A professional safari guide, expedition leader, award-winning wildlife and culture photographer and entrepreneur, Marius Coetzee is the Co-founder and CEO of ORYX Photo Tours.
Marius’ expertise as a safari guide, host and photographer was shaped by a decade working as a professional guide in some of South Africa’s most esteemed private game reserves. His professional development continued as he co-founded ORYX with Adam Riley in 2010, simultaneously growing the company while gaining significant experience leading photo tours across the planet.
He is widely travelled, and over his 20 year career has led photographic safaris to 21 countries on 5 continents. Marius’ easy-going manner and deep connections with his photographic subjects’ relay instantaneously to his clients, making him a decidedly sought-after senior photographic leader. His experience in the safari industry, curious mind and entrepreneurial spirit provide him with a unique grounding with which to keep ORYX at the cutting edge of the photographic industry.
- Private UgandaLaura Ziff, USA
Once again ORYX Photo Tours seriously raised the bar that we thought could not be raised any higher! This was my third trip with ORYX and my first with my husband joining me. The other two trips were solo. Let's start with the planning portion. I was nervous about taking a photo tour with my husband as he is just learning about photography with a Nikon (versus Iphone) and I have been shooting for a number of years. I was hoping he would fall in love with the art of photography. Marius Cotezee, our guide and owner of ORYX assured me there would be no problem. He could not have been more right. While continuing to teach me, Marius in less than two weeks was able to provide my husband with fabulous instruction, a base to move forward and the confidence to embrace and enjoy his camera. At the same time Marius helped raise my photography skills up another notch. We traveled to Uganda to see the gorillas and the chimps. We also wanted to add in some cultural photography of local tribes. Due to Marius’ contacts and knowledge of Africa and the reputation of Oryx Photo Tours we had two extraordinary cultural experiences interacting with lesser known tribes. It was fabulous.
Nicolette who was directly responsible for working out the details made everything absolutely seamless. Her attention to detail, follow up, attitude and customer service skills are off the charts. You would never know that travel can still be challenging these days with Nicolette responsible for your adventure.
Can't forget to mention the surprises. We had a number of things to celebrate on this trip. ORYX surprised us twice, once with an incredible breakfast in the middle of the Queen Elizabeth National Park and also a happy hour "sundowner" in Kidepo Valley National Park, of course both in picture perfect locations. We can’t wait to travel again with ORYX Photo Tours! You would be well served to use them for your next adventure wherever in the world you want to explore.
- Private BotswanaAlyssa Siegel, USA
Can there be a better way to enjoy an experience like Africa? Maybe, but I'm not convinced. With ORYX Photo Tours every aspect of our trip was coordinated expertly, what a luxury to have so much handled - it really relieves the stresses of travel planning. Marius is the best of the best as a guide - he makes sure everything gets done on travel days and is generally just a great guy to be with during game drives (and the trip as a whole). Africa is filled with amazing beauty and experiences, being under the guidance of people who can not only make travel easy but also help you get the perfect camera shot to capture it all makes the experience all the better.
- Private BotswanaDavid Siegel, USA
This was our third safari arranged by ORYX Photo Tours and with Marius. We went to Botswana with our two adult children and their spouses. Honestly, each time even more extraordinary than before. The team’s hard work planning the adventure and communication before and throughout the trip makes it easy to relax and appreciate the experience without any concern. That is very much appreciated with all the difficulties and uncertainties of long distance travel today, especially when off to Africa. And, the safari itself is turned into a meaningful, educational and fun experience by Marius’ knowledge, photo and guide skills and, even more so by his relentless good nature and real sense of friendship. He cared enormously that we had a great time and an experience we all could treasure forever. I would not even think of a photo safari with any other company and always will hope to coordinate so that we can be led by Marius. If I sound biased I admit I am: Completely prejudiced now by three of the greatest trips and adventures of my life, without any difficulties (the bumps are smoothed by ORYX and team before we even learn of them) and crowned by what I feel is a new and sincere friendship.
- Private South AfricaLauren Cohen, USA
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.
- Private KenyaLaura Ziff, USA
My August photo safari trip with ORYX Photo Tours was to see the great migration in Kenya, and it was magical! I have been on many safaris previously but the depth of knowledge about Kenya from ORYX is unsurpassed. I am convinced it would be the same in any other country where ORYX provides tours.
My experience started with Nicolette, my initial contact, actually listening to what I wanted to do on this trip, and creating a fabulous itinerary within my budget. Next, being guided by Marius Coetzee, owner of ORYX Photo Tours, and everything was perfect. Again, I am confident that any guide within the organization would meet ORYX’s exact standards. I was incredibly impressed with the effort that ORYX invests in finding and knowing the right local guides. By “right” I mean knowledgeable about animal behaviour and equally as important passionate about guiding.
I went to see the great migration and to specifically learn more about photography. What I learned in 10 days would have taken me months to learn online or with another company. I have now moved my bucket list for trace to ORYX Photo Tours. You would be well served to travel with ORYX!
- Private UgandaNima Sarikhani, UK
Another absolute incredible photo safari to Africa (this time Uganda) arranged by ORYX Photo Tours, simply outstanding. Unbelievable primate and savannah experiences (Kidepo!), all expertly organised. And to think they had 2 days to arrange it as Kenya hit the red list just makes it even more remarkable!! Thank you so much to Marius, Rainer and the whole team... I can’t wait to be travel with ORYX again!
- Bespoke Photo Tours with ORYXParker Philips, USA
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.
- Private IndiaLauren Cohen, USA
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!
- Private BotswanaSabine Sarikhani, United Kingdom
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
- Private Kenya & ZambiaAlan & Michelle Hinde, Australia
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!
- AntarcticaBasil Stathoulis, South Africa
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.
- AntarcticaJohann Slazus, South Africa
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.
- AntarcticaDebbie Smail, United Kingdom
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!
- AntarcticaPeter & Anita Gordon, South Africa
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!
- Ethiopia – Omo ValleyTriVid, India
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.
- Ethiopia – Omo ValleyAdalberto Mangini, Italy
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!
- Ethiopia – Omo ValleyDebbie Smail, United Kingdom
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!!
- Ethiopia – Omo ValleyJenny Shearer, United Kingdom
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!
- Ethiopia – Omo ValleyBiljana Jurukovski, Australia
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.
- Private Ethiopia – Omo ValleyYY Chin, Malaysia
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.
- Ethiopia – Omo ValleyAstrid Stevie Winberg, South Africa
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!
- Ethiopia – Omo ValleyRobin Yong, Singapore
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!
- Ethiopia – Omo ValleyJeremy Peters, United Kingdom
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.
- Ethiopia – Omo ValleyMike Morse, USA
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.
- Private IndiaAlan Sturrock, United Kingdom
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.
- Private IndiaAmanda Wright, United Kingdom
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!
- Private IndiaJennifer Shearer, United Kingdom
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!
- Private IndiaAmanda Wright, United Kingdom
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.
- Private IndiaJamie Cohen, USA
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.
- Private IndiaTed Swindon, South Africa
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!
- Private KenyaBasil Stathoulis, South Africa
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!
- Private KenyaDavid Blumberg, Australia
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.
- Private KenyaDeborah Keener-Brown, USA
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.
- Private KenyaTed Swindon, South Africa
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.
- Private KenyaJames Fitzgerald, South Africa
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!
- Kenya – Lake TurkanaJoe Bürgi, Switzerland
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!
- Kenya – Lake TurkanaShyam Thilagaratnam, Singapore
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.
- MadagascarRobyn Gianni, USA
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!
- MadagascarAlan & Michelle Hinde, Australia
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.
- MongoliaTim Coy, USA
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.
- MongoliaShobha Gopinath, Singapore
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.
- Private NamibiaLeigh & Margaret Hall, Australia
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.
- Private NamibiaAlan & Michelle Hinde, Australia
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.
- Private NamibiaMarna Terblanche, South Africa
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.
- Private NamibiaAstrid Stevie Winberg, South Africa
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.
- Ethiopia – Omo ValleyRosalie Wang, USA
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.
- Ethiopia – Omo ValleySue & Peter MacCallum-Stewart, United Kingdom
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.
- Private Ethiopia – Omo ValleyMarja Schwartz, Germany
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!!!
- Private KenyaAndy Khandwala & Rahul Matthan, India
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!
- Private Botswana & RwandaMax & Jan Lerwill, United Kingdom
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!
- Private Ethiopia & RwandaLinda Jones, Canada
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!
- Private South AfricaIgnacio Yufera, Spain
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.
- Private South AfricaMargaret Yufera-Leitch, Canada
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.
- Private South AfricaIgnacio Yufera, Spain
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.
- Private South AfricaJeremy Peters, United Kingdom
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!
- Private South Africa & ZambiaTim Greensfelder, USA
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!
- Private South Africa, Kenya & RwandaLou & Susan Matusiak, USA
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!