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Whatever You Do, Don't Run: True Tales Of A Botswana Safari Guide Paperback – October 1, 2007

4.4 out of 5 stars 326 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

At age 19, Australian-born Allison headed to Africa for challenge and adventure, planning to stay no more than a year; having found work as a safari guide, he's still there some 13 years later. In this fun, fearless memoir, Allison shares his experiences taking "guests" through the African wilderness, trips that often don't go quite as planned-due especially to the unpredictability of the animals around them. Allison is a skilled, funny and vibrant storyteller, dishing arcane bits of wisdom like an expatriate Alligator Hunter: "I understand a little bit of monkey language, and 'kwe' is a sound I listened for. It was an alarm... full blown monkey conniptions were reserved for leopards." A hilarious chapter recounting a troubled thousand mile trek through the Kalahari Desert finds Allison trying to wave down a passing truck in the middle of the night: "I realized that the driver would have seen what looked like a very animated sage bush with pasty white hands growing from it... he'd probably go straight to a witch doctor... and ask if there was a curse on him." Along the way, Allison examines his fellow guides, the struggle with exhaustion, getting lost and the temptation to make frequently visiting animals into pets, as well as some poignant asides on love and death.
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Review

"Allison's infectious enthusiasm for both the African bush and his job showing its wonders to tourists is readily apparent." --Booklist
"His misadventures make Whatever You Do, Don't Run an absorbing read. . . . The material is rich, and Allison is a gifted storyteller. And the only thing stranger than African fiction is African truth." --National Geographic Adventure
"After reading this entrancing memoir, an African safari may move to No. 1 on your travel wish list. The only catch is you'll want the author as your guide." --Chicago Sun-Times
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Lyons Press; 1st edition (October 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0762745657
  • ISBN-13: 978-0762745654
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (326 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #200,801 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Beginning in the mid-1990s, Peter Allison worked as a safari guide, primarily in Botswana. In Whatever You Do, Don't Run, Allison tells stories about his life in the bush. There are animal stories aplenty--a herd of elephants clustering protectively around its calving matriarch, a giant Python intent on crushing the life out of the author, an infestation of mice so desperately hungry they took to chewing on bald men's heads. But guides have to deal with paying guests as well as wild animals, and Allison does not shy from criticizing the spoiled and stupid among his tour groups.

In the hands of a more witty writer (think J. Maarten Troost's The Sex Lives of Cannibals), the material at Allison's disposal might have resulted in an unputdownable read. Allison's book isn't, but his stories are cute and amusing, and the author himself is likable and agreeably self-deprecating. Most interestingly, Whatever You Do, Don't Run gives readers a glimpse of an unusual llfestyle that most of us will probably not have given much thought to before: what's it like, day-to-day, to lead tourists around herds of impala and crocodile-infested rivers? If the subject matter is of interest, or if you like to browse the lives of people with jobs far different from yours, Allison's book is worth a quick read.

-- Debra Hamel
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Format: Paperback
I recently read the non-fiction book Whatever You Do Don't Run: True Tales of a Botswana Safari Guide. This story is about Peter Allison's detailed and amusing tales from when he moved from Australia to Africa. I have never been out of the country, nor on a safari but after reading this book I felt as if I had just been on one. I always have wanted to go on a safari in Africa and now I want to work as a safari guide there, too. All the crazy and unbelievable stories that Allison shares opens up the reader's eyes on how different and sometimes scary a new continent can be, but also extremely rewarding.

In the beginning of the book I didn't quite understand why Allison would want to move from his suburban home in Australia to the far less developed continent of Africa. There are so many creepy bugs and diseases you can catch, but then I realized that there are more than dangerous organisms living in Africa. There are beautiful sunsets, majestic animals and the awesome stories that come with living in Africa. Allison had a thirst for adventure that needed to be quenched. This was satisfied when he traveled to Botswana.

Allison easily admitted he made lots of mistakes while being in Africa. He drove a Land Rover right into a river infested with hippos, and he also had to search for a half-naked tourist who is a member of the British royal family. While reading this book, I learned that it is ok to try new things and to be not so great at them. Allison had no idea what he was getting himself into, he had originally planned only to stay for two years but he spent at least a dozen years being a safari guide. He fell in love with Africa and its many endangered animals.

After reading this book I am going to try to convince my parents to take me to Africa and go on a safari. And I am recommending this book to anyone who likes a good laugh and some very odd yet pleasing stories.
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While I haven't been on safari, I'm guessing that this book should be required reading for anyone who is able to make the trip. Peter Allison's book was a nice, quick read filled with lots of great stories about his experiences. All in all, I would recommend this book highly. Several stories made me laugh out loud.

Enjoy.
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Format: Paperback
Mr. Allison's, WHATEVER YOU DO, DON'T RUN is filled with hilariously funny sometimes irreverent stories about his experiences as a safari guide in Botswana. The title is what drew me to his book, only food runs! You can't put it down, it is laugh out loud funny and you don't want it to end. Please write more! I can't wait for your next installment.
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Format: Paperback
In the book Whatever You do Don't Run the author Peter Allison, the main character and safari guide, tells stories about his astonishing adventures in Africa. This book was so good! I love how it was non-fiction, but reads like a realistic fiction story. As a freshman in high school I would recommend this book to all my friends.
One of the major reasons why I liked the book a lot was because the stories Peter wrote about were so interesting. My personal favorite is when Peter went swimming with elephants and had to maneuver around them, so they wouldn't notice him. Along with this one there are plenty of other breathtaking stories. Another characteristic I love about this book is its comedy. This book was hilarious. Some of the absurd stories about animals and tourists just made me laugh out loud.
When looking at other ratings of this book I couldn't find many negative ones. However, I did find one stating that Peter talked negatively of his costumers (the tourists). I would agree that not all of his tourist stories are positive, but on the other hand these ridiculous stories make the book great. For example Peter wrote about a few tourists that would not follow his rules. They would feed the wild animals and constantly take pictures. Although the author did say negative comments about these people, they created an interesting and funny story for him. There were also times in the book when the author spoke very highly of his customers.
I really think the author's purpose of this book was to show the reader what it's like to be an African safari guide. I also think he wanted to show what it would be like to be a tourist. Peter Allison did an amazing job of this. He went into to ample detail about his job, and every event that happens with it. This book was definitely a page-turner, and it was a pretty quick read. I can't wait to read the sequel, Don't Look Behind You!
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