Jewels of Southern Africa Reading List



Long Walk to Freedom

Author: Nelson Mandela
Type: Biography Published: 1995
Format: PAPER Pages: 640
Cost: $18.00
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An unpretentious tale of an extraordinary life, Mandela’s autobiography is essential reading for an understanding of South Africa. His grace and his love for his country shine throughout.

My Traitor’s Heart

Author: Rian Malan
Type: Biography Published: 2000
Format: PAPER Pages: 425
Cost: $16.00
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Afrikaner journalist Malan recounts his journey back to his homeland just before the collapse of apartheid. He grapples with the black and white heart of South Africa, drawing on the 300-year history of his family in Africa and legends of the Zulu nation, in this beautifully written and brutally honest story of return.

The Old Way, A Story of the First People

Author: Elizabeth Marshall Thomas
Type: Biography Published: 2007
Format: PAPER Pages: 384
Cost: $18.00
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Marshall (Harmless People) returns after 50 years to southwest Africa and the land of her youth in this beautifully observed reprise of her classic account of the Bushmen of the Kalahari.

Wild at Heart

Author: Peter Godwin, Chris Johns (Photographer)
Type: Cultural Portrait Published: 2007
Format: HARD COVER Pages: 176
Cost: $65.00
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This lush collection of full-color photographs tackles conservation, development and tradition in southern Africa. It’s a well-illustrated portrait of the region by National Geographic photographer Johns and veteran journalist Godwin.


Field Guides

Kingdon Pocket Guide to African Mammals

Author: Jonathan Kingdon
Type: Field Guide Published: 2004
Format: PAPER Pages: 272
Cost $29.95
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A conveniently compact edition of Kingdon’s celebrated guide that includes information on distribution, ecology and conservation status, with 480 outstanding color illustrations and maps.

Newman’s Birds of Southern Africa

Author: Kenneth Newman
Type: Field Guide Published: 2010
Format: PAPER Pages: 538
Cost: $26
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The eighth edition of the classic field guide, our favorite for Southern Africa, with hundreds of large color plates and revised information on habitats and distribution. Maps, text and illustrations are grouped together for easy reference. This is the book to carry anywhere south of the Zambezi.

Southern African Birds, A Photographic Guide

Author: Ian Sinclair
Type: Field Guide Published: 1990
Format: PAPER Pages: 144
Cost: $15.95
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Lightweight and handy for the field, this pocket guide to the 265 most conspicuous birds south of the Zambezi River includes color photographs, brief descriptions and range maps.

Southern African Wildlife, A Visitor’s Guide

Author: Mike Unwin
Type: Field Guide Published: 2011
Format: PAPER Pages: 234
Cost: $26.99
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A popular photographic guide to the mammals, birds, reptiles and habitats south of the Zambezi. With 300 color photographs and illuminating text.”

The Kingdon Field Guide to African Mammals

Author: Jonathan Kingdon
Type: Field Guide Published: 2015
Format: PAPER Pages: 544
Cost: $49.50
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This stunningly illustrated, comprehensive field guide by a leading authority includes over 500 of Kingdon’s exquisite color paintings. Fully revised and updated with more than 1,100 species.”

The Safari Companion

Author: Richard Estes
Type: Field Guide Published: 1999
Format: PAPER Pages: 459
Cost $30.00
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An invaluable encyclopedic guide to Africa’s mammals by a noted scientist, this perennial bestseller includes black-and-white drawings, an overview of each animal group and in-depth information. Written with the typical safari-goer in mind.

The Wildlife of Southern Africa

Author: “Vincent Carruthers (Editor), Kenneth Newman (Illustrator)”
Type: Field Guide Published: 2017
Format: PAPER Pages: 320
Cost: $23.00
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With 1,200 color illustrations by a range of experts, this compact field guide includes all the birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, insects, fish and plants that a traveler is likely to encounter in southern Africa.

Bradt Guide Zambia

Author: Chris McIntyre
Type: Guidebook Published: 2016
Format: PAPER Pages: 576
Cost: $28.99
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Safari guide McIntyre’s practical and detailed overview of Zambia, its history, culture, attractions and natural history with color photographs, local maps and excellent travel information. Fourth edition.

Lonely Planet Cape Town & the Garden Route

Author: Simon Richmond
Type: Guidebook Published: 2015
Format: PAPER Pages: 288
Cost: $21.99
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Geared for independent travelers, this savvy and comprehensive guide features color photographs and dozens of excellent maps. This seventh edition also covers the garden route in detail.



The Scramble for Africa

Author: Thomas Pakenham
Type: History Published: 1992
Format: PAPER Pages: 738
Cost: $23.99
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Absorbing and meticulously researched, this in-depth history of the Victorian land grab in 19th-century Africa includes excellent portraits of the egomaniacal personalities who overran the continent.”

Tomorrow is Another Country, The Inside Story of South Africa’s Road to Change

Author: Allister Sparks
Type: History Published: 1996
Format: PAPER Pages: 254
Cost: $31.00
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Sparks explores the extraordinary developments that led to multiracial democracy in South Africa, an essential key to understanding the country today.



Cry, The Beloved Country

Author: Alan Paton
Type: Literature Published: 2003
Format: PAPER Pages: 317
Cost: $17.00
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The deeply moving story of Reverend Kumalo’s quest for justice. First published in 1948, it is a striking, poetic tribute to the power of the individual and a trenchant indictment of apartheid.

Life & Times of Michael K

Author: J.M. Coetzee
Type: Literature Published: 1995
Format: PAPER Pages: 184
Cost: $15.00
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Coetzee sets this short, hallucinatory novel, the powerful tale of a troubled boy, in South Africa in the midst of civil war.

None to Accompany Me

Author: Nadine Gordimer
Type: Literature Published: 2012
Format: PAPER Pages: 288
Cost: $16.00
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With keen attention to character and racial politics, Nobel Prize-winner Gordimer traces the experiences of two families during turbulent, post-Apartheid South Africa.



The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency

Author: Alexander McCall Smith
Type: Mystery Published: 2009
Format: PAPER Pages: 235
Cost: $15.00
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The delightful introduction to Botswana’s formidable female detective, evoking the cultures, customs and texture of Africa.


Natural History

Big Five of Africa

Author: Gerald Hinde (Photographer)
Type: Natural History Published: 2009
Format: PAPER Pages: 143
Cost $20
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Award-winning wildlife photographer Gerald Hinde’s stunning photographs celebrate Africa’s lions, elephants, leopards, rhinos and buffalos. Brief but informative text introduces each animal but the photographs (rightly) are the main focus. Size: 8 x 8 inches.

Elephantoms, Tracking the Elephant

Author: Lyall Watson
Type: Natural History Published: 2003
Format: PAPER Pages: 261
Cost: $19.95
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An evocative account of the myth, lore and nature of elephants in South Africa.

The Myth of Wild Africa

Author: Jonathan Adams, Thomas McShane
Type: Natural History Published: 1996
Format: PAPER Pages: 290
Cost: $29.95
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The authors, associated with the World Wildlife Fund, demolish the romantic fallacy of an untouched continent where animals roam freely in sanctuaries. It’s a no-holds-barred critique of old-style conservation in Africa.



South Africa, Namibia, Botswana Map

Author: Hallwag
Type: Reference Published: 2015
Format: MAP Pages: 1
Cost: $11.95
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This fold-out overview map of Southern Africa — including South Africa, Namibia, Botswana — is ideal for route planning.

Southern Africa Map

Author: Nelles
Type: Reference Published: 2016
Format: MAP Pages: 2
Cost: $13.95
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Scaled at 1:2,500,000, this shaded relief map covers South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and southern portions of Angola, Zambia and Mozambique.


Travel Narrative

North of South, An African Journey

Author: Shiva Naipaul
Type: Travel Narrative Published: 1979
Format: PAPER Pages: 349
Cost $17.00
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A sharp portrait of Africa, circa 1979. A brilliant and provocative observer, Naipaul meditates on the various peoples he encounters in Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia. The best, most insightful thing we’ve read about race relations in Africa.

The Eye of the Elephant, An Epic Adventure in the African Wilderness

Author: Mark Owens, Delia Owens
Type: Travel Narrative Published: 1993
Format: PAPER Pages: 305
Cost: $18.95
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The adventures of conservationists Mark and Delia Owens in the Luangwa River Valley of Zambia. They set up camp in the wilderness among the elephants, but are drawn into an ugly struggle with the local people.