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Whatever You Do, Don't Run: True Tales of a Botswana Safari Guide (2007)

by Peter Allison

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4953335,239 (3.84)49
A hilarious, highly original collection of essays based on the Botswana truism: "only food runs " With a new introduction and new material from the authorIn 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 New story: People often ask safari guides about the experience that frightened them the most. In this story Peter Allison tells of the time he became aware of unseen danger, and knew that somewhere within meters of him was a hunting lioness. 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.… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
Mildly interesting about wild life and travel in the Okavango delta and elsewhere but the writer - the guide - is kind of a pussy all caught up in his feelings and his politically correct yammering about the locals and his hatred of firearms and other uncool stuff - among white males manliness is a thing of the past replaced by the placid acceptance of dominance by groups who gleefully continue to compete - woe is us. Three-quarters of the way through I put it down and turned to something more exciting. ( )
  BayanX | Nov 28, 2018 |
This is a super fast read. Only 245 pages long (and faster if you read at the same time as listen to the audio like I did), you'll get through this in no time. Which is good because that will give you time to read it again and again. I know I wanted to! Allison can be hilarious but he can also be extremely poignant. What comes through the strongest, though, is his love for the wildlife in Botswana. Whether its wild cats or beautiful birds, Allison has a deep respect for all creatures he may take a tourist to see. The audio has the narration of Antony Ferguson. Not to be missed! ( )
  SeriousGrace | Oct 2, 2017 |
This is a super fast read. Only 245 pages long (and faster if you read at the same time as listen to the audio like I did), you'll get through this in no time. Which is good because that will give you time to read it again and again. I know I wanted to! Allison can be hilarious but he can also be extremely poignant. What comes through the strongest, though, is his love for the wildlife in Botswana. Whether its wild cats or beautiful birds, Allison has a deep respect for all creatures he may take a tourist to see. The print has some amazing photographs. ( )
  SeriousGrace | Oct 2, 2017 |
I'm not sure whether to call this memoir or a travel book. It's an entertaining reminiscence of the author's work as a safari guide. The stories are funny and the tone is light. You won't learn much about history or culture from this book, but it may inspire you to plan a safari. ( )
  kaitanya64 | Jan 3, 2017 |
Peter Allison always loved wildlife. He went on a vacation backpacking in Africa, and never wanted to leave again. When he found out he could make a living as a safari guide he was ecstatic. He worked in various locations for several different safari outfits; this book describes his time in Botswana.

While there are plenty of self-deprecating jokes and Allison has no qualms about describing his clumsiness and mistakes that often get him into troublesome situations (drowning several vehicles when he tries to cross rivers, or finding himself too close -on foot- to an upset mother lion or elephant for example) you can tell he really loves the wildlife, and the book is just as much about appreciating the animals. There's also a lot about what goes on behind the scenes in running a safari camp, the ups and downs of the daily grind it becomes, the relationships with his co-workers, the visiting tourists who are often difficult or demanding. And there are some quite serious moments when people fall ill, have accidents, run into dangerous snakes. Or when a kill they are excitedly homing in on to show the tourists some action- lions and hyenas fighting over something- turns out to be the death of an animal they had come to know from long association- so instead it is something quite sad.

I liked this book. It was engaging, funny, heartwarming, interesting by turns and made me want to go look up more by this author.

from the Dogear Diary ( )
  jeane | Oct 25, 2016 |
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Tantor Media

An edition of this book was published by Tantor Media.

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