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Mala Mala: Pathway to an African Eden    by Amanda Lumry & Jamie Thom order for
Mala Mala
by Amanda Lumry
Order:  USA  Can
Vista, 1999 (1999)
Hardcover, Softcover
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Near Kruger National Park in South Africa lies Mala Mala, a game reserve situated on 50,000 acres of precious wilderness. Wild game, thankfully, is hunted by cameras rather than weapons. Mala Mala is a photographic account of life on the reserve. Man is welcome at the luxury camp, where one can rise at sunrise to watch lions begin their day. Hippos keep their tender skin wet in deep pools. Giraffes, waterbuck, baboons, warthogs all go about the business of daily life in full view; humans have not hunted them for over thirty-five years.

The photos in Mala Mala are lush. I experienced a safari in Tanzania and relived that all too short time in the pages of close-ups of a pride of lions sipping water from a river's edge, cheetahs napping in trees, elephants protecting their young. At Mala Mala it is possible to see each one of 'The Big Five' - Elephant, Lion, Rhinoceros, Buffalo and Leopard - in the course of one day. The accompanying words read more like a gilded travelogue than an attempt to acquaint the reader with the conservation work going on at the reserve. But this is easily excusable when one slowly turns the pages and sees life in the raw in the remarkable photographs.

Mala Mala would make a great holiday gift for someone on your list who has been to Africa, or who wants to go. It's a thrill to be able to see these majestic animals in such detail - to look into the eyes of a Cape Buffalo; or see the talons on a martial eagle perched on a tree; and dwarf mongooses wrestling along a rough roadway. My favorite has always been the big cats. To gaze into the deceptively gentle face of a lioness is worth the price of the book for me. I recommend this to you as a coffee table book of high caliber.

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