THE WILDERNESS FAMILY: At Home with Africa's Wildlife

Kobie Kruger, Author THE WILDERNESS FAMILY: At Home with Africa's Wildlife

A remote ranger station in the wilds of South Africa's Krüger National Park provides the landscape for this memoir of the 17 years that the author, her game warden husband and their daughters lived in the bush amid the big cats and other exotic fauna of this idyllic region. Whether she's recounting a near-slapstick encounter with a creeping python in the bedroom on the family's first night in the backcountry, the nocturnal calls of a prowling local leopard, continual—and scary—confrontations with a grumpy hippo or a raging bull elephant's death charge, Krüger's sturdy and unadorned prose is well suited to the book's natural setting. The animal anecdotes tumble across the pages, at a pace that will engage readers who enjoy natural history and plainspoken yarns; indeed, the book hit #1 in South Africa. Meanwhile, the adversities of a stifling climate, jungle diseases and ornery vipers provide grim balance to the more uplifting adventures recounted here. The land, its creatures and its unchanging laws of survival serve as mentors to the author and her family, and lead the reader toward deeper insights about life beyond the furthest reaches of civilization. For instance, the poignant episode of raising an orphan lion cub into adulthood becomes a lesson in responsibility, freedom and loss for the girls and their mother. The wilderness depicted in this book, is by turns, a demanding teacher and a provider of wondrous gifts. Illus. and photos not seen by PW. (May)

Reviewed on: 05/07/2001
Release date: 05/01/2001
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