Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “How to Walk a Puma: And Other Things I Learned While Stumbling through South America” as Want to Read:
How to Walk a Puma: And Other Things I Learned While Stumbling through South America
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

How to Walk a Puma: And Other Things I Learned While Stumbling through South America

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  508 ratings  ·  62 reviews
On his nineteenth birthday, Peter Allison flipped a coin. One side would take him to Africa and the other to South America, the two places he wanted to explore before he died. He recounted his time spent as a safari guide in Africa to much acclaim in Whatever You Do, Don’t Run and Don’t Look Behind You.

Sixteen years later, he makes his way to Santiago, Chile, ready to see
Paperback, 200 pages
Published December 20th 2011 by Lyons Press (first published January 1st 2011)
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 How to Walk a Puma, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about How to Walk a Puma

Trancing the Tiger by Rachael SlateBorn Free by Joy AdamsonThe Wilderness Family by Kobie KrügerForever Free by Joy AdamsonThe Spotted Sphinx by Joy Adamson
Books about Big Cats
239 books — 49 voters
Night by Elie WieselAngela's Ashes by Frank McCourtRunning with Scissors by Augusten BurroughsMe Talk Pretty One Day by David SedarisA Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
Memoirs by Men
1,285 books — 744 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.82  · 
Rating details
 ·  508 ratings  ·  62 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of How to Walk a Puma: And Other Things I Learned While Stumbling through South America
Celia Buell
Apr 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: animal lovers or adventure lovers
Animals are something that all children have profound interest in, but like many things, that interest often fades or specializes as a person ages. This was not the case with Peter Allison.

Allison flipped a coin some twenty years ago to decide between Africa and South America. He worked for six years as a safari guide in Africa, but when he grew bored of that, he took the other path to South America.

The title comes from Allison's first experience in South America, at the Inti Wara Yassi wildlife
Mar 01, 2012 rated it liked it
I was really looking forward to this book as I loved Allison's other two books. If I were to rate the first couple of chapters it would have been a 5 star book. Those chapters were funny and contained an animal. The middle part of the book was OK, the end I just wanted to be done. This is not necessarily a reflection on the book I am sure some people will love it but it was just not interesting for me. I also felt like he was preaching a little too much - I got it the first time around - he is a ...more
Marie Knock
Feb 10, 2013 rated it it was ok
I LOVED Peter's other books, but felt this just did not compare. I had been dying to read this for a year or so, and was so excited to finally buy it...but it just did not evoke a sense of place or exploration like his other books do.

I struggled though it in the hope that it would improve - it didn't.

It might be because he is focussed on rehabilitated animals in captivity opposed to narrating his encounters with wild animals in Africa.. but it just did not deliver for me :( After reading his oth
Nov 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Wonderful book by Peter Allison about his time spent in South America searching for a wild jaguar.

Interesting, entertaining, and funny.

Highly recommended.
Sep 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people who enjoy travel memoirs,
Ever since I read my first Peter Allison book in April of last year I've been waiting eagerly to read his newest book of adventures! Unfortunately I was on the waiting list for the library since the book's release date but at least I was the first one to read the copy I got last week (Which I finished in a few hours mind you).

This one was just as funny and entertaining as I had hoped it would be though you can tell that Peter went at his journey across South America a little older and a little
Sep 20, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: travel
While this is a tolerable read, I expected so much more from the author.

I adored Allison's first book, Whatever you do, don't run but this was an average read. His first book was told in a series of short stories, this book was one complete travel story. I laughed so many times in his first book, but I didn't even have a chuckle in this book. Most dissapointing of all, there was a marked decrease in wildlife in this book, he instead focusses on culture and landscapes.

To be fair, when there we
Linda C
Australian Peter Allison flipped a coin at 19 to determine going to Africa or South America. Africa won the toss. After 8 years in Africa and a similar number back in Australia he decides it is time to do South America. This book covers the 18 months he spends there. He commits a month to a conservation area in Bolivia and his job is to walk the puma, who likes to bite knees. This story is funny but not fun! Much of the rest of the time he travels, mostly to see animals and at one point to stay ...more
Mar 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
Peter Allisons books are so easy to read I just wish they were longer! In his usual style this book is both informative and hilarious. Inti Wara Yassi sounds amazing and i would like to go and walk a puma myself
ஐ Briansgirl (Book Queen)ஐ
I started reading this around 1pm after picking it up from the library. I finished it by 11:30pm. Nice book for an armchair traveller to take you around South America. Starts in Bolivia, moves into Chile briefly, back to Bolivia, then ends the last half of the book in various parts of Ecuador.
Years back I enjoyed Allison's first memoir about being an African safari guide so was a bit excited when this book popped up browsing the shelves.
Allison returned to Australia after his years in Africa, "settled down" and subsequently felt stuck and restless. In his mid-thirties (not quite so old as he sometimes comments on) his relationship ends, he sells up and heads out to South America for an extended ramble. His stories are still self-deprecating, well-paced, optimistic and full of love o
Yashodhara  Sirur
Nov 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A total hoot!
I absolutely loved Peter Allison's experiences with Puma walking. Rather Puma -running because obviously the puma in question was not a docile canine at the end of a leash. The book also features his adventures with the Huaorani tribe and living the way the tribe does.
Aside from the humour there's so much to learn about nature from this book (especially if you keep googling each encountered animal). There's the adorably cute (cos of eyelashes, which are actually horns) yet deadly
Natashalie Lumley
So when I first looked at this title I really thought it said "How to Walk Like a Puma" and I was really intrigued. Then I picked up the physical book, re-read the title, and was even more interested. Honestly, how often do you read about somebody walking a puma???

I read Mr Allison's "Whatever you do, don't run" first, and fell in love with both his style and his story. It made me want to go to the Okavango delta and go on safari and bird-watch. This book did the same thing for me, but with Sout
Cait S
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was ok
I'm a little bit bummed by this. I read another book by Peter Allison a few years ago and it was amazing. Hilarious, charming, captivating, loved every minute of it. This one...meh. The beginning sections about his experiences working with a puma named Roy were very reminiscent of that first book and I enjoyed it. But from there it went downhill for me. It became more a study of geography and people than recounts of stories about animals and adventures. I'll still read the others but this one ju ...more
Mar 14, 2018 rated it liked it
This is a different style to his other book I have read, it's more of a straight travel adventure than picking out the best of his African safari guide experiences. He's a bit older but loves animals just the same & that's what I relate to. I get excited seeing anything & so does he. I would recommend his earlier books first & in the acknowledgements he thanks Peter Fitzsimmons, who makes more money than him, thus proving that money does not correlate to talent. ...more
Mar 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this book SO much. The adventures into the jungles of South America were both hair-raising and funny. Peter Allison made me feel like I was there with him. His anecdotes made me laugh. He had nicknames for some of the people he met, and the language barriers made for some rather funny moments.

I highly recommend this book.
Melissa Denson

As the third book, I found it interesting still but not as entertaining and funny as the first two. That said, the last few chapters are by far the best as the chapters in the middle do not say much. Overall a decent read.
Mar 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
When I first started reading the book I thought that maybe I should have stopped after reading Peter Allison's first two books, but as I continued I became more and more interested in the story and finding out what Peter was going to do next. I'm now waiting for his next book. ...more
Carol Rode
Great book

I enjoyed this book just as much as his other two books. The jungle and the life of everyone was really wonderful to read about. I hope there will be some more books in the future.
Feb 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Oh my word!! Pure joy. Warning: do not read in public as you will have belly laughs.
Jun 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
I love his self-deprecating humor.
Jun 27, 2020 rated it liked it
Really a 3.5
James M Sisneros
Not as good

Liked whatever you do don't run better. It was funny entertaining and I learned about the animals. This was a weak attempt at funny and just not very interesting.
Jul 15, 2020 rated it liked it
Not particularly funny, nor as good as the first two but it is definitely interesting to read about South America, especially the last bit and the first part for that matter.
Feb 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
I had previously read one of Peter Allison's books set in Africa as we are anticipating a trip to Africa. I really liked his writing style, so I requested this book from the library. I also liked this book. I have been to parts of South America, so it was nice comparing his experiences, and comparing the locations he chose to spend to the places we spent time. ...more
Jacki (Julia Flyte)
Jan 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Peter Allison is an animal enthusiast who spent eight years working at an African safari lodge (documented in his two previous books, DON'T RUN, Whatever You Do: My Adventures as a Safari Guide and Don't Look Behind You!: True Tales of a Safari Guide. In 2009-2010, he spent 18 months traveling around South America and this book is about his adventures on that continent. They include living naked with an Ecuadorian native tribe, exploring glaciers in Patagonia, near death on an Bolivian river and ...more
Jan 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
This would be the first not-about-Africa book we've reviewed here, but it has ties to Africa. For those that have enjoyed Peter Allison's books (Whatever You Do, Don't Run! and Don't Look Behind You), How to Walk a Puma: And Other Things I Learned While Stumbling through South America is a natural segue. When he was nineteen, Peter flipped a coin to decide between going to South America and Africa; Africa won. After many (entertaining) years as a safari guide in Africa, he longed to explore the ...more
An engagingly written memoir by an ex-safari guide in Africa about his adventures exploring the South American flora and fauna and the quest to spot a jaguar.

It starts with his volunteering at a place where rescued animals are housed and taken care of with the hope of them eventually being released back in the wild. So, Peter lands a job as a walker to Roy, the puma and suffers quite a few funny and not-so-funny accidents. Later on it continues to other parts of the continent, experiencing a sc
May 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
While Whatever You Do, Don't Run remains my favourite of Allison's books, I was delighted to get my hands on this lighthearted collection of stories about his travels through South America. I've just gone back through my notes on the book and am finding them entirely useless for review, as they're all highlights about cultural snark (e.g., Welsh vs. English), but I don't think it's so much the stories/plot that counts here anyway—more just the humour and playfulness throughout. I don't have that ...more
Deborah aka Reading Mom
Jan 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Peter Allison is an entertaining writer. His love of life in the wild and love of all animals comes shining through in each of his books; I greatly enjoyed the previous two about his safari guiding years in Africa. This one was even better. Peter's self-deprecating way of not taking himself too seriously is always a treat and some of his descriptive phrasing choices are downright hilarious.
Although I haven't walked the glaciers of Patagonia, I related deeply with his awe and amazement at the ex
Dec 30, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is easy and quick to read, but I did not enjoy it as much as Peter Allison's previous books. This may be due to the fact that I have not been to South America and so could not relate to the places he visited?

Peter's passion for Africa shines through in his other two books (which are brilliant and funny). The writing in 'How to Walk a Puma' did not portray the same emotions for South America, therefore it was less of a page turner for me.

Having said that, I love Peter Allison's sense of
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Wilderness Family: At Home with Africa's Wildlife
  • Torn Trousers: A True Story of Courage and Adventure: How A Couple Sacrificed Everything To Escape to Paradise
  • Msomi and Me
  • The Last Rhinos: My Battle to Save One of the World's Greatest Creatures
  • Africa Bites: Scrapes and escapes in the African Bush
  • Love, Life, and Elephants: An African Love Story
  • Secrets of the Savanna: Twenty-three Years in the African Wilderness Unraveling the Mysteries of Elephants and People
  • The Elephant Whisperer
  • An Elephant in My Kitchen
  • Cry of the Kalahari
  • My Life in the Bush
  • Catherine, Called Birdy
  • A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver
  • Elephant Dawn: The Inspirational Story of Thirteen Years Living with Elephants in the African Wilderness
  • When Eagles Roar: The Amazing Journey of an African Wildlife Adventurer
  • Blueberries for Sal
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Peter Allison is an Australian writer whose books have focused on his time as an African safari guide, as well as his time in South America. He grew up in Sydney but at the age of 16 won a scholarship for study in Japan.[1] At 19 he travelled to Africa and became a guide for the Classic Safari Company.

He currently lives in Cape Town with his wife Pru, and their pet dog Mombo, where he works for Wi

Related Articles

Gather 'round because we're going to talk books. It's our favorite topic, of course. Here at Goodreads, the editorial team can't escape books...
98 likes · 16 comments
“I answered that I was sure, and he asked me again, and this time I understood his concern. ‘I’m not embarrassed!’ I said, or at least tried to say, before recalling that embarazada means something entirely different to ‘embarrassed’ and that I’d just wailed at the doctor that I wasn’t pregnant, something his medical training had presumably made evident to him.” 1 likes
“But after dealing with Roy for a while I just wanted to get through the time I’d signed on for, to prove to myself that I couldn’t be beaten by a girly-faced, chicken-boned, racist cat.” 1 likes
More quotes…