Updated: Feb 2
Want the authentic inside story on what really happens on an African safari by someone who’s genuinely lived the life?
I first met Lloyd Camp at a local Toastmasters Club in west London and was startled when he revealed he was a Safari Guide in Southern Africa. He seemed a long way from the hazardous wilderness of Africa in urban, prosaic west London.
That’s why I was so delighted to read Confessions of an African Safari Guide. It offers a wonderful glimpse into the unfamiliar and fascinating other world that Lloyd inhabits.
I’ve been to the Kruger Park in South Africa twice in my life, and both times marvelled at the magnificence of the animals and the country's vastness. Though when I visited, I journeyed around the park coddled in the safety of a hire car (windows shut) and was protected at night within a ‘camp’ (a small rondavel village really) of high fences, sturdy gates and (what a relief) an ensuite bathroom.
In Confessions of an African Safari Guide, Lloyd describes open camps, often sleeping under canvas, where seemingly predatory and dangerous animals wander freely (though discouraged… sometimes fatally). Never mind the animals, he deftly manages guests whose behaviour at times is worse than the wild creatures they’ve ostensibly come to observe.
Lloyd takes us behind the scenes of his guiding life, revealing humorous and sometimes alarming stories of what really happens on safari, often when guests are proverbially and actually looking the other way.
He clearly has a lifelong love and respect for the wilderness and its inhabitants, both animal and human, and shares his deep passion with us in this book. Confessions of an African Safari Guide is a funny, moving, and honest account of an experienced safari guide. For our enjoyment, Lloyd's writing expertly breathes life into the many wonderful and weird human and animal characters he's encountered.
Lloyd offers us insights and reflections on the safari industry. He abhors what he terms ‘vanilla guides.’ Those safari guides simply see the role as a money-making job, without passion for the wilderness or respect for the guests who then receive, knowingly or unknowingly, a mediocre experience. He also explores the conundrum of taming the wilderness for tourism. Where’s the danger? The thrill? The sheer wonder?
(Here, I feel rather uncomfortable reflecting on my accessible, safe holidays in the Kruger Park.)
If you want the real story of what happens on the great African safari, told with humour and a touching warmth for both people and place, then Confessions of an African Safari Guide is for you.
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