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101 Kruger Tales: Extraordinary stories from ordinary visitors to the Kruger National Park Paperback – January 2, 2016
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"If you only read one book about Kruger - this is it. Beware however, the stories are infectious and you'll be planning your own trip before the first chapter is done. I simply couldn't put it down!"
Cameron Ewart-Smith, author of the Getaway Guide to Kruger National Park and former editor of Getaway Magazine
"An absolutely fantastic read... I can't think of a better way to experience the Kruger than through these fireside stories"
Andrea Weiss, founding editor of go! magazine
"Best book ever written about Kruger National Park ... Had me gasping in astonishment, laughing out loud and even shedding a few tears"
Dana Atkinson, author of Traveling Africa: A Woman's Guide
"If you have a love of wildlife or even a touch of wildness in your soul, you'll love 101 Kruger Tales"
Roxanne Reid, multi Pica Award-winning travel writer
"Car-trashing elephants, rampaging lions and numerous strange stand-offs ... If you've been to Kruger, this book will make you want to return. If you haven't it will leave you wondering why"
BBC Wildlife Magazine
"Stunning book ... nearly impossible to put down. An exciting tribute to one of South Africa's best loved parks"
Wild Card Magazine
"Sometimes frightening, often humorous, always entertaining"
Karen Key, SAFM 'Time To Travel'
Kulula Airlines Inflight Magazine
Essays of Africa Magazine
North Coast Courier
The Witness newspaper
From the Author
The idea for this collection of 101 extraordinary tales from the Kruger National Park arose purely from envy. I have never considered myself particularly lucky in the Park - but then nor have I had the misadventure of a breakdown, a close shave or an animal attack. I am, however, always flabbergasted by the tales of other visitors, recounted - with perhaps a smattering of exaggeration - in rest camps in the evenings, or shared through open car windows when I've asked, 'Seen anything interesting today?' Surely, I thought, others would be as interested as I am in the tales of those for whom Kruger has dealt a more thrilling hand?
When I first set about collecting stories for the book four years ago, I never anticipated the sheer wealth of incredible tales, accounts and anecdotes I would receive. I certainly never anticipated that the spectrum of stories would extend so much further than just animal sightings. The book this has become is an entirely different beast from my first humble imaginings. Much like the Park itself, the whole somehow feels greater than the sum of its parts: there are stories of heartbreak, tragedy, high jinks, disappointment and astonishing luck; there are stories from the rest camps, the dirt and tarred roads, the watering holes, the picnic spots and the walking trails; and there are funny stories, curious stories, sad stories, creepy stories and stories that you'll find almost impossible to believe. But each one, I hope, captures and shares a little of the wonder and the thrill we all feel when we pass through the gates, full of anticipation of what lies ahead, into the great expanse of one of Africa's greatest treasures.
Hundreds and hundreds of people of all ages and backgrounds, from across South Africa and the world, took the time and effort to open their memory vaults, pen their Kruger experiences and submit them for consideration. The criteria for selecting the stories were simple: they should all be extraordinary in one way or another; they should all take place in the Kruger National Park itself, not one of the adjoining reserves of Greater Kruger; they should only take place on any of the publicly accessible tourist roads, rest camps, picnic sites or walking trails; and importantly, they should primarily be the tales of ordinary Park visitors like you and me - not game rangers, field guides or any of the other lucky people who work and live in the Park.
The result, I hope, is a celebration of Kruger and what makes it so special amongst all the national parks in Africa. That an extraordinary encounter could just as easily happen to a family in a two-door hatchback on their first sojourn into the Park as a hardened Park veteran in a dusty 4x4, or a wealthy foreign tourist on the back of an open safari vehicle, is evidence of Kruger's unique egalitarian streak. Yes, Kruger is the great safari leveller, and this book is the proof of that. Whether you dip in and out of it, or read it from cover to cover, you'll find yourself excitedly optimistic (or justifiably terrified) that the next time you're in the Park, it could be you...
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The stories in the book are also a reminder that despite the nearly 2 million visitors to Kruger every year, it is at its heart filled with wild animals who are beautiful and astounding but ultimately unpredictable.
I loved this collection of stories, it made me laugh (almost hysterically) at times, it also made me gasp in horror – in particular the picture of the python curled up over the engine of a small car… I think I also learnt a few things, the one that comes to mind is that bats like to live in thatch and snakes like to hunt bats, and the last thing you want to run into in an enclosed space is a Mozambican spitting cobra…
I would recommend this book for anyone planning a visit to the Kruger and also for people who have already been lucky enough to experience all that Kruger has to offer. In fact I would recommend it for anyone who enjoys a good read, whether they have plans to visit the Kruger or not – it is filled with great and real stories and makes for a fun read.
I liked that the author sectioned the stories geographically because the park is huge and I was able to read about the separate areas I went to prior to going.. Obviously, a book this specific in topic will not perhaps appeal to everyone. However, I recommend it to anyone who likes animals and their interactions with humans. Makes a great bathroom reader. The book is compiled from actual people's personal experiences in their own words so is a bit unusual to its credit.