Out of his own mouth, Robert Ruark had never fired anything but a shotgun when he & is wife Virginia arrived in Kenya from NYC. - That first safari & his lifelong friendship with professional hunter HARRY SELBY is fully recounted in his book, HORN OF THE HUNTER.
By the time of his untimely passing at age 64, he was fully competent to lead safaris himself.
(The books, SOMEONE OF VALUE: A BIOGRAHPHY OF ROBERT RUARK by Hugh Foster and VIEW FROM A TALL HILL: ROBERT RUARK IN AFRICA by Terry Weiland tell the story of his colorful & quite troubled life.)
Full disclosure: My boyhood was quite lonely & unhappy. At age 8, I was given a copy of THE OLD MAN & THE BOY & literally wore out the book reading it repeatedly. By age 14, I had read everything that Ruark wrote (By the time that I "escaped to boarding school", I had bought copies of all of his many works.) & as a result of his books also began reading the works of FREDERICK C. SELOUS, JIM CORBETT, THEODORE ROOSEVELT, JOHN H. PATTERSON, TOWNSEND WHELEN, ELMER KEITH, WALLACE TABER, CARL AKLEY, OSA JOHNSON, W.D. M. "KARAMOJA" BELL & many others.
(As a result of my hero worship of Robert Ruark, I've several times tried to buy The Old Man's house in Southport, NC & have twice unsuccessfully tried to organize a ROBERT RUARK WEEK in Southport. - Ruark was/is UNPOPULAR with "the locals" in Southport, as it was said that , "He left NC, moved to NYC, was too rich, broke the heart of his childhood sweetheart, drank too much whiskey, was divorced twice & numerous other similar "complaints". = Little towns are often like that.)