A leisurely read through this new coffee table book is (almost) as good as being on an actual game drive. What’s more, you’re guaranteed to experience The Big Seven.
‘We ran on wobbly legs back to our vehicle about 100 metres away … we collapsed into our seats laughing and giddy with the after-effects of the adrenalin rush that being charged by the biggest predator in Africa brings on’.
Gerald Hinde and Will Taylor are both hugely experienced in big African game … spending more than three decades photographing and working with the five that have always been considered the hunters’ most dangerous wild animals.
But the pair felt that two more special species deserved to be included on the list, two animals that visitors to our big reserves are keen on seeking out. Welcome wild dog and cheetah … these two extraordinary animals, along with the original lion, elephant, rhino, buffalo and leopard, are featured in this astonishingly beautiful, recently released book, The Big Seven.
Shot over more than 15 years, the photos are, as expected, sublime. But this is more than just a photo-filled coffee table book. Will, who started off as a ranger at Mala Mala, has written about their experiences in the bush … and it makes for an intimate, evocative read. So there’s the tale of the lioness charge when he and Gerald were a little too close to her cubs for comfort. He tells us about an enormous group of elephant … ‘water splashed, trunks gurgled and there was a high level of excitement as this huge gathering of 300 or more of the world’s largest animal saw out the spectacular end to an African day’. He writes about them filming a cheetah chase … ‘amazed at how we could hear the paddle-shaped tail of the cheetah cracking like a whip as it jinked by our vehicle at top speed in pursuit of a steenbok’. He talks of hanging on for dear life while a chase is on, attempting to stop expensive camera equipment from crashing onto the floor, of being chased at high speed by black rhino, of the privilege of being around young leopard cubs, and of slowly following a pack of wild dogs home in the sunset. With truly glorious photos to study and fascinating facts about these animals, this book is an absolute joy to those of us who love and appreciate our wild animals and the South African big game areas. HPH Publishing. Available from hphpublishing.co.za, R650.