Farmer's Weekly (South Africa)
A wildlife bonanza, plus two riveting novels
Patricia McCracken explores a safari guide’s memoirs; field guides for the Kruger’s fauna and flora; the return of Ant Middleton’s tough hero, Mallory; and Joyo Moyes’s clever novel about two women forced to swap lives.
Hard on the heels of their fun and informative African Predators (Rae Safaris, R280), Andrew Rae and Peter Neville have brought out their light-hearted
Memoirs of a Safari Guide (Rae Safaris, R240).
“You can create a unique experience for every client on every safari, no matter how experienced they may be or how many lions they may have seen before,” they say. “Every lion has a different story, a different personality and emotional make-up, so it’s your job to interpret for your clients what an animal is doing and thinking.”
Here is their advice for those with safari side hustles.
• Passion: A true passion for Africa turns a good guide into an outstanding one, helping to create a ‘wow’ experience that goes beyond the client’s photographic and film record and truly lasts a lifetime.
• Observer: A safari guide should take in the entire scene, carefully observing the creatures, plants, veld and weather, to offer clear and factual information and weave in relevant experiences and stories.
• Confidence: The African bush can be frightening to many first-time visitors, so it’s important to supply confident leadership and a sense of security.
• Empathy: A good safari guide will listen to clients as they relate their life stories and philosophies. A safari often prompts feelings of retrospection in people, and they enjoy having someone to talk to.
• Patience: An African safari can prove a testing experience for many people, and a guide should therefore be adaptable and able to think laterally when problems arise. These could include anything from timetable shifts and vehicle breakdowns, to accommodation problems and nervousness or downright fear.
Red Mist by Ant Middleton (Sphere, R355)
Mallory is cooling his heels in a small French town when two local hoodlums try to intimidate him. They soon find that they’re facing a former British special services operative in Afghanistan and Iraq. Moreover, Mallory finds himself backed by some fierce invective from an octogenarian with a past in French special forces. The two tough-but-good guys bond over local wine, and Mallory promises to look out for his new friend’s granddaughter, Océane, in Paris.
The old fellow turns out to be right: his granddaughter is being targeted by a Serbian killer with links to organised crime.
Mallory and Océane are forced to take part in a lethal game of hideand-seek from Paris to Marseille and Switzerland.
This is series character Mallory’s second outing and it looks as if he’ll be a keeper for Middleton, previously known for his non-fiction accounts on serving with elite UK forces.
Someone Else’s Shoes by Jojo Moyes (Michael Joseph, R350)
When Nisha picks up the wrong kitbag in the gym, she suddenly finds herself locked out of her life of designer clothes and luxury stays. Her affluent businessman husband won’t take her calls or let her back into their hotel suite in London. In the blink of an eye, she becomes dependent on the kindness of strangers for food, shelter and a menial job.
Sam, who picked up Nisha’s kitbag by mistake, is an effective sales rep whose boss is nevertheless trying to get rid of her. She must now choose between turning up in business dress and flip-flops or borrowing the glorious red sandals in the bag, except the heels are so high she looks drunk.
Both characters flounder before finding the willpower to fight back.
Another big novel with heart from Moyes.