There is a spot on this route, a rise beyond the last stock gate at Jakhalsdans, where millions of years of geological forces have piled massive rocks on top of one another like beacons. On either side the Karoo lies open, and I go and stand there to gain perspective of our place in the universe. We are all small, insignificant, invisible if you draw back, away from the earth, the solar system, the Milky Way.

But jogging back through town, sparkling and clean after the rain, people greeted me: Conrad at the Repair Shop, De Wit locking up at the Co-op, Antjie Barnard from her veranda, Oom Joe van Wyk pulling weeds in the garden.

‘Afternoon, Lemmer. Nice rain, hey?’

Far down the street, right on the edge of town, was my house. I saw a green Renault Megane, a cabriolet, parked in front of it, and I began to run faster.


Authors are often asked, ‘What inspired you to write this book?’

My standard answer is that inspiration doesn’t feature much. For me, perspiration is the name of the game – every story is like a house, and I have to build it brick by brick.

Blood Safan is an exception, however, to a certain extent.

As luck would have it, I visited the Moholoholo Animal Rehabilitation Centre below the Mariepskop mountain peak in Limpopo Province three times within twelve months while writing Devil’s Peak a few years ago. Two of these visits were during motorcycle trips, and not intended as writer’s research at all. But every time I listened to the presentations by Brian Jones and his personnel, I was inspired by their dedication, passion and sacrifice, especially the incredible work they do with vultures.

For this, and the fact that their struggle became the first brick of a new story house, I would like to extend my deepest gratitude. And may I urge the reader to both visit their website at, and visit the Rehab Centre in person. Or even better, support them financially to help save our African vultures.

Which also means I can’t deny the fact that the fictional Mogale Centre in the book is based on the geography, spirit and structure of the very real Moholoholo. But that is where the similarity ends. All characters in Blood Safan are fictitious, and definitely not based on any living human being – including the good people of Moholoholo.

I am also indebted to the following people: Tom Dreyer, for permission to quote from his excellent novel Equatoria, Keith and Colleen Begg, the world-renowned wildlife researchers, for permission to quote from their honey badger article in Africa Geographie (February 2005), Sarah Bordiert, editor of Africa Geographic (definitely one of my favourite magazines), the archive staff of the daily newspaper Die Burger, Captain Elmarie Engelbrecht of the South African Police Services Psychological Investigation Unit in Pretoria, my agent Isobel Dixon and her colleagues at Blake Friedmann in London, my wife Anita, our children, Lida, Liam, Johan and Konstanz, and the ATKV for financial support of my research for the novel.

I would also like to acknowledge the following sources:

The Long Summer, Brian Fagan, Granta Books, 2004

Guns, Germs and Steel, Jared Diamond, Vintage, 2005

The Weather Makers, Tim Flannery, Penguin, 2005

Birds of Prey, Peter Steyn, David Philip, 1989

Roberts Birds of Southern Africa, 7th edn, Hockey, Dean and Ryan, Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, 2005

Slange en Slangbyte in Suider-Afrika, Johan Marais, Struik, 1999

Field Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Southern Africa, Bill Branch, Struik, 1998

Sappi Tree Spotting: Lowveld, Rina Grant and Val Thomas, Jacana

Stormwind en Droogtes, Freek Swart, Litera, 2002

Skukuza, David Tattersall, Tafelberg, 1972

The Game Rangers, Jan Roderigues, 1992

Mahlangeni, Kobie Kruger, Penguin, 2004

Mashesha, Tony Pooley, Southern, 1992


DEON MEYER lives near Cape Town in South Africa with his wife and four children. Meyer wrote his first book when he was 14 years old, and bribed and blackmailed his two brothers into reading it. He has since written five novels, all of which have been highly acclaimed and translated into several languages.

Blood safari / Deon Meyer ; translated from the Afrikaans

by K. L. Seegers.

Translation of Onsigbaar.

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