Some time ago a read the predecessor of this book. I enjoyed it very much. The light touch. The humour. The politicial thorns. Just all of it.

So when I saw the sequel I decided to buy it. It was at a highly reduced price.

What is this book about? Again we find many of the same characters as we saw in step 1. There are some differences. Mrs. Mbikwa has spent some considerable time in Scotland to look after her ageing and dying father. The birdwatchers still watch, but they have a different guide. Malik’s daughter is more prominent, so is the son of mrs. Mbikwa.

Nicholas Drayson refers to the first book quit a bit, so you do not have to read about the birds first, you can look for the beasts right away.

Very soon into the book I thought that mr. Drayson has read a large number of colonial-type books on Kenya. He read about the man-eating lions of Tsavo. He read about lions and Adamson. And he read about the Happy Valley in the interbellum. But most of all he read about the murder of Lord Erroll in 1941 in the area of the present suburb of Karen. Who killed Lord Erroll?

There is nothing wrong with reading. Not even reading on Kenya’s history. But Drayson tried to stuff it all into one of his lions. And to me that was just a bit too much. The lion did not come alive.

He puts in numerous names and characteristics of birds and beast. Not just birds on one feather, but all kinds of birds of all kinds of feathers. He tries to educate us on the most dangerous animals (mammal) on the continent.

I finished the book, but it took me more time this time. With his book on the birds he did a good job. Maybe he should write a third one, noting that a writer should be willing to kill his darlings.

Nicholas Drayson – A guide to the beasts of East Africa – London 2012



Published by


I enjoy reading about Africa. New books. Old books. By African writers. By non-African writers. Novel. History. Travel. Biographies. Autobiographies. Politics. Colonialism. Poetry.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.