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The Lost World of the Kalahari
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The Lost World of the Kalahari

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  445 Ratings  ·  40 Reviews
The distinguished explorer and writer recounts his rediscovery of the Bushmen, outcast survivors from Stone Age Africa. Faced with constant attack from all the peoples who followed them, the last of the Bushmen have retreated to the scorching depths of the Kalahari Desert in southern Africa. After a gruelling trek, van der Post finds the Bushmen, thriving in one of the wor ...more
Published March 1st 1992 by Bdd Promotional Book Co (first published 1958)
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John Farebrother
Jul 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An incredible book, that first awoke my interest in Southern Africa. It tells the story of an expedition into the Kalahari desert to film the elusive Bushmen, recently termed "stone-age creatures" by the president of Botswana. For the reader unfamiliar with that part of the world, it truly is a fantastic journey into the unknown. The author describes the initial idea, the putting together of a concrete plan, obtaining funding (largely the provision of the vehicles, cameras and other equipment), ...more
Interesting "adventure" of this monochromaticly educated member of England's "upper" crust - but written from the heart in 1955. He was apparently inspired by Jung's idea of the soul's primordial desire for light, and escape from primal darkness - so he is at once patronizing but respectful. With his custom made / purpose built Land Rovers (you know, roughing it)he eventually succeeds in finding "real" Bushmen in Botswana's Kalahari. He writes well and, of course, i gleaned some tribal fashion t ...more
Tess W
Aug 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Pllleeeeaaaasssssse do yourself and your heart and soul the great service of reading this book, it is splendid. Enter the world and mind of Sir Laurens van der Post whose grace and purpose and love and integrity is so rare you feel privileged to be shown a small part of his world. Prince Charles must surely be an exceptional man to have had the foresight to bestow upon his eldest son a Godfather such as Sir Laurens. Your only regret on reading this book is that it has to end and you are no longe ...more
Jan 08, 2009 rated it liked it
Almost drippingly lyrical, as Africa demands, yet less than a quarter of it actually deals directly with Bushmen.
Abe Abraham
Nov 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

The author, van der Post was driven by fascination for the vanishing Bushman and the stories he heard growing up. He brought to bear great talent to the literature of adventure. His writing evokes the sights and sounds and moods of the African interior as he navigated the rough terrain while leading a crew several men including cameramen and living off the land. His expressions are rich and his idioms have a way of anchoring descriptions of the Bushman and his environments in the minds of the re
Mar 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read this a very long time ago and it made a deep impression on me. I understand that some aspects of it are discredited now.
Jason West
Feb 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Such a beautiful storyteller and this Journey to find the bushman was just exquisite to read. Had me on the edge of my seat. The deeper messages within the work is what grabbed me most.

Jun 15, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: africa, south-africa
Der Icherzähler des romanhaften Reiseberichts interessiert sich seit frühester Keinheit für die Kultur der Buschmänner; denn die Mutter seines Kindermädchens war eine San. Erzählungen und Mythen, die er als Kind hörte und jahrhundertealte Felszeichnungen beeindruckten ihn nachhaltig. Obwohl in seiner Kindheit auf fast jeder Farm eine Buschmann-Familie lebte, halten sich die Erwachsenen bei Fragen nach der Ausrottung des Volkes zu Beginn des 19. Jahrhunderts auffällig bedeckt. 1955 rüstet der Erz ...more
Sep 28, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: own, non-fiction
This is an account of an expedition to find a lost tribe of "Bushmen" in the Kalahari desert. The author is a vivid storyteller and explorer, the sort of which are hard to come by these days. If anybody attempted this expedition in 2014, the progress would be on Twitter and the photos up on Instagram before the Bushmen even realised anybody was looking for them. I digress. Plagued by both misfortune, and an equal share of fortune, Laurens' team also set out to make a film of their exploits under ...more
dead letter office
an account of the expedition van der post led into the kalahari desert to find a hitherto semi-mythical tribe of bushmen.

in one of his books (i forget which one, but i suspect it is this one), van der post is asked if he could be born in any other time, in any other place, where he would choose. his response is that he loves his own time too much to have chosen any other, but if forced to choose he would have been in africa before the the first blind, violent europeans laid their hands on it, wh
May 03, 2015 rated it liked it
Van der Posts safari of the 1950's into the Okavango area is a search for small, alive, original Bushmen people. The book's beginning seems written in early 1900's in stilted-self-conscious English. As the adventures of exploring on foot, canoeing by Mekoro and riding in custom built Range Rover unfolds, the language though lyrical begins to read normally.

One can feel the upset with the personality of the hired cameraman who won't photograph; see the mud and slogging through bush with hired nati
Aug 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
The book starts quite slowly, I almost wanted to stop reading. Only after the idea of an excursion appeared I was hooked. In the end, I was glad to have continued reading. The vivid description of the quest to get in touch with and to film the last remaining groups of San is captivating. At that point, I thoroughly enjoyed the poetic, evocative language of Laurens van der Post. The book might not be an accurate account in all aspects, but I felt it made me see with new eyes and sharpened my perc ...more
Emma Weisman
Sep 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautiful book. It gives a remarkable insight into colonialism in Africa, the strength and beauty of ancient culture, and what it takes to journey into the desert. Van der Post begins and ends with respect for his subject. He neither shies away from the horrid facts of colonialism, nor establishes Bushmen as any kind of "noble savage". This is a wonderful piece of narrative nonfiction.
Jun 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Although half of the book is more tales and stories than any actual account of the Bushmen people, the book was wholly worth it for its descriptions of animals, and for the last part of the book, where the expedition finally lives with “true bushman people”, and the reader gets a wonderful description of the lives of one of the last remaining groups of these people, and of one of the last groups of people on earth living a truly wild life.
Joe Loyd
Nov 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: anthropology
Van der Post gives enchanting insights into the !Kung as only one who was raised by a half-!Kung nanny could do. The book recounts his desperate search for the few last unspoiled [by modern culture] Bushmen in order to film them. He laces the book with historical perspective of interactions among native blacks, invading whites and the !Kung over the past several hundred years.
Feb 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
I first read this book at school but have recently re-visited it and thankfully fell in love with it all over again. Van der Post had a rare narrative gift and brings the diminutive bushmen of the Kalahari Desert to life, and their fight for survival not only in a hostile environment, but against the ever increasing invasion of the 20th century.
Tony Adams
Sep 22, 2012 rated it liked it
Interesting story but no great prose...he's an explorer and observer but certainly not a writer.

I enjoyed it and certainly picked up on his sense of guilt over the effects "civilization" had on the indigenous people of the area, just thought the writing was uneven - lovely in sections, but plodded a little from time to time.

I get the feeling this book has aged a little. Shame.

Nov 03, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
After reading his amazing novel, "A Story Like the Wind," I couldn't get past the "dryness" of the first 2 or so chapters of this book. I didn't find the beautiful prose, or what he was writing, intriguing enough to keep my interest.

Oct 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a great historical and anthropological depiction of the European-indigenous African encounters of the mid-twentieth century. The description of the Kalahari Bushmen culture is especially well-done and vivid.
Jun 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I love this book. An intriguing and beautifully written book about the search for the Bushman in the Kalahari desert. The author details the physical as well as psychological aspects of this journey taken in 1955.
Nov 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
a fascinating piece of nonfiction (at least seemingly, there is evidence that some of the story is fictionalized) about the Bushmen in the Kalahari written in 1958. The writing is beautiful, well-worth reading, especially if you are interested in southern Africa.
Jul 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A perfect pre-read and companion on my Kalahari expedition. It brought the trip to life realising we were probably camped where the author did. No words could really describe the bushmen fully though. They're just too mystical for that.
Sergio GRANDE films
Nov 04, 2012 rated it it was ok
Sir Laurens was not a novelist. Just an explorer in the days when science didn't have the knowledge and explorers didn't have the wherewithal. And it shows. High on anthropological value, low on literary worth.
This used to be a better read back in the 80's, when we knew less about the Bushmen.
Nov 15, 2009 rated it liked it
Really good story, but I didn't particularly like the author's writing style. He seemed to dwell on relatively unimportant things and gloss over the parts of the story that I was most interested in.
May 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, travel
Classic book of the people of the Kalahari desert.
Jun 21, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: africa
Second read - flawed but interesting.
David Buhler
A great book! An expedition to find 30 bushmen living well-adapted lives to the Kalihari Desert in South Africa. Period: mid 1950's.
Mary Ann
May 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
This book provided great insight into the lives of Bushmen in Africa and their future.
Feb 21, 2012 rated it it was ok
Did not finish. Too much about the expedition and not enough about the Bushmen, at least as far as I got.
Oct 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite
one of the most poetically beautifully written books I've read; interesting story as well
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Sir Laurens Jan van der Post (aka Laurens van der Post) was a 20th century Afrikaner author of many books, farmer, war hero, political adviser to British heads of government, close friend of Prince Charles, godfather of Prince William, educator, journalist, humanitarian, philosopher, explorer, and conservationist.
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