Whatever You Do, Don’t Run: True Tales of a Botswana Safari Guide – Review

Whatever You Do, Don't Run: True Tales Of A Botswana Safari GuidePoachingFacts rating: 5 of 5 stars

Brilliantly funny and truly hard to put down!

Peter Allison has such a great way with words and is a true storyteller. In Whatever You Do, Don’t Run: True Tales Of A Botswana Safari Guide, Allison recounts his experiences across Botswana, with a story or two in South Africa, as a game guide in the 1990s. It was a different time then, when photo safaris were still gaining popularity but out of reach for so many. Allison, an Australian who fell in love with the Africa wilds, was lucky enough to not only get a fantastic opportunity to learn wildlife tracking and behaviors hands-on, but also to experience the majesty of the African landscapes with tourists before everyone was permanently glued to their phones and asking for Wi-Fi.

For those who have made the trip to one of the African continent’s many safari destinations, many features of Allison’s stories are easily recognizable. Allison conveys the sense of community of the lodge staff, and also the sense of family that tourists will experience when eating their dinner together at a table, recounting their wildlife sightings. The author also speaks to the things that all visitors and game guides want to experience – those unique experiences that can only happen when you immerse yourself in the natural world and see what nature has to offer, unscripted and uncensored.

For those who haven’t yet experienced these things in person, it’s still possible. Many lodges offer family-style dining, group- or individual-safari experiences, and really excellent food. Guests can fully “disconnect” from the outside world or make use of ubiquitous (and sometimes flaky) Wi-Fi to check emails and social media. The choice is yours and the adventure is out there.

In just about 250 pages, Allison recounts over 24 stories, each noted in the index so readers can jump to any story they want, or read straight through (we recommend this). In these stories, and roughly 25 color photos, he brings to life misadventures on the grand Okavango, drowning a massive safari vehicle, and the lodge’s most unlikely pets. Including one that’s truly unbelievable, but after all the real-life antics that Peter Allison has been through, we know it must be true!

We highly recommend Whatever You Do, Don’t Run to everyone in need of a good chuckle or a glimpse of the wild side. We know it will be among the most entertaining books you read (or listen to) this year. And hopefully it inspires you to share his stories with others, or make stories of your own.

Further Reading:

Another entertaining (and sometimes heart-breaking) perspective on operating a safari lodge in Africa comes in the form of Msomi and Me: Tales from the African bush. Brian Connell truly had an incredible experience building and running his own lodge, giving up life in the UK and immersing himself in the cultures and wilderness of South Africa.

Readers who enjoyed Whatever You Do, Don’t Run will undoubtedly love and cherish Kobie Krüger‘s The Wilderness Family: At Home with Africa’s Wildlife. It is a warm and vibrant depiction of the reality of the South African Lowveld as experienced by her game warden husband and their family living inside the world famous Kruger National Park in South Africa. It combines a special, uniquely African sense of freedom in the wild with humorous and heartfelt anecdotes that will take the reader on a true journey through South Africa.

This and other PoachingFacts reviews are also available on GoodReads.com.