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The Bafut Beagles

4.16  ·  Rating Details ·  1,268 Ratings  ·  42 Reviews
Young English zoologist Gerard Durrell returns to the Cameroons in West Central Africa in 1949 for another humorous and fascinating animal collecting expedition. Meet a frog with a coat of hair (which turns out not to be hair at all), full grown monkeys that fit inside a teacup, mice with wings, and many more of the species endemic to the Cameroons, not to mention the loca ...more
Published 2001 by House of Stratus (first published October 1954)
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Nandakishore Varma
Oct 17, 2011 Nandakishore Varma rated it really liked it
Shelves: wildlife
This is the first book by Gerald Durrell I read, and I immediately became a fan. He writes with humour and sympathy about animals, and his adventures are vintage reads. He also made me look at zoos and their role in conservation in a new light.
Jul 01, 2015 Matt rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, science
This is a difficult book to review. On it's surface, and I'm sure at the time it was written it was received this way, it presents itself as a charming account of an expedition to Cameroon to pick up live animals to bring back to England to study, replete with amusing anecdotes about the difficulties of collecting and caring for the animals, and humorous depictions of the people Durrell meets along the way...

Can you spot the problem? It's in the "humorous depictions of the people". This book is
Mar 20, 2011 Ape rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: africa, travel
2009 bookcrossing review:

This is the second of Durrell's books I have read. I am not sure if it the second in the series of his memoirs though. This one was written in 1954, so I presume it is about a trip to Cameroon that occured a few years before that? He never actually says exactly when. But it's the story of a several-months long trip in the Cameroons that he took to collect lots of animals. Most of his trip was spent in the higher lands, an area called the Bafut, where he was the guest of
Irene Lazlo
Otro libro de Durrell que me ha encantado. Los libros en los que captura animales, aunque fascinantes, son menos agradables de leer que sus otros libros porque algunos animales mueren inevitablemente en el viaje y no llegan a un refugio o zoo. Me ha sorprendido lo tolerante que es el libro para estar escrito en los años 40, Durrell no habla de los africanos como primitivos sino que vive con ellos y participa de sus costumbres. Sí que hay diferencia entre el hombre blanco y el negro: los africano ...more
Feb 18, 2013 Colin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's quite interesting reading this at the same time as I'm listening to the audiobook of "Blood River". Both are tales of Englishmen in Africa. Whereas Tim Butcher spends most of the time in real danger, refuses to stereotype, and uses his wits to determine which of the many people he meets are worthy of trust and respect, Gerald Durrell is writing in another age, and he just cruises around, effortlessly assuming his right to be called "Masa" and "Sah" by the flock of undifferentiated, caricatu ...more
Satwant Singh
Jul 08, 2014 Satwant Singh rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Wow, wow, wow. I was at airport in between my flights and i need something to pass my time. So i just go to store and pick a random book up and guess what, It was The Bafut Beagles. I causally go through first few pages and start to feel that this is not the usual book we read. It has something extra and something new. The natural comedy that generate from individual from this book, commentary by My Durrell about certain incidence, Bafut people and most of all an exciting world of wild life. I a ...more
Namitha Varma
Another thoroughly enjoyable book by Durrell. Each time I read him, I met such fascinating creatures. And Durrell can make even a toad adorable!
Rishi Prakash
Dec 30, 2016 Rishi Prakash rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another amazing book my the Mr Durrell who has become my favorite author now when it comes to animals :-)

This is the story of Durrell's animal collecting expedition to what was then the British Cameroons, in the late 1940's. The book is full of memorable characters, human and animal which is almost unbelievable to say the least because they are just so amazing!

Trust me, you will end up praying to be on this trip if it was possible by any means!

May 15, 2017 Shrilatha rated it really liked it
Jul 26, 2011 Robert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

The Bafut Beagles is Durrell's first journey to Africa in order to catch animals for zoos and it sets the template for all of Durrell's travelogues: descriptions of exotic animals and anecdotes about the characters that he encounters.

Keep in mind that I read these books when I was 14 years old (I'm now 37) and so details such as racism or class superiority went by me. But now looking back, the descriptions of the African's use of pdgin english and bumbling antics of the tribesmen do sound date
Katy Defay
Apr 15, 2012 Katy Defay rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook
This book details Durrell's first trip to the Cameroons. First published in the 1950's, it is an enjoyable story about the native peoples he meets and the strange and unusual animals he collects in hopes of bringing them back to British zoos. The story is full of humor (which, incidentally, is not captured by the audiobook narrator, who seems to not grasp the humor or is unable to portray it.)
The best place to start with Durrell is My Family and Other Animals, which tells of Durrell's introducti
«Гончие Бафута» лишены единой повествовательной линии. Это прежде всего набор занимательных случаев, о которых Даррелл решил вспомнить. В какой-то момент на читателя обязательно навалится ощущение скуки, ведь об особом разнообразии в приключениях Джеральда говорить не приходится. Да и чувство одиночества не позволяет понять радужность авторских похождений. Всё кажется прекрасным, но чего-то постоянно не хватает. Думается, Даррел испытывал нехватку в единомышленниках. Видно, что Джеральд любит пр ...more
Ian Anderson
I read this while at school or university along with other Gerald Durrell books. Re-reading this book it seems a little dated in its attitude towards Africans but very good humoured, and the black & white illustrations by Ralph Thompson fit the text as if he were present during the events portrayed.

It is the story of one of Gerald Durrell's animal collection expeditions from early 1950s (or late 1940s) to Cameroon in West Africa. These expeditions collected animals primarily for British zoos
Oct 26, 2011 Gordon rated it liked it
Shelves: animal-stories
As always with Gerald Durrell, this book is easy to read and full of humour. Unfortunately this time there's a big qualifier: his portrayal of Africans. To be fair, it would have been a rare European in the 1940's who saw Africans as equals, there is no outright brutality - this is a book of humour, after all! - and from time to time his paternalistic affection blooms into genuine respect. Still, this grated, and in addition I for one get bored quickly by drinking scenes, but the book is saved f ...more
Aug 17, 2013 Clivemichael rated it liked it
I read this in the 60's, an inspiring romp through Cameroon chasing after "wild "animals to put into zoo's. Don't recall much about it 50 years later but it is interesting to note, being here in Cameroon now, there are not many, maybe any, of those animals left. Bush meat, compromised habitat and excessive human growth have done the damage. Visiting Bafut I wonder at the older men and women, how many of them were even alive when he was here in 1949. Time to revisit it, should I find a copy somew ...more
Feb 26, 2012 Jeffrey rated it it was amazing
While Durrell was reputed to exaggerate some of his experiences when on animal collecting trips for his private zoo in Jersey, no one could deny he had a way with words and delivered many humorous anecdotes about the animals and the people involved through a whole series of books. The Bafut Beagles (actually a group of men who assisted Durrell in his quests in that part of Africa) was one of the funniest and is a very entertaining read.
Guy Noyes
I read this book 50 years ago and it remains one of Durrell's classic animal collector's tales. It is full of characters, both human like the tall, elegant Fon of Bafut and animals like the elusive hairy toad. Our affable British guide drinks gin with the Fon and teaches his people the conga line. The high grasslands are well described and, as always, mischievous animals cause havoc. Durrell laughs with his hunters and at himself. Treat yourself to a jolly time with this book.
Nov 29, 2014 Margaret rated it it was amazing
One of the funniest books I've ever read. Durrell travels to the small country of Camaroon and interacts with a jungle community, complete with its own king. The pidgin English is hilarious without ever being demeaning, and the tribes people knock themselves out helping Durrell and his crew gather rare species. Not to be missed.
May 04, 2016 Hannah rated it liked it
Durrell's books are a delightful collection of anecdotes regarding his adventures whilst collecting animals. This book is about a trip to the Cameroons and my major complaint is the cringe -worthy way in which he refers to "the Africans" he comes across. Not overt racism but some of the dialogue and his observations left me feeling a bit uncomfortable.
May 26, 2014 Laura rated it it was amazing
Another fun book about a guy tramping around in the bush looking for obscure animals with the aid of some very interesting local characters. I just love these books and smile every time I think of Gerald leading a conga line all around a little village in the Cameroons.
Pam Bloom
Jun 20, 2016 Pam Bloom rated it it was amazing
A lovely and descriptive look at animal collecting in Africa in the 1950s. Gerald Durrell's affection for the people of Bafut is obvious. There are many funny moments, which will have you snorting coffee down your nose. Glorious.
Stefan Pulpitel
Feb 01, 2017 Stefan Pulpitel rated it it was amazing
A beautiful, fun, and excellent book, this story is lively, exciting and paints a clear picture of the Kingdom of the Fon of Bafut, his subjects and the lush kingdom in what was then the Cameroons. Highly recommended and a great read!
Jenny Sparrow
Mar 17, 2015 Jenny Sparrow rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Книга про второе путешествие Даррелла в Камерун и его охоту на редких и интересных животных. Как всегда, с юмором, с добротой и очень интересно описаны животные и те любопытные курьёзы, которые подстерегают ловца зверей на каждом шагу.
Sep 04, 2010 Diane rated it it was amazing
More of Durrell's rememberences of collecting animals in Africa. Hilarious, touching, fascinating, and yet disturbing as we stand on the brink of species extinction. A wonderful human interest book.
Aug 24, 2013 Clarissa rated it liked it
There are some great scenes, it isn't as good as the books in which the rest of the Durrell family appear, but still fun to read.
Mar 27, 2013 Krista rated it really liked it
"My Family and Other Animals" still remains the best, but this is a great follow-up.
Saqib Khan
Apr 24, 2014 Saqib Khan rated it it was amazing
Oct 01, 2015 Daphne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-audio, quest
Sweet little nature book. Dry british humor and animals is always a pleasant combination.
May 09, 2013 Dana rated it really liked it
thoroughly enjoyable
Sep 04, 2016 David rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography, factual
excellent book in long series
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Gerald "Gerry" Malcolm Durrell was born in India in 1925. His family settled on Corfu when Durrell was a boy and he spent his time studying its wildlife. He relates these experiences in the trilogy beginning with My Family and Other Animals, and continuing with Birds, Beasts and Relatives and The Garden of the Gods. In his books he writes with wry humour and great perception about both the humans ...more
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