazing wildlife:
Leopards were our main target in the Sabi Sands, and we saw them every day! Hunting, stalking, resting, and mating. My pictures are now more interesting and breathtaking than ever before! The ORYX guides - in my case, Penny Robartes (Sabi Sands) and Mike Dexter (Madikwe), have been very inspiring and supportive. I am already planning my next wildlife photographic tour with ORYX!
This private ORYX South Africa photo safari exceeded my expectations with amazing big cat sightings at MalaMala and Ngala. We chose to do this trip with Penny Robarts at the end of our private Kenya trip just before COVID 19 erupted across the world in February 2020. ORYX rescheduled our trip twice and we made it in May 2022. It was worth the wait, and fantastic to travel and be guided by Penny who patiently coached my stumbles with my new camera to take images I could not have imagined possible. We had fantastic lodges, as well as drivers and guides. The local guides' knowledge is brilliant and they work so hard to get us to see amazing fauna and flora of the area. At the ORYX behind the scenes, Nicolette kept us well informed of changes in travel plans and rescheduling until Australia reopened its borders. Thank you all at ORYX, especially Penny, and your partners for another fabulous safari and amazing more pinch me moments.
We just returned from another epic safari adventure with Marius Coetzee, founder and CEO of ORYX Photo Tours. We had 9 days at two wonderful properties...MalaMala and Londolozi, and as always Marius went above and beyond to make sure it was the most amazing experience possible. He is always focused on the guests experience and just "makes it all happen"....whether it's arranging a special birthday breakfast in the bush or outdoor lunch and bubble bath on your deck.....or assisting the guide in positioning and repositioning dynamically the vehicle for the optimal photo opportunities, given the changing light and animal behavior...to advising us on camera settings and helping with our editing to optimize the beauty of our images. Marius does this all with great humor and warmth, filling the trip with endless giggles and fun, in addition to outstanding sightings and photo opportunities. No detail is overlooked and all of your needs are taken care of. No request is too small or too big---he works to satisfy every client request and does it with grace and without any fuss.
Traveling with ORYX and Marius is pure joy and adds a dimension to our travels that has led us to coin the phrase "Marius Magic"!
This was our fifth trip with Marius and we have seen a big improvement in our photographic results travelling with him. We can't wait for our next October adventure with ORYX and Marius.
From the pre-departure correspondence to the luxurious lodge, food, and quality guide, this tour was fantastic. I was a non-photographer accompanying my husband and really enjoyed the game drives and excellent knowledge Mike shared with us throughout the adventure. The small group of 4 participants was perfect.
I had a fantastic trip in Madikwe and The Bush House was just a perfect place to stay in Madikwe Game Reserve. The owners were so hospitable and warm in welcoming us, and made our stay even better. The service of the staff was great as well, and of course the food they served was so good and healthy. The grounds of the property was just perfect for the holiday, with well kept landscaping with flowery gardens and trees attracting a lot of birds as well. Just sitting there and basking on the the surroundings was a zen like moment. The water hole and underground hide attracted herds of elephants, zebras , wildebeest, buffalos, warthogs... it was just a wonderful and exciting experience.
Mike Dexter was a great host and photo tour leader. He was there with us all the time in making our wildlife photo tour experience in Madikwe as fantastic and productive it can be. He has an eye in creating a great photo when presented with an opportunity to a wildlife encounter. be it in low light, harsh light or beautifully well lit encounter. He actively directed and taught us how to approach and photograph the animal to create a story and a memorable photo as well. He made sure that we are all well positioned to get the best photo opportunity. I have created photos that I haven't had before and I am happy with what I captured. As much as Mike is a great wildlife photographer /photo tour leader with vast knowledge of his field, he is also a great and kind person, very personable, level headed and humble man. It was a pleasure and privilege to be on this tour with him.
Excellent tour with Penny Robartes to South Africa. Penny provides excellent guidance to help improve photography and the local guides and accommodation were all excellent. I highly recommend Oryx Photo Tours!
I recently travelled with ORYX to the Mala Mala Private Game Reserve. I called on them at the 11th hour and they seamlessly booked and planned everything. The destination was amazing, boasting incredible sightings. I look forward to many more photo tours exploring and learning in the wild places of Africa!
I returned to MalaMala with ORYX Photo Tours, and more specifically with Penny Robartes, for a follow up photographic course and it was excellent in every way: great resort, superb food, a wonderful guide, fabulous sightings and insightful, helpful instruction from Penny. Building on what I learnt on the first course I did in October, I was more confident technically and was therefore able to develop compositionally. A valuable experience in every way. HIGHLY recommended.
Although my husband and I are keen underwater photographers, we have for some time watched and been inspired by Penny Robartes’s amazing wildlife photography and were thus excited to join her on a recent ORYX Photo Tour to Mala Mala game reserve.
We were blown away by amazing sightings and great photo opportunities, which were so ably guided by this creative and experienced tour leader. Penny showed an intuitive understanding of each guest’s needs and was happy to share her passion through clear, professional input related to both technical and creative aspects of land based photography...while simultaneously ensuring her three guests enjoyed relaxed "time out" from a weird 2020! Thanks to Penny and our great ranger, Daniel Bailey, we were encouraged to explore flora and fauna, big and small, and felt we not only gained from a photographic perspective but in our knowledge of the wild. Clearly, the Mala Mala team and ORYX work in comfortable synergy, as they all went out of their way to make it a fabulous experience.
Finally, although I am generally inclined to organise all my own travel, I was pleasantly surprised by the ease and accommodating manner in which everything was handled by the ORYX team and would like to extend thanks not only to Penny for ensuring a wonderful photo tour but also to Nicolette and Rainer for their “behind the scenes” organisation. Highly recommended!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!