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10 Recommended books you should take with you when you go on an adventure in South Africa

Most people enjoy reading and this is a most relaxing pastime when you are on holiday in Southern Africa, especially if you are camping in the African bush. Many book have been written that captures the sights, sounds and feelings of the country’s wilderness and history.

Below are 10 books that we recommend you should take with you on your holiday. Pack away the electronic devices and go back to the feel of a book in your hands while you relax in front of your tent, caravan or simply next to the water.

1. Sasol Birds Southern Africa

Southern Africa is blessed with an abundance of birds, which makes it an absolute must to have a bird book handy to help you identify them. The Sasol Birds of Southern Africa is a great option and it is also user friendly and super easy to use. The book is in its fifth edition and is fully up to date with the most recent information. It boasts more than 800 illustrations, has the latest species records, maps and plate annotations. You can also purchase the app for easy identification on the go.

2. Pocket Guides: Mammals of Southern Africa

Easy-to-use and compact, this is the perfect pocket ID guide to mammals of the Southern African region. It covers over 120 mammals, from the smallest to the largest, as well as marine species. The book has full-colour photographs and distribution maps, illustrations of tracks and droppings, habitat, behaviour, diet, reproduction, longevity, calls, occurrence and measurements.

3. A game ranger remembers by Bruce Bryden

Bruce Bryden was a bushveld conservationist for 27 years in the Kruger National Park and this collection of stories makes a gripping read. The book is both entertaining and educational and features his respect and love for the bush. The book is abounding with encounters with the Big 5, meetings with weird characters among his fellow rangers, hilarious happening and narrow escapes. It’s a great read for around the bushveld fire in the evenings.

4. The elephant whisperer by Lawrence Anthony

Lawrence Anthony devoted his life to animal conservation, protecting the world’s endangered species, of which one of them where the African elephant. This bestseller tells his story and experiences with a herd of wild elephants that was destined to be shot due to their dangerous behaviour. Lawrence intervened and took the herd in on his Thula Thula game reserve in Zululand.

He describes how he battled to create a bond with the elephants and save them from execution. At the end he came to realise that he was not the one trying to teach them but they had a lot to teach him about life, loyalty and freedom. The Elephant Whisperer is a heart-warming, exciting, funny, and sometimes sad memoir of Anthony’s experiences with these huge mammals.

5. Life Is Like a Kudu Horn: A Conservation Memoir by Margaret Jacobsohn

Margaret Jacobsohn is a Cape Town journalist that turned researcher. She became a Namibian and for the past 30 years she has been part of a team that pioneered an African way of doing wildlife conservation. Her work has won some of the world’s top environmental awards. Her story is funny, yet also serious as she writes about the conflicts and mishaps, the triumphs and breakthroughs, and what it takes to break paradigms while working in remote, inaccessible places, including eventually becoming involved in a Himba-owned, safari company.

6. An African love story: Love, Life and Elephants by Daphne Sheldrick

Daphne Sheldrick was the first person to successfully raise new born elephants. In this heart-warming memoir, she tells about her career as a conservationist and introduces her audience to a whole host of orphans. It also tells the tale of the incredible love story between Daphne and David Sheldrick, the famous naturalist and warden of Tsavo East National Park. His death inspired the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and the orphans’ nursery. The book is alive with compassion and humour, providing rare insight into the life of one of the world’s fascinating women.

7. Whatever you do, don’t run: true tales of a Botswana safari guide by Peter Allison

In this book Peter Allison gives the reader a professional safari guide’s view of living in the African bush. It is filled with entertaining stories and anecdotes. From the odd requests of tourists, to risky encounters, hilarious moments and all kinds of adventures in the bush, this is a relaxing, fun read. Passionate for the animals of the Kalahari, Allison works as a top safari guide in the Okavango Delta. The author’s humour is exceeded only by his love and respect for the animals, and his goal is to limit any negative exposure to humans by planning trips that are minimally invasive.

8. Cry of the Kalahari by Mark James Owens and Cordelia Dykes Owens

This book tells the story of the Owens’ life with lions, brown hyenas, jackals, giraffes, and the many other creatures they came to know in the Kalahari. It is also a gripping account of how they survived the dangers of living in one of the last and largest pristine areas on Earth. They lived there for seven years, in an unexplored area with no roads, no people, and no source of water for thousands of square kilometres. Here they began their zoology research, working along animals that had never before been exposed to humans.

9. Memoirs of a game ranger by Harry Wolhuter

This book is full of stories about Harry Wolhuter’s 44 years as a game ranger in the Kruger National Park. He was the first game ranger in the park and he gives a detailed account of his life as well as interesting insights into the park and its history. It’s about a life lived wild and the joy that Africa’s incredible natural world brings. Definitely worth the read.

10. Don't look behind you! A Safari Guide's encounters with ravenous lions, stampeding elephants, and lovesick rhinos by Peter Allison

In this book, readers can join Peter Allison for a riveting, rollicking, behind-the-scenes dose of everyone’s dream experience―going on safari. Being a safari guide isn’t always particularly enjoyable or glamorous and often beset with many challenges. Safari guide Peter Allison lives for much such as these. His book details his time spent in safari camps not only in Botswana but also in South Africa, Mozambique, and Namibia.

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