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Old-Time Professional Hunter Books

The old-time professional hunter books are by the gentlemen who started guiding paying clients as 'White Hunters' in the golden era of safari hunting. Also there were those still professionally hunting elephant like W D M Bell and Taylor, who never went near a hunting client, if they could help it.

I will tell ye of the hunter, if ye listen for a while,
For their lives are worth the telling now and then;
There is much behind the curtain, which would make you raise a smile,
In the lives of all these hard safari men.
For his life is full of changes - there are no two weeks the same,
And he's not so free as hunters were of yore:
But his days are surely numbered, he must trek with all the game,
And ye'll never see the hunter any more.
Out in the tropical forest, and out on the great dry plain,
Always under the scorching sun and oft in the drenching rain,
Where he has led his safaris, there he will lead again,
Till the hunter's gone for ever, and the hunted all are slain.
Brian Brooke 1917

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Bunny Allen

Frank Maurice 'Bunny' Allen, (1906 - 2002) was born in Britain and lived most of his life in Kenya. He hunted with Denys Finch Hatton and Bror Blixen and accompanied three royal safaris. He was much in demand by Hollywood studios as to find the African wildlife 'backdrop' for movies and as a stand-in for actors in dangerous scenes.

First Wheel: A White Hunter's Diary 1927-47

First Wheel: A White Hunter's Diary 1927-47 by Bunny Allen (1983) was the first of Allen's three books about his adventures in the African bush between 1927 - 1947. Bunny Allen spins tales of hunting both in the bush and private quarters with practiced wit and panache.

Second Wheel: A White Hunter's Diary 1947-67

Second Wheel: A White Hunter's Diary 1947-67 by Bunny Allen (1985) is the continuation of this colourful professional hunter's autobiography - his adventures with wild beasts and beautiful women.

The Wheel Of Life: Bunny Allen, A Life Of Safaris And Romance

The Wheel Of Life: Bunny Allen, A Life Of Safaris And Romance by Bunny Allen (2002) contains some of his best stories never before published, as well as highlights from the previous two books to set the stage for his further exploits.
Shakari Connection Book Review

Major G H Anderson

Major G H Anderson (1878 - 1946), better known as Andy Anderson, was a renowned professional hunter and one of the founders of the East African Professional Hunters Association (EAPHA). In 1946 he suffered a major malaria attack and while recovering from it, he completed the manuscript for this volume and delivered it for publication. He died shortly after from pneumonia at the age of 68 before the book came out.

Major G H 'Andy' Anderson
Major G H 'Andy' Anderson (Right) & James Sutherland

African Safaris by Major G H Anderson (1946) are classic hunting adventures in the African wilds, some of his elephants carried tusks weighing over 200 lbs. The author also recalls his companionship with other great hunters like George Rushby and James Sutherland.

Baron Bror von Blixen-Finecke

Baron Bror von Blixen-Finecke (1886 - 1946) was a Swedish baron, writer and African big-game hunter. He founded the company 'Tanganyika Guides Ltd' and was in partnership with Philip Percival's 'African Guides' based in Kenya.

African Hunter

African Hunter by Bror Blixen (1938) who was the husband of Karen Blixen, better known under her pen name Isak Dinesen, between 1913 and 1925. Von Blixen-Finecke was a respected professional hunter and guide, who counted amongst his clients Edward, the Prince of Wales. He returned to Sweden in 1938.
Biographies of Bror Blixen by G F V Kleen and Ulf Aschan

Dugald Campbell

Dugald Campbell (b. 1871) was traveller in Africa who became a professional ivory hunter who worked in what is now, north west Zambia, and also in the Belgian Congo and French Equatorial Africa.

In The Heart Of Bantuland

In The Heart Of Bantuland: A Record Of 29 Year's Pioneering In Central Africa Among The Bantu Peoples With A Description Of Their Habits, Customs, Secret Societies And Languages by Dugald Campbell (1922) with 2 chapters on hunting. Free eBook

Wanderings In Central Africa

Wanderings In Central Africa: The Experiences And Adventures Of A Lifetime Of Pioneering And Exploration by Dugald Campbell (1929)

Douglas Collins

Douglas Tatum Collins became a professional hunter in 1956 after ten years as a District Commissioner in Somalia. He initially joined Safariland, hunting with colleagues, Philip Percival and J A Hunter and then founded his own company Kenya Safaris Ltd.

A Tear For Somalia

A Tear For Somalia by Douglas Collins (1960) is his fascinating story of African adventure.

A Tear For Somalia and Another Tear For Africa (2 Volumes) by Douglas Collins (1980). Available in 2 volume sets. 'Another Tear For Africa' further describes his adventures which are sometimes grim, but always exciting.

Tales From Africa by Douglas Collins (1995) is a "whimsical anthology of my fifty-four years in Africa, mostly in tents and under thorn trees". Collins was a soldier, an administrative officer in Somaliland and a professional hunter in Kenya. He was also a gifted raconteur and writer.

Charles Cottar

Charles Cottar (1874 - 1939) was an American who arrived in Kenya in 1909, hunted for ivory between 1915 and 1918 besides ranching and mining. After 1918 he took up professional hunting, subsequently conducting some of the biggest safaris ever to come to Kenya. With his sons, Pat and Mike, he formed Cottar Safari Services. Their legacy lives on to this date.

Cottar: The Exception Was The Rule by Charles Cottar (1999). Cottar pursued writing as a hobby and had a number of articles published and kept a detailed diary which forms the basis of this book. In spite of several maulings, one of which left him partially paralyzed, he did more with one eye and one leg than most men did with two.

Marcus Daly

Originally based in Rhodesia, Marcus Daley was a professional game trapper and ivory hunter. He became an early professional hunter in East Africa with the likes of Bill Judd and Tom Murray Smith.

Big Game Hunting and Adventure 1897-1936

Big Game Hunting and Adventure 1897-1936 by Marcus Daly (1937) is a memorable big game hunting book that should be required reading of all hunters and by all collectors. Daly's work is often quoted by other authors.

Fred Everett

Frederick William Everett (1920 - 2009) was a professional elephant hunter born in the Bechuanaland Protectorate (Botswana). During his long hunting career, Fred Everett hunted in Bechuanaland, Southern Rhodesia and the Wankie Game Reserve, Mozambique and Sudan, shooting scores of elephants. He later became a tsetse control officer in Zimbabwe before retiring to South Africa.

Tuskers In The Dust

Tuskers In The Dust by Fred Everett (2008). The story picks up in 1937 with a number of elephant hunting adventures. He hunted along the Zambezi River, in Okavango and in Mozambique. He was a professional elephant hunter.

Heat, Thirst And Ivory

Heat, Thirst And Ivory by Fred Everett (2009) is the life story of a man who came to be known as 'Radephiri', father of hyenas. An unusual life and a great story.

Andrew Holmberg

Andrew Holmberg (b.1918) was born in Kenya of Swedish parents. He grew up amongst the most famous hunters and East African personalities of the day. His father was the professional hunter, Emil Holmberg, his godmother was Isak Dinesen who delivered him into the world and his father helped manage the Blixen estate. He became a professional hunter himself in 1939, forging a successful career and taking many notable trophies for his clients and himself. Andrew Holmberg formed 'Selby and Holmberg Ltd' in partnership with Harry Selby who left Ker & Downey Safaris in 1956.

Out In Africa: The Extraordinary Life And Times Of Andrew Holmberg

Out In Africa: The Extraordinary Life And Times Of Andrew Holmberg by Andrew Holmberg (2000). He holds the record for the greatest number of 100-pound plus elephants. Sixty-three taken for family, friends and clients and that does not include many that were almost 100 pounds. His personal best on elephant is 141 pounds per side. His best buffalo is 58 inches. Andrew consistently pioneered new areas where others followed later. In East African professional hunting history, no other individual has been given undisputed credit for so many number one accomplishments in the hunting area as Andrew Holmberg.

John Alfred Jordan

John Alfred Jordan (c.1857 - c.1933) was a British traveller, big game hunter and trader. He was also the most notorious ivory poacher along the borders of German East Africa. He killed forty crocodiles in one day on Lake Victoria and hunted for the 'Elephant Stone'.

John Alfred Jordan
John Alfred Jordan with Edgar Beecher Bronson

John Alfred Jordan
John Alfred Jordan with Edgar Beecher Bronson

Elephants And Ivory: True Tales Of Hunting And Adventure by John Alfred Jordan (1956) are the true tales, as told to John Prebble, of a professional hunter and an inveterate ivory poacher.

The Elephant Stone

The Elephant Stone by John Alfred Jordan (1959) as told to George Leith, is the autobiography of 'Mongaso, 'the man who is always moving'. Jordan was an adventurer and hunter who travelled extensively throughout Africa in the early years of the twentieth century. He was obsessed with the search for the Elephant Stone, a "precious gem to be had from the skull of a tuskless bull elephant".


Mongaso: Man Who Is Always Moving: The Story Of An African Hunter by John Alfred Jordan (1956) is the account of the African experiences of hunter John Alfred Jordan as told to John Prebble. His story begins before World War One and he only left for England 25 years later when, as he said, "rotten with malaria" another year in Africa would have killed him. This is 'Elephants And Ivory' published with a different title.

Donald Ker

Donald Ian Ker (1905 - 1981) was born in Britain and lived most of his life in Kenya. He was great friends with Mike Cottar learning most of his hunting skills accompanying Cottar's safaris. In partnership with Syd Downey, Ker & Downey Safaris was founded in 1946.

African Adventure

African Adventure by Donald Ker (1957). The founder of Ker & Downey, the famous safari company, tells of his own experiences with big game and some of his better known clients.

Oskar Koenig

Oskar Koenig (b.1896), born in Leipzig, Germany and was for 25 years the only professional white hunter in Tanganyika. He became one of Africa's most important hunters turned conservationists and was instrumental in setting up the Ngorogoro National Park.

Pori Tupu

Pori Tupu by Oskar Koenig (1954) are the extraordinary adventures of one of Africa's great white hunters - 25 years of facing danger and excitement described by the man with a deep understanding of the continent and its big game. The title 'Pori Tupu' means 'dangerous bush'.

The Masai Story

The Masai Story by Oskar Koenig (1956) is a history of the Masai and an account of their habits, psychology and traditions.

The Masai Story

Snorty The Rhino by Oskar Koenig (1965)

David Leslie

David Leslie (c.1838 - 1872) was a Scotsman who arrived in Durban in 1849 at the age of 11 years. He learnt to speak the Zulu language so proficiently that he became an interpreter in the law courts. However he badly wanted to hunt big game, so as an impecunious 19 year old, he walked to Zululand and traded and hunted enough with the Zulus to buy an ox wagon. In 1871 he wanted to explore the gamelands of northern Zululand and Mozambique, so he and his men rowed 35 mile up river from Lorenco Marques into Tongaland. In poor health with fever, he then returned to Britain via Durban and later in 1872 died from a severe lung condition aged 35.

W H Drummond was assisted by David Leslie when he made his expeditions which resulted in his book The Large Game and Natural History of South and South-East Africa. He paid tribute to David Leslie..."to his kindly placing at my disposal, during my expeditions, the large number of hunters and natives in his service, I owe many of my opportunities for observation. Nay, I must add, that it is chiefly to his skill, attention, and kindness in illness, and to his assistance in many of the dangers and difficulties incident to travel and hunting among the natives in the interior, that I attribute my having ultimately returned alive to this country."

Among The Zulus And Amatongas

Among The Zulus And Amatongas: With Sketches Of The Natives, Their Language And Customs; And The Country, Products, Climate, Wild Animals, Etc by David Leslie & edited by W H Drummond (1875) was published posthumously. It is about the life of David Leslie who lived among the Zulus as a trader and hunter for most of his short life. "His acquaintance with the languages, politics, customs and feelings of the natives of Natal, and of the important semi-independent States lying between the British and Portuguese possessions on the East Coast, was probably greater than that of any other man." Free eBook

Fred G Merfield

Fred G Merfield was an English planter in the Cameroons before the First World War and collected 115 gorillas and other rare creatures for European museums. During the 2nd World War, he had the distinction of becoming an French Commissioner of Police in the French Cameroons, despite being English. Merfield was the first author to describe the chimpanzees use of 'tools'.

Gorillas Were My Neighbours

Gorillas Were My Neighbours by Fred G Merfield (1956) with Harry Miller, is the true story of Fred Merfield's life among the gorillas of the west African forests. Merfield was described as the greatest white hunter in Africa, for he sought out the most difficult terrain for his activities and constantly belied the theory that only Africans have the necessary stealth, skill and endurance for tracking and hunting in their dense tropical forests. Fred Merfield's chief interest was always the rare gorilla of West Africa, and he eventually penetrated the remote, little known Mendjim country where, by the exercise of courage and persistence, he made friends with the wild natives.

Gorilla Hunter: The African Adventures Of A Hunter Extraordinary

Gorilla Hunter: The African Adventures Of A Hunter Extraordinary by Fred G Merfield (1956) with Harry Miller, are the memoirs of a professional hunter who spent 35 years in the French Cameroons, collecting rare animals for museums and zoos. This book contains much information about the gorilla in his native habitat and disposes of many false myths.

Tom Murray Smith

The Nature Of The Beast

The Nature Of The Beast by Tom Murray Smith (1963) are the experiences of one of the best of the old-time professional hunters. He survived being pinned to the ground by a charging elephant and also an enraged lioness that leapt into his car. Smith was one time President of the East African Professional Hunters Association.

Safari Trail

Safari Trail by Tom Murray Smith (1965) are stories from the author's life experiences as a professional guide.

Tom Murray Smith's biography 'Nimrod Smith: A Profile Of T Murray Smith' by Alan Wykes

Sir Alfred E Pease

Sir Alfred Edward Pease (1857 - 1939) was a British Liberal Party politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1885 to 1902 and was an early settler and occasional professional white hunter in British East Africa. He was responsible for inviting Roosevelt to hunt in Africa.

Alfred Pease
L to R: Kermit Roosevelt, Alfred Pease, Theodore Roosevelt

The Book Of The Lion

The Book Of The Lion by Alfred Pease (1911) covers all aspects of lion history and hunting. Free eBook

Hunting Reminiscences

Hunting Reminiscences by Alfred E Pease (1898) includes chapters on hounds, hare-hunting, fox-hunting and badger hunting. Free eBook

Edmund Loder: Naturalist, Horticulturist, Traveller and Sportsman

Edmund Loder: Naturalist, Horticulturist, Traveller and Sportsman by Alfred Pease (1923). Loder was a pre-eminent sportsman and horticulturist of his era and is lionized by Pease and other writers in this memoir. Among his worldwide hunts were excursions into Tunisia after wild boar and addax. During a safari to Somaliland, he bagged kudu in the Golas Range, as well as gerenuk and gazelle. At Hagal he collected several lions in addition to various species of plains game. In a later trip to the Kapiti Plains of British East Africa, he hunted rhino, gazelle, eland, impala and a host of other game. Loder's gazelle is named after him. He also hunted bear in Kashmir's Lolab Valley, markhor in the Pir Panjal, as well as barasingh, bison and tiger, the latter near Hyderabad. He also hunted tiger near Madras and in the Neilgherry Hills in India. Free eBook

Biskra: The Oases And Desert Of The Zibans With Information For Travellers

Biskra: The Oases And Desert Of The Zibans With Information For Travellers by Alfred Pease (1893) Free eBook

A Private Memoir Of Sir Thomas Fowler, Bart

A Private Memoir Of Sir Thomas Fowler, Bart by Alfred Pease (1911) is an interesting memoir to Sir Thomas Fowler, Lieutenant (later Captain) in the Wiltshire Yeomanry killed in action at the action at Moolman's Spruit, April 20th, 1902. His letters from South Africa which form the basis of the memoir are very descriptive.

Philip H Percival

Philip Hope Percival (1886 - 1966) was the dean of African Professional hunters. He arrived in the Kenya colony as a young man to join his brother Blayney Percival who trained him to stalk and hunt various African animals. Later as a co-founder of the East African Professional Hunter's Association (EAPHA) Percival took Ernest Hemingway on safari in the mid 1930s, and through Hemingway's book 'Snows of Kilimanjaro', Percival became more famous. During Hemingway's last ill-fated safari, Percival came out of retirement in the late 1950s to arrange the safari. Percival was described by Papa as "the finest man I ever knew in any war or any peace."

Along with R J Cunninghame and Selous, Philip Percival was 'chief assistant PH' on the Roosevelt safari, when Roosevelt was hunting lion with Alfred Pease. He went on to conduct safaris for Carl Akeley, George Eastman, the Duke of Connaught, Baron Rothschild, Gary Cooper and many more notable clients.

Philip Percival
L to R: Ben Fourie, Charles Thompson, Philip Percival and Ernest Hemingway 1934

Hunting, Settling And Remembering

Hunting, Settling And Remembering by Philip Percival (1997). Philip Percival recalled his long hunting career as a professional hunter in the safari business in manuscipts for this book just prior to his death in 1966.

Paul L Potous

Paul L Potous
Paul L Potous

No Tears For The Crocodile

No Tears For The Crocodile by Paul L Potous (1956) The author seeks his freedom in a flat bottomed boat on an African river, killing crocodiles at a distance of six feet. As a professional hunter, he kills them for their belly skins which make leather that will last a hundred years.

My Enemy, The Crocodile: The Strange Story Of Africa's Deadliest Business

My Enemy, The Crocodile: The Strange Story Of Africa's Deadliest Business by Paul L Potous (1957). More on the author's unusual profitable business, hunting, killing and skinning African crocodiles.

Major P J Pretorius

Major Philip Jacobus Pretorius (1876 - 1945) was responsible for finding and sinking the German warship Konigsberg during World War I. Pretorius also helped the South African government clear a huge number of elephants in the Addo district. He cleaned them out so efficiently that it was decided to create a reserve and let the remainder live out their lives there - today that reserve is the Addo Elephant Park.

Major P J Pretorius
Major P J Pretorius

Major P J Pretorius
Major P J Pretorius

Jungle Man: The Autobiography Of Major P J Pretorius

Jungle Man: The Autobiography Of Major P J Pretorius by P J Pretorius (1948) who began his career as an ivory hunter in the 1890s almost two decades before the profession of 'white hunter' was created. This book tells the story of this famed African adventurer in his own words and was published posthumously.
Shakari Connection Book Review

Andreas Robert Siedentopf

Andreas Robert Siedentopf was an American engineer, lecturer and naturalist who lived in Tanganyika hunting wild animals and studying their habits. He eventually changed from hunting big game with a rifle to hunting with a camera.

The Last Stronghold Of Big Game

The Last Stronghold Of Big Game by Andreas Robert Siedentopf (1946) is a memoir of the author's days as a big game hunter in Africa. Fifteen years in Tanganyika and Kenya after rogue buffalo, man-eating lions and leopards and other big game. Siedentopf was a keen observer and was made an honorary game ranger.

Ada and Laddy Wincza

Ada and Laddy Wincza went from being Polish freedom fighters in World War II to successful operators of big game safaris in Tanganyika and later in Kenya. Ada Wincza was also a fine hunter as well as photographer, linguist and author.

Bush And Plains

Bush And Plains by Ada and Laddy Wincza (1983) are the fascinating reminiscences of a husband and wife who started a new life in Africa as a white hunter and a safari guide, and their experiences with clients, natives and a wide range of big game.

Masai The Magnificent

Masai The Magnificent by Ada Wincza (1970) is a comprehensive study of the Masai tribe. Illustrated with photographs, as well as a bibliography and a 6 page common words and sentences in Masai language with English translation.

Robert Wright

Bwana Mkubwa: Big Game Hunting And Trading In Central Africa 1894 To 1904

Bwana Mkubwa: Big Game Hunting And Trading In Central Africa 1894 To 1904 by Robert Wright (2012). These memoirs are an interesting and sometimes humorous window into the life of the European pioneers of Northern Rhodesia and the British East African Protectorate from 1894 to 1904. Robert and his brother David were initially employed as coffee farmers in the Blantyre district. Their sense of adventure soon led them to start a business hunting trophy animals and trading for ivory and rubber from Lake Tanganyika to the Katanga province of the Congo. Kindle Version

Ernst A Zwilling

Ernst Alexander Zwilling (1904 - 1990) was an Austrian white hunter in the Cameroon after the First World War. He went on to take clients to French Equatorial Africa and Uganda. He wrote many books in German about his African hunting career.

Jungle Fever: Expedition Into Equatorial Africa

Jungle Fever: Expedition Into Equatorial Africa by Ernst A Zwilling (1956) recounts a hunting expedition into East Africa and the Cameroon for rhinos, lions, hippos, leopards, hyenas, buffalos and crocodiles.

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