Robert Ruark Quotes

In the thirty-plus years that Robert Ruark hammered a typewriter as a columnist, novelist, and outdoor writer, he covered topics ranging from contemporary fashion, to sports, to World War II, to growing up in the fields and waterways of North Carolina.  However, Ruark is most often remembered for writing about his first love: Africa.  He made more than a few trips to the African continent, and he wrote several novels that were loosely based on real occurrences, including Something of Value– a book that got him banned from Kenya for life.  Most modern day sportsmen have read Ruark’s famous words about the way a Cape buffalo looks at you, but here are a few notable, yet lesser-known Ruark quotes about Africa:


On Professional Hunters:

"The question is what do they get out of it? They don't shoot unless they have to, and mostly they take no delight in killing, but rather regard it regretfully as the logical end point of an exciting adventure.  They are the greatest of game conservationists– the strictest abiders by the rules.... I believe I already know what they get out of it.  There is a simple love of the outdoors and of creatures, as against a hatred for the contrived living of cities, for the claustrophobic connivances of civilization, that drives a man to the vastness of Africa to fulfill some need of basic simplicity in himself."

- Robert Ruark’s Africa

On Leopards:

“I held the aiming post of my telescopic sight on that leopard’s face for a million years.  While I was holding it, the Pharaohs built the pyramids. Rome fell. The pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock. The Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. And then the leopard moved. Only you could not see him move. Where there had been a leopard, there was only a fork. There was not even a flash or a blur when he moved. He disappeared.“

- The Lost Classics of Robert Ruark

On Safari:

“Herds of golden impalas were feeding close to camp. There were clusters of zebras and big coveys of ostriches and armies of guinea fowl.  The big, fat, yellow-necked francolin flapped and squawked and scratched in the track, sand grouse carved their jet trails in the skies, and the tall thorn trees erupted big blue pigeons.  Lesser kudu bounded across the track, and we saw gerenuks rearing on their hind legs to browse.  On the higher plains were regiments of Grant’s and Thomson’s gazelles and fleets of big, dumb kongoni.  Isolated herds of oryx seemed tame, and in the yellow-grassed swamps you could see the sliding hummocks that were elephant.  A cow rhino and her grown calf chased us; convoys of warthog trotted primly along with their antennae proudly high.  The air was like hard cider on the high plains, the view superb.

- The Lost Classics of Robert Ruark

On Hemingway:

“But phony, Hemingway was not, and a poseur he was not.  He did not shoot lions and leopards because he was searching for the answer to life.  He shot lions and leopards because he bloody well liked to hunt and shoot, and killing was a neat punctuation mark at the end of the intricate and fascinating process of hunting. “

- The Lost Classics of Robert Ruark

Ruark is undeniably one of the most influential writers of African safari literature in the twentieth century.  We have several of his most notable works available, ranging from his first African adventure Horn of the Hunter to a compilation of some of his best articles and stories The Lost Classics of Robert Ruark.   For a compelling and illustrious look at life in a safari camp, look no further than the writings of Robert Chester Ruark.