A non-hunter shares her eye-opening experiences on a hunting safari and invites readers to reconsider what it will take to save Africa's wildlife.
“The use of traveling is to regulate imagination with reality, and instead of thinking of how things may be, see them as they are.”
-- Samuel Johnson
Cries of the Savanna
An adventure. An awakening.
A journey to understanding African wildlife conservation.
Waking to her husband’s alarmed whisper “Honey, get ready to run” was never in Sue Tidwell’s vision of Africa. Nor was skulking through the Tanzanian bush or lying terror-stricken as the cries of lions and hyenas cut through the walls of her tent.
As a non-hunter enchanted by African wildlife, traveling to Africa had been a dream of hers since childhood. Her vision included photo safaris and sleeping in a secure lodge, not acting as a sidekick on her husband’s hunting safari.
Growing up in a deer hunting family, she understood hunting’s role in American conservation. Still, the idea of hunting Africa’s exotic animals was deeply troubling. Aren’t many species endangered? Isn’t photo-tourism a better way to protect lions and elephants?
Her boots-on-the-ground view not only answered these questions and many more; it captured her soul and lit a fire in her gut, fueling a passion the opposite of what she expected.
Through stories of laughter, tragedy, and wonder, readers will be immersed in adventure as Sue’s curiosity sheds light on the struggles and complexities facing the people and wildlife of rural Africa. Whether an animal lover, conservationist, wanderer, adventurer, or human rights advocate, her unexpected odyssey will take readers on an eye-opening journey, arming them with the awareness necessary to conserve the spectacular animals of Africa. Only then will the cries of the savanna forever remain a part of the wild.
"Hunting is not for everyone -- many people would not even consider looking at an animal over the barrel of a gun, let alone pulling the trigger. This is especially the case for charismatic African wildlife that are much-loved around the world. But living in the midst of large, dangerous animals is a different kind of experience to watching them on TV or viewing them from a safe safari vehicle. In-person, sometimes terrifying, experiences with these animals colours rural African views on wildlife, and is a key reason why hunting in Africa is still welcomed by many African governments. The issues are nonetheless extremely complicated and context-specific, so unless you have seen it with your own eyes, the argument for hunting animals as part of conservation may never make sense to you. In this book, Sue Tidwell recounts her experience as she saw the complexities of African conservation and the role of hunting first-hand. Like Sue, I am not a hunter, but I respect my fellow Africans and value African wildlife. If you do, too, then join Sue for an educational adventure.”"
--- Gail Thomson (formerly Potgieter), Felines Communication and Conservation
"Heartfelt, hilarious, and inspiring. As someone who has grown up enjoying the splendors of the African bush first hand, I have to admit that I was skeptical of this book’s ability to accurately depict both life on safari, and the realities of wildlife conservation. However, it did not take long for Tidwell to prove me wrong. Chapter after chapter, her genuine passion and intense determination to learn the truth about African conservation oozes from the pages through captivating stories, educational narratives, and intense introspection. Even after a lifetime spent intimately engaged with the topics discussed in this book, I came out of it with expanded knowledge and a renewed conviction to do my part in securing the future of African wildlife. Whether you are a hunter, non-hunter, animal lover, or simply someone looking for a good adventure story, I encourage you to pick up this book and join Tidwell on her journey of discovery."
-- Jackson, Nashville TN
"When I first picked up "Cries of the Savanna", I fancied myself an ‘activist’ of sorts. I was very against hunting, ESPECIALLY in Africa. I heard all sorts of tales about terrible cruelty, and I even knew someone who had a "trophy room" of animals he had poached. It completely disgusted me. With a bit of a chip on my shoulder, I cracked open "Cries of the Savanna" with a sneer on my lips and judgement all prepared to flow. What I wasn't prepared for, was how Sue Tidwell would take me on an emotional roller coaster, or the education I would receive. Not only did Sue make me laugh, and at times cry, with her memories of her youth, and her adventures in Africa, she educated me on the people and animals that live there. I honestly hadn't considered Africa's people, or how living with the animals we admire and almost revere would affect them. As a bonus, I learned about animals I thought I knew, and some I hadn't even heard of. I found myself holding my breath right along with her as the days passed and adventures came in all kinds of ways. Sue didn't take the fluffy 5 star Africa tour, no no! She was out in the middle of nowhere, hot, sweaty, scared, and I found my opinions changing as hers did. What moved me the most, is that Sue is an everyday person. She laughs, cries, and loves fiercely. Africa changed her life, and by doing so, changed mine as well. EVERYONE should give this book a read, whether you agree with her philosophies or not. It was not just an eye opener for me, I think it could very well change how the world views Africa, and her people.
-- Sharon B, Colorodo
"I absolutely loved reading Cries of the Savanna by Sue Tidwell. Not only is her writing full of laugh-out-loud and sincere moments, but she also fills her chapters with well-researched and thought-provoking pieces of truth. Tidwell recounts her time spent on a remote, Tanzanian hunting trip through amusing anecdotes and a determination to discover the untold secrets of the far corners of Africa. As a non-hunter and animal lover, I was apprehensive about reading a book centered around hunting and its benefits. However, I was pleasantly surprised at Tidwell’s incredible sense of empathy, depth, and truthfulness. This book highlights the importance of saving Africa’s wildlife and explains how legalized and well-regulated hunting plays a critical role in doing so. I highly recommend this book for anyone who has a passion for wildlife conservation, especially the intricate, awe-inspiring, and sacred wildlife of the African bush."
-- Kelly S., Dallas, TX
"Reading through Cries of the Savana brought about a surprising shift in my perspective on wildlife conservation. As someone who has never hunted or been involved in the hunting world, my opinion on hunting was mostly informed through previous biases or international charities. Sue Tidwell’s biographical memoir on the savanna helps bring a well-rounded understanding of the complexities surrounding big-game hunting, and why - much to my surprise - legal hunting expeditions play a massive role in ultimately protecting the species that so many of us hold dear to our hearts. I would encourage others to read this informative and captivating book with an open mind, and to listen to the stories of Africans who know the heartbeat of the land better than anyone else."
-- Lauren R., England
"This book is an adventure-filled journey through the eyes of the author. Her whimsical writing style and attention to detail will keep you inspired, informed and on the edge of your seat. The real jewel in this book is the author’s tussle between personal emotion and animal conservation in Africa. It is a sobering reminder of the interdependencies that exist between man and beast."
-- Austin M., Texas
You never forget your first trip to Africa, whichever of the fifty or more countries you visit. And if you've been once, I guarantee that you'll never shake off the feeling that you need to return! In Cries of the Savannah, Sue Tidwell captures some of the confusion, frustration and sheer joy she found in her trip to the Tanzanian bush. From everyday life to global conservation issues, from the simple to the complex, the known to the new, Tidwell's book is an unflinching, and eye-opening, account of the realities of life on a continent many imagine but few ever really spend the time to get to know. ading 1
- Dr. Adam Hart, Professor of Science Communication at University of Gloucestershire, biologist, broadcaster, author
“As filmmaker working in remote Africa, I found Cries of the Savanna to be an authentic transformation of one women’s naive perspective of the necessities of life in the bush of Tanzania. Remote Africa is not filled with grocery stores, Starbucks or McDonald’s. For rural communities their natural resources are their life blood.This book heralds a coming of age. Tidwell questions the ethics of hunting in the modern age, where the vast majority of westerners outsource their killing for food. She comes to realize that legal, ethical hunting may be the only hope for wild Africa to survive because it protects vast areas, even larger than all the national parks combined, from human development. In the end she discovers the real threat to Africa’s wildlife is the loss of habitat due to the ever-increasing human populations and the disconnect modern society has with nature. It’s society’s cruel ignorance which could spell disaster for Africa’s wildlife and lead to impoverished rural communities. For the non-outdoorsy type this is a must read. Give Tidwell’s experience a chance to open your mind.”
- TA Opre, director/cinematographer Killing the Shepherd, www.shepherdsofwildlife.org
Writing has always been a hobby for Sue Tidwell. As an outdoorsy venturesome type, she always enjoyed sharing her adventures, and misadventures, with friends and family but had never pursued publishing her work. A life-altering trip to a remote encampment deep in the Tanzanian bush, however, changed all that. Her excursion--and the awakening that evolved from it--compelled her to write her first book so that others, too, could join her in the journey.
Sue lives in rural Idaho with her husband, Rick, who somehow still tolerates her endless musings, faraway trances, and hours camped at the keyboard—all while lost in the wilds of Africa.