A readable account of a quite extraordinary adventurer in East and Central Africa around the turn of the 20th Century when elephants were abundant and casual shooting of just about any game was sport rather than slaughter. Pretorius had astonishing endurance and resilience to malaria and any other of the many dangerous diseases of the regions, when no cure was available except quinine. His attitude to the indigenous peoples is interesting historically, affection and a perfect willingness to shoot them if he felt endangered. Because of his hunting and the many Europeans and American taking heavy rifles to game-rich regions, we shall never agains see the huge tuskers and the sheer quantity of rhino and leopard. I was myself out in Kenya, later, in the 1950s by which time it was very difficult and quite costly to get licences to kill elephants. After African countries got independence, corruption at the highest levels has put some species in danger of complete extinction.
This book was first published in 1947, has 225 pages, 2 large maps and 31 B/W photos. The forward is by Field- Marshal J C Smuts, to whom the author served as a chief Scout during the 1914-18 war. Pretorius did not live to see his book published. He was a quiet, gentle, unamusing person in appearance. Thin, lithe and coloured brown from continual bouts of malaria, he looked more like an Arab or Somali, than a European. He was a supreme scout amongst wild animals. Full size photo of major Pretorius is on page 2. At the age of 13, he wanted to leave his father's farm and travel Africa from end to end. He returned home after 25 years of wandering! Pretoria in South Africa is named after his family. His help was required to find "Konigsberg" in the Rufiji River. The shell of the distroyer is still there today. Major Pretorius was born in 1873 and in 1889 at the age of 16, he rode transport for British South African Company. He wanted to penetrate the deeper wild. He spoke many native tongues. In 1899, he goes from Salisbury to Zambesi. He was so lost to the 'civilised' world that he never heard of the Boer War, until it was all over. The natives called him "MTANDA BANTU"(friendly with people).A buffalo kills his dog and pinns him to the ground. He gets malaria again and was unconscious for 2 days. The territory of Kafue teamed with wildlife. Pretorius used his horse for hunting and capturing animals. From Zambesi, he went to Beira, then on sea to Mombasa in Kenya, and on Uganda Railways to Voi (1904). He wanted to go to Mt Kilimanjaro. From here to Port Florence(Kisumu) on Victoria Nyanza. At Mwanza, he builds a house. In Ruanda, he gets tossed by an elephant,then to beautiful Lake Kivu and Sabinio Volcano, where he meets the pygmies. He was detained by Germans in Dar-es-Salaam for 2 years and left on 27.10.1906. Later returning back with ivory worth £3,600/-. After building a farm on Rufiji, he marries a girl whom he met in Jeruselum, but Africa claims her? His right leg is shettered, gets infected and he some how makes for Fort Jamison on Lake Nyasa(malawi). On 7.8.1916, war in Kilimanjaro area starts between British and Germans. His sixth sense instinct warns him of iminent danger. While working behind enemy lines in Tanganyika,he was awarded the DSO and CMG. He was in hospital for a while because of war injuries. Later he goes to Addo Bush and Knysna and Kruger National Park to film. Major Pretorius then marries again, moves to Johanesburg, for sake of their chilren's education. He died in December 1945. This is a very readable and enjoyable book. Having born in Kenya, I would reccomend it. Read and ENJOY.
This is a fascinating autobiography of a man who just wanted to go on adventure. The enthralling book covers the life of one of the less well known figures of African history, P J Pretorius. From a young age, Pretorius speaks of his insatiable urge to travel the wild regions of Africa, and his defiance to do so, this collection of stories recounts his tales.
Throughout his travels, the Young Pretorius had to learn fast. Through a series of accounts, Pretorius tells us how he learnt to deal with different people, cultures and a severe lack of water, it must certainly have been a fast way to learn what really matters in life (and could have easily gone very wrong). Stories include a good deal of hunting, surviving and dealing with native in an otherwise unmapped land.
The knowledge that Pretorius gained throughout his time in Africa served him well in times of War. Although not a natural soldier, he mustered all his skills with natives and nature to overcome the enemy in the world war. Certainly a good read for anyone interested in African history, hunting and Safaris.
This book is packed with first hand accounts of the hardships and adventure of living in a wild and untamed African wilderness. Autobiographical, it is the true and detailed account of the life and adventures of Major P.J. Pretorius a genuine African explorer and hunter extraordinaire. A fascinating read, wish it was a movie. You will love this book.