John Francois Burger (1882 - 1984) was born in South Africa, moved to Rhodesia where he hunted with notable hunters like Selous and van der Westhuizen. During WWI he joined the military and was assigned to supply meat for the troops - the 'Burger buffalo campaign'. He then spent 15 years in the Congo and a further 15 years in Tanganyika in the mining business but always still hunting. He was a 'professional' hunter in that he was employed by various companies to supply meat for the workers of the railroads before WW II and has had probably more experience shooting African buffalo than any other person.
Burger became the third husband of Doris Gwendoline Helliwell (1895 - 1952) who was a renowned concert pianist in South Africa. She travelled with Burger (and a pet leopard) throughout southern Africa on his big game hunting, gold prospecting and locust control work.
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Horned Death by John F Burger (1947) is considered by some as the Bible on hunting the African buffalo, written by a man who shot more than one thousand of them in his lifetime. There is also a chapter on hunting man-eating lions in the Mahenga District of Tanganyika.
African Buffalo Trails by John F Burger (1957) is an account of his incredible hunting adventures in the African wilds, this volume focussing on hunting the Cape Buffalo. This book is the abridged, later version of 'Horned Death'.
African Adventures by John F Burger (1957) is his second volume of African adventures in pursuit of elephant, buffalo and lion. During his career as a hunter and miner he travelled and hunted all over southern Africa, from the Karoo to the Congo, and spent much time on locust control and mining in Tanganyika. It is in this book that Burger accompanied Selous on a 2 month safari in Rhodesia. Like everyone else at the time, Burger was awe-struck and enthralled by the tales told round the campfire by the great hunter. However, when it came to Selous' shooting prowess, Burger remarks..."I would go on record by saying that one of the most amazing exhibitions of indifferent marksmanship I ever saw in the field was provided by the famous Selous." Selous must have been in his early 40s at the time and put his poor marksmanship down to paralysed shoulder muscles - the price he paid for using old blunderbusses with excessive powder charge early in his career.
African Jungle Memories by John F Burger (1958) are the tales of adventure that cover a wide area, stretching from the Congo to the Abyssinian border. The reader is taken on the trail of the buffalo, lion, elephant and leopard as well as his recollections of the 'strange women he met who took readily to the life of the jungle'.
African Camp-Fire Nights by John F Burger (1959). Campfire tales which are not confined to hunting adventures but also include eye-witness accounts of cannibal tribes on the Ivory Coast, ordeals by poison, water, witchcraft and the influence of the medicine and fetish men.
My Forty Years In Africa by John F Burger (1960). Forty years of wandering through Africa from the Sudan to the Cape, mostly on foot. His early experiences reach back to the pioneer days of the great hunters, many of whom he knew personally.
Page Updated: Oct 2020