Jungle Man - Autobiography of Maj. P.J. Pretorius

by Maj. P. J. Pretorius
(Ross Murphy - Oklahoma, USA)

This is a book I bought on a hunch hoping that it was better than the title. How true it is - "do not judge a book by its cover". This is one of the better written and most entertaining books written in the late 1890's to 1920's era of elephant hunting.

Major P. J. Pretorius was the guide that led the British to the German warship Konigsberg that was hidden in the Rufigi River delta area. He had hunted the area extensively and led Gen. Smuts men to the area and the ship was destroyed. He lived with cannibals, pygmies and a host of other African tribes gaining their confidence which later saved him as he escaped from the Germans after being shot in both legs.

He knew Selous and in truth, Selous replaced him on the mission where Selous was killed. He crossed paths with the elephant hunters in the Lado Enclave. Pretoria in South Africa was named after his grandfather. His story is amazing - escapes from natives, from the Germans in WWI, encounters with elephants and his overall wonderlust for adventure.

If you enjoyed Selous' book or the John Boyes book (King of the Wa-Kikuyu) or the Ivory Trail by Bulpin - you will love this book. He tells his story very matter of factly and in an easy to read style.

I highly recommend this book for it's originality and exciting tales of a time we have missed.

I rate this a solid 9.5 out of 10 on the dogcat scale and hope you can get a copy.

PS - I found a cheap copy on Abebooks.com . Mike Resnick put together a series of Africana books that has been reprinted (not very well however) and are easy to find for a reasonable price. I do not collect rare books, so I am always looking for a "deal". The copy I have is cheaply bound but ok. I wish Safari Press had reprinted this book in their usual excellent manner.

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Feb 14, 2014
Jungle man
by: Seeiso

I found the book in my grandfather's prized possessions and he unselfishly allowed me to read it. From his exploits as a big game hunter, as a scout for the British during WW1 and the charge lion films he was involved in - Maj. Pretorius' live was truly legendary and probably had more than nine lives!

Feb 08, 2014
Maj PJ Pretorius
by: Willem Pretorius

Evening all

I'm also a distant relative of this great and brave hunter (though quite a small man in real life) and would like to get in contact with other (unknown to me) Pretorius distant relatives.


mooi loop

Dec 19, 2013
Jungle Man
by: Marius Venter

Hi Tiaan, Maj PJ Pretorius was my Grandfather. My mother and sisters and brother still stay on Renosterpoort. If you want to contact me mariusv@autocity.co.za 079 236 0131
I have read his book numerous times and am still amazed by his life. My mom's brother's wife is busy with a translation in Afrikaans.

Nov 10, 2013
Also family of Major Pretorius
by: Tiaan Theron

I live in Maun, Botswana and we are steeped in stories of the old hunters like Cecil Barnard (Ivory Trail:Bulpin), whose son, Isak, passed away a year or two ago.
I never knew why my mother's name was Gerbreggie Androecina and now I have a good idea where it came from. Major Pretorius was her uncle and we used to visit his farm often in the sixties and seventies, after which we lost contact with the family at Renosterpoort.I never met the major but was fascinated by the brandy still on his farm for which he had a license...aparentely very rare to have and his wife inhereted this license.
I am going hunting for Jungle Man...would love to read it.

Oct 03, 2013
Related to Major Pretorius
by: Okkie Butler

Major Pretorius was a brother of my grandfather, Hendrik Carel Pretorius. He lived close to the Major's farm at Nylstroom on his farm, Buffelsfontein. He was married to Kato(Viviers). My mother was Nancy Butler(nee Pretorius) and her sister was Breggie Theron(nee Pretorius). Their brother, Gert, died in 1972, colliding with a train close to the farm. Both Nancy and Breggie have passed away.
I would love to get a full family tree of all the Pretorius brothers and their ancestors.

Sep 18, 2013
An Incredible Man.
by: Robert Bray

I grew up enamored by Major P.J. Pretorius. I lost count the number of times I have read "Jungle Man." Even today it amazes me that a man of such character and conviction could pack as much living into his life as he did. My one regret is that I never had the chance to meet Major Pretorius.

May 15, 2013
Songea connection
by: Dr Bernard Leeman

I am from Songea, Tanzania, a country where I still have a home and at present working. I was born in 1945 a month after Major Pretorius's death and we have always had a copy of Jungle Man. My copy was stolen in England but a Shona headmaster in Zimbabwe gave me his copy, which I still have and have lent to an Afrikaner family in Australia. Pretorius was an incredible person and I give him full coverage in my lectures about WW1 in German East - my father served in the KAR and settled in Songea after the war,spoecing soem time as a professional hunter and coffee farmer (now Ugano Coffee Research station). Pretorius was very active in that area. I also noted Pretorius's gift for languages, such as his correct rendition of the Kilimanjaro tribe as Chaka instead of the name used nowadays - Chaga/Chagga, and followed up his reference on page 69 which was about John Harrison Clark (c.1860-1927)- known as Changa Changa

I regret that Wilbur Smith stole the story of Jungle Man and made such a dreadful book and movie parodying it (Shout at the Devil).

Apr 17, 2013
Major P.J. Pretorius.
by: Tanja

Dear all

I am one of his great, great grandchildren. His youngest daughter, Maria (Marie) Venter is my Grandmother, and my Father is her oldest son.

Marie still lives on the farm, Rhenosterpoort, that he purchased so many years ago.

I am proud to be a descendant from the great Major P.J. Pretorius.

Aug 17, 2012
Family matters
by: Jaco

Magda, Breggie was indeed my grandmother and yes, her father was Coenraad whom had been mauled by the leopard. My aunt has most of the family history - photos, etc with her as well as her money collectio to which the Major contributed with coins he collected on his journeys. Unfortunately the oldest which dated bach to the 1500's had been stolen

Jun 04, 2012
Anna Catharina Pretorius - Daugther of Maj. PJ Pretorius
by: Magda Strydom

4 June 2012 - I have just spoken to the family on the farm just outside Nylstroom and Ouma Ann (Anna Catharina Pretorius), knows Gerbreggie Androecina by the name Breggie.

Your great grandfather the one that was killed on the horse by the Leopard was his name Coert Pretorius the brother of Major Pretorius?

Please if possible could you contact me.

Magda Strydom
082 705 2311
(012) 358 0333(W)



Jun 04, 2012
I am married to Johannes Zwanenburg Strydom and Maj. PJ Pretorius is his great grandfather
by: Magda Strydom

Good day,

Herewith a request if Jaco could share some more information regarding Maj. Pretorius and if possible could we contact each other via email, as i would like to find out more of your family tree and the history you share with Maj. Pretorius.

His farm just outside Nylstroom were we visited this weekend and spend some time with my husbands grandmother Ouma Ann, also shared stories and photo's of Maj. Pretorius.

My email: magdast@tshwane.gov.za

Magda Strydom
412 Deetlef Street
Pretoria North

Kind Regards

May 31, 2011
Addo elephant
by: Jaco

A pdf document with regards to the culling of the Addo elephant and Major Pretorius' role can be downloaded at www.koedoe.co.za/index.php/koedoe/article/view/372/361

May 31, 2011
Further interesting facts
by: Jaco

Major Pretorius was also appointed in the Addo bushland on the South African Garden Route along the eastern coast of the country, to cull the herd of elephant which created havoc on the farm lands in the district. You can search on the internet under "addo" and "major pretorius" and you will find a few sites where comments were made with regards to the history of the park and the culling of the elephant. I include a direct link to one of the sites - www.sanparks.org/parks/addo/tourism/history.php

May 31, 2011
Jungle Man
by: Jaco

Hi Matt,

His full names were Philip Jacobus Pretorius(my christian name is also Jacobus, hence the shortened name Jaco). He is a descendant of the Boer / Voortrekker leader Gert Andries Pretorius. The capitol city of South Africa, Pretoria is actually named after Andries Pretorius as the leader was known. These names were fairly "sacred" in the Boer community and my poor grandmother being a direct descendant and also first born, had to carry the names Gerbreggie Androecina, which were made up by combining the male names with some female names!


May 31, 2011
An amazing life
by: Matt

I keep a copy of Jungle Man close to me always. Some of said that the simplicity of the prose keep the book from being one of the great Africana stories. This may be so, but its the simple, humble and unassuming tone that give the book its charm and says plenty about the author.

Jaco, I have always wondered what PJ stood for, and Peter Capstick (one of Pretorius' biographers) never was able to find out. So the P stood for Philip.. any idea what the J stood for.

Kind regards, Matt

Nov 15, 2010
Jungle Man
by: Jaco

Jungle Man is an autobiography of one of my ancestors. My grandmother used to tell us lots of stories with regards to uncle Philip's safaris and adventures. He used to send her coins from all over the world, one which dated back to the 1500's. Unfortunately, this was stolen together with some other valuables she collected. We still have numerous original photographs he sent her over the years. Coming from Africa, I still long for those long evenings next to a cozy fire in the bushveld listening to the sounds of silence - where human beings are absent and only nature prevails. Where you can feel the vibration when a lion roars... I did not agree with everything he did like the culling of the elephant in the Addo. Fortunately the herd in Addo has been restored over years where they are protected. And he never found the leopard that killed my great grandfather on the back of his horse.

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