People often do a double take when he tells them what he does for a living. A professional tree climber? Is there really such a thing? But this 60-year old grandfather from Stellenbosch in the Western Cape isn’t telling tall tales: he’s taken his passion for trees and turned it into a rewarding career.
And it’s not just any old suburban oak or wild fig he climbs – Leon Visser tackles the tallest trees he can find in the wild.
He recently climbed one of South Africa’s tallest trees, a giant blue gum (Eucalyptus saligna) that soars 83,7m into the sky in Magoebaskloof, Limpopo. It’s the tallest alien tree in Africa and the tallest planted tree in the world, according to Leon.