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.
I would like to express my thanks to you for your excellent tuition on my recent photographic safari. During the course of a few days, you lifted my photographic skills to greater heights by introducing me to additional techniques and making me work with my camera to achieve extremely pleasing results. I must also compliment you on the organisation of the trip, the logistics were seamless, the food and staff excellent and without exception, every game drive provided great animal encounters, allowing us to put into practice our new found skills. Once again, many, many thanks for a wonderful trip. Sincerely,
Neil Stewart, UK
I was fortunate to be on Wild4's "Best of Botswana" trip in May 2014. It could well be the Best of Africa. This trip featured two expert guides (Stu Porter himself and Nkosi from Letaka Safaris) and the abundant wildlife of four different Botswanan hot spots, with relatively few other vehicles around. Those features alone are worth the price of admission, particularly since they include Stu's vehicle modifications that ensure the best possible photographic experience. But if that isn't enough, we spent the first ten nights in expedition style mobile camps, roughing it with bucket showers and drop toilets, and listening to the leopards, elephants and hyenas wandering in and around the camps at night. But don't worry about the "roughing it" part. The expert staff prepares perfect meals, including fresh baked breads and cakes, and ensures that the camp is safe and clean. We finished the 12-night trip in a luxury lodge on the Chobe River, where we photographed from a boat customised to accommodate serious photographers (i.e. people with lenses bigger than their legs) and a waterway full of hippos and elephants and lined with Africa's most iconic birds. If you can only go once to Africa, go to Botswana with Wild4 Photographic Safaris. They will take care of every detail of your safari to ensure that everything is just right. If you are an old Africa veteran, ditto. You just can't go wrong with Wild4.
George Cathcart, USA