Richard Bentley & Son, London
Reprint: xxxiv, 455pp., 65 illus., 1 map; new frontispiece, new Introduction and Bibliographical Note by Prof. James A. Casada.
ISBN (Std) 0 86920 239 1, (Dlx) 0 86920 238 3
FREDERICK COURTNEY SELOUS was born in London in 1851 of
intellectuals whose wide interests included natural history.
After completing his formal education at Rugby and on the
Continent, he sailed for Africa at the age of nineteen to become
an elephant hunter.
An acknowledged classic on wildlife and hunting on boths sides of the Zambezi, A Hunter's Wnderings in Africa spans nine fascinating years (1871-80) in the life of Selous, a legendary 'great' of the decade prior to the formal occupation of the country which became known as Rhodesia.
Written during an era when ivory was the principal commodity of trade with the interior of Africa, the work presents one of the best descriptions of the life of an African big game hunter and is rich record of the fauna of that period.
Selous relates how he visited Lobengula at Gubuluwayo to seek permission to hunt elephant, drawing a contemptuous comment from the old king on his youthfulness. In the company of an assortment of companions he made yearly trips into the Umniati, Sebakwe, Umfuli and Hunyani areas, and north to the Chobe, the Sanyati and over the Zambezi into the territory of the Batonka.
He confined his hunting mainly to large game: elephant, rhinoceros and buffalo but inevitably encountered lion and other predators.
For a weapon he used the Boer four-bore muzzle-loader with four ounce round bullets, and when not in the fly belt he preferred to hunt on horseback.
Among Selous' admirers and inimate friends was President Theodore Roosevelt with whom he hunted in East Africa.
Selous' biographer, Millais, wrote of him; "Selous set a standard of conduct which people of our own, as well as those of other nations, might be proud to follow. He, as it were, stamped his personality on the wilderness, where life is hard and man easily loses his grip."
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