Synopses & Reviews
A hilarious, highly original collection of essays based on the Botswana truism: "only food runs!"
In the tradition of Bill Bryson, a new writer brings us the lively adventures and biting wit of an African safari guide. Peter Allison gives us the guide's-eye view of living in the bush, confronting the world's fiercest terrain of wild animals and, most challenging of all, managing herds of gaping tourists. Passionate for the animals of the Kalahari, Allison works as a top safari guide in the wildlife-rich Okavango Delta. As he serves the whims of his wealthy clients, he often has to stop the impulse to run as far away from them as he can, as these tourists are sometimes more dangerous than a pride of lions.
No one could make up these outrageous-but-true tales: the young woman who rejected the recommended safari-friendly khaki to wear a more "fashionable" hot pink ensemble; the lost tourist who happened to be drunk, half-naked, and a member of the British royal family; establishing a real friendship with the continent's most vicious animal; the Japanese tourist who requested a repeat performance of Allison's being charged by a lion so he could videotape it; and spending a crazy night in the wild after blowing a tire on a tour bus, revealing that Allison has as much good-natured scorn for himself.
The author's humor is exceeded only by his love and respect for the animals, and his goal is to limit any negative exposure to humans by planning trips that are minimally invasive unfortunately it doesn't always work out that way!
"At age 19, Australian-born Allison headed to Africa for challenge and adventure, planning to stay no more than a year; having found work as a safari guide, he's still there some 13 years later. In this fun, fearless memoir, Allison shares his experiences taking 'guests' through the African wilderness, trips that often don't go quite as planned-due especially to the unpredictability of the animals around them. Allison is a skilled, funny and vibrant storyteller, dishing arcane bits of wisdom like an expatriate Alligator Hunter: 'I understand a little bit of monkey language, and "kwe" is a sound I listened for. It was an alarm... full blown monkey conniptions were reserved for leopards.' A hilarious chapter recounting a troubled thousand mile trek through the Kalahari Desert finds Allison trying to wave down a passing truck in the middle of the night: 'I realized that the driver would have seen what looked like a very animated sage bush with pasty white hands growing from it... he'd probably go straight to a witch doctor... and ask if there was a curse on him.' Along the way, Allison examines his fellow guides, the struggle with exhaustion, getting lost and the temptation to make frequently visiting animals into pets, as well as some poignant asides on love and death." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Allison's infectious enthusiasm for both the African bush and his job showing its wonders to tourists is readily apparent, making for a fast and very entertaining read." Booklist
"Allison's infectious enthusiasm for both the African bush and his job showing its wonders to tourists is readily apparent." --Booklist "His misadventures make Whatever You Do, Don't Run an absorbing read. . . . The material is rich, and Allison is a gifted storyteller. And the only thing stranger than African fiction is African truth." --National Geographic Adventure "After reading this entrancing memoir, an African safari may move to No. 1 on your travel wish list. The only catch is you'll want the author as your guide." --Chicago Sun-Times
"A well-known nature writer travels to the Namib Desert, ‘one of the oldest unchanged landscapes on earth . . . an exciting adventure."
A hilarious, highly original collection of essays based on the Botswana truism: only food runs! Allison presents the guides-eye view of living in the bush, confronting the worlds fiercest terrain of wild animals, and managing herds of gaping tourists.
Welcome to the African bush, where the animals are fierce, the tourists can be wild, and only the food runs! Whatever You Do, Dont Run
is a hilarious collection of true tales from top safari guide Peter Allison. In a place where the wrong behavior could get you eaten, Allison has survived face-to-face encounters with big cats, angry elephants, and the worlds most unpredictable animals—herds of untamed tourists and foolhardy guides whose outrageous antics sometimes make them even more dangerous than a pride of hungry lions!
Join Allison as he faces down charging lions—twice; searches for a drunk, half-naked tourist who happens to be a member of the British royal family; drives a Land Rover full of tourists into a lagoon full of hippos; and adopts the most vicious animal in Africa as his “pet.” Full of lively humor and a genuine love and respect for Botswana and its rich wildlife, Whatever You Do, Dont Run takes you to where the wild things are and introduces you to a place where every day is a new adventure!
A hilarious, highly original collection of essays based on the Botswana truism: “only food runs!” With a new introduction and new material from the author
Acclaimed nature writer Rick Bass takes us on a journey into the Namib Desert to follow a group of poachers-turned-conservationists as they track the endangered black rhinos through their ancient and harsh African homeland.
“An extraordinary exploration and meditation . . . [Bass] transports us along on this wonder-filled tour, full of hardness and hope, into an otherworldly place that mirrors our own.” —National Geographic Traveler
Black rhinos are not actually black. They are, however, giant animals with tiny eyes, feet the diameter of laundry baskets, and horns that are prized for both their aesthetic and medicinal qualities. Until recently, these creatures were perched on the edge of extinction, their numbers dwindling as they succumbed to poachers and the ravages of civil war. Now their numbers are rising, thanks to a groundbreaking new conservation method from the Save the Rhino Trust: make sure that rhinos are worth more alive than dead.
Rick Bass, who has long worn the uneasy mantle of both activist and hunter, traveled to Namibia to find black rhinos. The tale of his journey provides a deeper understanding of these amazing animals and of just what needs to be done to protect them.
“Bass provides a singularly thoughtful portrait of a unique animal, and a meditation on mankind’s relationship to both it and the natural world as a whole.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune
From one of our most gifted writers on the natural world comes a stunning exploration of a unique landscape and the improbable and endangered animal that makes its home there.
Rick Bass first made a name for himself as a writer and seeker of rare, iconic animals, including the grizzlies and wolves of the American West. Now hes off on a new, far-flung adventure in the Namib of southwest Africa on the trail of another fascinating, vulnerable species. The black rhino is a three-thousand-pound, squinty-eyed giant that sports three-foot-long dagger horns, lives off poisonous plants, and goes for days without water.
Human intervention and cutting-edge conservation saved the rhinos—for now—from the brink of extinction brought on by poaching and war. Against the backdrop of one of the most ancient and harshest terrains on earth, Bass, with his characteristic insight and grace, probes the complex relationship between humans and nature and meditates on our role as both destroyer and savior.
In the tradition of Peter Matthiessens The Tree Where Man Was Born, Bass captures a haunting slice of Africa, especially of the “black” rhinos that glow ghostly white in the gleaming sun.
About the Author
Peter Allison is originally from Sydney, Australia. His safaris have been featured in National Geographic, Conde Nast Traveler, and on television programs such as Jack Hanna's Animal Adventures. He travels frequently to speaking appearances, and splits most of his time between Botswana, Sydney, and San Francisco.
Table of Contents
Part I: Pastoral 1
Part II: Wild 77
Part III: Dust 197