Meet Villiers Steyn, professional photographer and photographic safari guide.
My first impression of Villiers was through articles he wrote when he was a journalist for the Go!/Weg! magazine. I always really enjoyed his articles.
It was also a recent article in the Africa Geographic Magazine that prompted me to interview him for my Country People feature.
Where do you live and work?
I live in a wildlife estate on the outskirts of Hoedspruit, right in the heart of the Lowveld.
Tell us a little bit about yourself, your life story. How did you end up where you are now?
After high school (where I was the official photographer), I studied Nature Conservation at the Tshwane University of Technology in Pretoria. After completing my diploma in 2003, I embarked on a 4-year-long leopard research project in Botswana’s Tuli Block as part of my B-Tech and M-Tech degrees. My job was to track seven specific leopards in the Northern Tuli Game Reserve, to determine their home range sizes and movement patterns and, ultimately, to estimate the density of the region’s leopard population.
Once back in SA, I started a small photographic company called Vision Photography and for a year or two, I photographed everything from weddings to corporate gigs. My love for travel exploded over this period and before I knew it, I was a freelance travel writer for Weg!/go! Magazine, covering all southern Africa’s wildest and most beautiful game reserves and parks. In 2012 my girlfriend (now wife!), Tabby, joined me and we started writing for a few other publications as well, including Getaway and Travel Africa. Until the end of 2013, we used our flat in Pretoria as a base and basically lived out of my Hilux bakkie as we explored South Africa and its neighbouring countries.
In November 2013 we felt like a change and decided to move to Hoedspruit. Almost overnight eggs were transferred from the travel writing basket to two new and exciting careers as a photographic safari guide and lodge photographer. When I’m not helping clients to take stunning wildlife photos in the area’s famous private game reserves like the Timbavati and Sabi Sands, I’m taking marketing photographs of the lodges they typically stay at. I also do a lot of private photography tutoring in and around town.
Please visit www.atclosequarters.com to learn more about the exciting photographic safaris that I host for At Close Quarters – the Safari Specialists.
What is your favourite part of living where you are currently?
Here in the Hoedspruit Wildlife Estate, we have the best of both worlds: we are less than 10 minutes’ drive from Pick n Pay, but every now and again a leopard drinks from our bird bath! It’s a unique suburb in the bush where you have all the advantages of a close community, but with the freedom and wild feel that only a game reserve can give you… I love the fact that my wife and I can jump in the car and take a game drive in our own neighbourhood, with a chance of spotting leopards, hyenas, honey badgers and a whole host of other animals.
Any special story you would like to share?
Last year on a cool winter’s morning, shortly after 7am, my neighbour Megan phoned me and said: “Hi V. Come over quickly for a coffee! You won’t believe what’s in our garden…” So I strolled curiously strolled a hundred meters down the road to find out what all the fuss was about. Wild dogs had killed an impala in their garden! Unfortunately, the culprits dashed away for a quick drink just before I arrived, but Megan showed me a classic photo of their great Dane, Callie, looking at two wild dogs standing over the lifeless impala. Only in Hoedspruit, I tell you!
You can follow Villiers on the following platforms:
Facebook/Facebook Page/Group: https://www.facebook.com/visionphotographysa