I’m often asked which books to take out on safari, and of course this will vary from country to country. I generally have Jonathan Kingdon’s Pocket Guide to African Mammals to hand as it’s well illustrated and has good descriptions of the wildlife we see in East Africa. Being fascinated by the variety and colour of the birdlife in Africa, I always have Ian Sinclair and Peter Ryan’s Birds of Africa: South of the Sahara as it’s a comprehensive book of African birds, complete with very good maps so that you can see the regional differences and key areas for each bird. Another good one to take along for East Africa is Richard Estes’ The Safari Companion: A Guide to Watching African Mammals.
For our next safari, First Mix Flamingo Pink in Kenya this September, I am also suggesting modern political good reads like It’s our turn to Eat by Michela Wrong and Wangari Maathai’s The Challenge for Africa.
For views on Kenyan wildlife and conservation issues, some of the classics include Elephant Memories: Thirteen Years in the Life of an Elephant Family by Cynthia Moss and Wildlife Wars: My Battle to Save Kenya’s Elephants by Richard E. Leakey. Once you start reading these, you begin to see how the different areas of politics, conservation, farming and tourism are all related.
Kenya has so many brilliant novelists, so I have picked out just two here to while away the hours in airports and on planes:, Out of Africa by Karen Blixen/Isaac Dinesen is so different from the film and has such rich descriptions of the savannah, and then there’s the roaring read of Blood Sisters by Barbara and Stephanie Keating.
There are so many good books on Kenya – what are your favourites?