Peter Meyer is 'The Boy from the Wild'
It is a multicultural city with great opportunities. It is a great place for me because of my work but I feel a stronger affinity to London as it is where my father James was from.
What made you decide to write The Boy from the Wild?
I always wanted to talk about my childhood and growing up at Karkloof. My father wanted me to be humble and not paint an arrogant picture of growing up in the wild. I kept it very quiet but that all changed when I visited South Africa two years ago. My time there made me realise that I had a great story and I wanted to pay tribute to my dad by sharing it.
How long did it take to write the book?
The book took around eight months to complete. Graham Spence, who wrote The Elephant Whisperer, co-wrote the book with me. We had many late nights and ate lots of bacon sandwiches at my house, while I reminisced about my life. The book is an easy read. I wanted people from all ages and backgrounds to be able to pick up the book and enjoy my journey.
Are there life lessons in there, too?
There are many lessons, including ones about opportunity, forgiveness and turning dreams into reality. If you are lucky to have your parents, learn to say thank you when they are alive. Always make every second count.
Can you tell us more about the time you spent with your dad?
My father was amazing. He had vision, drive and ambition. He was one of those people who could see the bigger picture. He had a wonderful sense of direction. He taught me valuable lessons, gave me many opportunities and the freedom to be who I wanted to be.
How did growing up in nature mould you into the person you are today?
Having a lot of freedom at a young age taught me to be responsible. I had a chance to learn from my mistakes and experiences. Living in the wild also taught me about patience and how to connect with the animals.
From dangerous encounters with rhino, buffaloes and the giant legavaan, what is your advice for people who may encounter them?
You will have to handle each animal differently. For instance, nyalas are not aggressive animals whereas rhinos are more guarded and fully alert. Travellers will know the signs of animals even before they encounter them. They will have to look at key signs like the type of spores, footprint tracks and their surroundings.
What are your tips for those who may encounter snakes on their outdoor adventures?
I have had my fair share of snake encounters. Travellers should always be cautious of their surroundings. Snakes are not there to harm you but they will protect themselves if they are threatened or feel in danger. If you do have an encounter, keep your distance and try not to pick it up. If you are bitten, try to remain calm and do not cut or suck out the venom. Once you wrap the wound, get help as soon as possible.\
What have your travels taught you?
Travel is one of the greatest investments you can make. It opens your eyes to the world out there.
How can South Africa attract more tourists?
Crime remains a deterrent. The country can promote its many offerings when tourists feel safer.