Today is an arrival day in the Kenyan capital, and after passport control and having collected luggage, you will be met by an ORYX representative who will then transfer you to your accommodations for the evening. Here you will meet your host and ORYX Professional Photographer Marius Coetzee, and this evening you will be able to discuss the finer points of the upcoming safari together!
From Nairobi, we will be transferred to Wilson Airport, where after we catch a scheduled flight to Lodwar, the largest town in north-west Kenya. There-after, we have a road transfer to camp. This stark region will be our focus for the following seven nights – it is a little visited part of Kenya, and one that is sure to offer some incredible photographic opportunities!
(Please note that we do not have a fixed schedule for the next days. Instead, your guide will assess daily which area is the best to photograph according to your particular photographic requirements.)
Midway along the western shore of Lake Turkana sheltered in the hollow of a spit lies our camp, which in the local Turkana language means a place of abundant water, indeed it is an area of natural springs whose waters have given rise to a verdant oasis of foliage and distinct animal and birdlife. It is a discreet oasis with a special atmosphere of tranquility and a halcyon spirit, “Far from the Madding Crowd.”
Adeptly integrated into this milieu are the eight-en suite safari-genre tents, with spring water showers, flushing toilets and wash basins that lie nestled within the extensive palm grove. Each tent has a unique remarkable varied view of the sandy beach, the lake, Central Island and the distant shoreline.
A form of forest and spring are to be found around the camp, and behind the camp lies a cliff which makes for a great backdrop, and sundowner spot as well!
Our camp is a nexus for journeys on and around Lake Turkana, and we will strike out from camp in an effort to get the best cultural photographic opportunities of the Turkana people.
The Turkana subsist off a diet of maize meal and meat (eating goat from time to time, while consumption of the flesh of the Zebu is restricted for special occasions). Despite government efforts to encourage the Turkana to eat fish, it is still regarded by many as taboo. The Turkana will also gather seasonal fruit as well while the maize meal, for which they trade.
Traditionally, they would live in huts constructed by lashing the palm fronds from the local Doum Palm Hyphaene thebaica to a framework of saplings. However, just like in the adjacent Omo Valley in neighbouring Ethiopia, this way of life is changing quickly, and traditional forms of attire and housing are becoming more infrequent.
Like some people’s in nearby Ethiopia, the Turkana have head rests, which are used to keep ceremonial head decorations off the ground. These head rests are also used as stools. Another fascinating accompaniment is the wrist knife, which are used in fighting, and in some instances, for more practical purposes as well.
An early transfer this morning (approximately 2 hours), heading back to Lodwar before flying back to Nairobi, where this incredible Turkana Photo Safari, sadly comes to an end.
Marius is a professional safari tour leader and award-winning wildlife photographer. His photos have graced the covers and pages of numerous premier publications and with over 17 years experience in the photo safari industry, Marius has become a highly sought-after photographic leader. Marius is CEO of ORYX – Worldwide Photographic Expeditions, and co-founded the company with Adam Riley.
Marius was based in the world-renowned Sabi Sands Game Reserve, bordering Kruger National Park, for more than 6 years and where he made the area’s celebrated leopards his principal photographic subject. This led to a 12 page portfolio on these shy and elusive felines in the world’s biggest natural history magazine – BBC Wildlife.
His knowledge of, and enthusiasm for both wildlife and photography are encyclopaedic, and he is able to convey this in his entertaining and unique style. Marius also uses his artistic flair and his self-deprecating sense of humour to good effect, and has successfully guided photographic safaris from the far-flung reaches of Antarctica to the culturally rich Indian subcontinent!
“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. This trip was designed and personally tailored in conjunction with Marius and Oryx 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 photographic based trip to Africa we can only say that our experience with Oryx has been outstanding. We have travelled before with Marius and Oryx…..and will do so again!”
“The trip was awesome – the whole family really loved it! As for Greg himself, he was a total hit! Greg is another level. So very happy he could join us, and I doubt it will be the last time either. He certainly helped me out a lot, and also had incredible patience with my mum & sister who were beginners. Thanks so much for organizing this for us – ill definitely give ORYX a shout for our next safari.”Kenya
“My wife and I were in Kenya at the beginning of August 2012 for ten days with Marius Coetzee of ORYX Photographic Expeditions. 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!”
“My partner Dee and I and two friends from the UK Jan and Max have recently returned from an outstanding two week safari in the Maasai Mara with Marius Coetzee of ORYX Expeditions.
I have been going on safari in Africa for 40 years and I can honestly say that this was the best organized and planned safari 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 Expeditions.”
“Many many thanks for putting together such a wonderful trip 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 trips 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 trips.”Kenya
A belated and brief note …in the air now to Cambodia…to thank you for all the organization you so capably put together to make our Masai Mara and Amboseli such a success. It met every expectation and more…..much more.
The camps chosen for us could not have been better in any way. The attention to detail was superb. And of course the Star of the trip was Greg with his humble but extensive knowledge of the law of the bush and animals. His sensitivity to all things around him be it is clients….now friends…his rapport with all the African guides, his extensive insight of the flora and fauna was quite amazing to experience in his quiet and knowledgeable way. He is a gem and treasure in every sense of the word. He enriched my personal experience to such an extent that I can quite honestly say this trip has been life changing…..it has made me reflect on many aspects of my life and I know going forward will make a marked difference.
Thank you both for making this all happen and I hope to travel with you again in the future.
“I SIMPLY HAD THE MOST INCREDIBLE 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.”
“I HAVE JUST COMPLETED MY FOURTH SAFARI WITH ORYX PHOTOGRAPHIC EXPEDITIONS.
IT WAS A TRIP WHICH WAS SPECIFICALLY DESIGNED AND PLANNED FOR ME BY MARIUS COETZEE AND WHICH WAS LEAD BY GREG DU TOIT.
ON A SAFARI WITH GREG LAST YEAR WE SPOKE ABOUT PHOTOGRAPHING THE BIG ELEPHANT TUSKERS AND RHINO OF OUR INCREDIBLE CONTINENT.
HE HAD NO HESITATION WHEN HE SUGGESTED THAT THE BEST PLACES FOR US TO VISIT WAS TSAVO EAST (SATAO CAMP), AND SOLIO LODGE IN THE LAIKIPIA REGION IN KENYA.
HE PROMISED TO SPEAK MARIUS TO SEE IF IT COULD BE ARRANGED, AS IT WAS NOT ONE OF THEIR SCHEDULED TRIPS.
THIS WAS A “PIONEERING” TRIP FOR US, AS IT HAD NEVER BEEN ARRANGED FOR ANY OF THE OTHER ORYX CLIENTS BEFORE.
DESPITE THIS FACT, NO CHALLENGE IS TOO BIG FOR MARIUS TO ATTEMPT. HE ORGANIZED THE MOST INCREDIBLE SAFARI FOR ME, AND THAT SAYS A LOT, BECAUSE I HAVE HAD SOME INCREDIBLE TRIPS WITH ORYX!
THIS SAFARI TOTALLY EXCEEDED MY EXPECTATIONS, AND A BIG THANK YOU GOES TO GREG WHO LED THE TRIP, AND MARIUS WHO PLANNED AND DELIVERED, ONCE AGAIN!
THEN I WOULD ALSO LIKE TO GIVE A HUGE AMOUNT OF CREDIT TO KIRSTY AND RAINER FOR THEIR EFFORTS IN ALL THAT THEY DO, AND HAVE DONE TO MAKE THIS TRIP AS WELL AS ALL MY OTHER TRIPS SO MEMORABLE.
THE ORYX TEAM WILL BE RECOMMENDED WHERE EVER I CAN, AS I HAD THE MOST INCREDIBLE PHOTOGRAPHIC SAFARI EVER!
I COMMEND YOU MARIUS FOR YOUR VISION AND INSIGHT, AS WELL AS YOUR INCREDIBLE ORGANIZATIONAL SKILLS IN HOW YOU PUT THE ENTIRE TRIP TOGETHER, ALL ARRANGEMENTS WERE WELL ORGANIZED AND WORKED LIKE CLOCK WORK.
FINALLY MARIUS, NO WORDS WILL EVER DO JUSTICE TO THIS INCREDIBLE TRIP. THANK YOU TO YOU AND GREG FOR RECOMMENDING IT TO ME, AND TO YOU BOTH FOR ALL THAT YOU DID TO MAKE IT SUCH A SUCCESS.
I HOPE THAT MY HUMBLE PHOTOGRAPHS GIVE YOU, AS WELL AS ANY FUTURE PROSPECTIVE CLIENTS A TASTE OF WHAT WE EXPERIENCED.
THE BIRTH OF THE RETICULATED GIRAFFE WAS ESPECIALLY HIGH ON THE LIST OF OUR HIGHLIGHTS, SUCH AN INCREDIBLE AND RARE SIGHTING, AND WE WATCHED AND PHOTOGRAPHED THE WHOLE EVENT!
IT WAS TRULY A TRIP OF A LIFETIME AND I WILL HAVE NO HESITATION TO RECOMMEND IT TO ANY OF YOUR OTHER CLIENTS.
THEY ARE MOST WELCOME TO CONTACT ME SHOULD THEY NEED ANY INFORMATION.
MARIUS, AS TINA TURNER’S SONG SO APTLY PUTS IT; YOU AND THE ORYX TEAM ARE “SIMPLY THE BEST” IN THE BUSINESS!
KIND PERSONAL REGARDS”
Hi ORYX team and Greg
We made it back to Hong Kong safely.
Thank you to the ORYX team for providing the support which made this trip a great memorable trip for us! I am sure a lot of behind-the-scenes went into the planning of these trips.
Thinking that I should kill two birds with one stone, i.e. giving feedback while letting Greg find something usable as testimonial for his website.
“Our party of three recently traveled to Masai Mara with Greg on a wildlife photography workshop. While two of us have previously traveled to Africa on another photography workshop, it was the first trip to Africa for the third member of the team. Our experience on this trip has far exceeded each of our expectations.
The abundance and diversity of wildlife in Masai Mara was spectacular (ranging from some serious herds of wildebeest and zebras, prides of lions, cheetahs, leopards, elephants, giraffes and a rhino etc), providing numerous photographic opportunities. We also witnessed impressive crossings of wildebeest and zebras.
Greg was great not only because of his wealth of knowledge in wildlife, he also gave invaluable advice as to how to best capture the amazing scenes happening in front of us from both a technical perspective and also a art/creative perspective. He was generous to share with us his take on different subjects on location, and his award-winning technique and creativity. He also ensured that we were in the best location and have the best angle for each sighting, where we witnessed other vehicles being in the wrong place from a photographic standpoint. He was very friendly and approachable and was fun to be with during our times with him.
The camp selection and the guides at the camps were great (the guides had eagle-eyes to spot animals from a serious distance).
All in all, it was a great trip and we hope to come back to Africa as soon as we can!”
First I want to say I agree totally with everything that David, Kim and Bob Purcell said about our Masai Mara safari. As Bob said, we choose the trip because we so enjoyed our previous Oryx trip with Dale Morris to the Pantanal of Brazil; we hoped the one to Kenya would have the same superb organization and accommodations, and provide sufficient opportunities to really observe the wildlife and countryside. Not only were our expectations met, they were exceeded in each and every case.
As the main person struggling to learn how to take better photographs, I really appreciated how David and Patrick, the guides, and Greg all worked together to give me the best lighting and angles and opportunities for fantastic shots. Greg was a great teacher ,first by example and second by providing guidance on settings and subjects and always being quick to answer my questions. Best of all, he was helpful without being intrusive. As I look through my many pictures, I can clearly see that the ones toward the end of the trip are better than the ones from the beginning; thanks Greg.
I was very glad we did not have to spend time in Nairobi, and Macushla house was the perfect place to set the mood for the safari beforehand and to compare favorite memories afterwards. The number of animals, happenings, and landscapes we saw is still difficult to comprehend; each day was an adrenalin rush with something unexpected and amazing always popping up thanks to the skills of Greg and the guides. Greg is an encyclopedia of knowledge and provided lots of interesting details and observations that made the trip so much more enjoyable; we really got at least two trips- a photographic one and a nature expedition.It was an unexpected perk to find that Greg was an expert on birds so we got to indulge in one of our favorite hobbies and greatly increased the number of bird species we have seen in the wild. When I mentioned that I would like to see a bushbaby, a hyrax and a hornbill, Greg and Patrick managed to find me all three and we even got to hear the hornbill’s haunting call.
This trip was one of, if not the best, I have ever had. There were no bad moments, it was always fun , exciting and extremely pleasant. Totally awesome. I look forward to taking other ORYX trips in the future.Kenya
Marius and Greg,
Let me also extend my abundant thanks for such a special trip. I feel like we are still processing all the amazing things we saw, and will be sorting photos for some time (there are some really great ones).
I wanted to add a few thoughts regarding the logistics of the trip as well. The accommodations were really first rate, at Macuschla House and then at both bush camps. As Greg noted, it is great to experience the subtle differences in the environmental settings of Naibor and Kicheche, and the changes in animals around the two camps. The hospitality at both camps was fabulous, but the intimate atmosphere at Kicheche bush camp really stayed with me. Your marketing should emphasize the benefits of experiencing both camps. By using both camps, and by taking the leisure of more than a week for the trip, it was possible to see all nearly all corners of the Masai Mara and understand what a special place it is.
Finally, in talking with other people about the trip, I realized that having a private, dedicated guide for our group really made it special (and certainly made the logistics easy for us). Neither David nor I came prepared to take advantage of Greg’s expertise as a photography tutor, but I want to extend a huge THANK YOU to Greg for sharing his abundant knowledge and expertise as a naturalist and guide. And for his patience with our continual questions and requests to stop to look at everything, even the rocks. It was a brilliant trip.
To follow up: our Kenya trip was truly fabulous! While our memories are fresh, I want to touch on a few points:
1) A brief adjustment time at Macushla house before and after the Safari was perfect! In particular, Macushla house was a stroke of genius for the following reasons: away from population centers and terrorists , close to the elephant orphanage and giraffe center, as well as an excellent crafts cooperative/restaurant, and close to Wilson airport. Finally, it is a very comfortable and low-key facility with excellent food and staff.
2) We were interested in the ORYX Kenya Safari because of our very positive experience with the Pantanal trip rather then because it was a photographic tour. We are basically naturalists and birders(okay, amateurish birders): Suzanne is the only avid photographer among us. Basically we much prefer the slower pace of photography tours instead of the hectic pace of a birders’ tour. Consequently, it was a great pleasure to discover that Greg is an outstanding naturalist and birder as well as a world-class photographer. We think that there would be even more interest in Greg’s tours if your website indicated how multitalented he is. Birders and naturalists who lack an interest in photography would certainly be interested in Greg’s other skills. Greg played a very large role in assuring the success of our Safari in many ways.
3) Both tent camps were outstanding venues. All aspects of these facilities were top notch. In particular, the staff and especially the guides were highly professional. It was wonderful to see the mutual respect between Greg and the camp guides in finding just the right places for us to go and just the right things to see and do.
4) The balloon ride was frosting on the cake. I was the only one of us who had ballooned previously. We were all thrilled by it and had a new appreciation for the vastness of the Masai-Mara from the height of a balloon. The perfect place for a balloon flight!
In summary: well done!
“We had a fabulous time, the other couple, Marion and Manfred, were great travelling companions and Greg is a really great guide and a pleasure to be around. The day room at House of Waine was an inspired idea; last time we came back from the Mara through Nairobi we had a really tedious time. This was so much better. Your communications and organisation have been excellent and I truly expect that we will be in touch again in due course. Nicola and Marion have already had conversations about our future travel together.”Kenya
Dear Kirsty, dear ORYX team
We are safely back from a fantastic trip to Kenya. We enjoyed every minute of this trip! We loved the Masai Mara and had a fabulous time with Greg who is not only a fantastic photographic guide but also a humorous and sympathetic personality.
We like to thank you for the perfect organisation of the trip. A special thank you again for the day room. We appreciated the possibility to spend some time at the comfortable House of Waine!
We would certainly like to do another photographic expedition in the near future!
Having been to the Masai Mara a number of times, my initial reaction for another trip there was that there will be more of the same. There will be some crossings, lions, cheetahs ,hippos and of course abundant wildebeests. This time my trip was through ORYX – Worldwide Photographic Expeditions Pty Ltd – a private trip for only three participants led by photographer Nelis Wolsmarans. How wrong was I to assume that this trip will be more of the same. With a photographer in attendance, there are abundant opportunities to see things that only an experience photographer can see. More so when we were always positioned at the right place, as well as in most occasions,at the right time as well. Yes, there were more of the same but much much more. Certainly a truly unique wilderness experience.
From the time of our first meeting with Nelis, there was the natural bond between the three of us. He is emphatic and have a great sense of humour.Throughout the trip we shared many special moments that only great friends can. What makes the trip so special is that Nelis is well conversant with the Masai Mara area, having worked there for some years. He knows the lions, cheetahs and even leopards by name, their intimate life as well as the territory that they operate in. He is knowledgeable in animal behaviour and we had the opportunity on many occasions to be in ‘pole’ position before a crossing. Although some crossings did not take place due to unnecessary disturbance by vehicles and some occupants. We can easily see that Nelis loves Masai Mara and the animals there. To have him sharing his intimate knowledge of the Masai Mara is for us a privilege as well as a blessing. He was always willing to share his experiences in taking photographs and I was mesmerised by some of the black and white photographs that he has taken. He shared with us some of the intricacies of black and white photography and I can now appreciate why photographers like Sebastiao Salgado and Nick Brandt have their images in black and white. Needless to say, I ended up with lots of photographs to document this unforgettable experience and have turned some of my images into black and white.
For many, going to Kenya during the migration is a once in a life time experience. I would strongly recommend a safari with Oryx during the migration period as they have the expertise , the people as well as the experience to ensure that the dream becomes a reality. The trips organised by Oryx are definitely value for money. This is indeed my best trip to the Mara thus far. This is also my 4th trip with Oryx and I could not ask for more . I am certainly looking forward to more trips with them in the near future .’Kenya
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 Migration
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 Migration
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 Migration
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.Kenya - Migration Safari
“I wanted to thank you again for a great trip. 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!”