Predictability isn't a word you will find in any Bushveld dictionary, and the life of wildlife guardian Mario Cesare has been anything but. After years as warden of Olifants River Game Reserve, his feet are firmly planted in this magnificent slice of Big Five country to the west of the Kruger Park, where he has experienced a rich life packed full of incidents far from routine.
In Heart of a Game Ranger, Cesare recounts some of these hair-raising, heart-breaking and heart-warming moments: a buffalo calf reunited with its pining mother, injured lions given second chances and rhinos lost, one by one, to poaching.
Nestled among these tales, Cesare pays homage to the brave, dedicated and curious personalities engaged in a deadly combat on the most majestic of battlefields. Yet, while rhino poaching is by far the reserve's biggest problem, Cesare reveals how the daily struggles of a game ranger are so much broader – and the rewards, when they come, immense.
Heart of a Game Ranger is a story of extremes, one of fierce loyalty and devastating betrayal where spectacular days that end in exhausted satisfaction and achievement are balanced by those that leave behind only despair and frustration.
Seen through his eyes and spoken from the heart, Cesare tells a deeply personal story – not only of a life lived wild, but of the joy of Africa's incredible natural world.
Mario Cesare’s career has taken him from Timbavati and Mala Mala to Olifants River. His memoir, Man-eaters, Mambas and Marula Madness provides a wealth of lessons on conservation as well as stories of life in the bush as it is enjoyed only by those fortunate enough to live on a Big Five reserve. More recently he has written The Man with the Black Dog, a touching story of a man and his faithful canine companion. With a naturalist’s eye for detail as well as the bigger picture of managing a fragile ecosystem through years of drought and plenty, Mario Cesare brings a storyteller’s delight – and a dash of Italian passion – to sharing his world.