Cry of the Kalahari

Many years ago, while I was a teenager, I came across a book in the local library, where I grew up in Exeter. The book was such an influence, that the title remained with me to this day, although I couldn’t remember the names of two young researchers who authored the book. They had set out with very little to their name to the deserts of the Kalahari to research the wildlife, before it disappeared. At the time, very little was being done towards conservation and they wanted to see the animals before they were lost. Their principle subjects were a clan of brown hyenas, different in behaviour to the more familiar spotted hyenas, but they also described a pride of lions invading their camp at night.

The title of the book was the “Cry of the Kalahari” and I had the vision that one day, I would have a similar adventure researching wildlife. The dream has never quite materialised, although I did end up researching much smaller forms of life, but the vision remains. Until now, I have been unable to find the book again, but an internet search found a number of used copies listed on Amazon UK, then I found the Owens Foundation website and immediately recgnised the names of Mark and Delia Owens. On their website is a page, where each of their authored books is listed, including the Cry of the Kalahari. On there, is a link to new copies of the book through the US Amazon site and purchasing using that link gives a donation to the Owens Foundation.

For anyone interested in wildlife, this book is a must read. While I can’t remember the book in detail after all these years, what sticks in my mind, is that the research and observations of the animals reads more like a life story, describing the experiences of the two authors and giving an intimate insight into the individual personalities of the animals they encounter. This is something that is often lacking in research works. From experience, scientific papers and to a lesser degree books too, are not particularly readable. This book is the exception and as such, it is suitable for most readers. I can thoroughly recommend the book.

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