Healing Rhinos and Other Souls tells the story of a much respected if unorthodox vet, a family man who loved and understood nature and all her creatures, a reluctant businessman, a somewhat exuberant driver, a humble person, a great storyteller and a wonderful friend to many.
For nearly fifty years Walter Eschenburg lived and worked as a pioneering wildlife vet in the South African bushveld with its many animals and a host of weird and wonderful people. After a childhood spent in a German castle during the Second World War, a harrowing escape from the Russian army and a sequence of bold moves and fortunate circumstances, it is here, against the backdrop of the harsh but beautiful landscapes of the Waterberg, that Walter comes into his own and develops into a seasoned vet. He encounters charging rhinos, tame buffalo, irate cows and angry giraffes; he deals with snakes and warthogs, amorous elephants, cats, dogs and donkeys. He treats his patients with compassion and kindness, and his clients with large doses of humour.
Healing Rhinos and Other Souls is a story of love and life; of nature and adventures; of humour, passion and understanding. It is a story about a man who was simply himself all his life, the story of a life well lived.
My wife Lyn and I live in the Waterberg and knew Walter well – but sadly, not for long enough. Lyn was given a copy of your book for her birthday earlier this month, but I pinched it and have thoroughly enjoyed reading it. So much so that I think I’ve now bought all the remaining copies in Topsy’s possession as gifts for family and friends! I’m adding the book to the Book section on the website of the Waterberg Nature Conservancy; and will write a (favourable!) review of it for the Conservancy’s next newsletter. I really think you need to make more copies available locally: the book is excellent and deals with a man who was well-loved and greatly respected in this area, so I’ve no doubt it wil sell very well. While Amazon and Kalahari are options, a local stock of books will be much more popular. I also think you and Topspy should talk about arranging a ‘launch’ function in Vaalwater in January/February, at which you could sell off signed copies.
Thank you for writing Walter’s story; and for doing so as well as you’ve done.