How to Walk a Puma My (Mis)adventures in South America by Peter Allison

by |January 25, 2012

An intrepid African safari guide sets out to discover all he can about the wildlife of the South American continent in a hilarious book about walking pumas (can be dangerous), chasing jaguars (can be elusive) and finding love (can be tricky).

Not content with regular encounters with dangerous animals on one continent, Peter Allison decided to get up close and personal with some seriously scary animals on another.

Unlike in Africa, where all Peter’s experiences had been safari based, he planned to vary things up in South America, getting involved with conservation projects as well as seeking out ‘the wildest and rarest wildlife experiences on offer’.

From learning to walk – or rather be bitten and dragged along at speed by – a puma in Bolivia, to searching for elusive jaguars in Brazil, finding love in Patagonia, and hunting naked with the remote Huaorani people in Ecuador, How to Walk a Puma is Peter’s fascinating and often hilarious account of his adventures and misadventures in South America.

Plans are usually only good for one thing – laughing at in hindsight. So, armed with rudimentary Spanish, dangerous levels of curiosity and a record of poor judgement, I set off to tackle whatever South America could throw at me – Peter Allison

Click here to order How to Walk a Puma My (Mis)adventures in South America from Booktopia, Australia’s No. 1 Online Book Shop

‘His misadventures make Whatever You Do, Don’t Run an absorbing read … The material is rich, and Allison is a gifted storyteller.’ – National Geographic Adventures

‘Enough adventure, action, life lessons, and laughs to fill a movie and four sequels. The fact that Allison survived to write any of this down is a miracle in itself.’ – Cash Peters, author of Naked in Dangerous Places and Gullible’s Travels.

About The Author:  Peter Allison has led safaris in South Africa, Botswana and Namibia. It was his love of animals that first led Peter to Africa at the age of 19, and by the late 1990s he’d graduated from being a safari guide himself to leading the training of guides for the region’s largest safari operator. Peter has led safaris that have featured in such magazines as Vogue and Conde Nast Traveller. He has also assisted National Geographic photographers and appeared on television shows such as Jack Hanna’s Animal Adventures. In between globetrotting the world as a marketeer for Africa’s leading safari company, Peter divides his time between Sydney and Cape Town.

Visit Peter’s author page on Booktopia

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Booktopia Book Guru says… I have read Peter’s first two books, Whatever You Do, Don’t Run and Don’t Look Behind You, But… : More Tales from an African Safari Guide and can recommend them both. If you like to laugh, and who doesn’t, then Pete’s books are for you. If you love Africa, animals and roughing it, then Pete’s books are for you. If you want to taste a life entirely foreign to your own, if you want to be wander through the wilds of Africa from the safety of your armchair, then, once again, both of Pete’s books are for you. That should about cover everyone. Now get to reading them!

Start with Whatever You Do, Don’t Run.

The warm, funny and utterly engaging true story of a young Aussie safari guide who has spent the last twelve years leading tours in the African bush.

Peter Allison was only nineteen when he left Australia for Africa, thinking he might travel around and see a bit of the country before going home to a ‘proper job’. But Africa worked its magic, and Peter ended up falling, quickly and completely, in love with the country and its wildlife. Landing in a game reserve in the wildlife-rich Okavango Delta, he became a safari guide and, some twelve years later, his short holiday in Africa isn’t over yet.

Whatever You Do, Don’t Run is his guide’s-eye view of living in the bush, confronting the world’s fiercest animals and, most challenging of all, managing herds of gaping tourists. Like the young woman who rejected the recommended safari-friendly khaki to wear a more ‘fashionable’ hot pink ensemble, or the Japanese tourist who requested a repeat performance of Allison’s being charged by a lion so he could videotape it.

Peter Allison – like an affable, younger David Attenborough or a slightly more laid-back Steve Irwin – really knows his wildlife. He’s had some extraordinary, once-in-a-lifetime experiences. From close encounters with hungry lions, cranky elephants and over-protective honey badgers, there’s not much in the African bush that Peter hasn’t seen, done or been chased by. His affection for these wild and dangerous animals and his fascination with, and respect for, their often extraordinary behaviour is completely genuine, deep and infectious.

Reading Whatever You Do, Don’t Run is like sitting around a campfire late at night and listening to him talking – his stories of the animals and the bush are gentle, warm, funny and utterly engaging.

Click here to order Whatever You Do, Don’t Run from Booktopia, Australia’s No. 1 Online Book Shop

Then go on to Don’t Look Behind You, But… : More Tales from an African Safari Guide

Another serving of campfire stories – hair-raising and hilarious tales of Africa, animals and close escapes – from Australia’s intrepid safari guide Peter Allison, bestselling author of Whatever You Do, Don’t Run.

It shouldn’t be fun to be chased by an animal that outweighs you by a factor of seventy, but Peter Allison gets an odd thrill every time an elephant charges his beaten-up jeep or a peckish crocodile looks at him sideways.

And now our favourite safari leader is back with more crazy, incredible, endearing and laugh-out-loud funny tales from his time guiding unsuspecting tourists through the African bush. By now you’d think he’d know his way around. You’d be wrong. From avoiding territorial hippos and half-starved lions to dodging landmines and getting lost on the unforgiving savanna, Peter Allison has had his fair share of close calls. Yet, despite a growing suspicion that it is trying very hard to kill him, he just can’t shake his love of this remarkable land, its animals and its people.

Drawing on his experiences in South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique and Namibia, Don’t Look Behind You, But… picks up where Whatever You Do, Don’t Run left off. If you enjoyed Peter’s first bestselling book of hilarious safari stories you’re going to love Don’t Look Behind You, But…

Click here to order Don’t Look Behind You, But… : More Tales from an African Safari Guide from Booktopia, Australia’s No. 1 Online Book Shop

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About the Contributor

While still in his twenties, John Purcell opened a second-hand bookshop in Mosman, Sydney, in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. Since then he has written, under a pseudonym, a series of very successful novels, interviewed hundreds of writers about their work, appeared at writers’ festivals, on TV (most bizarrely in comedian Luke McGregor’s documentary Luke Warm Sex) and has been featured in prominent newspapers and magazines. ​Now, as the Director of Books at, Australia’s largest online bookseller, he supports Australian writing in all its forms. He lives in Sydney with his wife, two children, three dogs, five cats, unnumbered gold fish and his overlarge book collection. His novel, The Girl on the Page, will be published by HarperCollins Australia in October, 2018.

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