Mbazo: Footprints Through the Kruger National Park
by Lynn van Rooyen
Trafford Publishing

"Don't ever interfere with a lioness that has cubs in attendance. You will come second!"

In this personal and factual account, Lynn van Rooyen openly shares the challenges, diversities, dangers, and joys he experienced while working for the South African National Parks system. At varied points throughout his career, his duties could range from dramatic black rhino releases to animal holding pen constructions; antelope anthrax immunizations from helicopters to involvement with water-drilling programs; discovering 'Bushman' cave paintings to dealing with unruly tourists.

From the early lion tracking adventures of his youth, through his life's calling in conservation, the author clearly felt a connection to nature. A deep appreciation for the beauty of his surroundings is evident in intimate descriptions like that of an idyllic evening spent on the banks of the Luvuvhu River. Here readers share the experience of a late day sunset illuminating colorful sandstone formations, while a "silent symphony" of South African fauna provides a complimentary background chorus.

Interestingly the book's title comes from the isiZulu word for hatchet and was a nickname bestowed upon the author for his extensive use of the implement when serving as a park ranger. That one of a new generation of elephants was also named "Mbazo" in van Rooyen's honor, seems a fitting tribute reflective of this memorable autobiographic work. Van Rooyen gives us an informative and well-balanced memoir, made more relatable with touches of humor. Consider a rocking caravan that was merely a lion scratching an itch, or van Rooyen's failed attempt at working an outdoor shower set-up, witnessed by a laughing hyena.

There's a saying that when you find a job you truly love, you'll never have to work a day in your life. Van Rooyen undoubtedly found his niche in working in the Kruger National Park (KNP). Drawn to the variety of responsibilities he was able to tackle within the advancing levels of his career, van Rooyen's literary journey leaves readers with a lasting impression of his passionate and concerted efforts in the field of wildlife conservation, preservation, and protection.

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