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Penny Robartes

Penny Robartes is a professional fine art wildlife photographer whose images are easily recognized by her iconoclastic work that is recalibrating the way the world sees wildlife.

Heralding from Cape Town, South Africa, she is emerging as one of Africa’s great nature photographers and is moving her Tour Leading expertise and portfolio to incorporate destinations abroad. Her stunning creations breathe life into natural encounters with the deftness of an artist’s brushstrokes and the enthralling narrative of the best storytellers.

Her portraits of elusive and endangered, to the every-day wildlife becomes all the more poignant through the artistic interpretation she brings to every one of her works, with seemingly abstract compositions morphing graphically into poignant statements. Each image is a work of art but also a moment of the wildlife subject’s unbridled rawness captured forever.

Continuing to promote awareness of the fragility of wildlife and their habitats, Penny regularly donates her fine art wildlife prints to conservation initiatives in Africa.

Penny has photographed and led multiple photo tours throughout Africa, predominately to South and East Africa. Supplementary to this, she has spent a combined 50-days as Photographer in Residence at Alex Walker’s Serian Camps in both Tanzania and Kenya. Her passionate, friendly and relaxed manner enables her to connect with and inspire each of her guests as she assists them in capturing and exploring their own unique vision.

Penny has taken ORYX guests to Antarctica, various East and South African destinations, as well as to new and upcoming destinations such as Kamchatka in Russia Far East. With her extensive travels and guiding experiences, her knowledge on wildlife as well as photography, Penny is an undeniable force within the ORYX artillery.

Semi-finalist in BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2017!

Penny Robartes is a Photo Tour Leader for ORYX private and scheduled departures.

Client Testimonials

  • Kenya – Life of PredatorsKeith McLeod, Canada

    I have had a fantastic trip!! 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, Penny, and various Serian camps all being part of the recommended mix.

  • Kenya – Life of PredatorsEugenia Marcus, United States of America

    The trip 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 trip. Penny was so excellent. I would travel with her again in a heartbeat.

     

  • Tigers & Varanasi 2019Astrid Van Zyl

    Dear Penny

    Thank you so much for leading the most exceptional photo journey to India …. 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.

  • Tigers & Varanasi 2019Shobha Gopinath

    Is there such a thing as a perfect trip? My recent trip to Ranthambore National Park and Varanasi, India with Oryx 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.

    - Shobha Gopinath

  • Tigers & Varanasi 2019Shyam Thilagaratnam

    I've just returned from another Oryx 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 trip with her. So, mega thanks Penny - you are truly appreciated!

    Shyam

     

  • AntarcticaLorne Martin, Canada

    Hi Nicolette, Thanks to you and the entire ORYX 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 trip 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 photo expeditions over the last 6 or 7 years and Penny’s instruction and attention were well beyond what I have experienced previously.

  • AntarcticaSimon Belsham, UK

    You guys 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. 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.

  • BotswanaFiona Stoker and Clarissa Young, Australia

    We had an absolutely marvelous trip away with Penny, she taught and guided gently with our new cameras so much. The trip was just right, great lodges, driver guides and the beasties and birds were on show or gently coached into view.
    Thank you to the whole Oryx team for a terrific tour and to Penny especially for her skills with the camera and helping us get started with new eyes for the shot.

  • BotswanaClarissa Young, Tasmania

    Penny, I really had a fantastic holiday in Botswana thanks to you and ORYX team 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.

  • BotswanaMark & Katie Andrews, United States of America

    My wife and I had an incredible safari experience with the ORYX team. From booking process to the preparations made by the ORYX team we were well taken care of. The 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 safari 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 team for an incredible safari.

  • Kenya – Mara MigrationGregory Cowle, Australia

    The Kenya trip was excellent from beginning to end. We had some excellent wildlife observations, particularly of predators, but also zebras, giraffes, elephants, etc 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.

  • Kenya – Mara MigrationShyam Thilagaratnam, Singapore

    The Migration 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’ 🙂

  • Kenya – Mara MigrationShobha Gopinath, Singapore

    The Best of the Mara Migration was my first real wildlife photography expedition 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 fourtune 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 techical 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 on this trip too were nothing short of superb.

    Thank you Oryx for yet another unforgettable experience.

  • Kenya – Mara MigrationJon Knutsen, Norway

    This was my first experience with ORYX Photography 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 Maasai scouters in great cooperation with our ORYX photo 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.

  • Private Kenya TourCindy Fahy, United States of America

    The whole trip 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!

  • Private Kenya TourPam Chesonis, United States of America

    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 team for once again making such a memorable trip for Cindy and I!

  • Private South Africa TourCody Linde, United States of America

    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.

  • Private South Africa TourPam Chesonis, United States of America

    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.

Upcoming Tours with Penny

antarctica safari Guaranteed Departure
 
27 Oct 2020 - 14 Nov 2020
19 Days
30 Guests + 2 ORYX Leaders
2 Spaces Available
 
10 Oct 2020 - 18 Oct 2020
9 Days
6 Guests + 1 ORYX Leader
Kenya Great Migration 2 Spaces Available
 
5 Sep 2020 - 12 Sep 2020
8 Days
8 Guests + 1 ORYX Leader
Masai Mara Photo Tour Enquire Now
 
13 Feb 2020 - 19 Feb 2020
8 Days
6 Guests + 1 ORYX Leader

Photography Portfolio