Growing up in the urban jungle of Johannesburg in South Africa, Matthew always looked forward to escaping the city for his family’s annual trek to the Kruger National Park. Even once he was in university, he continued his love affair with the Kruger on countless camping trips with friends.
Destined (or so he thought) to become a number cruncher, Matthew obtained a Bachelor of Commerce Honours degree in Finance and Investment from the University of the Witwatersrand in 2014. Yet despite this hard-earned degree, he always held the dream of becoming a ranger close to his heart.
In early 2015, Matthew made the bold move to enroll at &Beyond’s Inkwazi Ranger Training School at Phinda Private Game Reserve. Upon graduating, he was placed at &Beyond Phinda Mountain Lodge where he guided for two years.
A self-confessed big cat addict, it made sense for Matthew to eventually move to the Sabi Sand Game Reserve – a wilderness area famed for its leopards. He is currently the Assistant Head Ranger for &Beyond Kirkman’s Kamp and Tengile River Lodge and, in addition to guiding, he is also heavily involved with the training and mentoring of new &Beyond guides.
Passionate about research and leopards in particular, Matthew has assisted Panthera (the global authority on big cats) with data capture for three years. In fact, he and fellow ranger, Josh van der Ploeg, compiled the Leopards of &Beyond Kirkman’s Kamp and Tengile River Lodge identification kit. This in-depth guide profiles the region’s renowned leopard population, explains their complex social dynamics and provides a better understanding of the species as a whole.