Simon Barnes is, without question, one of our finest natural history
Sacred Combe is the story of
his relationship with the great imagined place, and with the real
valley, where he awoke on his first night in camp to find elephants
eating the roof of his hut. It is about our abiding longing for a
wilder, less civilized life, and about finding, and living, it. It is
about every person's relationship with the wild world. Intensely
personal in places, there are flashbacks to his childhood, reflections
on a book or a painting, some meetings with exceptional people, and
above all the sense of being in the bush, being both at peace and
Sacred Combe is where
we understand the species we share the planet with, and where we also
begin to understand the species we happen to be.
special place, a place of your own, a secret garden where life is
somehow more alive than it is outside. The place is wilder and yet
kinder, the creatures that live here are less tame but somehow more
confiding. It's both magical and holy. Call it Eden, Narnia, the secret
garden: the need for such a place is part of the human condition.
sought it all my life, as Alice sought the locked-up garden after she
had fallen down the rabbit hole. But I did better than she: I found the
key, I opened the door and walked through it. I entered the Luangwa
Valley in Zambia, and nothing was ever the same again."