FROM THE OKAVANGO TO THE PLAINS OF EAST AFRICA
Hunting in Africa in the Latter Part of the Twentieth Century
by Steve Christenson
2011 Long Beach, 324pp, color photos, 8.5x11, hardcover
Volume 70 in Safari Press's Classics in African Hunting Series.
1st edn, ltd to 1000 signed, numbered, & slipcased copies.
Steve Christenson started hunting in Botswana in 1977 with PH Willie Engelbrecht, going on three safaris to hunt all the worthy game this country had to offer. From the moment legendary professional hunter Harry Selby welcomes the author to Botswana for his first safari, the reader is immersed in a grand adventure and spine-tingling stories of the bush: a tracker attacked by a leopard and a magnificently maned lion measuring over ten feet, for example. This is the story of a novice who went to Africa only to have his dreams shaken, yet rose from despair because of exceptional mentoring and guidance from renowned professional hunters Ole Man Wally Johnson and Willie Engelbrecht.
It was Willie Engelbrecht who encouraged Christenson to start hunting in Tanzania with PH George Angelides, so after three dramatic safaris in Botswana, Christenson plied his skills in Tanzania the first year the country reopened to hunting. There, Christenson not only took the “standard” safari for elephant, buffalo, leopard, and lion, but he also went on pioneering hunts for rarities such as the Abbott duiker, a hunt that is much like catching fog in a narrow-necked bottle. Not all hunts were successful but each safari was. All in all, Christenson obtained the Big Four several times.
Engelbrecht and Angelides both trained under Frank Miller in East Africa, and both men passed those lessons on to Christenson. The reader gets some of the most interesting pieces of insider information on the trackers and PHs, including the story of how George Angelides was mauled by a wounded leopard and barely survived to tell the tale or how a tracker-turned-game warden in Tanzania caught a policeman with the second largest set of tusks ever taken from that country.
From the Okavango to the Plains of East Africa contains many dramatic accounts, including the first successful leopard track in the Kalahari; expeditions to the most remote regions of the southern desert; hunting throughout Tanzania: the Serengeti, Masailand, Longido, and Mount Meru; an expedition to the Usambara Mountains; several trips to the Rungwa River; and an expeditionary safari to Lake Rukwa. Christenson collected many extraordinary trophies, including some animals that can no longer be hunted, and there are many stories of hunts for dangerous game, some resulting in serious close calls. The book contains adventures of record trophies taken and traversing the wilderness after those that got away. It is a story about the amazing bonds formed between a client and his professional hunters, and the hunter’s respect for the African land and its people.