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.
Kruger North to South 16 days of photo safari gone off like a wink of an eye especially when it was fun and memorable. Like an aciton-packed movie, the opening scene at the Skukuza Airport reception by Wild4 Team : Stefan and Sandrine was delightful and the afternoon game drive was filled with excitements with shots of wildlife encountered as we travelled to our first camp in Satara. The numerous sightings we experienced over the next two weeks were nothing less than thrilling and of course capturing the Big 5 was fulfilling. The teamwork of Stefan and Sandrine was excellent giving the traveling photographers absolutely nothing to worry except to be trigger happy. Each day I shot approximately 1,500 images as each day bought new surprises. As a photographer I used the Sony A9 with the 2x teleconverter on the 100-400mm G Master zoom for distant & fast-moving subjects like eagles' flights, lions, leopards, rhinos and the smaller birds in flights while my Leica SL on a APO Vario Elmarit 90-280mm zoom for intermediate distance subjects like elephants, hippos, zebras, Impalas, Kudus and various animals within close quarters of the vehicle, and finally my Leica Q for the panoramic shots of landscape and daily point and shoot. A memorable trip ending with almost 4 TB of mobile hard disk storage. I will re-live my memories when I sort out the images and I look forward to my next trip with Stu on the Tanzania & Elephants of Amboseli and many other trips with Wild4.
Clifford Yap, Singapore
I have enjoyed photographic safaris in Kenya, Tanzania, and South Africa but I cannot express how GREAT the “BEST of BOTSWANA” trip was. The different areas on the delta all had amazing animals and diversity of climate from Moremi to the river environment of Khwai and then to the sand and dryness of Savuti. But the the time spent on the Chobe River was the best experience I have ever spent in Africa. Stu, Justyna you are the best! Thanks also to Letaka, Pangolin and our great guides. I would highly recommend this safari to everyone. It's a buffet of Africa you will never forget.
Denny Donohue, USA