The Claws of Africa
The early biography of R. J. Prickett
by as told to Rupert Wilkey
About the Book
Known to his friends as Dick, he was one of the last of a "special breed". He had seen an extraordinary life from fighting with the British Army in East Africa during the Second World War, to being a forester both in the UK and later in Kenya.
He then became a Professional Hunter, shooting all of Africa's BIG FIVE before becoming a Rancher and Author. He is probably most famous for his time at the Ark and later at Treetops; where he was Hunter Guide for many years.
In 1983, when HM the Queen visited Treetops, Dick was her escort, famously protecting her from a potentially dangerous charge by a buffalo.
He devoted almost 50 years of his life to the country he loved, its people, its wildlife and its trees. Dick passed away on the 29th of May 2003, aged 86, in his "beloved Nyeri".
"We both took aim and fired together for the heart, not once but over and over again. A feeling of hopelessness came over me, a feeling that we were up against something that just would not go down. Then he toppled over. The bushes on the slope gave way under his weight and he rolled over and over towards us. Again we both had to jump, and the great body of the dead buffalo came to rest between us. Solemnly I placed the last bullet, the eleventh, behind an ear."
For many experiences like this one are pure nightmare, but to Richard Joseph Prickett it was just a normal day's work in a life that has now vanished from Africa forever.
Read the story of one of Africa's true legends.
Dick has appeared in numerous newspapers both in Kenya and the UK including the Daily Express, Daily Telegraph, The Sun, Daily Mirror, The Guardian, and Illustrated London News. His highlight was appearing in TIME Magazine in 1983. Not a bad achievement for the boy from Barrow!