10 Books that Will Inspire You to Visit Africa

From Morocco’s heady mix of souk-filled medinas and mountainous landscapes, to the savannah grasslands home to the most famous wildlife spectacle in the world, to the paradise archipelagos of Tanzania, Africa is a treasure trove of cultural gems and natural jewels.

June 2020 • Jules Verne

10 Books that will inspire you to visit Africa

  • Out of Africa - Karen Blixen

In 1914 Karen Blixen arrived in Kenya with her husband to run a coffee farm. Instantly drawn to the land, she spent her happiest years there until the plantation failed. Karen Blixen was forced to return to Denmark in 1931 and it was there that she wrote this classic account of her experiences. A poignant farewell to her beloved farm, Out of Africa describes her strong friendships with the people of her area, her affection for the landscape and animals, and great love for the adventurer Denys Finch-Hatton. Written with astonishing clarity and an unsentimental intelligence, Out of Africa portrays a way of life that has disappeared for ever.

  • The Elephant Whisperer: My Life with the Herd in the African Wild - Lawrence Anthony

When South African conservationist Lawrence Anthony was asked to accept a herd of "rogue" wild elephants on his Thula Thula game reserve in Zululand, his common sense told him to refuse. But he was the herd's last chance of survival: they would be killed if he wouldn't take them. In order to save their lives, Anthony took them in. In the years that followed he became a part of their family. And as he battled to create a bond with the elephants, he came to realise that they had a great deal to teach him about life, loyalty, and freedom.

  • A Guide to the Birds of East Africa-  Nicholas Drayson

Reserved, honourable Mr Malik. You wouldn't notice him in a Nairobi street - except, perhaps, to comment on his carefully sculpted comb-over - but beneath his unprepossessing exterior lie a warm heart and a secret passion. Not even his closest friends know it, but Mr Malik is head-over-heels in love with the leader of the local Tuesday-morning bird walk, Rose Mbikwa. Little can he imagine the hurdles that lie before him. Even as he plucks up the courage to ask for Rose's hand, thieves, potential kidnappers and corrupt officials, not to mention one particularly determined love rival, seem destined to thwart Mr Malik's chances.

  • Blood River: A Journey to Africa’s Broken Heart - Tim Butcher

Reserved, honourable Mr Malik. You wouldn't notice him in a Nairobi street - except, perhaps, to comment on his carefully sculpted comb-over - but beneath his unprepossessing exterior lie a warm heart and a secret passion. Not even his closest friends know it, but Mr Malik is head-over-heels in love with the leader of the local Tuesday-morning bird walk, Rose Mbikwa. Little can he imagine the hurdles that lie before him. Even as he plucks up the courage to ask for Rose's hand, thieves, potential kidnappers and corrupt officials, not to mention one particularly determined love rival, seem destined to thwart Mr Malik's chances.

  • The Power of One - Bryce Courtenay

In 1939, as Hitler casts his enormous, cruel shadow across the world, the seeds of apartheid take root in South Africa. There, a boy called Peekay is born. His childhood is marked by humiliation and abandonment, yet he vows to survive and conceives heroic dreams–which are nothing compared to what life actually has in store for him. He embarks on an epic journey through a land of tribal superstition and modern prejudice where he will learn the power of words, the power to transform lives, and the power of one.

  • Cutting for Stone - Abraham Verghese

Marion and Shiva Stone are twin brothers born of a secret union between a beautiful Indian nun and a brash British surgeon. Orphaned by their mother’s death and their father’s disappearance, bound together by a preternatural connection and a shared fascination with medicine, the twins come of age as Ethiopia hovers on the brink of revolution.

  • The Lost World of the Kalahari - Laurens van der Post

An account of the author’s gruelling, but ultimately successful, journey in 1957, through Africa’s remote, primitive Kalahari Desert, in search of the legendary Bushmen, the hunters who pray to the great hunters in the sky.

  • The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency at Amazon - Alexander McCall Smith

Wayward daughters. Missing Husbands. Philandering partners. Curious conmen. If you've got a problem, and no one else can help you, then pay a visit to Precious Ramotswe, Botswana's only - and finest - female private detective. Her methods may not be conventional, and her manner not exactly Miss Marple, but she's got warmth, wit and canny intuition on her side, not to mention Mr J. L. B. Matekoni, the charming proprietor of Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors. And Precious is going to need them all as she sets out on the trail of a missing child, a case that tumbles our heroine into a hotbed of strange situations and more than a little danger.

  • Born Free - Joy Adamson

Fifty years ago Joy Adamson first introduced to the world the story of her life alongside Elsa the lioness, whom she had rescued as an orphaned cub, and raised at her home in Kenya. But as Elsa had been born free, Joy made the heart breaking decision that she must be returned to the wild when she was old enough to fend for herself.

  • The Last Train to Zona Verde- Paul Theroux

“Happy again, back in the kingdom of light,” writes Paul Theroux as he sets out on a new journey through the continent he knows and loves best. Theroux first came to Africa as a twenty-two-year-old Peace Corps volunteer, and the pull of the vast land never left him. Now he returns, after fifty years on the road, to explore the little-travelled territory of western Africa and to take stock both of the place and of himself.