In fascinating and often amusing detail, Bull depicts both the hardships and the incongruous luxury of the classic safaris of the early 20th century and presents the legend of the great white hunter as seen by H. Rider Haggard, Hemingway, and Hollywood. 275 photos and illustrations, 75 in full color.In fascinating and often amusing detail, Bull depicts both the hardships and the incongruous luxury of the classic safaris of the early 20th century and presents the legend of the great white hunter as seen by H. Rider Haggard, Hemingway, and Hollywood. 275 photos and illustrations, 75 in full color.Read Less
New. This mint, classic, paperback, Penguin Books, London, 1992, has glossy pictorial covers. The book size is 8.5" w x 10.5" h with maps, a glossary, a bibliography, many illustrations, an index and 383 pristine pages on high quality paper. ISBN 0140168850. ( This is about the true safaris-where you drink out of a canvas bag and wash your face in a tri-legged canvas "basin." This is the antithesis of the present pampered city type "safaris" that have more in common with show business than the bush. ) "In 1866 Mzilikazi had permitted the first two safaris of European elephant hunters to hunt in Mashonaland to the north of Matabeleland. One party was led by the Englishman Henry Hartley, and the other by Jan Viljoen and Petrus Jacobs, who together bagged 210 elephant in one season. Greedy, trading for ever more tusks, Viljoen betrayed Mzilikazi by bartering five guns with a Mashona tribe. This proved to be an expensive trade for the vassal Mashona tribe, which an annoyed Mzilikazi soon destroyed in consequence, killing the men and seizing the women, children and cattle in traditional fashion. The European hunters found much of Mashonaland infested with belts or zones of tsetse fly, and as the elephant retreated to safer country, the hunters were obliged to go after them on foot. In the curious way that some of nature's creatures form unwitting alliances in protecting each other, Africa's largest animal was now protected by one of her smallest. Persecuted to near extinction as far north as the Limpopo River, the elephant had retreated north to the fly country, where the tsetse kept horse and farmer at bay. During the hunting season, from May to December, Jan Viljoen and the other Boer ivory hunters were accustomed to hunting on horseback from base camps, where their wives, servants and many children lived by the wagons in wattle and daub huts, bringing the domestic amenities of farm life to the bush. Often the families suffered with the hunters. When Martinus Swartz died of malaria while on safari in 1877, ten members of his family died with him. As they were not inclined to leave their families or to hunt elephant on foot, and knowing the Matabele resented them, most Boer hunters preferred to avoid the fly country to the north. The British hunters, too, whether sportsmen or professional ivory hunters, did their work on horseback. Even when mounted, and supported by dogs and Africans, it was hazardous and tiring enough. But hunting elephant on foot added dangers and exhaustion to the chase. Other animals added unpredictable risks, and the advantage of speed and range shifted to the quarry. Finding and pursuing elephant on foot with unreliable, single-shot weapons was not for the lazy, fearful or incompetent. It meant trekking to the elephant country, walking up to ten hours a day to find the herds, stalking the large bulls and then running after them for miles to kill them. Every year the elephant grew more wary, avoiding their traditional water holes, seeming to sense the coming of the hunters, growing harder to find. They are capable of travelling many miles when wounded, and often the chase had no end. But Selous, and a few others, were prepared to play the game on foot. Eager to accept the king's generosity, Selous soon set off into the fly country, accompanied by one young African carrying his blanket and spare ammunition, and by Cigar, a former Cape Colony jockey and experienced Hottentot elephant hunter. It was a lean safari. Selous's four-bore guns were far inferior to the double-grooved rifles used by Harris, Oswell.....
Bartle Bull writes a story from the one-sided perspective of British hunters in a style typical of colonialism and their belief of supremacy. He belittles all about Africa and its people and puts the British hunter on a superior level. How could they have discovered anything in Africa - the people of Africa already knew the animals for eons. Maybe they educated and informed their own people back in England, the enlightened ones, but they did not discover anything. He also refers to the Boer people (white Afrikaners) in a derogative way, implicating on various occasions that they are simple minded to this day, forgetting about their significant achievements in science, medicine and various other fields, their excellent ability in almost any sport that they practise and their high level of education and civilisation. Bartle Bull honours those who raped the continent from its wildlife and treasures, the bandits / villains who destroyed more of nature in their lifetimes than the earth could withstand. Shame on him and shame on them - the so-called hunters: the relentless invaders and destroyers of all that is so precious and should be preserved.
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