The debut book by British naturalist Gerald Durrell. It is the chronicle of a six months collecting trip to the West African colony of British Cameroon - now Cameroon - (Dec 1947 - Aug 1948) - that Durrell made with the highly regarded aviculturist and ornithologist John Yealland.
Their reasons for going on the trip were twofold: "to collect and bring back alive some of the fascinating animals, birds, and reptiles that inhabit the region," and secondly, for both men to realise a long cherished dream to see Africa.
Its combination of comic exaggeration and environmental accuracy, portrayed in Durrell's light, clever prose, made it a great success. It launched Durrell's career as a writer of both non-fiction and fiction, which in turn financed his work as a zookeeper and conservationist.
The Bafut Beagles and A Zoo in My Luggage are sequels of sorts, telling of his later returns to the region.