Kurdt Greenwood is a young, dynamic, South African naturalist who is on the cusp of making it big. He’s a wildlife expert and his infectious passion for snakes knows no bounds. However his rural upbringing and love of nature has also made him a fan of all creatures and he is at home with everything from deadly green mambas to warthogs and lions. His first major series Deadliest: South Africa (3 x 60), where he searches for Africa’s deadliest 12 snakes, has recently been commissioned by Discovery.
Kurdt was born into a family with a great love for nature. Growing up on a farm in the Free State, surrounded by an array of deadly wildlife, he spent many of his childhood days exploring under the guidance of his grandfather, who taught him the importance of every creature, including those he found repulsive. He was particularly mesmerised by snakes from the age of nine and his first pet was the notorious puff adder. Even though his mother was rather concerned for his safety, he was hooked!
His first encounter with snakes was with a local wrangler in the Free State - Chris Surties - who inspired him to pursue his interest in reptiles. He remembers watching Crocodile Hunter at the age of 11 and that cemented his decision to grow up to be a TV personality, conservationist and wildlife expert. Since then he has worked with serpents full-time and hosted thousands of snake demonstrations, working with just about every species found in Africa. Undaunted by the risk, he decided to up the ante in order to truly understand the behaviour of the various species of snakes - and lived with numerous reptiles in his tiny bedroom on a game reserve near Plettenberg Bay. Five months later, he fully integrated them into his routine, and familiarised himself with each species - among them Boomslang, Puffadder, Night adder, red lipped herald and even a green mamba. This experiment was vital in developing his now masterful skill with any leviathan he encounters. What drives Kurdt is his desire to do what comes most naturally- to learn everything about a specimen he possibly can, and conquer his fear on a level most believe to be extremely dangerous.
Kurdts’ main mission for Deadliest: South Africa is to seek out, and travel to, remote reserves to interact with the indigenous species. By doing this he hopes to educate and inspire the masses to see the value of every creature; particularly those which terrify us most. His aim is finding deadly giants, exploring the last unchartered territories - and advocating their preservation. His approach is unique, petrifying, and often humorous. His vast knowledge enables him to quickly judge how well a specific area is coping, and the temperament of any specimen. The list is massive; from harmless rodents to scorpions, to the deadliest critters Africa has to offer. His casual, yet skilful, ways of interacting leaves viewers in total awe, and strict ‘don’t try this at home!’ clauses tend to brandish the screen. He is also a survival expert, who owned an established survival school, and will touch on various techniques throughout his quest.
Alongside his passion for wildlife is his dedication to music. Kurdt is a keen guitarist of 15 years and has worked with various bands including Mantis, Apparition, Architecture of Aggression and Pienk Vellies, performing live around many parts of South Africa. His work as a session musician has extended to various types of jobs including soundtracks for short films and promotional clips. One may find Kurdt banging out aggressive tunes from his electric guitar to the delight of his African Grey parrot or perhaps you are lucky enough to find him outside on starry night with a gentle acoustic, or perhaps a flute, playing his heart out to the moon and other nocturnal creatures.