Updated: Sep 16
[Proceeds to the Zimbabwe Pensioners' Support Fund]
Anecdotes from the African wilderness . . . Make no mistake, Timot’s world was often fraught with hidden dangers where not everyone returned home in one piece. A colleague was killed by a lion, another mauled by a leopard and yet another gored by a buffalo. And then of course, there was the bush war to contend with. Luck, however, was on Timot’s side. He was the real deal in the world of National Parks and wildlife conservation in Rhodesia. When only 28 and with a young wife and two small sons, Tim Braybrooke became the youngest warden in the country, in a remote, undeveloped game park on the Mozambique border. It was teeming with aggressive elephant and far away from civilisation, but by the time he left, he and his team had done a great job. They all went on to make their mark in the country’s national parks, and some, like Timot, set up their own successful safaris. Timot was born in Salisbury and eventually went to Plumtree School, where he met his friend-for-life, Storm Stenslunde. What they got up to and got away with at such a young age is the stuff of legend.
Please note: The book is larger than A4 size and has both a fairly large font and roughly 150 mostly large format photos. It looks great on the coffee table, and would make an excellent gift for family, friends or clients.
Review by the San Francisco Book Review
Star Rating: 5 / 5
A life of adventure. An adventure to read. The sheer gritty sweep of this magnificent autobiography both astounds and impresses. And what one is most impressed with is the toughness of body and mind Tim Braybrooke exhibited throughout his life. The resilience necessary to undergo the tasks he details so matter-of-factly is uniquely admirable. Enduring thirst, leg-weary fatigue, and illnesses, life-threatening encounters with everything from lions to Cape Buffalo to elephants, to poachers, are like raisins in a pudding of sweaty endeavor. The man himself describes his career as a series of journeys, though the book is not formally so divided. Beginning in his home country of Rhodesia, Tim and his friend Storm obtained a concession to hunt crocodiles in the Okavango Delta. Journey one saw night hunts, seeking water-dwelling predators whose hides represented a chance at what was then serious money. After eight months of that striving, the partners were a bit… bushed. But they were in funds. Journey two, 1956-1957, took the young men to Cape Town and first-class passage on the Winchester Castle to England. En route, with the bribed help of the chief Steward, they managed the company of some engaging young women. Tim found himself with a Danish damsel, Inge, whom they revisited in Oslo after some months in England, where they made the acquaintance of extended family for both men, and where Tim met his future wife, Bridget. Puttering about Europe preceded a decision to do something against all advice and sound judgment. They decided to return home overland through the length of Africa. After meeting some very welcoming French Foreign Legionnaires, among others, they had to avoid traversing Tunisia and Egypt by themselves, as they were warned they would be interned or killed there. The buddies found themselves waiting on a French convoy that would take them south. It was a two-month wait. Funds exhausted, the travelers had to sell their beloved Willis. The rest of their journey was, essentially, hitchhiking. Sometimes meeting hospitality, but sometimes forced to forage the bush for sustenance, they found themselves, as Tim puts it, “skint” by the time they arrived back in Rhodesia. Tim gained employment as a Junior Ranger at Wankie National Park. This would be his first step on Journey three, 1957-1964. He would go on to become the youngest Game Warden in the country [at the time], after advancing to Senior Ranger. And became the father of two. Here I must pause. Not only are the writer’s recountings full of sensory immediacy, putting his reader into the landscapes traversed, but this volume is full of wonderful illustrations. Multiple series of plates, black and white photos, many sepia-rendered. Maps, firearms, family pictures, wildlife portraits, hunters with trophies, all dramatically presented. Color enhances many of those plates. Reading TIMOT was a rare privilege for me. I sincerely hope you will grant it to yourself.
Reviewed by David Lloyd Sutton
Review by the Online Book Club (onlinebookclub.org)
I absolutely loved this book. Memoirs can easily be hit and miss depending on the subject matter at hand. I’ve always had a sense of adventure, and I absolutely drooled over the descriptions of the African landscapes, the promise of excitement at every turn, and the incredulous tales. Not only were Tim's stories rife with the right level of action to keep me interested, but Bijsterveld’s writing was on point as well. This is the kind of book that has the reader scheduling a safari or filling out his African immigration papers after turning the last page. What I liked the most about this book is how the author was able to put you into the scene with his writing and still maintain a relatively informal/conversational style with the reader.
. . . Review by Scerakor
Video of book
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The stunning Gonarezhou - a video by Martin Harvey. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0qeGCWQxMg
The Wilderness Leadership School
Tim once worked for the Wilderness Leadership School in South Africa. Here are two excellent videos with ex leading W.L.S. members Sir Laurens van der Post, Dr Ian Player (internationally renowned wildlife conservationist) and the unique and highly impressive Magqubu Ntombela. Well worth watching.
Hannes Wessels interviews Mike Bromwich
Mike, for many years a colleague of Tim Braybrooke, wrote National Parks and Wildlife Management, a concise history of Rhodesia's/early Zimbabwe's national parks. His intimate knowledge and well articulated account make the following videos, each over an hour long, compelling viewing.