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GARY ALBYN : Conservation Storytelling

meet Gary Albyn

Gary Albyn's debut as a published poet came from his award-winning poem ‘Manzovo: Place of the Elephants’, which is beautifully illustrated by Craig Bone. As a public speaker, Gary recounts from memory the powerful poems he has written about the wild places of Africa.

Gary Albyn - Saudi Arabia [2012 © Craig Bone]
Gary Albyn - Saudi Arabia [2012 © Gary Albyn] - Gary Albyn - Conservation Storytelling - Great Guides

I was born in Southern Rhodesia—now Zimbabwe—in 1960. My parents were avid campers so we spent many idyllic and memorable holidays exploring the country’s vast outdoors. Mana Pools, situated a few hundred kilometers downstream of the mighty Kariba dam wall, is a veritable Eden – one of Africa’s truly wild spots.

By all accounts it was even more remarkable before the gargantuan wall interrupted the seasonal ebb and flow of the great Zambezi. Despite the taming of the jade-coloured river, and the negating of its seasonal affects on the tapestry of life in the Mana Pools flood plain, this paradise is still capable of stealing a visitor’s heart.

Gary Albyn tells African stories in verse


It was here, as a young boy of no more than ten or so, that I experienced my first close encounter with an elephant. Whilst camping out under nothing more than a panoply of twinkling stars, a lone bull elephant had wandered to within a few feet of where my father and I were sleeping. Though his proximity must have unnerved my father somewhat, I naively held no such concerns – every ten year old believes his dad is invincible!

That incident, along with many subsequent and profound encounters with nature, set me on a path of exploration. I recall, even at that age, seeking an understanding of the contentious elephant culling programme in the Wankie (now Hwange) National Park.
Gary Albyn - South Africa [2008 ©] - Gary Albyn - Conservation Storytelling - Great Guides
Gary has had profound encounters with nature


Gary Albyn - South Africa [2012 ©] - Gary Albyn - Conservation Storytelling - Great Guides

With nothing more than juvenile enthusiasm to stir me, I proclaimed my intention to write a story about the elephants of Mana Pools. I could never have foreseen, back then, that it would take me thirty five years to actually make good on that promise!


The award-winning poem – ‘Manzovo: Place of the Elephants’ – is a compelling story about a herd of elephants on an odyssey across southern Africa. Set against a backdrop of African delights, this evocative tale chronicles the herd's encounters and interactions with indigenous flora, fauna, geographic landmarks, historical places...and man!

Gary has published books, including 'Manzovo'

Whilst myths and legends grew and morphed from the embellishments of prehistory’s raconteurs – and modern society’s media of choice is electronic in nature – there is still a place for storytellers to influence and shape opinions at many levels. In the great oral tradition of a bygone era, I endeavour to entertain and enlighten my audiences with captivating stories about Africa’s unique wonders, history, cultures and natural treasures.

Author: Gary Albyn
Published Date: 09 Jul 2012
Location: Southern Africa
Themes: natural world, the arts | conservation, fauna, fiction