Cronje Wilmot - mauled by a lion, charged by buffaloes, frightening encounters with crocodiles, bitten by snakes, alone in a deep, dark cave with a wounded leopard, victim of bubonic plague...
These are just some of the experiences of stock farmer-turned-Tsetse Fly Control (T. F. C.) Officer and Ranger, E Cronje Wilmot, in the Okavango Delta in north-western Botswana, then the Bechuanaland Protectorate, in the mid-1940s.
These experiences were documented in Mr Wilmot’s 1956 best-seller “Always Lightly Tread”, which has now been re-released as “Okavango Memoirs”.
It was not all high adventure though.
Mr Wilmot was a born naturalist and keen observer of nature. His descriptions of the Okavango Swamps and its myriad inhabitants both animal and botanical, its moods and seasons, give us a wonderful insight into this vast and mysterious wilderness area that is still valid today.
E Cronje Wilmot was the first of the “Okavango Wilmot Dynasty”. His son Bobby was a well-known crocodile hunter in the Okavango in the 1950s and 60s, before turning to photographic safaris. Cronje’s grandson Lloyd, hunter turned conservationist and professional safari guide, has delighted hundreds of visitors to the Okavango over a period of 46 years. Lloyd’s own sons continue this legacy today.
Mr Wilmot casts a spell. Despite being badly mauled by a lion, contracting bubonic plague, experiencing many frightening encounters with crocodiles, buffaloes, and deadly reptiles, his love and respect for nature is clear. The numerous graphic descriptions of wildlife in the book will entertain all outdoors lovers.
The Rhodesia Herald - December 1956