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,
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Major Gordon Henry Anderson (1881 - 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.
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.
Big Game Shooting And Photography: Tanganyika, Kenya, Uganda And Other Parts Of Africa by World Field Sport (c.1940s) is an 8 page brochure showcasing both photographic and hunting safaris which were to be personally guided by Major G H (Andy) Anderson. A genuine rare piece of hunting history.
Philip 'Pip' Beverly (1909 - 1994) was a British born Kenyan farmer, professional hunter and safari guide. He was originally employed as the armed escort and safari guide for guests at Treetops Hotel. He was a founder member of the Kenya Regiment and when Italy declared war on Great Britain he was seconded to a brigade to fight the Italians in Abyssinia.
After marrying Charmian Spencer-Phillips and a brief honeymoon in Malindi, Pip returned to military duties until the end of the Abyssinian campaign. After he was discharged from the army he returned to farming. The Mau Mau movement started soon afterwards and he joined the Kenya Police Reserve. After Independence, Beverly retired to the Kenyan coast and guided guests on photographic safaris.
Under Our Double Terais: A Kenya Memoir by Philip Beverly (2014) is an amusing account of the author's struggles to make a living on a coffee farm surrounded by large wild animals at Nyeri, 100 miles to the north of Nairobi. His sense of humour is evident in the descriptions of the colourful characters he met and his own adventures and attempts to support himself and his family as a professional hunter before becoming, later in life, a dedicated animal conservationist.
Baron Tinecke Bror Fredrick von Blixen-Finecke (1886 - 1946) was a Swedish baron, coffee planter and African professional hunter. He founded the company 'Tanganyika Guides Ltd' and was in partnership with Philip Percival's 'African Guides' based in Kenya.
"He is six feet of amiable Swede and, to my knowledge, the toughest, most durable White Hunter ever to snicker at the fanfare of safari or to shoot a charging buffalo between the eyes while debating whether his sundown drink would be gin or whiskey." Beryl Markham from 'West With The Night'.
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 and reportedly died in a motor accident in 1946.
Biographies of Bror Blixen by G F V Kleen and Ulf Aschan
Douglas Tatham Collins (d. 1999) 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 by Douglas Collins (1960) is a fascinating account of the land where Douglas Collins was to spend ten years and in which he became a District Commissioner. It started when Douglas Collins was drafted to the Somalia Gendarmerie at the age of 22 and given command of a detachment of 30 Abyssinians newly released from jail. He and his detachment were ordered up-country on a punitive expedition. All went well until the second night, when his Abyssinians forgot they were upholding the law and raided a Somali village. Those first few days set the scene for adventure he was to find and which he describes as..."sometimes gay, sometimes grim, always exciting and filled with appeal for those who hanker for something away from the beaten track".
A Tear For Somalia and Another Tear For Africa by Douglas Collins (1980). Available in 2 volume sets. 'Another Tear For Africa' further describes the author's story of the history and adventures in what was one of one of the world’s greatest hunting areas.
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 (1874 - 1940) 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.
In 1940, he and his son Pat were filming a rhino in Maasailand when the beast charged and gored Cottar. His leg artery was penetrated and Cottar bled to death.
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 and a stroke, which left him without the use of one eye and one leg, he was said to have done more with one eye and one leg than most men did with two.
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 by Marcus Daly (1937) is a memorable big game hunting book that should be required reading for all hunters. Daly hunted for in Africa for nearly 40 years - in Kenya and Congo in 1926, followed by Nyasaland and Portuguese East Africa. In 1927, he went to hunt gorilla in the Virunga region after which he moved to French Congo and met James Sutherland who was nearing the end of his hunting career. Daly was arrested by the French and deported but continued hunting for ivory on the French and Belgium side of Congo. While there, Daly was tossed by a bull elephant, just as he shot it and landed on the dead elephant, surviving the serious injuries. He moved on to southern Sudan as the French were still after him in the Congo. The book includes chapters on rifle selection and shooting.
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.
"So I began my career as a hunter in November 1932. Unable to adjust to the world among his own people or even a life at home, I shed the trappings of civilization like a python sloughing its skin. I moved into the bush among the animals that accepted me in my role as predator. Elephants were the only lucrative animals to hunt. As I would be poaching, I would have to be selective and take on the largest ivory, for I could not afford to draw attention to my activities by leaving too many carcasses strewn around." Fred Everett
Heat, Thirst And Ivory by Fred Everett (2002) is the first book about the life of a man who came to be known as 'Radephiri', 'father of hyenas'. An unusual life and a great story about Fred leaving home at a very early age and being more or less forced to make a living in the bush. He hunted his first elephant before he was a teenager and he had taken the Big Five by the time he turned sixteen.
Tuskers In The Dust by Fred Everett (2008) is the continuing story of the author's extraordinary life. It picks up in 1937 with Everett hunting elephant near the Zambezi River. With a single elephant licence, he shot dozens of elephants, which means he frequently had to move to avoid the district commissioner. After a scrape with the authorities, he guided some visiting hunting clients as well as hunting ivory which was not so profitable after the start of World War II. He then tried his luck in Mozambique where he acquired a 10.75 Mauser and had some 'adventures' there when the bullets failed to penetrate elephant brains reliably. He met all the famous elephant hunters of his time - Harry Manners, the famous South African elephant poacher Bvekenya Barnard, and Fletcher Jamieson.
Hermann Paul Freyberg (1898 - 1962) was a German film writer and filmmaker who became popular with stories and documentaries on adventures and life in Africa, where he lived until 1959 as a professional big game hunter specializing in elephants and buffalo.
Out Of Africa by Hermann Freyberg, translated by K S Shelvankar (1935) is the story of the author's life as a professional big game hunter, as well as a diamond prospector and explorer, both in the Congo and in Angola.
Anders Olaf Tor 'Andrew' Holmberg (1918 - 2015) 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 at her house 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. However, by 1961 Holmberg was back hunting on his own having formed 'Andrew Holmberg Tours & Safaris Ltd' in Kenya.
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.
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. Ker later he went on safari as second hunter with Al Klein, another renowned white hunter.
In partnership with Syd Downey and Jack Block, Ker & Downey Safaris was founded in 1946. The company went on to host hunting safaris for many of the top celebrities and royalty of the day and was credited for leading the move from hunting to photographic safari outfitting. Ker and Downey also outfitted many movies - from 'The Macomber Affair' to 'Out Of Africa' and 'Gorillas In The Mist'.
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.
Through Forest And Veldt by Donald Ker (1958) is the UK published edition of Ker's book 'African Adventures' published in the US in 1957. It is a big game hunting autobiography which is also the story of Ker & Downey Safaris Ltd of Nairobi. Part I gives an account of the author's encounters with the five main big game species, as well as a discussion of weapons and ammunition. Part II devotes a chapter to each of thirty game species, indicating where they may be found, and the best approach with either rifle or camera.
Frederick George Merfield (1889 - 1960) 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 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 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 dispels many false myths. This is the US edition of 'Gorillas Were My Neighbours'.
Thorold Murray Smith (b.1896) was a British professional hunter. After serving in France in World War I he went to Dakar, West Africa, to transport wild animals for zoos. In 1920, he relocated to British East Africa (Kenya) and with help from Philip Percival, Murray went into hunting business. After a long hunting career, Murray was tossed by rhino which put him out of action for 3 months. A year later, he was run over by another cow rhino and her grown calf and had to drive, one handed, to Voi for treatment on his arm and broken ribs. In 1957, he retired to South Africa. There, he had 2 heart attacks and returned to England.
The Nature Of The Beast by T 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 by T Murray Smith (1965) are stories from the author's life experiences as a professional hunter with accounts of some of his most exciting hunts with well-known clients. He hunted throughout East and Central Africa particularly for elephant and lion.
Biography of T Murray Smith 'Nimrod Smith: A Profile Of T Murray Smith' by Alan Wykes
British East Africa by Newland & Tarlton (c.1910-15) is a 30 page promotional brochure for hunting with the famous Newland & Tarlton safari company. Within the brochure, they are offering hunting in British East Africa and Uganda and it includes the price list, conditions to expect, etc. Leslie Tarlton was considered one of the first 'White Hunters' and was a founding member of the EAPHA. His favourite big game trophy was lion and he is estimated to have shot 284 of them.
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. For 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.
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.
No Tears For The Crocodile by Paul L Potous (1956) recounts his experiences shooting lake and river crocodiles for a living in Nyasaland (Malawi) in the period after World War II. As a professional hunter, he killed 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 by Paul L Potous (1957). More on the author's unusual profitable business, hunting, killing and skinning African crocodiles.
Major Philip Jacobus Pretorius (1876 - 1945) was the South African elephant hunter who was responsible for locating the German warship Konigsberg in the Rufiji Delta and her subsequent sinking during World War I. Due to his experience hunting in East Africa, he was tasked to fix the exact location of the Königsberg and to scout around and to find out as much as possible about the ship. With information obtained from captured local porters, he found and observed the Konigsberg was heavily camouflaged and guarded. He then worked out the ship's distance from the sea, her number of guns and that the torpedoes were not on board but had been relocated to the coast. Pretorius's next had to find a navigable channel through the Rufiji and then to locate a suitable range-point in the delta. After several false starts, the attack on the Königsberg was launched, known as the Battle of the Rufiji Delta, and five days later the Konigsberg was totally engulfed in flames and destroyed.
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.
Interestingly, professional hunter Mike Cameron’s grandfather, Sir Jaap van Deventer, was appointed Chief in Command after General Smuts left Tanzania. Pretorius went on to serve with Sir Jaap. Mike Cameron went on to hunt with Pretorius's grandson, Gerard Miller in the Luangwa valley for some years.
Jungle Man: The Autobiography Of Major P J Pretorius by P J Pretorius (1947) 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.
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Prince Eustace (Stash) Sapieha (1916 - 1963) was a Polish nobleman, one-time cavalry officer, professional big game hunter and owner of a ruby mine. Born into the Polish aristocracy and with his home burned in 1939, he spent six years as a prisoner of war. More pauper than prince, he married Didi shortly after the war and left Europe to join his parents in Kenya. With no formal qualifications he is forced to live off his wits and charm which he does for the rest of his life.
The Way It Was: The Undemocratic Memoirs Of Eustace Sapieha by Eustace Sapieha (Edited by Delulu Upsom & Penny Fleming) (2006) is the life story of a Polish prince, cavalry officer, prisoner of war, saw mill operator, scrap metal merchant, prospector, then a professional hunter and safari operator for 20 years in Kenya. The English language edition is hard to find.
Sir Alfred Sharpe (1853 - 1935) was a British solicitor who became a sugar planter in Fiji before relocating to the Shire Highlands, south of Lake Nyasa, in 1887 to hunt elephants and trade in ivory. He later became a British colonial administrator and Commissioner of the British Central Africa Protectorate (later, Nyasaland and today, Malawi) from 1896 until 1910. The Sharpe's grysbok, Raphicerus sharpei, is named after Sir Arthur Sharpe.
"In Nyasaland, Sir Alfred Sharpe was the greatest hunter of elephants I have heard of...he has never published a work dealing solely with elephants, which is a pity...." Denis D Lyell.
The Backbone Of Africa: A Record Of Travel During The Great War, With Some Suggestions For Administrative Reform by Sir Alfred Sharpe (1921) describes travels in central Africa, the eastern Congo, Tanganyika, Uganda and Nyasaland, including a chapter on elephant hunting with additional mentions of hunting rhino, hippo and various antelope. Free eBook
Mr. Alfred Sharpe's Journey From Karonga (Nyassa) To Katanga (Msidi's Country) Via The Northern Shore Of Lake Mwero by Sir Alfred Sharpe (1891) is a 5 page Royal Geographical Society publication about Alfred Sharpe's adventurous journey from Lake Nyassa to the chief Msidi in Katanga, taken from his contemporary letter sent to Mr Ottley Perry. Also included here is a sketch route map which accompanied the letter. Katanga was known to have copper and was thought to have gold. Only a handful of Europeans had been to Katanga and the Luapula/Lake Mweru region at this time.
Alfred Sharpe Of Nyasaland: Builder Of Empire by Robert B Boeder (1980). Sir Alfred Sharpe (1853 - 1935) is a biography about Sir Alfred Sharpe and how he was involved in some of the dramatic events which shaped south-Central Africa at the onset of colonialism.
Andreas Robert Siedentopf was an American engineer, lecturer and naturalist who moved to Tanganyika in 1926 to hunt animals and study their habits. As a licenced professional hunter, he guided numerous sportsmen in East Africa, did problem elephant control and road surveying for the Government. He eventually changed from hunting big game with a rifle to hunting with a camera and returned to the USA before World War II.
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 warden. He also had the habit of giving names to animals, such as 'Shukra' the rogue elephant and 'Shatani' the man-eating leopard.
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 by Ada & 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 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.
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 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 by Ernst A Zwilling (1956) recounts a hunting expedition into East Africa and the Cameroon for rhinos, lions, hippos, leopards, hyenas, buffalos and crocodiles.
Page Updated: Sept 2020