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Reviewed by Shrabastee Chakraborty for Readers' Favorite
An elderly American professor and his wife are probably the last persons you would expect to find in the wild African bush. However, Ronald and Sarah Dulek proved to be the exception when they decided to spend summers in a cottage located at the juncture of the Kruger National Park and the Sabie Park. Sitting with Elephants, a collection of essays by Dulek, recounts their incredible experiences in Africa. As the title suggests, Dulek describes the elephants frequently visiting his backyard and the unique camaraderie he has formed with them over the years. Add to that a few lions in the driveway, a stalking cheetah, and a band of baboons waiting for the opportunity to raid their home, and the book becomes a chronicle of unforgettable events.
I have a long-cherished dream of visiting Africa someday. Although I haven’t managed the feat yet, Sitting with Elephants helped quench my thirst to some extent. Ronald Dulek's honesty and humility throughout the collection are awe-inspiring. He viewed Africa not through the thrill-seeking eyes of a foreign traveler but with utmost reverence and respect. His consistent attempts and gradual progress to be closer with the elephants revealed the nuances of the human-animal relationship and highlighted his unique bond with these magnificent animals. His friendship with the staff members of the Kruger, Sabie, and the Protea Hotel brought out an authentic picture of the African livelihood. Dulek did not limit his narrative to the impressive wildlife and the dreaded poaching problem but discussed the underlying causes, including hunger and poverty, without hesitation. He neither glorified his experiences nor judged them with scorn; instead, the pages were full of empathy. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to acquire a holistic idea of bush living.