For Americans and Europeans Africa is a land of mysteries. Its exoticism astonishes and surprises us. Because of numerous differences between the Western and African culture, understanding the African reality can be a hard nut to crack.
African Safari Trip
If you’re planning a trip to this fascinating continent, you might want to prepare yourself first. This way, you’ll surely enjoy the journey in a whole different way. To make your African safari trip more valuable, you can read not only guides and books about nature but also the ones that will introduce you to the African history and culture. Below you’ll find a list of book recommendations. It includes pieces of inspiring fiction, captivating reportage, and beautiful memoirs. We decided to mention different genres so that you could get a wider glimpse of what’s hidden behind the word Africa.
Blood River: A Journey to Africa’s Broken Heart, Tim Butcher
Genre: nonfiction, adventure, history
That’s a book about one crazy corresponded and his attempts to recreate a route of a famous expedition led by H.M. Stanley in the 19th century. Tim Butcher, a journalist from Daily Telegraph, was sent to Africa. He didn’t just go there to write a short article. Instead, he traveled over 2000 miles, starting from the Lake Tanganyika and continuing along the Congo River. In the book, in addition to describing his journey, but also speaks about the rich and dramatic history of Congo.
Out of Africa, Karen Blixen
Genre: nonfiction, memoir
For many, Karen Blixen’s classic was the first reason they started dreaming of safari. This famous book is an excellent source of knowledge about Kenya, the colonial reality and daily life of locals as well as Westerners. After her husband had left, Karen Blixen remained in Kenya to run a farm and plantation on her own. In the memoir, the Dutch author describes the most important events that occurred during her 17-years long stay. The book is considered to be a masterpiece of story-telling.
Long Walk to Freedom, Nelson Mandela
Genre: nonfiction, autobiography, politics
South Africa is among the most popular travel destinations on the continent. To understand what kind of issues the country had struggled with, you may want to get familiar with the book written by Nelson Mandela, one of South Africa’s greatest leaders. A prisoner, an activist, finally ahead of the anti-apartheid movement, a president, and a Nobel Prize winner, Mandela played an incredibly important role in the history. Long Walk to Freedom tells a story of his struggles and successes.
Cry, the Beloved Country, Alan Paton
Genre: historical fiction
Wonderfully poetic and painfully realistic, Cry, the Beloved Country is one of South Africa’s most famous novels. It gained popularity both within the country and outside of it, so much that it turned into a worldwide bestseller. The book tells a story of Reverend Stephen Kumalo who moves to Johannesburg to find missing members of his family. The characters are strongly affected by racial injustice which later on led to apartheid. Even though the story’s fictional, it describes the terrifying reality with moving accuracy.
Whatever You Do, Don’t Run: True Tales of a Botswana Safari Guide, Peter Allison
Genre: nonfiction, autobiography, adventure
Because of its dramatic history, books about Africa tend to be severe and depressing. To rest a bit from the dark reads, you can reach for Peter Allison’s entertaining work. In Whatever You Do, Don’t Run, Allison describes his experiences as a professional safari guide: the odd requests of tourists, their ridiculous ideas, mysterious escapes and risky actions, his adventures, reactions, and considerations. In the rare moments of being serious, the author expresses his love for African wildlife and his attempts to keep it safe. This relaxing, funny read will surely make you laugh.
Africa: The Altered States, Ordinary Miracles, Richard Dowden
Genre: nonfiction, journalism, history, politics
One book, many countries. Dowden’s work is a great source of knowledge about several African states, including Senegal, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Burundi, and Congo. The author, an experienced correspondent, explains what Africa is like, fights stereotypes and prejudices. He treats the continent not just as a place that seeks help from the outside, but most of all as a place that inspires. Describing the valuable lessons he got during his travels around Africa, he proves it’s a continent full of wonders and even though suffering’s present there, it goes along with happiness.
Dark Star Safari: Overland from Cairo to Cape Town, Paul Theroux
Genre: nonfiction, memoir, adventure
In his captivating book, Theroux takes readers on a journey from Cairo to Cape Town. It’s a long trip through fascinating lands, in exciting vehicles, full of fascinating encounters. The author uses buses, trains, cars and a military convoy (sic!) to get from one side of Africa to another. On his way, he talks to locals, travelers, and aid workers. He presents not only beautiful landscapes but also interesting stories. As a young man, Theroux lived there and worked for Peace Corps. Thus one of his goals is to research on the influence aid programs have on the African society.
Booking African Safari Trips
Do you have some other African safari tour recommendations? Let us know! And don’t forget to share this list with your friends, especially the avid readers and passionate travelers. For bookings, please have a look at this website.