"Sharon's unwavering dedication to the Presidential Elephants is truly inspirational. Despite incredible challenges, she focuses on what is required to protect and improve the lives of these precious pachyderms. Her close and personal relationship with many of these gentle giants is heartwarming; her descriptions of the bush and life that surrounds her in all its forms are evocative and moving.”
- Francoise Malby, wife of the late Lawrence Anthony – renowned conservationist and author of The Elephant Whisperer
‘An inspirational book full of adventure and emotions, showing true courage and determination of an exceptional woman who lived 13 years with elephants in Zimbabwe facing daily the adversity that only her passion for these gentle giants could overcome.’
- Francoise Malby-Anthony, wife of the late Lawrence Anthony of THE ELEPHANT WHISPERER.
Thula Thula Game Reserve, South Africa
For reader reviews of Battle for the President's Elephants, go to:
Return to the home-page to read extracts from this book
CARAVAN & OUTDOOR LIFE SEPTEMBER 2012
“a delightful collection of anecdotes of [Sharon Pincott’s] life in Zim … often amusing, often sad”
– South Coast Herald
For more than a decade, Sharon Pincott has lived in the Hwange bush among The Presidential Elephants of Zimbabwe: a celebrated clan of wild elephants that she is devoted to and will do anything to protect.
She has formed one of the most remarkable relationships with wild, free-roaming elephants ever documented, yet her battles to keep them safe never seem to end. One minute she's cherishing incredibly intimate encounters with these gentle giants, the next she's accused of being a spy and then her name appears on a Zimbabwe Police wanted-persons list. While things often seem to go from bad to worse, this passionate wildlife conservationist relentlessly perseveres, in the face of overwhelming odds, to stick by the elephants she so obviously loves.
Written with engaging humour and warmth and a deep, tangible love of Africa's wildlife, Sharon recounts the enchanting times that make her life in the wild bearable, as well as some of the preposterous incidents that force her to quesion her sanity for staying in Zimbabwe.
Succeeding her highly praised book, The Elephants and I, this captivating collection of bush tales offers a further glimpse into the wonders, and grim realities, of choosing a life less ordinary, where the species that you look out for is different from your own.
Sharon Pincott was born in Queensland, Australia, and now lives in the Zimbabwean bush. She has dedicated the past 11 years of her life to the preservation and promotion of the clan of wild Hwange elephants known as The Presidential Elephants of Zimbabwe. Her accomplishments have been featured in BBC Wildlife, Africa Geographic, Getaway and Travel Africa. Her previous book, The Elephants and I, was published to wide critical acclaim by Jacana Media in 2009. An international television documentary about her work – titled All the President’s Elephants – which was commissioned by Natural History Unit Africa, will be screened from mid-2012.
"Battle for the President's Elephants is another wonderful book from Sharon Pincott. Her passion for Africa's gentle giants never waivers and her incredible relationship with them grows deeper with the passing years. Sharon's dedication in the face of continued adversity is remarkable. Following on from her first book The Elephants and I, this tale will move you from laughter to tears as you read more about the delights and the despairs of this tenacious conservationist's admirable life in the Zimbabwean bush."
- David Shepherd OBE, Founder of the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation.
'[Elephant Dawn] is hard hitting, and factual, a story that everyone should read... It is a book that I will keep to read again. It begins in 2001 and takes us all the way through to 2014 and beyond. Memories of so many things that happened in Zimbabwe, with elephants, other wildlife, politics and day to day life, flooded back to me as I read... Despite all that happened, Sharon's love of Zimbabwe shone throughout and her descriptions of our wild areas are beautiful. For those who don't already know, her relationship with the Presidential Elephants was simply incredible and reading this book you feel like you are sitting beside her in Hwange in her old battered truck.'
- Johnny Rodrigues, Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force
A moving account of Africa’s power to attract, inspire, and change the course of one’s life, giving it a new meaning. Sharon’s story is of courage, adventure, love and commitment to the elephant of Zimbabwe.
– Kuki Gallmann, Author of the international bestseller, I Dreamed of Africa
During the fifty years since I first went to Africa, I have collected or been given a considerable number of books written by those who have been to Africa but very few stand out in my memory as being exceptional. I was privileged therefore to be asked to contribute a few words to this very special book written by a great lady who writes with such dedication, feeling and passion for the gentle giants of Africa. [Sharon] writes as only someone who has Africa in her blood can, of the despair and the delights of the so-called dark continent. Wildlife deserves a better deal than it is getting from Man, the most lethal animal on the planet and when I leave Africa now after every visit I cry tears of joy and anger. Sharon’s book will, I know, bring similar feelings to the reader.
– David Shepherd OBE, FRSA, Founder of the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation, UK
“This book is a great read: entertaining, informative and brutally honest.”
– Getaway magazine
'Every now and then a book comes along that breaks through the wallpaper of my own life and delivers its message intravenously. Elephant Dawn did that for me – an intense read, inspiring and moving... Over an incredible 13 years this tough-as-teak lady developed a valuable understanding of all 17 extended family groups that make up the greater 500-strong herd. She also became the public figurehead of this herd in their battle against the deadly intentions of the poachers and trophy hunters. Her deeply personal bond with some of the matriarchs (who would come running when she called) really struck a chord with me...'
- Simon Espley, CEO, Africa Geographic
“Sharon Pincott is once again the voice of reason for Zimbabwe’s elephants and delights with this tale of both wonder and despair. Sharon’s account of her life with the Presidential Elephants in Hwange speaks to a passion for Africa and its wildlife, a dedication to a species in peril, and a hope for a better Zimbabwe. Another masterpiece!”
- Jason Bell, Director, International Fund for Animal Welfare, Southern Africa
‘After 13 years living among 500 wild elephants, Pincott is telling her story in Elephant Dawn…The locals called Pincott Thandeka Mandlovu, which means ‘much-loved Mother Elephant’, and believed she had special magic… With more and more elephants being killed every year, perhaps magic is the only thing that can save them. And the selfless efforts of people like Pincott.’
- Forbes Woman Africa
After reading [this] book you will feel as though you have been to Africa and experienced the wonderful world that it truly is.
– Rob Faber, Managing Editor, The Elephant, The Netherlands
Review July 2012
Durban's Mercury review, OCTOBER 2012
Inspiring tale of love, care for the voiceless
THE Elephants and I is a poignant memoir. Sharon Pincott's story is a delectable account of how, as a high flyer, she leaves behind a life with a career in full bloom to roam the world and walk with Africa's wild. With earnest passion, the author relives her wondrous love affair with the presidential elephants of troubled Zimbabwe.
The book begins with a spontaneous visit to South Africa's Kruger National Park – a trip that would change the course of her life as she knew it. A particular distant encounter with a glorious elephant in the stillness of nature kindles her desire to return to this enchanting splendour.
Having been charmed by Africa's sights, she embarks on numerous trips to the mythic continent.
In a series of travels to central Africa she finds herself in landlocked Zimbabwe. Here in the bush she makes memorable friendships with both animals and human beings. But sadly, as Pincott discovers when she loses one of her friends, life does not come without death. For her it is Andy's death that inspires her to take on a life complete with risks, reflection and legacy.
She chooses to leave Australia, including a career as an information technology specialist, and takes a leap that sees her looking after the elephants of this troubled nation.
Pincott writes with love about her moving accounts with animals and her wondrous escapades with friends. Armed with little scientific knowledge, she prompts herself to learn as much as she can about Africa's big-eared giant species.
This memoir also provides insight into Zimbabwe's darker side, revealing a deeper sense of meaning to Pincott's brave plunge. At the time of her arrival, Zimbabwe was going through a number of indefensible issues, one being a plummeting economy. And it doesn't take long before she has to deal with land invasions, rife snaring and poaching that threaten the lives of her elephant friends.
In this portrait of both bliss and dismay emerges a mighty heart on a quest to fight for those who have no voice. According to Kuki Gallmann, author of international bestseller I Dreamed of Africa, The Elephants and I is "a moving account of Africa's power to attract, inspire and change the course of one's life, giving it a new meaning".
Pincott has written a story that will engage not only animal lovers but also those who know little about Africa's conservation challenges.
- Zintle Makeng, City Press, South Africa 26-Jul-2009
“Sharon Pincott is the Joy Adamson of Zimbabwe. It takes a very special person to battle the loneliness and isolation of the African bush. Sharon’s passionate commitment to the Presidential Elephants – in the face of soaring political tensions … – is contagious. We salute her courage and dedication.”
– Wilf Mbanga, Editor, The Zimbabwean
“Pincott’s love for the elephants will overwhelm you… her adventures in the so-often Wild West of Zimbabwe will leave you gaping … A great read”
- City Press
‘A woman on a passionate mission. Her astonishing adventure. Political intrigue. A book to take the reader into another world.’
- Caroline Jones, award-winning journalist
GETAWAY REVIEW SEPTEMBER 2012
'Riveting reading.... [Elephant Dawn is] touchingly genuine, with gut truth and sheer determination.'
- Book Chat, South Africa
'[Sharon Pincott] formed one of the most remarkable bonds ever with wild elephants. Untrained and unpaid, the idealistic Sharon proved to be an elephant whisperer... Her vulnerability as a lone woman in the bush is an emotional roller-coaster, especially when her friends depart one by one as the situation worsens. Yet she is resilient and courageous to the very end... guaranteed to produce a lump in the throat, if not tears.'
- South Africa's Wild magazine
'What [Jane] Goodall and [Dian] Fossey were for primates... Sharon Pincott [has] been for elephants... Elephant Dawn is heartwarming, funny, incisive, searingly honest and at times deeply sad. It's a ... plea for Africa's elephants and an insight into the mind of one of the earth's most intelligent creatures.'
- Don Pinnock, Investigative Journalist, South Africa
‘[Elephant Dawn] is full of... accounts of [Sharon Pincott's] deeply intimate bond with the elephant families... It is a genuinely personal account of the hardships and triumphs of a courageous and often hilarious lady. I was riveted.’ (Rating: 'Unforgettable')
- Writerswrite, South Africa
'What an astonishing story... In places it is so funny you can't help laughing out loud and in other places you can't help feeling [Sharon's] despair. This is a compelling read and an important read. I would say this is essential reading for anyone interested in wildlife conservation and especially elephants, but this book isn't just about that: it is essentially the story of a person, so committed that they are willing to give up nearly everything to follow their heart and stand up for what they believe in, no matter what. The kind of book that you will want to read in a sitting, I know I couldn't put it down.'
- Se7en Lifestyle Blog, South Africa
'The story of one woman and her elephants...Sharon gave up her career in Australia in 2001 to travel to Zimbabwe to give her full attention to the conservation of the Presidential Herd in the Hwange Estate in western Zimbabwe. It was not a good time for Zimbabwe but the elephants needed her... For 13 years Sharon struggled against everything that a troubled Zimbabwe could throw at her...[Elephant Dawn is] a book that one should read, particularly now, when the elephants of Zimbabwe are so much in the news.'
- David Holt-Biddle, Columnist, South Coast Herald, South Africa
'We are Zimbabweans, also deeply involved with wildlife, so every word of this marvellous book resonated with me...it's not the sadness that I want to remember, it's the courage of one crazy Australian who, ridiculously, thought she could make a difference - and did. It's what she learned... how she helped them... she never expected to form such an extraordinary bond with wild elephants... Sharon, you have left your legacy and we, and all who truly care for wildlife, thank you.'
- Bookey Peek, author of Beyond the Wild Wood, Stone Hills Wildlife Sanctuary, Matobo, Zimbabwe
In 2001, Sharon Pincott traded her privileged life as a high-flying corporate executive to start a new one with the Presidential Elephants of Zimbabwe. She was unpaid, untrained, self-funded and arrived with the starry-eyed idealism of most foreigners during early encounters with Africa. For thirteen years - the worst in Zimbabwe's volatile history - this intrepid Australian woman lived in the Hwange bush fighting for the lives of these elephants, forming an extraordinary and life-changing bond with them.
Now remote from Robert Mugabe’s rule, Sharon writes without restraint sequentially through the years, taking us on a truly unforgettable ride of hope and heartbreak, profound love and loss, adversity and new beginnings. This is the haunting, all-encompassing story we’ve been waiting for.
Powerfully moving, sometimes disturbing and often very funny, Elephant Dawn is a celebration of love, courage and honour among our greatest land mammals. With resilience beyond measure, Sharon earns the supreme right to call them family.
Sharon’s story speaks of a genuine passion and enthusiasm for her new African home – joy at discovering a new world … While the tale of a modern girl giving up city life for the faraway African bush is a few decades past qualifying for remarkable, it is lifted by the fact that she chose to swap a secure life in suburban, comfortable Australia for one of increasing political uncertainty in Zimbabwe … finding herself pitted against land-invading ‘settlers’ and snares while seeking to protect her increasingly persecuted elephants. This [book] is for those who look out of the window at work, wondering ‘what if’ they pursued their dreams.
– Angus Begg, CN award-winning journalist/TV producer, South Africa
"An absorbing read, joyous in its passion for the sights and sounds of the bush, often lyrical in its descriptions of the creatures who share her world"
- Saturday Star
The Elephants and I and Battle for the President's Elephants
are also available in bookshops throughout South Africa
Big Issue - June 24th, 2009 by Sharon
Sharon Pincott’s The Elephants and I masterfully combines a tale of the struggle to conserve Zimbabwe’s “Presidential Elephants” with a portrait of what life in Zimbabwe is like; it is a passionate and touching read.
"A riveting and amusing read"
- The Zimbabwean
“[An] undying love affair with Zim elephants… This book has stories of the fun and rewarding times with elephants and friends and it sheds light on why Pincott stayed even when things looked bad. It is a collection of events both good and bad, of the life she has chosen to live in an African country doing what she loves most, taking care of the elephants.”
– Pretoria News
‘A remarkable story of resilience and courage in the fight to save the African elephant. Sharon Pincott is a true wildlife warrior.’
- Gareth Patterson, best-selling author of The Secret Elephants
‘This mesmerizing book is not just about a love of elephants, it is also about the indomitable spirit of someone who followed her passion. Sharon Pincott is one of the bravest women I have ever known. She has risked so much for elephants and it is a gift to us that we can now read this moving account of her thirteen years in Zimbabwe fighting to save a population of elephants she came to know intimately.’
- Cynthia Moss, world-renowned elephant specialist, celebrated in BBC’s Echo of the Elephants
"Sharon Pincott is that very rare entity - she is selfless, dedicating her life to a group of elephants whose extraordinary relationships have been better understood through her tireless monitoring and care. We thank her for sharing these insightful stories in Battle for the President's Elephants, and all her knowledge of the Presidential Elephants of Zimbabwe, with the world. There is nothing Sharon wouldn't do for these animals, her courage and commitment to their future is exemplary."
- Travel Africa magazine
Sharon Pincott has written a brave and passionate book about her work in Zimbabwe trying to protect the special herd called the ‘Presidential Elephants’. Against all odds and her own safety she has stayed in this troubled country for over eight years trying to deal with poaching, land grabbing, unethical hunters and personal harassment. Sharon vividly portrays both the tragedies and joys of her mission. Her writing about the individual elephants and their behaviour is fascinating. I highly recommend this book for its insights into some of the conservation challenges in Africa, into elephant behaviour and into the personality of an extraordinary woman.
– Cynthia Moss, World-renowned Elephant Specialist, Amboseli, Kenya
"you'll laugh with [Sharon] as she tackles termites, snakes and scorpions, cry with her as she battles snares, drought and human cruelty, and be captivated by her passon ... You will marvel at the connection [she] has with these African giants"
- The Mercury, Durban
BRITISH AIRWAYS COMAIR
1 May 2009
The Secret meets Born Free in this story of an Australian woman’s bond with ‘the Presidential Elephants of Zimbabwe’ and her efforts to stay positive and protect them in a time of political upheaval, poaching and land invasions. In 2001, former high-flying IT specialist Sharon Pincott – now nicknamed Mandlovu (Mother Elephant) – became an unpaid volunteer reporting on the wellbeing of elephants roaming the Hwange Estate. The 400-strong herd had a ‘special protection decree’ from Robert Mugabe until October 2003, when hunters were allowed back in. First (false) impression: dangerously naïve Aussie faces midlife crises (‘It [Africa] was the perfect place to rejuvenate my soul’). Final impression: a courageous and determined conservationist outlasts fear and intimidation to stay on and fight for her beloved animals.
“Sharon Pincott has written a memoir worthy of her elephant friends. A very moving story.”
– Gareth Patterson, international best-selling author of Last of the Free
“They say you meet people who bring particular things to your life. Well, Sharon brought an insight and understanding to mine, an example of someone brave enough to follow her heart in search of her true calling. She’s someone who doesn’t believe in giving up or turning back, no matter how big the potholes.”
– Caravan & Outdoor Life
'You have brought tears to my eyes, love of elephants to my heart and knowledge to my mind' - Michelle Nielsen in Australia
'The trials and tribulations you experience are wrenching and devastating. The rewards magnificent' - Charlene Boardman in South Africa
I approached Sharon Pincott's book with more than a little trepidation. The world has enough well-meaning books about well-intentioned individuals working in African conservation that are either dull, turgid affairs or so harrowing that you have to steal yourself just to open them again. But, happily Battle for the President's Elephants is nothing like that. Sure, it's not all fun and games, but its easy, personable style is a perfect fit for Sharon herself – warm, passionate, funny and driven by a steely determination. Never mind needing more books like this, we need more people like Sharon!
- Sarah Borchert, Editor, Africa Geographic
‘A raw, honest story that needs to be heard. Sharon Pincott gives a passionate and moving voice to a species in peril; the silent, innocent victims of man’s greed.’
- Tony Park, best-selling author of An Empty Coast
Sharon Pincott had the courage to leave a cushy life … the grit to stand up against [those] who looked the other way as the earth’s largest land mammals were slaughtered … But perhaps what took the most pluck was for her to write this story openly … if everyone had the spunk of Sharon Pincott we would have few conservation problems on our earth.
– Delia Owens, Ph.D and co-author of the international best-seller Cry of the Kalahari
(Reprinted just 4 months after initial release)
An unplanned visit to South Africa's Kruger National Park changed Sharon Pincott's life as she knew it. She was a high-flying Information Technology specialist Down Under, but now she dreamed of working with Africa's wildlife. Eventually, she abandoned her life of privilege and luxury and moved to Zimbabwe - a country in turmoil - to live and work among elephants on land bordering Hwange National Park. It was a startling contrast to her former life. In time, Sharon formed extraordinary relationships with wild elephants, having learned to know them intimately. She treasured escapades with friends, both human and animal, in spectacular remote places. But, as she soon discovered first-hand, the beauty and wonder of wild Zimbabwe had a dark foreboding side. Snaring of wildlife was rife, and when land invaders claimed the area where Sharon's elephant friends roamed, she went into battle for their land and their lives - while fighting for her own wellbeing, in her homeland of choice. For more than a decade, Sharon Pincott has lived in the bush among The Presidential Elephants of Zimbabwe: a celebrated clan of wild elephants that she is devoted to and will do anything to protect. She has formed one of the most remarkable relationships with wild, free-roaming elephants ever documented, yet her battles to keep them safe never seem to end. One minute she's cherishing incredibly intimate encounters with these gentle giants, the next she's accused of being a spy and then her name appears on a Zimbabwe Police wanted-persons list. While things often seem to go from bad to worse, this passionate wildlife conservationist relentlessly perseveres, in the face of overwhelming odds, to stick by the elephants she so obviously loves. Written with engaging humour and warmth and a deep, tangible love of Africa's wildlife, Sharon recounts the enchanting times that make her life in the wild bearable, as well as some of the preposterous incidents that force her to question her sanity for staying in Zimbabwe. Succeeding her highly praised book, this captivating collection of bush tales offers a further glimpse into the wonders, and grim realities, of choosing a life less ordinary, where the species that you look out for is different from your own.
An unplanned visit to South Africa's Kruger National Park changed Sharon Pincott's life as she knew it. She was a high-flying Information Technology specialist Down Under, but now she dreamed of working with Africa's wildlife. Eventually, she abandoned her life of privilege and luxury and moved to Zimbabwe - a country in turmoil - to live and work among elephants on land bordering Hwange National Park. It was a startling contrast to her former life. In time, Sharon formed extraordinary relationships with wild elephants, having learned to know them intimately. She treasured escapades with friends, both human and animal, in spectacular remote places. But, as she soon discovered first-hand, the beauty and wonder of wild Zimbabwe had a dark foreboding side. Snaring of wildlife was rife, and when land invaders claimed the area where Sharon's elephant friends roamed, she went into battle for their land and their lives - while fighting for her own wellbeing, in her homeland of choice.
June 24th, 2009
From my Hide, SOUTH COAST HERALD
The Presidential Elephants
The story of a Zimbabwean herd
The concept of a Presidential Herd of Elephants is probably unique to Zimbabwe, hailing from a happier time in that now sad country. We met these special elephants in the late 1990s when my wife and I were doing a Land Rover 4×4 trail recce for a local hotel group. We were staying at the Hwange Safari Lodge just outside the Hwange National Park, and one evening the word went out that the Presidential Elephants had arrived.
They had indeed arrived and were just outside the lodge’s perimeter fence, great, grey shapes in the half-light. It was our first encounter with this unique herd, then under the protection of President Robert Mugabe, and it was certainly a project that captured the imagination. And it certainly captured the imagination of Sharon Pincott, an Australian IT specialist and executive who gave up the good life at home to work with Africa’s wildlife, ultimately the Presidential Elephants.
Her story is a remarkable one, ably told in her just published book, The Elephants and I*. Sharon’s new found passion for Africa began with a business trip to Johannesburg and a brief sortie to the Kruger National Park, where she met her first elephant. Subsequent trips back to Africa on volunteer missions took her to Uganda, Kenya, Namibia and Zimbabwe, but it was Zimbabwe’s Hwange, that made her realize that she had to come back to stay.
This she did in 2001, her assignment being to research, on a full time and voluntary basis, the Presidential Elephants in their home range on the Hwange Estate, 140 square kilometers of unfenced conservation land adjacent to the National Park. For nearly eight years Sharon struggled against constant shortages, (fuel, food, just about everything), poaching and illegal and legalized (by the powers that be) hunting, and finally land grabs. She suffered on-going obstructionism, naked racism, an assault and even death threats, but she stuck it out.
She continued her work for as long as she could, in fact Zimbabwe’s Presidential Elephants are now probably the best documented herd in Africa, and she’s still up there, hanging in.
Sharon Pincott is a remarkable woman; courageous, stoic, determined and resourceful. Her story of her trials and tribulations, and the fun times, in Zimbabwe makes good reading. I loved the descriptions of some of her less hazardous experiences with wildlife and her beloved Range Rover, as well as some of the really evocative situations, such as Gs’n’Ts in the sunset. It’s a good book, reminding us of just how much we owe people like Sharon, and what can happen when a country goes wrong.
* The Elephants and I, Sharon Pincott, Jacana, Johannesburg, 2009
(Sharon's royalties from the sale of her books help to fund her ongoing voluntary work with elephants in Africa)
(Print-runs are also now complete in the UK and in the USA)
Order with free world-wide delivery from
Released 25 May 2016 in Australia and New Zealand
Released 18 July 2016 in South Africa
Released 1 November 2016 in USA
Internationals can order the paperback, with free world-wide delivery, from www.bookdepository.com
The Ebook can be ordered from various sites including www.amazon.com
Sharon Pincott - Writer - Presidential Elephants of Zimbabwe - Elephant Dawn
What a remarkable piece of writing! In The Elephants and I, Sharon Pincott takes us on an incredible journey into the very heart and soul of Africa, its natural splendour and, of course, the gentle giants that traverse the continent. Such a tale is long overdue. While many have been lured by Africa’s wildlife and beauty, few have managed to capture this splendour with such finesse and grandeur. It is in the joy, the sorrow and the lonely reality of a country and a species in serious trouble that Sharon is able to remind us of what it was like.
– Jason Bell-Leask , Director, International Fund for Animal Welfare, Southern Africa
"The most remarkable relationship between humans and wild elephants I have ever seen"
- Richard Slater-Jones, filmmaker
A heart-rending story, set in difficult times: Sharon Pincott exudes passion, courage and dedication as she tells it like it really is. And there’s still room for humour amongst the tragedy – you’ll be inspired!
– Nicholas Duncan, President, SAVE Foundation of Australia