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

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  8,339 ratings  ·  857 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,
Paperback, 246 pages
Published October 1st 2007 by Lyons Press (first published 2007)
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Emily There is some language and, though I don't recall any sexual content, there might be (I'm reading another book of his right now and -though it's…moreThere is some language and, though I don't recall any sexual content, there might be (I'm reading another book of his right now and -though it's handled delicately- there is in that book, so there might be in this one as well). But it's not a constant flood of language or sex.(less)

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Average rating 3.97  · 
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 ·  8,339 ratings  ·  857 reviews

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Start your review of Whatever You Do, Don't Run: True Tales of a Botswana Safari Guide
Final review: this is very light reading with plenty of interesting facts, amusing incidents and annoying guests, including randy Royals. It would make a very good tv series starring the author who is extremely handsome and very cack-handed, if not accident prone. (He specialises in wrecking safari vehicles). There is some depth, especially about lions, but the author despite his deep interest in animals in the wild doesn't convey much. This could be that the editor wanted a light, easy-reading ...more
Maria V. Snyder
Jun 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a series of essays written from a safari guide who worked in South Africa and Botswana. Having recently returned from a safari in Botswana, I bought this book, which had been recommended by my guide during my trip. It's a wonderful collection and very funny and I think to really appreciate it you'd need to go on a safari first - however, I think reading it before venturing over to Africa would give you a better appreciation for your guides and the people who work behind the scenes at the ...more
May 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
This book is about Peter Allison and his time in Africa as a safari guide. I don't know what I expected when I picked up this book, but I felt slightly disappointed when I finished reading. Not to say that I didn't enjoy it, because I did, but something just felt lacking.

There was quite a bit of humor throughout the book, which I enjoyed, in addition to animal encounters.
Aug 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is the kind of book I would love to illustrate with update pictures and talk about with friends but those features seem to have disappeared from Goodreads. For lovers of Africa and nature this collection of stories from Allison's years as a young and dangerously innocent safari guide is great fun, filled with humor and insights.
Jul 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Just what I needed for a light summer read. Allison is not the strongest writer, but his love for conservation and wildlife shines through. I loved his description of encounters with African wildlife and his interaction with crazy foreign tourists made me smile.
Mar 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: africa, adventure
Fun look at life in the bush told by a 20 something young male Australian guide. I learned amazing things about about the creatures in the wilds of Botswana and it was humorous and entertaining.
Anne ✨
A highly entertaining book, Peter Allison has a great sense of humor and knows how to spin a good tale. It was fascinating to get a peek into the funnier side of African safari experiences from the point of view of the guides!
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 ...more
Jan 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
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.
Gorab Jain
Sep 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Recommended to Gorab by: Arpit
Shelves: non-fiction, z2017
Hilarious short accounts of a Wild Safari tour guide in Botswana. The writing style is interesting and very funny. The book also contains insets of pics of author with his various friends (including wildlife).
Sets your expectations straight on what to expect from a wildlife safari... contrary to the general expectations of always sighting rare moments which are captured on TV.
Sonja Arlow
"Whatever you do don’t RUN – FOOD RUNS!!”

This is a funny little in-between book and with the many references to Botswana, South Africa and the bush this will appeal to all South African’s and lovers of our wildlife.

19-Year-old Peter Allison came to South Africa in 1994 as a pit stop only to arrange for finances after an unfortunate robbery in Malawi, and never left.

In the same vein as Don't Tell Mum I Work on the Rigs, She Thinks I'm a Piano Player in a Whorehouse it had me laughing most of
Mar 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Mar 18, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, africa
After reading this book, I would never want to be on safari and have the author of this book as my guide! The book is described as being hilarious but I'd characterize it as frightening. Allison was a danger to himself, his fellow guides, and his guests. While he seems to have matured a bit as he became more experienced, I hate to think of danger in which he put some of his earliest guests. Some of the experiences of being up close and personal with the wild and exotic African animals were ...more
Alyce (At Home With Books)
Jan 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Kaitlyn Davis
May 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The perfect read before I go on my first safari this summer :) Highly recommend!
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
One of my book club reads. I loved this book. The author is amazing. He does things that I would loved to have done when I was young. Just get up and go do what you always wanted or try to at any rate.

I have never wanted to live in Africa but I have always wanted to visit. I could never last living there being a guide. Not with my fear of malaria etc. And of course they got malaria a few times. But the amazing wildlife they got to share their lives with is a dream!

There are some sad things and
Jun 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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 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 ...more
Cute anecdotes about the author's time as a safari guide in the Okavango Delta. Nice way to spend some time, but would have enjoyed it more if it had an actual narrative. The author is not much of a writer, but he is a good story teller; would be fantastic stories to tell - and hear! - around a campfire.
Dec 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
A very enjoyable, interesting read. Filled with great stories, humor and adventure. I've already got his next book coming my way!
Emi Cooper
Oct 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book much more than I expected to! It was so heartfelt and sincere. I loved getting to hear the author’s heart for African wildlife and the environment. I tired sometimes of the machismo with which he tells some of the stories- you can tell he started as a cocky young man trying to impress. But it’s a fun trip between that man and the slightly wiser, more compassionate one who finishes the story. Good read, and I’d highly recommend!
Jun 27, 2018 rated it liked it
"Whatever You Do, Don't Run is a hilarious collection of true tales from top safari guide Peter Allison. In a place where the wrong behavior could get you eaten, Allison has survived face-to-face encounters with big cats, angry elephants, and the world's most unpredictable animals -- herds of untamed tourists and foolhardy guides whose outrageous antics sometimes make them even more dangerous than a pride of hungry lions!

"Join Allison as he faces down charging lions -- twice; searches for a
Jamie Collins
Aug 30, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir, animals
An nice collection of stories from an Australian man who worked as a safari guide in Botswana in the 1990’s. I enjoyed the book, although somehow it doesn’t seem like these could be the very best stories from a veteran safari guide. Maybe he already sold his top ten somewhere else, and this is his second set? It’s a rather random assortment.

As much as I like animal stories, I don’t especially want to go on safari myself. If I ever did, though, I hope I’d behave better than the guests who
Elizabeth A
Aug 15, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf, essays, 2015, non-fiction
This is a collection of essays about the author's time as a Botswana Safari Guide. To say these are essays is a bit of stretch. Each piece is about a page or two long, and while there are really funny anecdotes, it started to get a bit repetitive and rather too fluffy for my tastes. We started reading this one aloud this summer, and after about the first five to seven vignettes or so, lost interest in picking it back up again. So onto the DNF pile it goes.
Linda Lipko
Feb 03, 2011 rated it liked it
I have been enthralled with African animals since my first visit to the Natural History Museum in New York City when I was a child. I loved this book! I especially appreciate Allison's honesty and candor re. his inexperience when first starting as a guide. I felt as though I took a safari and never had to leave the comfort of my living room. The descriptive, humorous writing style kept me reading and wishing the book didn't end.
Will Cooper
Nov 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It’s always interesting to see how a subject I know very little about will keep my attention. I have barely been out of the country, much less on an African safari. And my knowledge of African animals is limited to multiple trips to the zoo. And yet Peter Allison was able to keep my attention as he told of being chased by buffaloes, sinking a Land Rover in water occupied by hippos, and swimming with elephants. I think the inherent bravery of his occupation is admirable, but it is his adept ...more
Jim Cooper
Book club pick.
Whatever You Do, Don't Run is a delightful collection of short stories by Safari Guide Peter Allison. I came across this book on a Goodreads list of best travel books and was instantly intrigued. I love travelogues. I love stories about Africa. This book promised to be full of exotic adventure and humor, and it certainly delivered!

I was surprised how often I found myself laughing out loud. Sometimes just a few chuckles and other times full rolling laughs, but there was much laughter. The
Nov 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
This book was just as good as Don't Look Behind You!: A Safari Guide's Encounters with Ravenous Lions, Stampeding Elephants, and Lovesick Rhinos, its sequel which I inadvertently read first. In fact, it may be even better. The stories hung together in a more uniform way, they were all indisputably about animals and guiding in Africa, and they were maybe even a little funnier.

Unfortunately, whoever designed the cover is still a moron. It's Photoshopped. And not even Photoshopped well. I think it
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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
“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
“Bleary-eyed one morning, with caffeine still missing from my system, I fumbled my way along the dusty path to the guest tents, calling out ‘Good morning!’ in as cheery a voice as the hour would allow (it was barely after five o’clock, and the sun had only just cracked the horizon). I heard a rhythmic thumping, getting rapidly louder, and I turned to find 1,600 pounds of pissed-off cow bearing down on me. Clearly it disagreed with my assessment of the morning.” 3 likes
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