Whatever You Do, Don't Run: True Tales of a Botswana Safari Guide
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Whatever You Do, Don't Run: True Tales of a Botswana Safari Guide

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  3,802 ratings  ·  510 reviews
A hilarious, highly original collection of essays based on the Botswana truism: “only food runs!”

In the tradition of Bill Bryson, a new writer brings us the lively adventures and biting wit of an African safari guide. Peter Allison gives us the guide’s-eye view of living in the bush, confronting the world’s fiercest terrain of wild animals and, most challenging of all, ma
Published (first published 2007)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Whatever You Do, Don't Run, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Whatever You Do, Don't Run

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Killer Rabbit
Take a walk on the wild side.
Back when I first read this, I added this quote to the goodreads database:
"This tree, though, had not been fed on, so it was apparent that the culprit was a bull (elephant) who was filled with testosterone but no outlet for it, so he pushed over trees. It's a great release for a bull and a way of showing his strength after a female has rejected him. If human males had the same ability, global deforestation would be complete by now."

That is the dry sense of humor that...more
Peter Allison isn't the world's best writer, but he's got a talent that's perhaps even better for a book of this kind: he's a great storyteller. These true stories from his 10+ year career as an African safari guide dishes up plenty of armchair excitement along with a good dollop of Allison's wry wit and self-deprecation over his triumphs and failures of the job.

Loses one star for me over an excess of "potty humor" and swearing, but still an entertaining read, and one that makes me want to cram...more
Jan 20, 2008 Sandra rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: animal lovers
I loved this book. I thought it was funny and very educational. It was very well written, truly catching each moment.

The author, Peter Allison, left Australia at 19 to backpack through Africa. What started as a one year vacation turned into 7 years of guiding safaris.

The book is written in chapters that each relate a different event that happened. Many of the events involved large beasts found on the African outback. There were some funny stories, as well as some serious stories. Each one left...more
I loved this collection of tales from a young Australian man who worked in Botswana as a safari guide for several years. I enjoyed the stories of close shaves with large animals - elephants, hippos, lions and buffalo, the stories of problems guiding in the safari park, the stories of camp life and so on. There were things I laughed out loud at, and things which made me groan (the chapter entitled "The Great Mouse Plague" was the worst for this...), and things which made me gasp, hold my breath a...more
I bought this book because I plan to get to the Okavango Delta in Botswana with its immense diversity in wildlife. After reading Australian Peter Allison’s African safari-guide tales, I’m aware of dangers I’d not considered, but remain undaunted. Being hopelessly lost in a maze of shape shifting canals and stepping on the back of an alligator while pulling your flimsy boat through shallow waters can be avoided, but it does make an exciting tale. However, being dive-bombed by malaria-carrying mos...more
The book had me in fits of laughter most of the time. An excellent holiday read! It's a constant battle between instinct and common sense and Peter Allison makes fun of everyone, of himself the most, which is so refreshing and delightful. I really enjoyed it. The reader will also learn a few valuable lessons from nature.
A very enjoyable, interesting read. Filled with great stories, humor and adventure. I've already got his next book coming my way!
I have to give this book 5 stars because of my personal connection with the author. Don't get me wrong. I would not rate it 5 stars JUST for 6 degrees of separation...it is a really funny and entertaining book. I have a unique perspective from this book that I will probably never have with any other book in my lifetime. I was very engaged with the characters because I actually KNEW many of them from my work in Botswana. The writing is very witty and the stories sparked so many memories of my tra...more
Alyce (At Home With Books)
Peter Allison's stories about being a safari guide in Africa are pure entertainment. Whatever You Do, Don't Run is filled with fun-to-read stories ranging from idiotic things that tourists do, to dangerous face-to-face encounters with lions.

He has a knack for relating the humorous happenings around camp, including being overrun by mice and a college-like party atmosphere when the guides are off duty. He is also honest about the less glamorous aspects of the job, yet manages to still make them so...more
Nathan Eaton
This book was exactly what I expected it to be - which is exactly what I wanted it to be.

Peter Allison has spent his adult-life as a safari guide, and given us all great stories and laughs. It's amazing the vast amount of wildlife that can live in such relatively small areas of Africa. His encounters with hippos, lions, elephants, cheetahs, leopards, and buffalo can be thrilling and hilarious.

I always enjoy a book that makes me wish I were there as well. Through the adventures, there are so many...more
Botswana--where most of this book is set--is in the minds of readers of the Precious Ramotse books, but this safari guide focuses on the animals of and tourists to that beautiful country. From the blase Germans to the Japanese man obsessed with photographer, from the disappearing Englishman to the man who thinks that the lions might be the means to a perfect murder, Allison has seen them all. He likes many of the guides, including some of the Botswanans, and includes a brief history of the found...more
I LOVED this book! Peter Allison really paints a beautiful picture of life as a safari guide. He has a wonderful ease about his writing and he will have you laughing, crying and wanting to hear more stories by the end. I would love to meet this man and get more stories out of him. Even more so I'd love to be on one of his safari's!!! If you want a book to take you on an adventure then this is the perfect book you. Enjoy!
This is an amusing memoir about the years Peter Allison has served as a safari guide in South Africa and Botswana. I learned a great deal about the animals, a little about the area, and a little about the people he worked with. My biggest disappointment is that throughout the book Peter learns a great deal about the job he does and he become much more confident in himself in that capacity, but otherwise he does not grow. He is well aware that he has failings and that they cause him problems, but...more

3.5 stars, but I will round up to 4.

This was a fun little read. I enjoyed his sense of humor. He had the right amount of self-deprecation to make it funny. It was actually written well, considering he is not a writer, but a safari guide in Africa. He compiled stories about his experiences and adventures, then put them together in this book. It is definitely worth the time to read.

He threw in a lot of facts about the animals and some facts about the people and the area. It was interesting and sho...more
Swimming with wild elephants, being charged by lions, having a honey badger act like the camp pet . . . . These are some of the anecdotes in this quick read. Each story is very short and told with a light, self-deprecating tone. I was reminded of the TV shows about animals that were on Sunday nights when I was a kid (something like "Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom"?). I also was reminded of the crazy things we do in our 20s (like driving a semi-trailer all night long through the Kalahari with lot...more
This is a really fun read. It's a series of vignettes about the author's experience as a safari guide in Botswana. Maybe part of my affection for the book was reminiscing about living in the Maasai Mara for 6 weeks in college, going on safari every day. But beyond that, there is just the right balance of humor and passion (not romantic passion, mind you, but passion for the wilderness) to make this book really engaging. I originally bought for my 14-yr-old, and stole it out of his hands before h...more
Lolita Lark
Even those of us who don't care for hyenas and ground hornbills, Whatever You Do is a fascinating ramble, loaded with facts. A reserve is not a zoo, so "we did not feed them, stroke them, or stand next to them for photographs." (Exception to this last noted above.) "All we did is watch them live and die." And do other things. Like try to steal meals off the tables and out of the trash-cans at the camp. Or show their asses ... zebras (we learn) are notorious rump flashers.
Or piss. We get to see a...more
This was an extremely fun, well-written memoir. It narrates selected memoirs from the author's career as a safari guide in Africa. Allison excels at describing nature and animals in an educational yet light-hearted story-like way; I felt like I was right there with him on his various misadventures.

My only complaint with the story was the amount of sex and alcohol present in the various tales. I personally don't mind that stuff, and it definitely made the book a fun read. But I am a K-3 teacher a...more
Light, entertaining, fun, interesting and often a 'laugh out loud' funny read. I found myself stifling snorts of laughter at night so I wouldn't wake the sleeping. I didn't want the book to end... on that note, I'm looking forward to reading my next Peter Allison book!
Swimming through the hippo-filled lake to rescue the guests perched on the rear of the sinking vehicle (driven into the lake by the author in an overly-optimistic attempt to cross)...; realizing that the next approach by the two mother lions would not be a 'mock' attack (while the tourists click away documenting the careless moment of their perhaps-doomed guide)...; mistaking an elephant for a mouse, believably explained (?!)...; just a few of the highlight moments from this entertaining recount...more
I liked the book because it was entertaining; entertaining to the point where I laughed out loud a few times. There is not a substantial take-away leson that you will gain; it is just good light hearted reading. It was a quick read.
Rock Angel
The stories were more colorful than the writing.

After the campfire tale of the first president of Botswana ("Khama: a love story") I felt that readers could really start to get to know our author. Not bad.
Having visited Botswana while living in South Africa I was entranced by this book. Brought back memories of visiting safari camps and some of the more comical things that can happen while on safari.
This book is very very funny. Definitely worth reading again. If you haven't read it, what are you waiting for? Be prepared to laugh often when you do. Excellent work! Loved every moment!
A very entertaining book. The book is written by an experienced safari guide in Botswana. He compiled his experiences as short essay. The book keeps getting better every chapter. Many reviewers have reviewed it as extremely funny but I did not find it that funny. Or may be my expectations for comedy were high having read such reviews. But for me the real highlights of the book were the wildlife and their behavior. Some observations about people from different cultures visiting these jungles, wer...more
Liz Willard
I don't toss out 5 star reviews very often, but this book was great. I laughed a lot. Seriously. A lot. I can't wait to read his other stuff.
Entertaining stories about safari life, especially if you are planning on going on safari yourself. Especially liked the tale of the Honey Badger...
Kristen Abbott
This guy is the James Harriott of South Africa, except without the medicine. This was an easy entertaining read to get ready for my upcoming trip.
Rebecca Douglass
My Mom recommended this book, and she was spot on. As a fan of Alistair McCall Smith's The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency books, it was fun to see another view of Botswana. And though I'm not 100% sure why, this book caught my fancy and tickled my funny bone, and I zipped through it almost non-stop. Allison has a dry sense of humor, usually deployed at his own expense (though he doesn't spare the idiosyncrasies--or the idiocies--of the tourists he guided). The tone of the book is generally humor...more
An absolutely delightful book. I listened to the audio version, which is nicely read by a man with an Australian accent, since the author is Australian. The book is a collection of vignettes about when the author, as quite a young man, led tourist safaris in South African, then Botswana, for several years. It's often laugh-out-loud funny. These are photo safaris, no guns! The information about animal behavior is interesting, too. Will look for his other books. I highly recommend this one. I rese...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
  • Cry of the Kalahari
  • 100 Heartbeats: A Journey to Meet Our Planet's Endangered Animals and the Heroes Working to Save Them
  • Soul of a Lion: One Woman's Quest to Rescue Africa's Wildlife Refugees
  • The Wilderness Family: At Home with Africa's Wildlife
  • Twenty Chickens For A Saddle
  • Elephant Memories: Thirteen Years in the Life of an Elephant Family
  • First Comes Love, then Comes Malaria: How a Peace Corps Poster Boy Won My Heart and A Third World Adventure Changed My Life
  • Jaguars Ripped My Flesh
  • The Elephant Whisperer
  • Kicked, Bitten, and Scratched: Life and Lessons at the World's Premier School for Exotic Animal Trainers
  • Facing the Congo: A Modern-Day Journey into the Heart of Darkness
  • Travels in West Africa
  • Rainbow's End: A Memoir of Childhood, War and an African Farm
  • Smile When You're Lying: Confessions of a Rogue Travel Writer
  • An Embarrassment of Mangoes: A Caribbean Interlude
  • Cruelest Journey: Six Hundred Miles To Timbuktu
  • The Animal Dialogues: Uncommon Encounters in the Wild
  • Lost in Mongolia: Rafting the World's Last Unchallenged River
Don't Look Behind You!: A Safari Guide's Encounters with Ravenous Lions, Stampeding Elephants, and Lovesick Rhinos How to Walk a Puma: And Other Things I Learned While Stumbling through South America David Adjaye: Houses; Recycling, Reconfiguring, Rebuilding David Adjaye: Making Public Buildings: Customization Imbrication Specificity Dollar Noncents

Share This Book

“This tree, though, had not been fed on, so it was apparent that the culprit was a bull (elephant) who was filled with testosterone but no outlet for it, so he pushed over trees. It's a great release for a bull and a way of showing his strength after a female has rejected him. If human males had the same ability, global deforestation would be complete by now.” 4 likes
“Like every other guide or wildlife lover who is eventually eaten or trampled, I felt that I had a bond with this herd that would make me safe with them. I wanted to try my luck again.” 3 likes
More quotes…