In Memoriam: Harry Selby: Africa Loses Another Legendary “Old Hand”

John Henry “Harry” Selby, one of the true living legends of African hunting, died on Jan. 20, 2018, at the age of 92. He was born in South Africa in 1925 and grew up on a farm in Kenya where he learned his hunting skills from local hunters and trackers.

Selby began his hunting career as a protégé of Philip Hope Percival, who had guided Ernest Hemingway and Theodore Roosevelt. Beginning his own career as a PH in the late 1940s, he guided Robert Ruark on a hunt in Tanzania (then Tanganyika) in 1953. Ruark’s book, Horn of the Hunter, cemented Selby’s reputation and made him one of the most sought-after PHs in Africa. He pioneered hunting and photographic safaris in Botswana and hunted there for more than 30 years first for Ker, Downey and Selby and later for Safari South. He continued to lead safaris until he retired in 2000.

His only son, Mark, also a PH in Tanzania (see Report 1755), died in 2017 at the age of 62. Selby is survived by his wife, Maria Elizabeth “Miki” Selby, daughter Gail, and three grandchildren.