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Review of Safari Ants, Baggy Pants and Elephants by Susie Kelly

July 30, 2019


Safari Ants, Baggy Pants and Elephants is an intriguing title for this book which I expected to be quite a comedy, but actually, it was a great travelogue through a number of Kenya’s game reserves with some fairly serious content. What I loved about it was the author’s depth of affection for the country where she grew up, her love for its people and her fascination for its wildlife. This is partly a travel memoir and partly a look back into the author’s past life in Kenya, and as such the reader is transported through the African bush as well as back into Kenya of the 1950s.

Invited on a luxury safari, the author describes the magic of the African landscape in all its glory while being guided from one game reserve to another by a group of incredibly well-informed Kenyan guides. There is a wealth of fascinating information about the animals that Susie Kelly gleans from the guides as they go along, and I gained so much admiration for these knowledgeable and wonderful men who care for the travellers in their charge, ensuring they get the best of possible experiences. Susie also compares the Kenya of today with her memories of the past, when the country was in the last stages of British colonial rule.

There were certainly some amusing elements, especially early on, when the author discovers what she has managed to leave behind (hence the baggy pants), but there were also some tough calls when we read about the harsher realities of nature, for example Susie’s story about what Safari Ants can do. I still shudder at the thought.

I must say that I found Travels with Tinkerbelle, the last book of Susie Kelly’s I read, a more professional product than this one in terms of editing polish, but as I read on, I became so immersed in the African experience, the landscape, and especially the lovely people Ms Kelly meets that it didn’t seem to matter anymore. Altogether, I really enjoyed it and it made me hanker for Africa all over again.

As a bonus, there is a link to Susie Kelly’s beautiful photos of her trip. They are quite stunning!

The link to the book is here

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