The Wilderness Family: At Home with Africa’s Wildlife by Kobie Kruger

Bibliographic Citation: Kruger, Kobie. The Wilderness Family: At Home with Africa’s Wildlife. New York: The Ballantine Publishing Group, 2001. 381p. ISBN: 9780345444264.

Awards/Selection Lists:

Alex Award

Author’s Website:

No website


Kobie Kruger’s The Wilderness Family: At Home with Africa’s Wildlife shares with readers her experiences as a game ranger’s wife in South Africa’s Kruger National Park.

Personal Reaction:

Both born and raised on farms in South Africa’s Northern Province, Kobie and Kobus Kruger met while they were both studying at the University of Pretoria. Married after graduation, they would eventually follow Kobus’ dream of being a game ranger to Kruger National Park. There, Kobie and Kobus raised their three daughters and lived among Africa’s wildlife. The Wilderness Family: At Home with Africa’s Wildlife is Kobie’s memoir of her experiences living in the park as the game ranger’s wife.

Reading Kobie’s book I was in awe of the absolutely unbelievable things Kobie experienced during her time at Kruger National Park. Living in Southern California, the idea of encountering an elephant, hippo, or lion in its natural habitat is unimaginable to me. In fact, it’s often to difficult to see the lion at my local San Diego Zoo! Kobie, however, encountered such incredible animals on a daily basis. Her memoir offers readers a peek into the kind of life most can only dream about. Teeming with adventure, The Wilderness Family often had me afraid for the lives of Kobie and her family. From the time her youngest daughter discovered a cobra curled up in the family’s toilet, to when a mad hippo charged their boat, Kobie’s writing made me feel as though I was there with her.

Kobie’s writing is also very conversational and familiar, and quite often funny! The author’s sense of humor shows through in scenes such as the one in which she tells her sister-in-law that Kobus has been attacked by a wounded lion. “You sound like you’re in denial,” her sister-in-law says. “I do?” Kobie asks. “You said a cat bit him,” she replies. Moments like this had me laughing out loud. Animal lovers will love reading about how Kobie “mothered” many animals, from a honey badger, to a chick, to a serval kitten, to even a lion. The Wilderness Family is a heartwarming, uplifting read that adventure and animals lovers alike will enjoy getting lost in.

Front Matter:

Dedication page, TOC, maps of Kruger National Park and Mahlangeni

Back Matter:

Postscript, acknowledgments


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