126: The Saviour Fish with Mark Weston

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In this episode, our guest is Mark Weston, the author of “The Saviour Fish: Life and Death on Africa’s Greatest Lake”. It is always fun talking with authors and exploring details of events described in their books that didn’t make the cut to the final version. And so, I had the pleasure to talk with Mark about his stay on Ukerewe, the biggest island on Lake Victoria. The lake that is shared between Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. In the first part of the podcast, we discuss general living conditions and the socio-economic situation on the island. About 20 minutes into our conversation we switch gears and delve into the lake’s ecological issues.

It is a fascinating and deeply worrying story of the ebbs and flows of the fortunes of the local community connected to the ecological situation on the lake. During our conversation, we discuss issues such as overfishing, the introduction of non-native species, illegal fishing methods, ecological changes in the lake and how the poverty of the local community accelerates environmental degradation. And even though the events described in the book are unfolding in equatorial Africa, a careful reader will quickly identify striking parallels with the situation in other parts of the world. Including our own.

I’m sure you will enjoy our conversation and I would encourage you to buy the book using the link below.


Lake Victoria was once one of the most biodiverse places on Earth, but a predator released into its waters by East Africa’s British colonisers has left a trail of destruction in its wake. The lives of millions of people have been upended, as a fateful confluence of overfishing, pollution and deforestation has triggered one of history’s greatest mass extinctions.

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Episode 124: African Wildlife Conservation with Lilian Mremi

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Those of you who either read the excellent book “Cries of the Savanna” by Sue Tidwell or listened to the podcast episode with her are familiar with Lilian Mremi, a Game Scout and Tanzanian Wildlife Ranger. Shortly after the episode was published many of you expressed great interest in hearing directly from Lilian. I thought it would be an excellent idea and so today I am pleased to publish my conversation with her.

During our conversation, we touched on all the usual topics such as human-wildlife conflict, national parks, game reserves, poaching, and law and regulations as they pertain to hunting. Of course, I did not forget to ask Lilian about her views on the deteriorating public opinion of hunting and on the attempts in the USA, UK and EU to pass legislation banning imports of hunting trophies. Finally, we discussed the differences between hunting tourism and non-extractive tourism. And her answers might not be exactly what some of you would expect.

Of course, we have discussed these topics many times on my podcast. But in this episode, we have an opportunity to hear directly from a local Tanzanian ranger who lives and breathes these issues every day.

Episode 121: Cries of the Savanna with Sue Tidwell

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In this episode, once again, we’re going to take on the subject of hunting in Africa. Our guest is Sue Tidwell, the author of a wonderful book titled “Cries of the Savanna” that I reviewed in last week’s blog post. And since I really liked the book I was itching for the opportunity to talk with Sue.

We chat about a number of things. Why Sue decided to write and publish her first book. (Yes, as impressive as it is, it was Sue’s first publication even though she had always been, in her own words, a hobby writer.) We also discuss how she researched and marketed the book. Something that, as you can imagine, was a completely new experience for a hobby writer.

However, the bulk of our conversation focuses on stories from the book and the experience of a remote encampment deep in the Tanzanian bush. Sue shares how these events changed her perception of many important issues such as poaching and land management.

Do yourself a favour and buy “Cries of the Savanna” using the link below. And remember, buying books (or any other items) through the links provided here is the best way to support my work on Tommy’s Outdoors podcast.


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

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