Books to Read Before, During and After your Safari in Africa

3 min Read February 19, 2019

Books to Read Before, During and After your Safari in Africa

In the words of St Augustine — “The world is a book, and only those who do not travel read only a page”.  Saint Augustine lived in the 4th and 5th Century in northern Africa and Italy. In an age when few people traveled more than a few kilometers from where they were born, Augustine saw more of the world than most of us dream of.
Going on safari is a fantastic opportunity for broadening your horizons. Our clients often remark at the amazing education they received; how much they learned about the animals they saw, the environment, and the local culture. Much of your learning will come from the local people you encounter, particularly your safari guide. But we strongly encourage you to find some time to do some arm chair traveling in advance of your departure by reading a few of our recommended books listed below.
For individual country travel guides, we like the Bradt series or Fodor’s travel guides.
With iPad and Kindle, you can download as many books as you like without having to pay for extra luggage. also has some excellent apps you can download to your phone or device to identify trees, mammals, and birds in Southern Africa.   Enjoy!


Africa: Biography of a Continent – John Reader
The State of Africa – Martin Meredith
The Scramble for Africa – Thomas Pakenham

East Africa

Out of Africa, Shadows on the Grass – Isak Dinesen (aka Karen Blixen)
I Dreamed of Africa– Kuki Gallman
West with the Night – Beryl Markham
The Snows of Kilimanjaro and Other Stories – Ernest Hemingway
Love, Life, and Elephants: An African Love Story – Dame Daphne Sheldrick
Unbowed – Wangari Maathai
The Hanging Tree – David Lambkin
The Tree Where Man Was Born – Peter Matthiessen
Year of the Gorilla – George Schaller
In the Dust of Kilimanjaro – David Western
Coming of Age with Elephants – Joyce Pool
Land of a Thousand Hills – Roz Carr
Dark Star Safari – Paul Theroux
Circling the Sun – Paula McLain
A Guide to the Birds of East Africa – Nicholas Drayson
Out in the Midday Sun – Elspeth Huxley
The In-Between World of Vikram Lall – M.G Vassanji
The White Masai – C. Hofmann

Southern Africa

Cry, the Beloved Country – Alan Paton
Long Walk to Freedom – Nelson Mandela
African Stories – Doris Lessing
A Walk with a White Bushman – Laurens van der Post
The Covenant – J.A. Michener
Life and Times of Michael K, Waiting for the Barbarians, Disgrace – J.M Coetzee
Brave Men’s Blood – Ian Knight
Elephant Song, The Leopard Hunts in Darkness – Wilbur Smith
South African Wine – Hughes, Hands, Kench et al
The Power of One – Bryce Courtenay
Blood River – T. Butcher
No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency – Alexander McCall Smith
Makiwa, When the Crocodile Eats the Sun, The Fear – Peter Godwin
Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight, Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness – Alexandra Fuller
The Last Resort – Douglas Rogers
Born a Crime – Trevor Noah

Safaris and Wildlife of Africa

Adventuring in East Africa – Allen Bechky
Birds of Kenya and Northern Tanzania – Dale Zimmerman et al
Insight Guides East African Wildlife
In the Shadow of Man – Jane Goodall
A Field Guide to Wildlife Photography in East Africa – Joe McDonald
Travels Along the Edge – David Noland
Safari: A Chronicle of Adventure – Bartle Bull
Behaviour Guide to African Mammals and The Safari Companion – Richard D. Estes
Adventuring in Southern Africa – Allen Bechky
Complete Guide to Walks and Trails in South Africa – Jaynee Levy
Newman’s Birds of Southern Africa – Kenneth Newman
Guide to Southern African Game & Nature Reserves – Chris & Tilde Stuart
Guide to Southern African Safari Lodges – Peter Joyce
The Lions and Elephants of Chobe – Bruce Aitken
Kalahari – Life’s Variety in Dune and Delta – Michael Main
Zambezi – River of Africa – Mike Coppinger and Jumbo Williams
African Thunder – The Victoria Falls – Jan and Fiona Teede
Eye of The Elephant – Mark and Delia Owen
Running Wild: Dispelling the Myths of African Wild Dog – John McNutt
Field Guide to Trees of Southern Africa – Braam Van Wyk & Piet Van Wyk
Cathedral of the Wild: An African Journey Home – Boyd Varty
Whatever You Do, Don’t Run (Tales of a Botswana Safari Guide) – Peter Allison
The Elephant Whisperer: My Life with the Herd in the African Wild – Lawrence Anthony

Children’s Books

Tippi: My Book of Africa – Tippi Degre
The Water Princess – Susan Verde
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind – William Kamkwamba
A Long Walk to Water – Linda Sue Park
Facing the Lion: Growing up Maasai – Joseph Lemasolai Lekuton
Africa Coloring Book for Kids 

Plan Your Safari
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