Enjoy an African safari – without leaving home!

Southern Africa SafariI’ve always wanted to visit South Africa to see all the amazing animals there, and I will probably never get there, but Vonne Martin’s new book, Southern Africa Safari, published by AuthorHouse, gives me an astonishing, spectacular, close-up look at the animals I’d hoped to see in person.

Martin has been an underwater photographer for 35 years, and this book represents her first photography adventure on land. It’ll be tough to top this, an over-sized limited edition account of her month in the grasslands of South Africa, Botswana, and Zambia.

“It is my hope that the images of the magnificent creatures inspire readers to fall in love with the different species and become involved in conservation efforts,” Martin said. “This was a labor of love and it added so much meaning to my life.”

The book includes the very best of the more than 4000 photos Martin took during her time in Africa. There are the animals you’d expect, like lions, hippos, elephants, monkeys, giraffes, rhinos, and zebras, but others too, including African Wild Dogs, Mongoose, and Painted Reed Frogs.

The Cape Buffalo and Nile Crocodiles are downright scary! I sure hope Martin had a telephoto lens for those closeups!

The leaping Gazelles were amazing, the baby cheetahs were darling, and the sleeping leopard was entrancing.

The text that accompanies each critter is very informative. While I spent a lot of time lingering over the photos, I also found the text to be very interesting.

I’ve been spending an occasional afternoon teaching writing to 25 fourth graders at Mount Vernon Elementary School, hoping to convince them that writing is fun. One afternoon, I put out a bunch of carved fish and ducks, paintings of Maine wild animals, and Martin’s book. Boy, did the kids love the book!

Then I invited them to write about their favorite animals. Many wrote about the animals in Martin’s book. Elephants and lions seemed to be very popular. It was so much fun to see the eyes of those kids light up as they leafed through this book.

There’s also a great section on African birds – so colorful and exotic. My wife Linda and I are avid birders, so perhaps these very special birds will convince her that we need to go to Africa! If they do, I’ll owe Vonne Martin a great big thank you!

Southern Africa Safari can be purchased on Martin’s website, www.vonnesventures.com, which also includes more information about her adventures and book.

George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website, georgesmithmaine.com, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.