Handy African travel books





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  1. #1
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    Default Handy African travel books

    I am sure there must be other keen bibliophiles like myself on this forum.

    I wonder if others would find a thread like this helpful? I would really like to have access to a thread where I could find references (books, websites, magazines etc) that I could access when planning a trip. This list could include bird and animal references, biographies, historical interest and country and game reserve guides. Any reading that members feel would add interest to self drive holidays would be welcome.

    Perhaps to begin I could start with a few of my favourites.

    GENERAL:

    Vehicle-dependant EXPEDITION Guide: Tom Shepherd. Published by Desert Winds (Edition 2.1) 44 Salusbury Lane, Hitchin SG5 3EG England.
    This reprint is probably already out of print, see if you can get hold of a second hand copy or contact Desert Winds to see if they plan further reprints.

    BRADT GUIDES:

    There are guides to most of the countries in Africa. They seem to be the most suitable for self drive visitors. I have personally used the Bradt Guides for Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique and Malawi and find them most helpful. There are regular new editions and you can check this website for news between editions http://www.bradtguides.com/guidebook-updates.html
    I find the other guides such as Rough Guides and Lonely Planet to be generally more suitable for backpackers.

    KGALIGADI TRANSFRONTIER PARK.

    - The Crowded Desert: Wilf Nussey. William Waterhouse Publications. ISBN 0-9583751-4-3

    -Guide to the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park: Gus Mills, Clem Haagner. Southern Book Publishers. ISBN 1 86812 206 9.

    ZAMBIA.

    -The Kafue National Park Zambia. Nikki Ashley. CBC Publishing, U.K.
    Email [email protected]
    ISBN 978-0-9572979-0-6

    -Guide to little-known waterfalls of Zambia. Quentin Allen, Ilse Mwanza et al. Distributed by Gadsen Books. New Horizon Printing Press Lusaka.
    ISBN 9982-9952-0-0. (This may be difficult to get hold off, my copy purchased at Mukambi Lodge Kafue Oct 2012).

    -BIRDS.

    Birds of Africa south of the Sahara. Peter Ryan, Ian Sinclair. Struik Publishers.
    ISBN 1 86872 857 9
    Needed for birding for any area north of southern Zambia, as most of the various books covering the birds of Southern Africa will have shortcomings north of here.

    AUTOBIOGRAPHIES.

    - An Arid Eden: Garth Owen-Smith. A personal account of conservation in the Kaokoveld. Jonathan Ball Publishers.
    ISBN 978-1-86842-363-7

    -Cry of the Kalahari: Mark and Delia Owens. Publishers Houghton Rifflin Company.
    ISBN-10: 0-395-64780-0
    ISBN-13: 978-0-395-64780-6
    Although the Owens's are controversial this book is a great read for those who have been or are going to the CKGR.


    That will do for starters. Would any other members care to recommend books/ websites/ articles of interest?

    Stan.
    Landcruiser 76SW.

    “Great journeys are memorable not so much for what you saw, but for where you camped”.

    At least "Once a year go someplace you have never been before" Delai Lama.

    Trans East Africa 2015/2016 Trip report http://www.4x4community.co.za/forum/...e16?highlight= from post 315.

  2. #2
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    My contribution is of limited use for travel in Namibia only, but it was our favourite book on a recent rip there:

    Nicole Grunert’s book Namibia- Fascination of Geology. I cannot imagine travelling in Namibia without this book. She explains the geological history and the processes that formed all the major sites in this beautiful landscape in terms that the layman can understand. Here is a link:

    http://www.namibiana.de/namibia-info...-gruenert.html

  3. #3
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    Thomas Pakenham's The Scramble for Africa (Jonathan Ball). Essential for understanding the colonial forces that shaped modern Africa.
    National Geographic's African Adventure Atlas - the most comprehensive map book of the continent.
    And look out for the Kafue Trust's new book on the Kafue, written by Peter de Vere Moss. I'll review it on the forum when my copy arrives - it is at the printer's at the moment. I've seen the proofs, and it is very comprehensive, and excellent on the natural history of the area.
    Last edited by Tony Weaver; 2013/06/09 at 03:11 PM.

  4. #4
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    Thanks Tony and Merwe. Tony, as you know some of the books I mentioned were originally at your recommendation.
    Landcruiser 76SW.

    “Great journeys are memorable not so much for what you saw, but for where you camped”.

    At least "Once a year go someplace you have never been before" Delai Lama.

    Trans East Africa 2015/2016 Trip report http://www.4x4community.co.za/forum/...e16?highlight= from post 315.

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    http://www.desertwinds.co.uk/quiet_for_a_tuesday.html

    Another Tom Sheppard book that will light your traveling fire with a new intensity.

    Busy Reading:
    1) Overlanders' Handbook by Chris Scott - only covered the first 50 odd pages, but it is well written and with tons of information
    2) In the Pursuit of Solitude by Adam Cruise - mixed feelings about this, well written and definitely controversial

    On my Bookshelf: ( to be read)
    1) A Game Ranger Remembers - Bruce Bryden
    2) Cry of the Kalahari - Owens
    3) Dark Continent My Black Arse - Sihile Khumalo
    Peet Schultz

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    Quote Originally Posted by PeetS View Post
    [3) Dark Continent My Black Arse - Sihile Khumalo
    An entertaining read, but it irritated me beyond irritation - very sexist, and not a little bit racist.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Weaver View Post
    An entertaining read, but it irritated me beyond irritation - very sexist, and not a little bit racist.
    Must admit, the title is what made me buy that. Will report back once I have read it.
    Peet Schultz

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    Quote Originally Posted by PeetS View Post
    Must admit, the title is what made me buy that. Will report back once I have read it.
    Still worth reading, simply because it comes from a totally different perspective to most African travel writing, which is mostly written from a white perspective. But I did find it quite glib. A nice counterpoint are books by Dervla Murphy, Negley Farson (dating back to the 1930s - try Last Chance In Africa), and anything by Ryszard Kapuscinski. The Shadow of the Sun, sub-titled "My African Life" is particularly brilliant - Polish journalist who covered Africa while Poland was under Communist rule, did the job on a complete shoestring. I met him when I was on a foreign correspondent's budget for Canadian television, and was completely humbled by the way he covered wars, disaster, famine etc with no real backing from Warsaw.
    Last edited by Tony Weaver; 2013/06/10 at 10:27 PM.

  9. #9
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    I too found Dark Continent extremely sexist.

    I've read a few books on travel in Africa, but more in the interesting than the OP's handy category. I have Ryszard Kapuscinski's Dark of the Sun, but for some reason only read it half way, will pick it up again.

    On my list :
    The Zanzibar Chest - Aiden Hartley
    White Knuckles and red tape - Lois Pryce
    The Pousins' Africa Trek (they exist in another dreamlike dimension)
    Blood River - Tim Butcher a good read
    Ciao Asmara - Jason Hill
    Africa Brew HaHa - Alan Whelan
    In Search of Will Carling - Charles Jacoby
    Three men on a bike
    Then all Johan Bakkes's books on his travels in Africa mostly on public transport.

    I recently read WA de Klerks Drie Swerwers in Suidwes, an account of their 1948 trip through the then SWA. I found it interesting how he speculates on the future of the region.
    Last edited by Merwe Erasmus; 2013/06/11 at 09:38 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Merwe Erasmus View Post
    On my list :
    The Zanzibar Chest - Aiden Hartley
    Zanzibar Chest is brilliant. Aidan and I have a future date to go trout fishing and surfing in Kenya (I know him from my foreign correspondent days, and also interviewed him when the book was first published, great guy).

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    Seeing that this thread has spontaneously drifted towards tales of African adventure and exploration, what better than some of the classic old-timers. Whenever I read these accounts of Africa as she used to be, I am overcome by a sense of having been born in the wrong era. Whether you approve of hunting or not, most of these accounts are by the big game hunters of yore.

    -The recollections of An Elephant Hunter. William Finnaughty. (Matabeleland in the later 1800's).
    -A Hunter's Wanderings in Africa. Frederick Courteney Selous. (Also late 1800's Chobe, Botswana, Matabeleland and the Zambezi).
    -The Ivory Trail. T. V. Bulpin. (The story of "Bvekenya", Isak Barnard, whose family still run an African tour company, Penduka Safaris. Of interest to anyone that has ever visited Crook's Corner in the north-east of Kruger.)


    Finally, a more modern book by one of our members. A Wild Life by Dick Pitman
    ("Zambezi"), ( An account of the Zimbabwian bush and game reserves).
    Landcruiser 76SW.

    “Great journeys are memorable not so much for what you saw, but for where you camped”.

    At least "Once a year go someplace you have never been before" Delai Lama.

    Trans East Africa 2015/2016 Trip report http://www.4x4community.co.za/forum/...e16?highlight= from post 315.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stan Weakley View Post
    Finally, a more modern book by one of our members. A Wild Life by Dick Pitman
    ("Zambezi"), ( An account of the Zimbabwian bush and game reserves).
    And I recently reread Dick's first book, "You must be new around here" - often hilariously funny account of his early days in Rhodesia, fresh off the boat.

  13. #13
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    I forgot to mention Johan Snyman's two books, the one on Koakoland and the second on Damaraland, both contain detailed route advice.

    I've also read the Voetspore books and will not admit (at least not on a public forum) that I do in fact have a copy of Long Way Down.

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    I'm not sure if it falls in the category Stan intend books to fall, but I read "Around Africa on my Bycicle" by Riaan Manser and found it absolutely awesome. This was then also the reason why I got "Dark Continent My......." Did not enjoy it at all. Agree with the sentiments from other members.
    "If you don't care where you are, you ain't lost"

  15. #15
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    Thanks Spook, definately a book of interest to African travellers.
    Landcruiser 76SW.

    “Great journeys are memorable not so much for what you saw, but for where you camped”.

    At least "Once a year go someplace you have never been before" Delai Lama.

    Trans East Africa 2015/2016 Trip report http://www.4x4community.co.za/forum/...e16?highlight= from post 315.

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    I always try and find historical and semi-historical accounts of travellers who have done similar routes to the ones I am planning, so, for example, Graham Greene's books on Namibia, or The Sheltering Desert by Henno Martin, go along to Nam. Chirupula will go along on my next Zambian trip. In East Africa, Elspeth Huxley's compilation, Nine Faces of Kenya is a great read (hundreds of short extracts from a wide range of writers). Similarly, Wilfred Thesiger's books on Kenya and Ethiopia are a must read, as is Dervla Murphy's Through Ethiopia on a Mule.

  17. #17
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    Namibia
    "The Harmless People" - Elizabeth Marshall Thomas
    "Pieds nus sur la terre rouge" - Solenn Bardet (a pity it's still not translated into English)
    "Kaokoland" and "Damaraland" - Johan Snyman on the forum!
    Pierre
    -------------------------------------------------------------

  18. #18
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    In Swakopmund is the Muschel Bookshop, it is in the vicinity of the Brauhaus, in the same touristy area. The shop has many many books on Namibia, its history, geology and attractions. The manager Pierre van der Westhuizen is capable and very keen to help. http://www.muschel.iway.na/

  19. #19
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    Birds
    Beat About the Bushby Trevor Carnaby - fascinating
    ISBN-10: 1770092412
    ISBN-13: 978-1770092419



    2014 Prado TX D4-D

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Weaver View Post
    I always try and find historical and semi-historical accounts of travellers who have done similar routes to the ones I am planning, so, for example, Graham Greene's books on Namibia, or The Sheltering Desert by Henno Martin, go along to Nam. Chirupula will go along on my next Zambian trip. In East Africa, Elspeth Huxley's compilation, Nine Faces of Kenya is a great read (hundreds of short extracts from a wide range of writers). Similarly, Wilfred Thesiger's books on Kenya and Ethiopia are a must read, as is Dervla Murphy's Through Ethiopia on a Mule.

    This is one of those books that you need to read more than once. Read it, visit the area, then read it again. It's abosultely amazing how those two guys with their dog survived out there for nearly 2 years.
    "If you don't care where you are, you ain't lost"

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