Troubador Into the Eyes of Lions

Released: 28/01/2020

ISBN: 9781838592295

Format: Paperback

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Into the Eyes of Lions


The adventures described in this book represent the realisation of a dream that in the author’s boyhood seemed unthinkable. His first safari, in Kenya in 1962 was certainly low-budget (£12 for 2 days!). Later, when working as a teacher in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, he often spent weeks in some of the world’s most celebrated national parks and reserves, camping in tiny tents in the middle of the African bush. The sometimes hazardous adventures, and the good-humoured camaraderie of those with whom the author travelled, make this book an entertaining as well as interesting read. 

Incidents with lions, elephants, rhinos, buffaloes and other big game abound, but safaris are not just about wild animals. The author also describes the landscape of Africa as well as many of the other adventures that occurred to him during this time. 

The general tone of the book is far from gung-ho male chauvinism. Like the bush itself it is predominantly one of tranquillity, of being “at one with the moment”, enhanced by the author’s obvious love for life on safari and for wild-life, wild places and their conservation, enlightened by a self-deprecating sense of humour and sensitive, deeply felt and lyrically expressed reflections.

As mentioned above, my safari memoirs, "Into the Eyes of Lions" was accepted for publication by Matador. Work on it due to begin tomorrow (July21st 2019).

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Graham Mercer

Born St Helens, Lancashire, England 1940.

Born St Helens, Lancashire, England 1940, just before the fall of France (the two events, as far as I am aware, being unrelated). Materially poor but otherwise rich childhood.

Attended Allanson St. Junior School, St Helens, which I largely enjoyed and where I was well thought-of. After passing the "11-plus" exam went to Cowley Boys' Grammar where I wasn't well thought-of and which I greatly disliked, though ironically I am glad I went there.

Left school at 16 to work as scullery boy then commis chef in local hotel before moving on to the local Head Post Office as counter clerk before running away to sea.

Nine years before the mast in the Royal Navy as a radio and radar mechanic, spending time on several ships in the Indian Ocean (based in Kenya, East Africa), North Atlantic, the Persian Gulf and Liverpool's Salthouse Dock and on shore bases in Scotland, Malta and - believe it or not - the Yorkshire Dales.

Experienced my first safari as a young sailor in 1962, travelling to Mount Kilimanjaro via Tsavo East National Park. Fell in love with East Africa and life on safari so on leaving the Navy went into teaching hoping to get back to Kenya. Taught for 3 years just outside Liverpool before getting a job at the International School of Tanganyika, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in 1977.

Taught in the Elementary School there for the next 34 years (as class teacher, Elementary Science teacher and (after setting up a computer centre at the school) teacher of IT. Whilst class teaching met my Karachi-born wife-to-be, Anjum and eventually married her in Karachi, Pakistan.

Whilst in Dar went on countless safaris to all national parks in Tanzania, some many times over, travelling independently in "old bangers" and living simply in small tents, with Anjum and, before that, a small number of male safari partners. Lots of adventures.

Whilst in Tanzania won the BBC Magazine's Award for Nature Writing (1988) and published 15 books and many magazine articles on Tanzania's national parks and other tourist attractions, as well as articles on Tanzania's history and fascinating ethnic groups. Also published many photographs on similar themes.

Retired from teaching in 2002 but remained in Dar, and at the school, until 2012 when Anjum and I returned to the UK to live - in a two-up, two-down terrace in Collins Green, north Cheshire.

Continued writing every weekday morning despite being diagnosed with incurable lung cancer in 2016. Produced a "book" about my time in Tanzania but at 200,000 words long even my mother, had she still been alive, would never have considered reading it. Divided it into two, my safari memoirs and my teaching memoirs. The first of these, "Into the Eyes of Lions", is presently being published by Matador.

On safari, Tsavo East, Kenya 2018

Campsite No 1, Mikumi National Park, Tanzania
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