To help prepare you for your safari adventure we’ve compiled a selection of our favourite books and guides.
History, Travelogues and Literature
The Shadow of Kilimanjaro: On Foot Across East Africa
Explorer, adventurer, entrepreneur, Ridgeway takes the reader on an incredible journey. On foot for a month, from the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, through the plains of Tsavo, to the sea, he offers a rare ground’s-eye view of east Africa as it is today, and how it once was before the incursion of European civilization.
The Flame Trees of Thika: Memories of an African Childhood (Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics)
The famous autobiography of a childhood spent in Kenya. Huxley, also known for her novels and mysteries, comes to the African bush at the age of six. This is her eloquent and lively story, infused with a child’s sensitivity and honesty. A wonderful glimpse of life in Kenya on the eve of World War I.
I Dreamed of Africa
This is a very personal story, a woman’s journey of love, loss and rebirth, based on a ranch in Kenya, on the edge of the Rift Valley. Gallmann fulfilled her dream by moving to Africa at 25 with her soon-to-be husband, where they established a 90,000 acre ranch. The book is a beautifully written and at times haunting memoir of what it is like to belong to the land and truly love Africa.
West with the Night (Virago Travellers)
At the age of four, Beryl Markham was taken by her father to Kenya. She later became a bush pilot, and in 1936, became the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic from east to west. In this stylish book, Markham describes her life in Kenya so adeptly that Hemingway was prompted to say, “She has written so well, and marvelously well, that I was completely ashamed of myself as a writer.”
The Tree Where Man Was Born (Penguin nature classics)
An African classic. Matthiessen exquisitely combines nature and travel writing to bring East Africa vividly to life. He magically portrays the sights, scenes, and people he observed firsthand in several trips over the course of 12 years.
The Lunatic Express: An Entertainment in Imperialism (Penguin Classic History)
The saga of the turbulent international race for the mastery and development of an immense region of East Africa that all but visionaries thought worthless. It is the narrative of the building of the Mombasa-Nairobi-Lake Victoria Railway itself – a colossal six-year enterprise that was to cost over $7 million and countless lives, from derailments, collisions, disease, tribal raids and the assaults of wild animals. It is a diorama of an earlier Africa, of slave and ivory empires, of sultans and tribal monarchs and the vast lands that they ruled. Above all, it is the story of the white intruders whose combination of avarice, honour and tenacious courage made them a breed apart.