Detlef H. Schnabel was born on 5 September 1958 in Düsseldorf, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. He completed an apprenticeship and formal education certificate programme in banking at Deutsche Bank AG, Düsseldorf, before graduating in Social Sciences at the Comprehensive University of Duisburg. He was last employed as a Human Resources Generalist at a Swiss private bank in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and is now retired.
Detlef has an affection for the southern African flora, with a special interest in succulent euphorbias. He is the National Representative for Austria and Germany of the International Euphorbia Society (IES).
Detlef has been a regular visitor to South Africa since 1982, the year he was chosen by the South African Foreign Trade Organisation (SAFTO) to complete an internship at a local company near Johannesburg.
Detlef is a self-taught amateur botanist, photographer and writer. He characterises himself as a naturalist who is devoted to studying plants in their natural habitat.