Cries of the Savanna by Sue Tidwell – A Book Review

Hunting in Africa is a controversial subject that I have discussed with expert guests a few times on my podcast. I also follow related social media discussions. Unfortunately, I get the impression (confirmed on many occasions) that people taking part in these discussions have very limited, or purely theoretical, experience. This often leads to ridiculous statements and ill-informed opinions.

In contrast, in Cries of the Savanna, Sue Tidwell describes her own experiences and conflicting emotions related to hunting in Africa. The book tells the story of her first African safari, deep in the Tanzanian bush, with her husband, a handful of friends and a safari camp crew including trackers, helpers, government officials and, last but not least, a PH (Professional Hunter). I find this type of writing compelling since, in my opinion, it is the most honest way of conveying stories and events. It allows readers to taste the adventure and the realities of a safari camp as if they were there.

Even though I’m calling it an adventure book, in reality, it is so much more. It offers a blend of first-hand experiences and well-researched explanations of complex issues such as human-wildlife conflict, poaching and the ethics of hunting charismatic African megafauna. Sue describes in detail her own internal conflict related to hunting these animals. And even though she’s been around hunting from an early age, those beasts carried for her quite a different emotional load. She doesn’t shy away from these emotions and explores them in-depth.

I found the book’s layout interesting. Each chapter focuses on a different issue or animal. And even in the chapters devoted to complex problems, there is always a specific species being showcased in the background. The unique photos taken by Sue during her trip underline the authenticity of the message and make the book complete. They are not glamorous images of picture-perfect African landscapes and ideally presented animals but are documentary-style depictions of what the author saw.

I can honestly say that if I had to recommend only one book or article to introduce a reader to the complexities of wildlife conservation on the African continent, this would be it. Well researched scientific facts combined with first-hand experiences on the ground make this book a truly impressive package! And even if you’re not new to the complexities of African wildlife conservation or the realities of an authentic African safari, I would still recommend this book. Without a doubt, you will learn something new.

And remember if you buy the book (or any other items) through the provided links below, you will also support my work here on Tommy’s Outdoors.


Waking to her husband’s alarmed whisper, “Honey, get ready to run” was never in Sue Tidwell’s vision of Africa. Nor was skulking through snake-infested terrain or lying terror-stricken as the cries of lions and hyenas cut through the walls of her tent. Tidwell, a non-hunter deeply troubled by the concept of hunting Africa’s iconic wildlife, finds herself a reluctant sidekick on an epic 21-day big game hunting safari deep in the wilds of Tanzania

Tommy’s Outdoors is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.co.uk

Beak, Tooth and Claw by Mary Colwell – A Book Review

It’s not often that I write a book review. But every now and then I come across a book that I really wish everybody I know would read. In my podcast, the subject of our difficult coexistence with wildlife is featured in many episodes. By far the most complex and difficult issue is our coexistence with predators. Since the dawn of time, our species has lived in danger of being preyed upon, while at the same time competing for prey. With the development of farming, this conflict continued as we protected farm animals from predation. This created a deeply rooted aversion to predators and, as a result, today almost all of their populations are severely depleted.

Nowadays, we are becoming acutely aware of our impact on the environment and that it is not always something to be proud of. A complex picture emerges. We are torn between the old animosity towards predators and the new urge to preserve them or even rebuild their populations. In her book “Beak, Tooth and Claw”, Mary Colwell goes deep into this complicated topic, carefully examining our past and present relationships with predators living in Britain. And although the book is focused on Britain I believe it is equally relevant to Ireland or any other country. It is about the human relationship with predators in general. 

After the introduction to what a predator is (we don’t tend to think about badgers or tits as predators), Mary dedicated a chapter to each species. Foxes, badgers, eagles, corvids, lynx, wolves and so on. From these chapters, the reader can absorb many interesting scientific facts. What makes this book stand out is that it presents and acknowledges arguments from people on both sides of the spectrum. Those who want to kill and control predators and those who oppose such practices. In this regard, Mary does an excellent job! Never once did I feel like she was arguing from a moral high ground and telling the reader what to think.

What struck me while reading this book is the same thing that I noticed during the conversation, on my podcast, with environmentalist and photographer, Peter Cairns. The presence or notion of reintroduction of any predator species is always controversial and makes some group unhappy. Whether birds or mammals, if they’re causing any inconvenience to humans, we want them gone. Or at least pretty close to gone. And while that is too extreme, because humans have modified the natural balance between species, some lethal control measures are required and even well justified.

I would really thoroughly recommend this book for anyone interested in nature, conservation, hunting, farming or rewilding. If you approach it with an open mind and without prejudice, it will serve some serious food for thought. It might be your springboard to a deeper understanding of these complex problems.

If and when the opportunity arises, I would love to chat with Mary on my podcast. Until then, do yourself a favour and order a copy of “Beak, Tooth and Claw”. You won’t be disappointed. 


Mary Colwell travels across the UK and Ireland to encounter the predators face to face. She watches their lives in the wild and discovers how they fit into the landscape. She talks to the scientists studying them and the wildlife lovers who want to protect them. She also meets the people who want to control them to protect their livelihoods or sporting interests.

Tommy’s Outdoors is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.co.uk

Answering Your QUESTIONS About the GARMIN INSTINCT

Almost 10 months ago I posted my long-term review of the Garmin Instinct outdoors watch. It is by far the most popular video on my channel. To this day I’m still getting a lot of questions about issues that were not covered in the original video. So in this one, I’m going to answer your most popular and interesting questions.

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Irish Deer Hunter Training – SYLLABUS Review | Tommy Says…

The National Parks & Wildlife Service in Ireland introduced mandatory training and certification for first-time applicants for deer hunting licenses for the 2021/2022 season. In this video, you will find a detailed review of the syllabus and my comments.

Download this FREE guide: How to Get Started Hunting Deer in Ireland 

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Hunting Knife Sharpening with Lansky Sharpening System

This video is not a review of the Lansky Controlled Angle Sharpening System. You can find a ton of videos on YouTube that review it in great detail and discuss all the different variations of it. My intention with this video is simply to show you the sharpening process of my heavy hunting knife after I put it to good use during this past deer hunting season. Somewhat surprisingly, I have found that this type of real-life content is often very popular and even preferred to formal reviews. As always, like, share, comment and subscribe if you haven’t already.

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Garmin Instinct – One Year Later | A Long-Term use Review

Over a year ago I reviewed a Garmin Instinct rugged GPS watch. In fact, I made that video shortly after I got my hands on it. It was a new release from Garmin at the time and so I couldn’t tell you anything about its durability and long term performance. Fast forward 14 months of heavy outdoor use and here’s how it holds up. Also a few things you might want to know before you buy it.


When you can rely on instinct, the world can rely on you. This rugged Garmin GPS watch is built to MIL-STD-810G and is water-rated to 100 meters. Keep your bearings with a built-in 3-axis compass and barometric altimeter. Multiple global navigation satellite systems (GPS, GLONASS and Galileo) help you track in more challenging environments than with GPS Alone. Monitor your heart rate all day with Elevate wrist heart rate technology.

Tommy’s Outdoors is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.co.uk

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Canon PowerShotSX70 HS vs Panasonic Lumix FZ80/FZ82

A few weeks ago I reviewed two compact superzoom cameras. A PowerShot SX70 HS from Canon and a Lumix FZ82 from Panasonic. This video is a direct comparison of both cameras with sample photos from each.

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Panasonic Lumix FZ80/FZ82 Camera Review

This is yet another review of a compact super-zoom camera. This time we take a look at the Panasonic Lumix FZ80/FZ82. I have used this camera for a number of days and in this video, I will share my observations with you. What’s good, what’s bad and ultimately – is it worth buying? Watch this video and decide for yourself.

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Canon PowerShot SX70 HS Camera Review

This is a no-nonsense review of the Canon PowerShot SX70 HS super-zoom compact camera done from the perspective of outdoors use. Are the features and real-life performance of the camera on par with its price? Watch this video to find out.

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