Stefan was born in Johannesburg, South Africa and spent many school holidays visiting the Kruger National Park with his parents. When Stefan was 11 years old, his family moved to White River - a town only 40 minutes from the Kruger Park. In high school Stefan developed a strong interest in reptiles and joined the Herpetology Association where he completed a number of courses, including snake handling and snake bite treatment. Whenever he could , Stefan would accompany his father to catch and release problem snakes, as well as treat and rehabilitate injured ones.
In 2002 Stefan trained to be a field guide with Ingwe Tourism Services where he obtained his FGASA and THETA guiding qualifications.
After a year of traveling and working in the United Kingdom, Stefan soon realized that he wanted to follow his passion, which was to work in the African Bush as a field guide.
For the past 12 years Stefan has worked as a freelance field guide in the Kruger National Park where he has built up an intimate knowledge of the many different habitats and the wildlife "hotspots". Stefan has a passion for all the animals in Kruger, whether it be a member of the "Big 5", birds, reptiles as well as insects. He loves to interpret animal behaviour and is a very talented photographer himself. His experience in predicting animal behaviour and where and how to position the vehicle for the best shot, is invaluable to any photographer in his vehicle.
The story of how Stefan met his wife Sandrine, is a true modern-day fairytale. Stefan began his day like any other, collecting guests for a day game drive in the Kruger National Park. Sandrine, a French school teacher at the time, began her day, excited to be in Africa and visiting South Africa's flagship National Park with the possibility of seeing an Elephant or even a Lion. It was love at first sight and a year later they were married !
Stefan's skill as a safari guide and Sandrine's skill as a translator offers a combined solution for French clients who want to come on a custom made photo safari.
I have worked with Stefan on many photo safaris and he is an excellent team player. He is humble, respectful and extremely patient. It is a pleasure to work with him. I have full confidence in his abilities to lead our Kruger National Park photo safaris and can highly recommend him.
My wife Joanie and I joined Wild4 for the Best of Kruger and Big Cats in August of 2014. It was our very first trip on an African safari. I’m a serious amateur photographer and my wife’s a non-photographer but both of us enjoyed the trip thoroughly ! To this day, we still regularly recall the highlights of sightings and events fondly. True to Wild4’s brand promise, Stu Porter delivers maximum photographic times spent chasing photo opportunities out in the field - out 6am as soon as the camp gate opens and back only 6pm when the gate closes. Having no more than three photographers on each of two jeeps allows every photographer immediate access to both sides of the vehicle. Stu always knows where to position the vehicle for the best vantage points. Every day has its highs – big cat chases and kills, grazers sparring, herds of elephants and buffaloes appearing from nowhere at water holes... Thanks to Stu and the enthusiasm and knowledge of experienced senior guide Mike Lentz. Camps in Kruger are basic (by first world standards) but hey this is a safari ! There’s the important benefit of being only a short drive away from dams, good spots to catch the first light when the sun rises. This is important as the gates do not open till 6am so there’s little margin for being late. I had the opportunity to experience first-hand, the Wild4 team’s dedication and commitment to a successful photo trip for guests, beyond the call of duty. The Wild4 team helped solved a major photographic equipment problem. Early afternoon on Day 5, the lens AF motor on my 400mm telephoto lens failed. This was really a disaster on a trip like this, as (like everyone else) I had a spare camera body but not a spare super telephoto lens ! The other lens I had was a medium telephoto zoom, hardly a lens to use with tele-converters. Murphy’s Law indeed ! This happened with seven more days to go ! I enquired with Stu about hiring a lens from the nearby towns. Stu sprang into action immediately whilst still on the afternoon game drive - got his back-office team to make enquiries back in Nelspruit town. This was something new to the Wild4 team as they never had to hire a lens but they found a lens on the same day, a 200-400mm that’s also ideal for safari. The lens had to be dispatched from almost 200 km away and Mr John Porter helped to drive south to collect the lens sooner. I had the use of this lens by the morning of Day 7, with one-and-half day “downtime” in a remote location. Service excellence lived by as a core value indeed. After eight nights I left Kruger National Park with the feeling that I was just warming up and was leaving too soon. I would have gladly extended a few more days if that was possible. But we were bound for the next destination. I notice Wild4 has not been static. More new trips were added. I see the enterprise is growing fast ! Joanie and I are now looking forward to a trip to Kenya, again with Stu and the Wild4 team.
Steve Seow, Singapore
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