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.
We have a particular affinity for bird photography, but also enjoy the African game animals. I'm pleased to say we are all thrilled with the entire trip. Stu met us at the airport on day 1, and what was to have been a quick couple hour drive to camp, took all afternoon until sunset, we found so many things to shoot. Then we wanted to do something slightly off the itinerary on day 2, and Stu again accommodated us. It was like that throughout the entire trip, the Porter family was very accommodating. Even though we were in a big national park using public facilities, the Porter family made us feel like we were in our own private game reserve, and the animals were there just for us. Stu's local knowledge of the birds and game is just great, he's a walking guide book. And because he's in Kruger so often, he knows where the best spots are. Also he knows all the other guides, and they share information. And most importantly if you are considering a photo safari, Stu is an accomplished nature photographer himself. He knows the light and how to position and approach for the best shot. He knows what photographers want and how to get it. The experience might be quite different if just any guide were to drive you around. And having a spotting vehicle out searching for game really helped us see some extra animals we wouldn't have seen. The results were outstanding. We saw and photographed all the of the big five, and several seldom seen animals totaling 33 mammal species and 164 bird species. All in all, the trip was great!! highly recommended!
Con Foley, USA
We just got back from our first trip to Kenya, our third trip with the Wild 4 Team. We would not consider doing an African photo safari with anyone else. As usual, Justyna did a great job with the bookings and paperwork. Stu and our drivers (James, Julius and Mamai) did a fantastic job on game sightings and positioning our trucks for the best possible photo opportunities. Members of our safari got to see and photograph animals from Aardwolf to Zebra. It was truly a trip of a lifetime. Time to start planning our 4th safari with the the Wild 4 Team!
Michael & Toni Anderson, USA