A Hunter's Wanderings in Africa has often been acclaimed as the major African hunting classic of the 19th century. Born in London in 1851, Selous led an adventurous life gaining a formidable reputation as a big game hunter, a naturalist, a member of the Zoological Society, a fighting man, the author of many books, a contributor of many features to the Royal Colonial Institute in London, and the writer of countless articles for magazines and journals. In 1890 Cecil John Rhodes appointed him chief scout of the Pioneer Column that he despatched into the African interior to settle Mashonaland, which afterwards became Rhodesia and is now Zimbabwe. Selous counted many famous people amongst his friends, including President of the United States Theodore Roosevelt who described him as 'an absorbing and fascinating companion'. While indiscriminate trophy hunting is rightly no longer fashionable, A Hunter's Wanderings in Africa's is a legacy for those living now, for it records what Africa south of what is now Zambia to the Cape of Good Hope was really like more than a 100 years ago.
He writes of areas then teeming with game, of the indigenous peoples occupying them, Trek Boers and other hunters like himself. The seven plates of antelopes' heads form a complete series, representing every species, from the smallest to the largest found north of the Limpopo River up to12 south latitude. At the outbreak of World War I in 1914 Selous volunteered for the army but was turned down because at 63 he was considered too old. But shortly afterwards the War Office relented when someone pointed out how useful Selous' unsurpassed knowledge of the African bushveld would be in the campaign then being waged against the wily Colonel Lettow-Vorbeck in German East Africa. He was commissioned a lieutenant in the 25th Battalion Royal Fusiliers and during the next 18 months he saw considerable action winning a DSO in the process. He was killed in action at Beho-Beho at the age of 65 while leading his men from the front. He was buried in the African bush he had loved and dedicated his life to. Many people still visit his grave in the area which became the Selous Game Reserve.
A Hunter's Wanderings in Africa, has been a best seller from the time it was first published and on each and every subsequent occasion it has been republished. It possesses a magical quality, almost the Holy Grail of publishing, that all publishers continually seek but can never quite define or quantify.