Book Review: What does ‘The Sentinels’ conjure up as the title of a book?

BOOK REVIEW by Steuart Pennington

What would the word ‘The Sentinels’ conjure up if you saw it as the title of a book? Roman history? Royalty protection? Or…….the guarding of our wetlands?

‘The Sentinels – Cranes of South Africa’ is an exquisite, beautifully photographed, authoritatively written coffee table book, it gives insight into the intricate challenges facing cranes and humankind in the protection of clean water. Peter Matthiessen, author of ‘The Snow Leopard’ writes “perhaps more than any other living creatures, cranes evoke the retreating wilderness, the vanishing horizons of clean water and air upon which their species – and ours, too, though we learn it very late – must ultimately depend for survival.”

Daniel Dolpire and David Allan Foundation Jon Bates

Daniel Dolpire, Farmer Gerrard Torr and KZN Crane Foundation Jon Bates

Daniel Dolpire, Con Roux of N3TC and Jon Bates

‘The Sentinels’ is a unique book, a combination of the photographic skills of Daniel Dolpire and the ornithological skills of David Allan it gives deep insight into the habits of our three crane species; the Blue Crane; the Grey Crowned Crane; and the Wattled Crane; it tells you the reader where to find them; it tells of the contribution made by local farmers to preserve them; it tells of their nesting habits and their precarious coexistence with modernization; it tells of the devoted conservationists and their inventive techniques of hand-rearing chicks; and it shows off the majestic splendor of our Cranes in multiple, beautiful, and unusual South African landscapes.

    A Crane viewing Guide

But ‘The Sentinels’ is more than that, this 167 page photographic safari describes Daniel’s five year journey ultimately choosing 167 images out of 50,000; it talks of the commitment of the funders, primarily the N3TC (custodians of the N3 highway between Johannesburg and Durban) and their Touching Lives programme for social and environmental initiatives along this frenetically busy 600km route; it details the collaboration of four major conservation agencies, particularly the KZN Crane Foundation and its long time committee member Jon Bates; finally, the attention to detail is uncompromising as with every turn of the page you discover more of our water ‘Sentinels’; their splendor, their habits, their fragility and their contribution to the beauty of our country.

‘The Sentinels’ will sit proudly on your coffee table, will be a stimulating talking point and will provide you the reader with important insights into the habits of these, our tallest and most beautiful birds. Truly, a tribute to the South African spirit, commitment, integrity and passion.

‘The Sentinels’ is available country-wide at Exclusive Books, important for you and the perfect Christmas gift!

Or you can order directly from Daniel Dolpire at

Price: R790.00 including VAT and postage