Cradle of civilization and the most massive continent there is on planet Earth. Even with all the historical ramblings about colonization, Africa continues to this day to be full of unexplored and untapped resources and potential that can provide humanity prosperity for centuries to come.
One part of the African continent that certainly is developing now is its burgeoning tourist industry which seeks to show you the most enchanting safaris and savannahs, alongside the most modern city experiences they have to offer. Such massive space needs a route to be navigated properly and that’s exactly what these travel books about Africa offer to you.
#1 Out of Africa (Modern Library 100 Best Nonfiction Books) by Isak Dinesen
Recounts the life and times of Karen Blixen in Africa. For seventeen years, Blixen called Kenya home and spent most of her time establishing the prestigious Karen estate and the Karen Blixen Museum, which she once called home. She paints picturesque and nostalgic pictures of Africa with her well-crafted words. Her insight on the challenges of the locals and the amazing wildlife and climate is breathtaking. She contrasts colonial Kenya with the post-colonial one and gives vivid accounts of Africa, that am yet to see in any other piece of writing.
#2 THIS is Africa: True Tales of a Safari Guide by Mat Dry
He tells hilarious stories about his many years as a guide. We were specifically inspired to go Africa because of him- and even had him as a guide (as he guides many different safaris, from inexpensive to 5 star).
#3 The Last Train to Zona Verde: My Ultimate African Safari by Paul Theroux
This is more than just a travel book, this is a book that will help truly understand Africa, and what it has become. Theroux plans an overland trip from Cape Town to Cairo, yet he never finishes it. He started in Cabe town, goes through South Africa, Namibia and Angola only to quit halfway through. What may have happened to make such a great traveler quit? Theroux discovers that Africa is not the same, and becomes more and more disappointed with the reality of Africa, struggles of independence, the increasing corruption…
#4 Around Africa On My Bicycle by Riaan Manser
One great travel book about Africa is *’Around Africa On My Bicycle’* by Riaan Manser. I came across this book in Johannesburg, South Africa and was convinced to buy it as soon as I read the blurb on the back. Riaan is South African and he decided that he wanted to ride his bike around the ENTIRE coastline of Africa. It took him 2 years to do it, and there are some fascinating stories that really show the spirit of Africa. After reading the book, I almost wanted to buy a half decent bicycle and do the same trip, then I realised my physical limitations….. Seriously, this book captures the spirit of adventure, and it’s also an inspiring read. There is an entertaining statistical section which details how many tyres, tubes and bike parts he went through!
#5 Whatever You Do, Don’t Run by Peter Allison
This is by far the best book for any traveler embarking on a safari in Africa. Laughs, suspense, and real life in the Botswana bushland makes this book an absolute must read and an enjoyable one at that!
#6 Dark Star safaris by Paul Theroux
This inspiring novel is a written account of a trip taken by author Paul Theroux ‘Overland from Cairo to Cape Town’ via trains, planes, buses, mokoro’s (dugout canoes) cars, and armed convoy. Paul Theroux knows Africa well. Forty years ago, he worked as a teacher in Malawi. In 2003 he decided to return to Africa in order to discover how the continent had changed. He traveled overland from Cairo to Cape Town making use only of public transport. Theroux has a unique style that can become a bit grating, but the book is nevertheless very insightful. Definitely one of the best travel books available on Africa.
#7 No. 1 Ladies detective agency – Alexander McCall Smith
The No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency is the first novel in a series of seven about Precious Ramotswe, Botswana’s first lady detective. An Agatha Christie type novel set at an African pace it’ll put a smile on your face especially if you are travelling through Botswana. The novels of which there are 19 in total focus on the country, the lifestyle and culture, as well as the characters themselves, thus giving you a birds eye view and insight into some of the very settings you might find yourself in if you travel to the Gem of Africa, the detective agency set on the edge of the Kalahari Desert and the main detective work happening in the nearby cities.
#8 The Artist Safari by Fred A Krakowiak
In coffee table format, the book is a compilation of travel stories, photography, and breathtaking artwork (painting, sculptures, dye on silk) that is inspired and created from Fred’s yearly travels to Africa over the past fifteen years.
The recommendations of products and books within this article where sourced from industry experts. Their names and websites are listed below.
Peter Chege Mureithi from Bettyken Safaris
jmethomas from Travel with jme & Bryan
Jorge Bastos from TravelDrafts
Anthony Bianco from The Travel Tart
Erica Levine Weber from The Worldwide Webers
Michelle Lewis Loubser from Acacia Africa
Tony Daly from Ranch Rider
Tricia Hedman from Ollie Media