Tiger Tales from Ranthambore by Shobha Gopinath

Tigers are truly majestic, a jewel in Indian wildlife tourism. ORYX Guest, Shobha Gopinath, details her experience of photographing the regal cat in Ranthambore National Park.

(This article originally appeared on Shobha Gopinath’s travel blog, Travel Tales From Here and There)

Noor’s thoughts:  The sun is relentless. The temperature has soared to an unbearable degree. My lids are heavy and I haven’t eaten in days. I hear the nilgai, sambhar and spotted deer and even those pesky langurs on high alert, emitting loud calls alerting their brethren and the animal kingdom as I slowly and languorously make my way through the arid semi-desert forest to a nearby watering hole. Is it possible that the beautiful peacock also joins in on the cacophony? Sigh. I am parched. How wonderful some cool water would be now to quench my dry thirsty throat. I make my way softly on my padded feet through the dappled forest unable to think of anything except water. As I mark my territory I realise another has been here – how annoying. 

Blast! Those strange beings are back in packs. They are in that green structure rolling around on four round things, leaning out with an even stranger protuberance from their eyes. These bipeds can’t seem able to use their legs nor it seems their tiny eyes. The green structure is noisy and emits a ghastly smell. Sigh. I can either walk in their midst or take the long way through the forest. Should I have some fun and let out a roar? That’s sure to scatter them. No, I shall just make my way through … Let them hover excitedly about. Such pitiful creatures. 

My thoughts:  On seeing her, my thoughts were jumbled – omg tiger!! What shutter speed?? Tiger right in front of my eyes! @#$% what ISO?? Oh! She is so beautiful … what a supremely magnificent creature. Shutter speed is too low! She’s moving away …aaah …all this while we were flung about like rag dolls (except for S who assumed an equestrian pose, sitting ramrod straight hardly moving) as our driver frantically but expertly moved our jeep into the optimum position for a good photographic angle. 

And so began our adventure. We set out that afternoon on our first game drive in India’s famed Ranthambore National Park.  We could hardly contain our excitement at the prospect of seeing tigers in the wild. A first for all of us. We were in two hardy Maruti Suzuki Gyspy, ideal for the rough terrain. A tiger sighting is not guaranteed. Many have made the journey and spent days seeking this shy elusive creature and have come away disappointed. So we tempered our expectations and took in the arid landscape of Zone 1 where we were. It was hot. The temperature was 42C in the shade. We had an ample stock of ice water and a liberal supply of sunscreen. As we drove along lo and behold – a tiger! Her giant padded paws allowing her to walk silently through the forest. It was unbelievable how close she was. She was not deterred by our jeeps and continued on nonchalantly. Her name was Noor, Queen of Ranthambore.


We were to learn from our tracker that Noor’s tiger code is T-39. Each tiger is given a code and once they are past 2 years old, they are given a name. We were to also learn that Noor was indeed irritated when we saw her as another tiger had marked her territory. Tigers, unlike lions are solitary creatures.

An irritated Noor – apparently you know this from the way she is sticking out her tongue

I am not what you would call a ‘safari virgin’, having been on two safaris in Africa. I have seen a crazed lion looking ominously in our direction, a family of lions feasting, leopards and cheetahs crunching on the bones of their prey with blood dripping from their mouths; but for some reason the prospect of encountering a tiger caused me some apprehension. Perhaps it is because of the tales of the harimau (tiger in Malay) that I grew up hearing – the elusive, powerful and feared creature of the Malayan jungles, an ubiquitous character in many a Malay fable. (The tiger is even given a place of importance in both Malaysia’s and Singapore’s coat of arms.)  And whose imagination hasn’t been fired by Shere Khan of Kipling’s Jungle Book?-  “Thou art of the jungle or not of the jungle…” I know which category I belong to! 

The next day and all the days that followed had the same routine but our days were hardly routine. Each day was special with each sighting. Not only of the tigers but the other wildlife of the reserve were captivating too. At the centre of the reserve is the imposing and evocative ruins of the once majestic Ranthambore Fort. The ancient 13th century fort sits on a hill and extends more than 6km over what used to be the hunting grounds of the Maharajahs of Jaipur.

Situated inside the park are also Hindu temples dedicated to Lords Ganesha and Shiva and a Jain temple. The locals would make their way on foot to the temples on certain puja days. How they do this when tigers roam free is beyond me. In fact, on one of our drives we found the tiger called Jai lolling among some ruins, taking an afternoon nap. While we watched his every twitch and turn for hours, we also noticed on the hill slightly behind the ruins were villagers making their way to a nearby shrine. What risk they take for their faith!

Ranthambore Fort

That first afternoon, we were lucky enough to see the even more elusive Indian leopard.

Indian Leopard

‘Bandit Queens’ 

We were an all-women photography expedition led by Oryx Worldwide Photography Expeditions’ Penny Robartes. We bonded easily and effortlessly. Almost from the get-go, the 5 of us got along famously and it didn’t take long for us to descend into peals of riotous laughter, teasing and ribbing each other. It was that rare occurrence when a few like-minded individuals meet, get to know each other and end up genuinely liking each other.  Bablu Khan, our local guide who accompanied us throughout our trip, became one of our group too – joining us in our high jinx.. We couldn’t have asked for a better combination of individuals to travel with. 

The next morning, before we set out, we were given buffs to protect us from the sand and dust. They were much needed. There was grit between my teeth that first afternoon. We looked like a gang of bandits with our buffs on and thus the name we gave ourselves.

The Bandit Queens

The Zones 

Ranthambore National Park  is nearly 1400sq.km and divided into 10 zones. Each morning the forest department allocates by ballot the zone that each vehicle is permitted to go. There are whole day permits and half-day permits. Ours was the latter which meant we did our drives in two halves. Each day began at 5.30am and we had to leave the park by 9.30am. The mid-day break was much needed just to get out of the soaring temperatures. The other advantage was of course being able to use the facilities! Unlike Africa where bush breaks are allowed, here you are not permitted to get out of the vehicle for any reason whatsoever. If there were an urgent need, we’d have to make the long bouncy ride back to the check point at the entrance of each zone and the facilities there had much to be desired. So while we needed water desperately because of the heat, we also needed to be mindful how much we were consuming. Lovely Catch-22!

During our break, we would head back to our rooms and adopt the ritual of cleaning our cameras and lenses, blowing and wiping off the sand as best as possible, downloading our photos and then meet before lunch to share our images and photography notes. Ours was a wonderfully supportive team and we oohed and aahed at each other’s images. We had our images critiqued by Penny who would gently point out where me might improve or compliment us as the case may be. After a sumptuous lunch we would set out again at 2.30pm and would have to be out of the park by 6.30pm. This would be followed by a luxurious shower to remove the incredible crust and grime of the day and then we would gather for dinner. The food was delicious and varied and conversation fun and interesting.

We didn’t always go to the same zones as a group. Our small group was split into two jeeps – with one group (Astrid and Debbie) going to one zone and the other (S and I) to another zone with Penny and Bablu taking turns between our two jeeps. Such was the luck of the draw that our friends had a deja-vu thing happening with Zone 1 several times. Despite that, the photographer’s eye always sees different things each time and our friends still came away with exceptional photos, just not always of tigers. They had the amazing luck of capturing a sloth-bear close up! The jeep I was in with S had a little bit more luck in terms of a varied zonal experience. Even though we offered to swap, the ladies refused, the philosophy being ‘It is what it is’. The days we were allotted the same zones were greeted with much glee. 

Our drivers and trackers were truly skilled. If not for their knowledge of tiger behaviour and of the terrain, sightings would not have been possible. The tracker in our jeep, KK had a wealth of experience and knowledge not only of tigers but of all the birds and animals found in the reserve. He loaded us with so much information, it wasn’t possible to remember it all without taking notes … and taking notes was not possible when you’re bouncing about rodeo style. Our driver, Man Singh was rather skilled in driving in reverse over any terrain. If that’s what it took, he did it with complete confidence. So much so we nicknamed him ‘Reverse Singh’. He even helped out another jeep that was stuck in a precarious position which required careful reversing uphill over a stony patch. There were other times when we were at full throttle trying to reach an area where a tiger was sighted which left us holding on for dear life. At other times the two drivers would race each other – all in good fun.

The reserve was remarkable in how different each zone was from the next. The landscape and terrain differed significantly – from beautiful lakes and ponds, to patches of brilliant green, to dead forests. There were areas where the trees seemed like they were drawn into the landscape like a sketch. There was stunning beauty all around us to fill our senses, tiger or no tiger. Tracking a tiger is no easy business. They are solitary shy animals who prefer to stay deep in the forest.  But in summer, when the heat gets unbearable, they venture out in search of lakes and pools to dip themselves in. That is why the height of summer is the best time to go on safari as the hot weather draws them out.

The were many times, after driving hither thither, we would cut off the engine and listen to Nature. It is indescribable, that feeling when you are parked in a forest listening to the many animal and bird sounds. Those were also the moments to have our packed breakfast – vegetable cutlets, hard boiled eggs, a roti wrap, a soft drink, crisps and bananas. Not forgetting the delicious pickle that came along with it. When the two groups were out together we would park alongside each other and chat while we had our breakfast. 

Calls of the Wild

There were days when we would see pug marks in the sand and know that there’s a tiger in the vicinity.  KK would be able to tell from the pug mark if it was a male or female. It’s amazing how large their paws are!

Pugmark of a male as the mark is rectangular

The other way of tracking a tiger is to listen to the alarm calls of the animals. There was this instance when the langurs were so agitated and swinging from tree to tree screeching out the alarm and it turned out to be a leopard.

The tiger is expert at staying silent and in hiding. It might even be metres away and you would never know. There were instances when even the other animals were unaware of a tiger’s presence,  as happened to us. We had cut off the engine and were photographing langurs when suddenly she appeared out of nowhere! She walked out of the shrubs between our two vehicles!

Krishna – We didn’t hear her, sense her nor did the other animals emit an alarm call. What stealth!

I can’t help but think that she might have been watching us, sniggering perhaps? When she appeared we were sent into another tailspin trying to adjust the camera for the right settings as just minutes previously we were photographing langurs in bright sunlight and where she was was shaded. We laughed hysterically at our clumsiness when we met for dinner that night. Penny was the exception of course, her assured commands of the settings rang out to us as we fumbled with our dials. One among us thought her camera was not working when in fact she had her buff over the lens! You can imagine our uproarious laughter when she told us about it.


A word about mother tigresses – they are single mothers, having the sole responsibility for the caring and upbringing of their cubs, hiding and protecting the little ones from apex predators and even other male tigers. She teaches them the skills required to survive and when they are 2 year old sub-adults, nudges them out to fend for themselves. It is not unknown for her own cubs to challenge and banish her, forcing her to move to another territory. 

‘The Tiger Who Redefined Nature’

While it is the norm  that the female has the responsibility for raising and protecting her cubs, the story of Dollar is  worthy of mention. Our tracker, told us the story and I later googled it. When tigress, Kachida, died leaving behind 2 vulnerable cubs, it was their father Dollar, that stepped in to care for them, essentially taking on the mother’s role. The forest rangers had been following and filming the fate of the two cubs and were astonished at this occurrence. Wildlife experts from all over the world came to observe and study this extraordinary phenomenon. Both cubs survived, thanks to their father. Dollar was to display his maternal side once again, when his next mate, Sundari,  disappeared leaving tiny cubs behind. He stepped in again, assuring their survival. We did not get the opportunity to see this remarkable, unusual male tiger.


Other than the tiger codes that they are given, the tigers are often named by their prominent and unique identification marks. For example, Dollar is named such because of a pattern on his flank that resembles the $ sign; and Noor means ‘glow’ due to her wavy patterns which glow. She goes by other names too – ‘Mala’,  which means necklace, due to the decorative bead-like stripes on her side  flanks and ’Sultanpur’ as her mother was a Sultanpur female T-13 (Chotti). With numerous names, one can appreciate why the the tiger coding system is needed. 

A Tiger a Day

We were incredibly lucky that we were able to see at least one tiger everyday! We saw 11 tigers and had 14 sightings in total. Here are a few of them…

Jai, interrupted from his nap by a deer, but evidently too lazy to make the chase, he just smacks his lips and goes back to lolling




T110 – a sub-adult who has not been named yet

There were many special sightings – one of them was seeing the two brothers, Jai and Veeru sitting quietly together in the woods. We very nearly missed seeing them but Bablu’s sharp eye caught them and he called out “Tiger, tiger, tiger!” and what a magical scene it was. It was all too brief though as one of them got up minutes later and disappeared into the woods.

Brothers, Jai and Veeru

Seeing Arrowhead and her two cubs was another special moment. She had found an ideal place deep in the forest near a small pool where she had stashed her sambhar kill. One could only see them through binoculars or a telephoto lens and that too through branches and foliage. It was spectacular nonetheless.

Arrowhead and cub

(If you are interested in seeing photos and videos from this trip, please click on the link at the end of this post).

The Humans of Ranthambore 

We stayed at the Ranthambore Kothi, themed on British bungalows of the past. The staff were all men – courteous, attentive and friendly.  Their attention to detail was commendable. From our morning coffee and biscuits, to our packed breakfasts, our lunches and dinners – they took note of each of our likes, dislikes, allergies etc and made sure we each had want we needed. 

We met some interesting guests too, especially 9 year old Sheerin from Calcutta. Her parents were treating her to this adventure as she had done well in her exams. She was such a sweet girl, who captured our hearts. When we learnt that they had not had a sighting in the two days they were there, we felt so bad and genuinely hoped and asked the Universe to make it happen – and it did. It was worth it to see how thrilled she was. I think we would have been the more disappointed if she hadn’t!

Our drivers and trackers – Neeraj, Mukesh, Kamal K and Man Singh – what great company you were through the scorching heat and long sometimes hairy and bumpy drives. Sometimes, we just sat in the shade and had a good yarn while listening out for alarm calls. None of our experiences would have been possible if not for you and your expertise. Thank you so much! 

As for Bablu and the Bandit Queens our adventure hasn’t ended yet, next stop – Varanasi!

If you would like to see more photographs of this trip, please click here

Click here to find out more about other upcoming India tours! 

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Client Testimonials Antarctica
Dr. Basil Stathoulis, South Africa

“This was my second big expedition with ORYX. As I write this I am reminded of the full title of this young and dynamic company: ORYX Worldwide Photographic Expeditions.
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 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 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 Worldwide Photographic Expeditions.”

Dr. Johann Slazus, South Africa

“Thanks Marius for a great trip! 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.”

Debbie Smail, United Kingdom

“I’ve been back two weeks now, following a trip of a lifetime to Antarctica with ORYX Photography 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 trip to anyone who wants an epic adventure and go with ORYX 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!”

Maurice Taylor, Switzerland

Dear Kirsty,

I arrived home safely at midnight on the 16th and was so busy at work that I’m just finding the time now to write to you. I only have positive things to say about the trip, Antarctica was a fantastic experience, Dale was perfect (as always) and the rest of group very easy to get along with.

It’s late in Geneva and I’ll be brief: there is no doubt that I will join another ORYX expedition, I don’t know when, but soon I hope (and with Dale again for sure).

Enjoy your weekend.
Best regards,

Elise Hardy, USA

I recently got back from Antarctica and it was absolutely spectacular. Out of about 10 photographer-guides I’ve traveled with in the past, Dale is the best overall. He’s a wonderful teacher, has almost no ego, and is always concerned about his clients getting great shots. I never fail to be impressed by his talent in photographing animals and landscapes, his technical ability, attention to detail, and aesthetic sensibility. He’s highly attuned to the animals and their behavior, which is one reason why his photos are so successful. My photos are much better when I travel with him.

I loved the Akademik Ioffe ship and staff. The mostly Canadian staff and Russian crew were excellent and exceeded expectations in professionalism and competence. The food was very good, with many courses and options, and different every single day. The cabins were comfortable with stunning antarctic views. The staff planned activities all day long to fill up the downtime days so we were constantly entertained and the 3 weeks flew by. There were other options for Antarctica, but I’m so glad I chose this one and it’s a memory of a lifetime!

Lindsay Wells, South Africa

Hi Kirsty

Thank you and the ORYX team so much for your email welcoming us home!

In every respect, we truly did have a wonderful time in Antarctica. I do not know where to start… comprehensive and regular communication from the time of our initial enquiry, the friendly tone of all your emails, your promptness in responding to our enquiries, your care and concern.

The One Ocean experience on Akademik Ioffe: this was our first cruise and it exceeded all expectations. The professionalism and friendliness of all staff, service, amenities, activities, conservation principles, amazing variety and healthy choices at every meal, a surprise birthday cake from Bob for me on 5 January (every birthday was celebrated with a personalised cake with a candle! – so thoughtful), fellow passengers from all ages and stages!

Graham learnt so much from Dale, not only about his camera, but also about new and varied angles for photographing wildlife! This was also our first photographic tour and we look forward to many more. Graham’s passion for birdwatching and photography was more than fulfilled– he has so many amazing shots and our bird count tally was increased by 50 new species!

It is difficult to relate to others what you experience in Antarctica – the stillness, purity, abundance of wildlife, pristineness, the ocean in every shade of blue, the privilege of being there…

I will recommend our overall experience with you all in a heartbeat!

Thank you again for helping us to achieve this bucket list item in such a memorable way.

Kind regards and take care

Lorne 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.

Simon 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.

Antarctica & South Georgia
Peter and 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 Peninsular, our souls were enriched and hard drives full of amazing photos. The rest of the trip 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.”

Client Testimonials Borneo
Chuck and Nancy Bell, United States of America

Nancy and I had an absolutely fabulous time travelling and photographing with Dale in Borneo. We came home with some spectacular images of primates, and with so many of them it’s going to take us weeks to get through them all and process all the ones we want to. We were very impressed with all of the arrangements ORYX made to assure that this was a very high quality trip. The ground agents, the lodges, the local guides, the transportation, were all absolutely first class.

Thanks again for such a superb trip. We hope to travel with ORYX again soon

Elisa Hardy, USA

You have all been great to work with and the trip was amazing.

Everything was well planned and organized, the lodges were very pleasant, and the local guides were excellent. We saw every animal on the list and got great photos. I hope you know how lucky you are to have Dale, because he’s a star among photographer tour leads.

He’s not only an extremely talented photographer for wildlife, macro, landscapes, and people, he’s a fountain of interesting knowledge about flora and fauna, and he has an innate ability with animals that’s a big advantage when photographing them. Even if we don’t see what we’re looking for while searching for wildlife, he can always find something cool and unusual to photograph in an interesting way, so it’s fun all day long and never boring. When it comes to non-photography guide-related tasks, he takes charge and is competent in every way.

Thanks again for everything and I look forward to traveling with Oryx again in the future.

Beth and William Tetterton, USA

Hi Rainer!
Our Borneo trip was wonderful in every way!
Your local guide was a real “gem”, I must tell you:
Although never boastful, he was personally responsible for three special wildlife sightings that drew many other lodge guests and their guides to each scene.
The first sighting was of a beautiful/mature alpha male orangutan, already bedded down in his nest along the Kinabatangan River near Sukau Rainforest Lodge. He first sighted him (only slightly visible with binos) in the nest late one afternoon. We made a plan to returned to the sight at first light; hoping for a photo op as he exited the nest. We quietly/patiently watched for over an hour – waiting for him to rise. Meanwhile he radioed the lodge to report our sighting. The other guests raced over and were rewarded with a fantastic/lengthy photo op; as the orangutan lazily rose and slowly ate vines for breakfast – all at close range within the same tree he had nested in overnight.
The second sighting was of a Tarsier on a night drive in Danum Valley near the Borneo Rainforest Lodge. Without any eye-shine, he spotted only what he described as an odd small “lump” on a tree trunk just off the road. He immediately stopped the driver, leaped out and confirmed – it was a Tarsier! Again he radioed the lodge.Other guests that had searched for days for the Tarsier were rewarded with an awesome photo op. After fully satisfied with photos; everyone quietly left the Tarsier right where it was first sighted – undisturbed.
The third sighting was of tiny bioluminescent mushrooms in Danum Valley. We had first photographed the mushrooms at the Crocker Range near the Rafflesia Centre, but only during the day. He explained the bioluminescence of this particular mushroom. Hoping for a night shot, we searched hard for it throughout the rest of our trip. On the last night in Danum Valley, he was the one who found them! They were glowing brightly right in front of the lodge. None of the local guides at the Borneo Rainforest Lodge had spotted them. These amazing/unique mushrooms were right under their noses all along!
We could not be more pleased with the itinerary and your attention to every detail.
Thank you Rainer & ORYX!

Paolo Stella, Italy

We are back home after the beautiful tour we had in Borneo. All the locations, especially the Kinanbatang River and the Danum Valley were great! We enjoyed having Dale as our guide, as well as the other travelers in our group. ORYX’s organisation was top class!

Alan & Michelle Hinde, Australia

We had a great trip to Borneo! Dale was his usual professional, helpful & wonderful self, and the local guide was most helpful. The other tour participants were very nice people and all in all, it was a very good trip.

Diana Rebman

Dale is an excellent photo tour leader and really shined despite Borneo’s challenges. Of course the orangutans and pygmy elephants make it all worthwhile but the jungle is dense, light limited, terrain sometimes difficult, heat and humidity overwhelming, and unexpected downpours always to be expected. Dale made sure we were prepared and made it all fun. He did his best to make certain we would all come home with some great photos. I look forward to traveling with him again next year!

Client Testimonials Brazil
Robert Purcell, USA

“I want to reiterate Sue’s comments about the extraordinary quality of our Pantanal experience.  Having Dale and Giuliano as our mentors on this trip made it just outstanding.  Accommodations were also excellent, especially the houseboat. Just to reemphasize: Dale’s photographic expertise and teaching skills were outstanding, matched by Giuliano’s naturalist’s skills and rapport with all of the personnel and staff we encountered at the various venues.  Our friends and co-tourists on the trip were equally impressed, and we are still drinking caiparinhas and savoring wonderful memories.”

Sue Emerson, USA

“First I want to thank you for all the quick responses to our questions. And for your help in getting us organized. This was one of the greatest trips we have taken. The wild life was spectacular and I got better pictures than I ever have before, due to Dale’s teaching. I admit to being lazy and intimidated in the past and though I have excellent equipment, I never went beyond the programmed and automatic functions. Dale convinced me to start using other functions and to consider the subject from other angles and completely changed the way I will do things in the future. I learned a lot. Everything was well done and the house boat was especially wonderful; it was a 5-star experience with friendly people, wonderful food and skilled boat drivers. We will certainly recommend ORYX to all our friends.”

Denise Iling , Australia

“Dale is an excellent travelling companion and teacher, and we had a lot of fun. Giulliano was a great host, and very patient with us all.”


“We had a wonderful time with Dale and Guiliano. They were a really good match; flexible, thoughtful, understood all our interests and needs. The Pantanal and both young men exceeded our expectations. Dale was tremendously helpful and so enthusiastic. He is also just a terrifically interesting person with a wide variety of life experiences for one so young. He is a pleasure to be with. We found him to be a very good teacher, seeming to know what level of information each participant might need. I think he found the right balance of teaching and just being there and soaking it all in. He helped me be much less intimidated by my camera.  The whole experience was first rate, thank you very much!”

Sue Emerson & Robert Purchell, USA

Dale was tour leader on our recent ORYX trip to the Pantanal of Brazil. His love of nature and passion for photography were obvious and the knowledge and experience he shared with us were a huge part of making this an outstanding and unforgettable trip. His photography lessons and advice nudged us into new ways of taking and composing photos and led to the best collection of photographs we have ever taken on any trip. He was a real asset to this trip and his lessons will be remembered and applied. And he also tells great stories.”

Alan and Michelle Hinde

Dale was an excellent guide. His enthusiasm is infectious and knowledge of the wildlife and environment is outstanding. He was a pleasure to be with and we all gained from his photographic expertise. All four of us would travel with Dale on another ORYX trip without hesitation.

Greg Cowle, USA

“The Brazil trip was excellent. The wildlife sightings every day were amazing, beyond my expectations. Other arrangements such as for food and accommodation were all good quality, for a very comfortable trip. Dale was great as the photo tour leader, he made sure everyone knew how to use their equipment for every situation, and made sure we were in the right place for best photo opportunities. Giuliano was also terrific, not only for his local knowledge in finding the wildlife, but also with his understanding of best photo opportunities.”

Mary Chambers, Canada

“We want to thank you and the entire ORYX team for providing an absolutely fabulous photo vacation. We would particularly credit Dale and Giuliano for their care and attention in making this such a memorable holiday. We are especially pleased that they managed to convince the jaguars to show up for us on six of the nine outings on the river portion of the trip. You can rest assured that we will be recommending the ORYX team to all of our travel and nature photography friends.”

Mike Richardson, Australia

The Wildlife of the Pantanal Photo Tour and my tour extensions provided fabulous wildlife spectacles and photographic opportunities!

In particular I would like to thank Dale Morris for his contribution in the Northern Pananal. He was most constructive in terms of his helping with my photography. I had been impervious to advice in the past but Dale was truly able to guide me and it shows in my images of our time together. He made himself really available to all of us; he had designed the programme so we went from highlight to highlight; he was always wryly self-effacing,considerate and courteous.I’m not sure whether the wildlife behaving so well was also a credit to Dale!

My thanks to the Oryx team!

Fiona Stoker & Clarissa Young, Australia

We had an absolutely wonderful time in Brazil, with great service and a truly amazing time.

Dale was great and I would like to commend him in particular as he taught Clarissa and I so much on that trip and enabled us to take some good shots despite our cameras.

We loved the accommodation and the best food was on the boat and the first stop where the accommodation was fair but situated in the best spot with excellent food!

Client Testimonials Ethiopia
Shobha Gopinath, Singapore

“I thought I should write to you of the amazing trip we had to the Omo Valley with Dale.
The trip was well organised and we were well taken care of.
Dale was a wonderful leader. He was generous with his knowledge and we learnt a lot from him. He was kind, considerate and a lot of fun!
The local arrangements with Dinknesh were excellent too, the drivers were very pleasant and Melkamu in particular was fantastic.
It would be remiss of me not to also mention Kirsty, who was always responsive and efficient.
You can be sure we will be recommending ORYX to our friends!

Shyam Thilagaratnam, Singapore

“I second all of what Shobha has said.  We had such an amazing time.  The Dale-Melkamu combination was fabulous, as were all our drivers from Dinknesh.  We always felt well taken care of, and safe.
Dale was not only generous with his knowledge but also his lenses.  He truly has a wealth of information and we really learnt so much from him.  His wicked sense of humour was also much appreciated :)
Thank you too to the ever efficient Kirsty!
We hope to be doing more photo tours with ORYX in the not too distant future!


“Trip to Omo valley with Oryx expeditions and Marius Coetzee is like a dream, like a walking meditation. Every detail is 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 an expedition. This is treasure of life experiences. You genuinely forget that Marius is your expedition leader. He becomes your friend and family.”

Adalberto 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 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 trip 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 tours. Just forget about. If you are a photographer just Google ORYX Photography and sign a tour with them! This was not only a ‘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 will be glad to repeat it with all of you (and this time with my wife!) the Mongolian Experience in 2016. Travel safe, travel with ORYX…”

Debbie Smail, UK

“Last day of a fabulous and extraordinary three week adventure in Ethiopia! Massive thanks to Marius Coetzee and Kirsty Horne at ORYX Photography 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 Worldwide Photographic Expeditions -you won’t regret it!!”

Jenny Shearer, UK

“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 holiday, ORYX.  Everybody said how wonderful you had been, Kirsty, always responding in a friendly, efficient way as if we were your only clients.  Thank you, team!”

Biljana Jurukovski, Australia

“Kirsty, Marius and ORYX photography expeditions in general. 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 go ahead with ORYX…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..uncle Marius is the best :).
I guess this trip 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 trip.. and final word…. Marius you are young passionate entrepreneur and you should be very, very proud of yourself my friend :).
Regards and lots of Love”

YY 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 – Worldwide Photographic Expeditions (Pty) Ltd. 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 a 13 day 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.”

Astrid 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, expedition 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 Afe and all the guys of Dinknesh, 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 team, 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!”

Robin Yong, Singapore

‘I travel overseas 18 times a year, many of these being photographic trips. 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 thru’ every single tripadvisor review on Ethiopia and looked at many webpages of travel agents and photographers offering photo expeditions to this place. 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 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!’

Jeremy 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 photographic 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 photographic 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 to take you there.

Ethiopia - Bale & Simien
Lisa Wakida, USA

I’ve been to seven countries on the African continent, and many other countries around the world, and I have to say that this trip ranks among the top as one of my best trips ever. I liked the length of time we spent at each of the locations, which gave us the best chance for wildlife viewing of the wolves and Geladas (our viewings were so much better than I could have imagined). I’m partial to mammals, so this itinerary was perfect. I really enjoyed the company of the other guests too.

But I have to say, what made the difference was probably having Dale as a trip leader. Not only is he a fantastic photographer, he has so much knowledge on animal behavior. And I like that he also has a background in conservation. He is obviously passionate about animals and the environment, which is so important on trips like this where we are viewing an endangered animal like the Ethiopian wolf. I am also a very novice photographer, but he wasn’t pushy about instructing me. He was always ready and willing to provide feedback and tips, but he always made it my choice if I wanted to try something new in the moment or at a later time, so I wasn’t overwhelmed. He also was a very patient instructor and didn’t talk down to me when I didn’t get something at first. I do think my photos from this trip are much better than my usual because of him. I wouldn’t hesitate to book another trip with ORYX with Dale as the leader.

Ethiopia - Omo Valley
Mike Morse, USA

“I just returned from the Omo Valley trip and must say it was the most interesting cultural expedition 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 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.”

Ethiopia - Suri Tribe
Scott Blanksteen, US

I’ve been on about a dozen photo workshops and this was definitely one of the best organized and best led trips. Especially impressive given the challenges of the location.

Dale did an amazing job dealing with both the expected / inherent difficulties and I’d gladly travel with him again!

Ethiopia - Suri Tribe
Eva Ho, USA

I had a wonderful time with Dale, he has a great personality and really worked hard to help us get good images. He clearly cares about client satisfaction, demonstrated great patience and did everything in his power to make everyone comfortable.

All in all, he was a great leader — and coupled with the top notch service of your ground team, it was an enjoyable experience overall. The camp setting was also done very well — we felt like they really took great care of us and kept us safe, while not jeopardizing an authentic experience.

Client Testimonials Findland

The trip was outstanding in every way. The photographic experience was superb, with magnificent opportunities for capturing images of whooper swans, grey geese and numerous other birds to the extraordinary sights and sounds of black grouse lekking, to eagles, to a magnificent great grey owl, to a close up experience with a bear and an even closer experience with a wolverine, along with many other creatures. The success of our trip was ensured by Jari Peltomaki, whose deep knowledge of, and commitment to conservation of the natural environment deepened our appreciation of what we saw. As you know, Jari has a well earned international reputation in wildlife photography and was very willing to pass on his experience and techniques. His swift reaction to our practical needs and his unfailing good humour made every day a warm and pleasurable experience. Altogether this was a memorable event in our lives.

Gregory Cowle

The trip with Jari was great. We spent a lot of time in hides, but saw all the targets and more. My favorite night was spent alone in a bear hide on a frozen lake, first a visit by a bear in the late sunshine, then a pair of white-tailed eagles and a pair of golden eagles came through, amongst other birds looking for scraps from the bear. After sundown another bear came by, and as midnight approached a wolverine ran around the area. Next morning we had a brilliant fiery dawn before being collected from the hide!

Client Testimonials India
Alan Sturrock, United Kingdom

“Having travelled with ORYX 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 ORYX 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 in India again next year and look forward to another great trip.”

Lorinda Steenkamp, South Africa

“Andries and I would like to thank the ORYX team for a memorable India tour. The tour was exceptionally well planned. The only hassle we as guests were left with was to try and get the best photo of a Tiger. We can only but highly recommend ORYX and will not think twice about using their services again in future.”

Lorinda Steenkamp, South Africa

“Dale Morris was an excellent tour leader. Apart from being a very pleasant person, he also went out of his way to share his wealth of knowledge on photography with us. We started the tour with our photos looking like normal holiday snap shots, and ended up taking some pretty professional images. Thank you Dale for your patience and willingness to help us.”

Alan and Michelle Hinde, Sydney, Australia

“We are writing to provide some feedback on our short trip to India with Oryx, to visit several game parks with Tiger spotting a priority.  We  had a small group of 4, ably led by Dale Morris, a genuinely friendly and helpful leader. Dale is a skilled and award winning photographer whose enthusiasm for photography was infectious.  Dale was a delight to travel with and ensured that everything worked as planned.  We managed to see quite a few tigers and also enjoyed the classic sights of the Taj Mahal.”

Amanda Wright, Cheshire UK

I have recently returned from my second ORYX private tour to India with Marius, and wanted to say how much I enjoyed it and to recommend ORYX 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 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!

Jennifer Shearer, United Kingdom

Having recently returned from my third trip to India with ORYX 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 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 (KwaZulu) 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 Up-State 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 India is the perfect combination.  Enjoy India!

Amanda Wright, UK

I have recently returned from my fourth private photographic tour to India with ORYX 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 marvellous 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 expeditions, 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 to anyone who is interested in wildlife and photography, and will definitely use them again.

Jamie Cohen

“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 Photographic Expeditions.
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.”

Cody Linde

Thank you for another great experience! It was a fantastic time in India, and although I’m very glad to be home, I already miss it.

It was great getting the opportunity to meet the other clients, and Dale did a wonderful job as our guide and I really appreciate all of his hard work and dedication both in and out of the field, and I loved his willingness to engage in personable conversations at the dinner table. He was very willing to listen and learn about the world through someone else’s perspective. He also taught me some new tricks with my camera that I had no idea about, but they made life so much easier.

Thanks again for everything!

Ted Swindon







Clarissa Young & Fiona Stoker, Australia

Once again a great big thank you to all at ORYX for our latest journey to India.

We had a marvelous time and had some really wonderful opportunities to get some good shots away in both Kaziranga and Ranthambore.

Some days I had to pinch myself in awe at the photographic opportunities with the Tigers and just the beautiful scenes along the way in both paces. The Indian Rhino is an amazing looking beast for sure.

Dale really stepped us up with the technical application of photo taking which added to the beauty of some of our images. Bablu smoothed the way and has obvious respect with many of the drivers and guides, Mr Khan is way cool.

Wonderful, full on holiday with like minded travellers and guides and place, can’t get better than that.

India - Snow Leopards
Shravan Rao, Canada

The recent first ORYX expedition for Snow Leopards was outstanding! The communication from the first e-mail enquiring about the trip to the time we got back, was very good. Trouble broke out between India and Pakistan in another part of India during our expedition; you ensured my family were informed immediately of my well-being. Thank you!

The expedition was very well organized. Behzad ensured each of us acclimatized to the high altitude in the first two days. None of us felt altitude sickness. Behzad and the team also kept a close watch on our physical ability and mental awareness through out the trip. Their attention was key in a very enjoyable experience.

The camp site was perfect. Behzad had pitched the tents well in advance of our arrival, to take the best position. The tents themselves were luxurious, with a bed ensuring we were not sore or cold by sleeping on the ground. The food was delicious, with pizzas, pastas, noodles, dumplings and Indian food for lunch and dinner. Breakfast was elaborate, with porridge, eggs, bread and cereal. Many varieties of tea and coffee were always available through the day.

The sightings were exceptional. Khenrab Phuntsog, the renowned tracker from BBC Planet Earth 2, is not only a great tracker, but also one of the lead conservationists in Hemis National Park. He gave many, many insights into the ecology, animal behaviour, culture and conservation aspects of what we experienced. He delivered in spades each day: we had 7 snow leopard sightings including one from a few hundred feet and two from the camp (a first, I am told), 5 tibetan wolf sightings, including one from the camp (a first again). We also saw a red fox, many blue sheep and birds. The calls on four different mornings of ‘snow leopard’ even before the first cup of tea, and the first time I saw a snow leopard, will always remain with me.

Behzad went over and beyond in helping us with our photography, setup portrait sessions, cultural experiences and helped with astro photography. He is an exceptional photo mentor, tour leader, cultural and snow leopard expert, and above all a very warm, funny and extremely friendly person.

This trip was supposed to see the snow leopard, to take it off my bucket list. Instead, it has turned into the first of hopefully many more trips to see the snow leopards again.

Thank you for such a wonderful experience!

Tigers & Varanasi 2019
Shyam Thilagaratnam, Singapore

“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!”

Tigers & Varanasi 2019
Shobha Gopinath, Singapore

“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.”

Client Testimonials Kenya
African Mega Safari
Alan and Michelle Hinde, Sydney, 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.  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.”

Dr. Basil Stathoulis, South Africa

“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!”

David 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 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.”

Deborah Keener - Brown, USA

“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.”

Jane Bedford, South Africa

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.

Ted Swindon, South Africa


Ted Swindon, South Africa


Simon Pang, Hong Kong

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!”

Suzanne Emerson, USA

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.

Kim Spurr, USA

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.

Bob Purchell, USA

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!

Russell & Nicola Millner, England

“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.”

Marion Fischer

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!

YY Chin, Malaysia

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 .’

Client Testimonials Madagascar
Robyn 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!”

Homin Lim, USA

We had a GREAT time with Dale. Everything was as expected as we have learned to expect the unexpected. We would go with Dale and your company without any hesitation. We have NOTHING to complain about. Olive learned a lot of things from Dale. How not when you get such a crazy guide.

Alan and Michelle Hinde, Sydney, Australia

“We have recently returned from our trip to Madagascar 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 trip to this unique place a special experience.”

Elise Hardy, USA

“Hi all,
This trip completely exceeded my expectations and was exactly what I was looking for for Madagascar (wildlife all day every day). You were all extremely responsive, professional, and courteous.
Accommodations were all nice and the food was always good. Internal flight delays were handled so smoothly by you that they didn’t have an impact on the trip overall.
All of the local guides were great, especially Nono.
Dale was definitely the best photographer-guide I’ve ever travelled with. His photos were gorgeous and he was incredibly generous, patient, and enthusiastic about sharing his knowledge. He kept us entertained all day with new photographic opportunities, and involved us in experiments with new techniques, usually with amazing results. As a guide he had excellent natural leadership ability, and as a person he was warm, friendly, interesting, genuinely nice, and fun to be with.
Everything we did was so much fun, and I will always have wonderful memories of this trip. Would definitely travel with you again.
Thanks so much!!

Greg Cowle, USA

“Thanks, the trip was excellent. Got some great photos, and also learned a lot from Dale on techniques very useful in Madagascar, macro and night photography. Discussing with other guests, I think we all expected to be put in good photography locations to see what we could do, but the effort Dale put in teaching us all new techniques was beyond expectations.”

Don Gutoski

“Without your team and the local help it would have been impossible to travel in the country. The help was exceptional in dealing with the changes and I never worried we wouldn’t get to where we wanted to go. Dale works very hard to ensure everyone has the best possible angles for shooting and helped me with flash settings and tips at the start. Shooting in Madagascar is different than other destinations I have been to and the assistance in getting started was appreciated.I appreciated the fact that Dale, while taking shots got us in position first before “firing”. That doesn’t always happen with guides, especially when there is a special moment. Thanks again for an introduction to the wildlife of a very unique and challenging country. I’m sure most first time travelers to Madagascar don’t have such a rewarding photo experience!”

Doug Morris

“The trip was one of the best photo trips I have had in recent years. Although the landscape was challenging as well as the ability to get clear shots of the animals in the rainforest, your representatives in the field made the trip. The organization you hired in Madagascar were first rate. The ability to meet the challenges of Air Madagascar as well as the other bumps on the road were outstanding. Do not lose this group.Dale Morris is a real pro. Not only did he organize the photoshoots to optimize our ability to get the right shots, but his expertise in the field as it related to the more technical aspects of photography (flash, exposure comp, lens selection etc.) made the trip. Do not lose him. I would have no trouble recommending your organization to my camera friends in Toronto, and I look forward to dealing with your organization in the future.”

Torstein Bergem, Norway

“I am back home after an inspiring tour with ORYX once again. As before the practical arrangements were flawless, and the guiding superb.
First time I travelled with Dale, but it came as no surprise that he is first class.
Thanks to ORYX and to Dale for a great experience!”

Chuck and Nancy Bell, United States of America

“Hi Marius

Currently overnighting in Paris on our way home from Madagascar. It was an excellent trip. We are thrilled with the images we are now in the midst of sorting. We got all of our targets and have some wonderful photos. It’s a tough place, but ORYX and especially Dale and local guide Nono handled everything with aplomb. Attached are a couple of photos of us in the new ORYX garb. Thanks so much for providing these.”

by JL

As Rich guides for countries that is not covered by ORYX we need to only click his name after adding the guest comment and not the destination.

I participated in the Jan-Feb [private] tour to the Philippines guided by Rich Lindie…. I have to say that Rich’s … indefatigable attempts to make our trip a success was exemplary in every way. His birding skills are definitely well above the norm in birding companies I am familiar with (including some very elite companies.) Rich is also enthusiastic, energetic, fun loving, patient and always in full control of his clients. In short, he is in the elite echelons of the guiding profession and should be considered a valuable asset to your organization. It is my intent to single out trips guided by him for my travel considerations.

by JR & BR

Our Rockjumper guide was Rich Lindie. The word “excellent” does not begin to cover the outstanding quality of his technical and interpersonal skills. Rich is the personification of enthusiasm for what he does. Extensively knowledgeable about both flora and fauna (in particular of course birds), he was at all times professional and friendly. In addition, Rich has a great sense of humor and we thoroughly enjoyed getting to know him and hearing about some of his amazing experiences in international travel, living, teaching and guiding. What an interesting and talented young man. We were very fortunate to have him as our guide.

by TF

Recently back at home from our fantastic tour in Madagascar, I wanted to offer thanks to all for the excellent times we enjoyed. For us, the exuberant and superbly-skilled leadership of Rich Lindie was a delight and gave us such a greater measure of understanding to the natural wonders as well as a bit of the cultural aspects of the unique island. We had a great time, and we certainly saw a tremendous variety of the birds, mammals, and many other creatures as well as strange and wonderful plant life of the “Eighth Continent”.

Terry Jackson, USA

I have been on many tours around the world and yours was the best!

Jason Heirtzler

Very wonderful trip and enjoyed all parts of it!

Kah Yin Loke, Singapore

“Kirsten, whom I understand has just joined Oryx, is so very creative and has such undeniable natural talent – he has a wonderful eye for photographing wildlife and people from different and unusual angles. I was constantly amazed at the photographs which he took! Although I was relatively new to photography, he was wonderfully patient with me regarding the technical details with the use of the camera and his explanations were simple and easy to understand. He is so humble even though he is so knowledgeable, and has a quiet, sweet and unobtrusive manner, mingling so well with the local Malagasi people and children. By putting them at ease, he was able to take very candid photographs which would often relate a story. He is also a very observant and caring individual – we shared many light hearted moments throughout the tour. It was so easy for me to open up to him with the many questions I had on photography and despite all this, he was always polite and patient. Time and time again throughout the tour, whenever I had trouble with my camera in optimising the settings, he would instinctively come up to me to help me, without even waiting for me to ask for assistance. I am so grateful for his kindness and generosity in sharing his expertise with me, including taking time off during the down time period after lunch in the sweltering heat of mid-day to go through the basics of processing images. At such a tender age, Kirsten has so much potential as a photographic guide – I am really excited to see what the future holds for him. At the end of the tour when I reached Johannesburg airport, I took quite a while to come out of customs as they threatened to detain me at the clinic, having just come from Madagascar which was experiencing an outbreak of plague. When I eventually emerged from the customs counters, I realised that both Dale and Kirsten had kindly collected my luggage and were patiently waiting for me at the luggage belt. I was ever so thankful for their kindness. I have not seen this level of professionalism before with any other tour group and they have my highest respect. They have been so very inspirational.”

Client Testimonials Namibia
Leigh and Margaret Hall, Australia

“Margaret and I have had another ORYX adventure. 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 ORYX trip to Brazil next year.”

Jeffrey Littell, California, United States of America

“There was only one serious problem with my safari: it was beyond description excellent! Hahaha! We experienced excellent weather in each venue where the photographic opportunities abounded. There was a good mix of scenery and animals.
The red sand dunes venue was packed solid with people making it difficult to obtain any meaningful images but I did capture a few. However, the sand dunes near Sera Cafema (our last stop) were incredible. Actually the dunes were astounding. And our visit there with the Himba tribe ladies was something else. I had them come from the back of a dune over the top is a line perpendicular to the cameras and to the afternoon sun. They walked, stopped for us to shoot, walked a bit more, shoot again, and so on. Epic beauty and epic photography.
The first stop provided us with a night sky that I’ll not forget. Venus setting, the Milky Way bright, the Southern across shining, oh my gosh. We did some light painting of two trees there that was superb. I mean really great stuff. There we saw a cheetah with an adolescent cub. And of course a lot more wildlife.
The second stop provided us with a sunset line up of 6 elephants walking in single file to a watering hole. Mom in front and Dad in the back. Surreal in beauty and silence. The lodges were terrific and the meals even better. We were treated better than royalty at each stop. The commuter plane flights and crews were great fun. Amazing scenery from up above.

Oh yes, the Skeleton Coast. Goodness gracious was that a sight to behold. I know I’m rambling. Thanks to you for assisting me in my endless preparations for this journey. I was a bit over prepared but that is better than needing something while in the bush. As for Greg, what a treasure. He is a blast to shoot with, and I’ll shoot with him again in the future. He’s a thinker as much as he is a shutter release pusher. His knowledge of the bush is astounding.
Again, sincere thanks to you and to Marius. A trip of a lifetime!”


“I became interested in ORYX because some of the other outfits who advertise photo safaris don’t really appear to be very strong photographers. ORYX stands out in that regard.”

Alan and 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 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 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.”

Marna 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 photographic safari with Marius Coetzee co-founder of ORYX Bespoke 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 Team and the soulful people of Namibia thank you for 14 days that will stay with me forever.”

Deborah Keener-Brown, Texas, United States of America

“To the Oryx Team,
Thanks so much for another memorable safari with you guys. Namibia exceeded my expectations – we even were able to shoot the stars! The group was good and Greg did an outstanding job managing three different personalities and shooting styles. Plus, handling all our luggage and many other details, I think we wore him out! We all had a great time. It’s been a great end to a safari to spend a few days at Mala Mala. Roan is an exceptional guide and we have had some great sightings as well as some time to relax before my journey home – ugh. And, lastly for the Oryx staff – I just don’t know how you guys do it…..booking the best lodges for viewing and shooting opportunities….you guys are always on top of all the details that make a complicated itinerary go well. As I’ve said before, your meet and greet staff are the best. It’s so reassuring to me when traveling alone to know I will be met and escorted through the maze of the JoBurg airport.
All the best and until next time.”

Simona E. Doyle, Italy








Astrid Stevie Winberg, South Africa

Dear Marius
I must sincerely thank you and compliment you on an absolutely outstanding private 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 for organising
Kind regards

Ted Swindon






Client Testimonials Rwanda
Nima Sarikhani, United Kingdom

“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.”

Max & Jan Lerwill, United Kingdom

“Dear Marius and ORYX Team,
Thank you so much for organizing our recent trip 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 trip very special and one we will never forget!”

Andrew and Brenda Haynes

“Thank you so much to Nelis for such a wonderful time in Rwanda. Our experiences with the gorillas were both phenomenal, especially day 2 where they were so interactive and allowed us to take many photographs!

The few days with the gorillas completely lived up to our expectations and even surpassed them!

Thank you for allowing us this amazing opportunity.

Many thanks and kind regards”

Linda 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. I look forward to another ORYX tour at some point in the future. Fondest regards and, again, many thanks!

Client Testimonials South Africa
South Africa
Ignacio 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 destination. I hope I find the time to go back some time soon.

South Africa
Margaret Yufera -Leitch, Canada

I’m not sure if I can adequately express my enthusiasm for our tour through South Africa. 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 wild life 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 group 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 seems to have managed a way to make her a little happier.

South Africa
Ignacio Yufera, Spain

Organization by ORYX 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.

South Africa
Edward Lang, Australia

“ORYX did us proud, from Kirsty’s exceptional logistics management, your own support & Help, and mostly Greg’s complete professionalism, looking forward I must admit to June & Tanzania”

South Africa
Torstein Berghem

“Thank you for arranging such a wonderful safari for us. The lodges were great. The logistics were superb from the moment we got out of our intercontinental aircraft! Driver/guides were very good, and we enjoyed Greg’s pleasant company and photographic advice. Thank you also for the gifts Greg brought to us. They were very much appreciated. We look forward to traveling with ORYX again some time in future.”

South Africa
Delmar Hoogendoorn, South Africa

“I actually do not have the words to describe how incredible this journey was. I can only thank you for bringing back this little piece of heaven called the Sabi Sands back into my life again. Your ORYX friend for life.”

South Africa
Harry & Irene Penner, Canada

“We arrived home two days ago after a most incredible and wonderful trip. The highlight of our trip was the Kings Camp safari but everything was fabulous!! We really appreciate Dale for so many reasons. He was excellent in teaching us, being personable, sharing his knowledge, expertise and passion for wildlife photography. We learnt so much. It has been busy trying to catch up after our vacation but this weekend we hope to start applying some of the ‘editing’ that Dale taught us. We would highly recommend this experience and DALE!! An absolutely wonderful experience!! We really hope that we can do something similar in the future and would definitely be calling ORYX (and Dale).”

South Africa
Deborah and Russell Keener Brown, USA

“Marius, Greg and Kirsty,
Thanks so much for all you did to make our Safari experience epic! We really appreciated all the extra efforts to each detail. Especially, our bags and transport service….what a way to get through the airports with you guys – we were whisked away from the gate and escorted through customs. And, we love our Oryx bags – especially Russell.
It was such a privilege to spend a week with Greg. On all levels he is a joy to spend time in the bush with. It’s really apparent through his passion, knowledge and talent why he is The Wildlife Photographer of the Year.
We had some amazing sightings. From following mating leopards for 5 hours on my birthday to packs of wild dogs, cheetahs, and 19 different leopards. Oh, and two snakes! And of course, spending some time with Claire was very special to us.
All the best,

South Africa
Trevor and Lesley Collins, Australia

“A fantastic safari experience from pre-travel through the safari to post travel – all the little details necessary for our comfort and enjoyment were taken care of with the minimum of fuss. We had a great time helped by the professionalism and friendliness of the ORYX team. All our needs were anticipated and attended to but most importantly every day was fun and an adventure.”

South Africa
Scott Burnham

I would like to express to the best of my ability how wonderful, beyond expectations, this trip was. I don’t know how I was so fortunate to end up with Nelis. He was absolutly fabulous. Patient, courteous, a wonderful photographer and person. More knowledge regarding the animals and birds than I could ever have hoped for. We got along very well and I was smiling non-stop and as emotionally happy as I have been in a long time. A wonderful mix of lodges. 8 different leopards at Sabi Sands. Wonderful guide and tracker (Matt & Nelson) at Inyati. And I have to let Adam know that one of the biggest highlights of the trip was the Aardvark in the driveway to Zebra Hills. I would go any where with Nelis. Thanks again, Scott Burnham

South Africa
Jeremy Peters, United Kingdom

“I had a great trip with Marius. MalaMala and the overall trip certainly lived up to expectations so thanks to the whole Oryx team for making these happen so smoothly.
I’m sure you will hear from me again”

South Africa
Jeremy Peters, United Kingdom

“ORYX 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 photographic expedition next year – bring on more magic moments!”

South Africa
Cody Linde, USA

Oryx Photography is a world class company. The members bend over backwards to get you the results you desire, and make sure your experience goes off without a hitch. Their customer service is so extraordinary it’s hard to put into words; the closest I can come is they treat you like family. The photographic results and experiences you take away from the field will leave you breathless. If you are on the fence as to whether or not you should book through Oryx – hop off – I promise, you will not regret it.

South Africa
Cody Linde, USA

Greg DuToit is incredible! He took the time to make sure everyone understood the technical aspects involved in getting the shot, even if it meant he had to sacrifice not getting the shot for himself. His focus is getting the client the results they desire. Not only is he knowledgable about photography, but he teaches you about the animals and environment. As 2013 wildlife photographer of the year he is an excellent source for providing you with a critique should you ask for an analysis of your work. Also, he is one of the most humble human beings on this planet.

South Africa
Cody Linde, USA

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.

Client Testimonials Spitsbergen
Nima Sarikhani, United Kingdom

“Spitsbergen was incredible. None of us expected to love it as much as we did and I definitely need to go back one day soon. Elliott was great and a lot of fun, and certainly helped me loads with my technique.”

Laura Dyer, South Africa

“Elliott was fantastic to have along. He has an unassuming way of helping people take better shots. It felt as though he was always there for advice, without any kind of forced structure.”

Rob Tarr, South Africa

“It was, as you suggested, the trip of a lifetime for me, and I still pinch myself when I see the images of icebergs, glaciers, polar bears, walruses etc. Thanks Elliott for the guidance and companionship on the trip – we had a great group, and felt really comfortable at all times, knowing also that everything possible was being done to get us the best photo-ops available.”

Svalbard Classic
David and Ulana Farmer, United States

Overall the Svalbard trip was excellent! We were very impressed with the planning, flexibility in adjusting to ice conditions etc., and especially with the outstanding leadership and skill of our guides Roy and Frede. The opportunities for wildlife photography were superb and I could not possibly pass on suggestions for any improvement in leadership, management and viewing approach. This was as good as it gets and we are grateful for the efforts of all involved. In addition we are greatly appreciative of the friendly and effective crew of the ORIGO who were always ready to help. A valuable aspect was the Captain’s ready willingness, in fact encouragement, to let us stay up on the bridge at all hours and watch the magnificent scenery and wildlife slip past as we sailed through this remote environment. Our thanks go to all the staff!

Svalbard Classic
Bryan Forley, United States

It was an amazing trip! It was a combination of stunning landscapes and magnificent wildlife. Roy and Frede, as well as the entire crew of the ship were great and I enjoyed every minute!

Svalbard Winter
Peter & Susan MacCallum-Stewart

We had a really magical time. Svalbard is a truly beautiful place…. We had great guides, light, sightings, fellow travellers and food.

Client Testimonials Tanzania
Tanzania - Ngorongoro Crater
Shawn and Skye Meaker

“Ngorongoro Crater was a spectacular trip in an amazing location in Tanzania. The service and hospitality shown by the staff at camp was exceptional and the wildlife and photographic opportunities were out of this world. I would highly recommend this African experience for both photographers and people who enjoy being in the bush”

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