Leon grew up in Johannesburg in a family keen on natural history. His father had a veterinary practice and his mom was excellent at organizing amazing holidays out in the wilds of Southern Africa. It was on these trips that Leon first got to play with his parents Canon SLR camera.
After successfully achieving a B Soc Sc (Hons) Degree in Geography and Environmental Science at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, he took up a temporary job running the bar at a safari lodge in the well known Sabi Sands Game Reserve. This is where his interest in guiding was born. Leon soon worked his way into a guiding position at the lodge and surrounded by amazing wildlife, he soon learned the art of photography "the old way", using light meters, manual metering and 36 exposure slide film!
Leon gained further experience in guiding by working at several other top lodges around South Africa and continued pursuing his love for photography and acquired new equipment.
After a break from guiding to live and work in London, Leon realized that his true passion lay in field guiding and photography so he returned to live in South Africa and has now found his niche in being a specialist birding and photographic guide. He lives in Nelspruit with his wife and two children.
Leon is one of the Directors and also a THETA/FGASA (Level 3) and SKS Birding Specialist Guide for LAWSON'S BIRDING, WILDLIFE and CUSTOM Safaris, who we have partnered with to fulfil our Kruger National Park Photo Safaris. Leon views Kruger as his "home-patch" and it remains one of his favourite destinations in Africa.
Having known Leon for a number of years, I know his guiding ethics and principles match ours, he has extensive knowledge of Kruger, it's wildlife and its photo hotspots, he is the perfect person to guide our Kruger National Park Photographic Safaris.
can't begin to tell you how much Keith and I enjoyed being with you in Botswana. Your trip was as productive for me, the birdwatcher spouse, as it was for Keith, who is thrilled with his images. I saw more birds in Botswana than I ever imagined I'd see (152 species!), and I got such good looks at them, from the big Goliath Heron, Wattled Crane, and Saddle-billed Storks to the little Pearl-spotted Owlet, White-fronted Bee-eaters, and Malachite Kingfisher. Our Letaka guides, Shadreck and Nkosi, were knowledgeable and helpful - and just plain nice guys, and Shuur took us on four amazing boat rides on the Chobe River. Every aspect of the trip went smoothly. It's obvious how much behind-the-scenes work you and Justyna put into the planning. I would recommend you to anyone, and for the safari of a lifetime, I'd recommend the Best of Botswana with Stu Porter.
Sharon Kennedy, USA
Bastian and I enjoyed the Migration photo safari very much. We realize that we have been very fortunate to see so many crossings and animals in such a short period of time. The safari was well organized, all accomondations were first class and the food certainly a nice surprise. One could not have expected such good food in the wilderness! James and Julius took good care of us and were one reason that we saw so much different and exciting wildlife. You picked a great support team for this safari! Bastian and I learned a lot of new photo techniques from you, which we will use in the future to improve our photographic results. Bastian for sure got hooked on time lapse, I'm sure he will be back in touch with you, sharing some of the work I expect he will create soon. Thanks to you and all your preparation, your guidance and support, this was a once in a life time experience. We will never forget these fantastic sights and animals and our photographs will always remind us of you and the great time we spent together. Now we have the difficult task to sort through thousands of images. One day it will be done and I hope my DVD will do justice reflecting the beauty of Masai Mara. Not an easy task but a welcomed challenge.
Bastian & Matthias Freund, USA