Safari Books: The Ultimate Safari Reading List

Finally booked that safari trip you’ve been dreaming about for years? Now’s the time to start getting excited about your trip – plan your safari reading list! Whether you need a book on safari to read on the plane or on downtime between game drives, or if you want to read up about your destination before you go, don’t just stick to the guide book or wildlife tome – be whisked away by these memoirs and fiction inspired by the land of safari. Our pick of the top safari books is:


Born Free: The Full Story by Joy Adamson

All three books in the ‘Born Free’trilogy had an incredible impact on wildlife conservation, and are a must-read for a safari trip – especially if you are taking children or teenager. Illustrated with beautiful photographs (and with a film of the same name), the first book tells Joy’s story of acting as a surrogate mother to an orphaned lion cub named Elsa. After three years of teaching the cub how to survive in the world, she sets Elsa free hoping she will discover her real pride in the Kenya grasslands.


Collected African Stories (Vol 1 and 2) by Doris Lessing

She may have been British, but the Nobel prize-winning author lived for 25 years on a farm in Rhodesia(now Zimbabwe), and campaigned against Apartheid in South Africa. Thus her collection of short stories (taken from This Was The Old Chief’s Country, and four tales from her book Five). is fascinating ode to and critique of the Africa he lived in, from the relationship between British colonials and the native people, to the wildlife she encountered every day.


Cry of the Kalahari by Mark and Delia Owens

This moving memoir tells the story of two American scientists, who decided to auction off all their belongings and relocate to Africa to study the carnivores of the Kalahari desert – an area with no conservation policies and an increasingly endangered wildlife. The book details how they survived seven years in the wilderness, plus details of their research and all the incredible creatures they encountered, from jackals and hyenas to lions and lizards.


Don’t Run, Whatever You Do: My Adventures as a Safari Guide, by Peter Allison

This hilarious novel is Bill Bryson-esque in its wit and humour. Peter Allison works as a safari guide in the Okavango Delta, and he recounts his experiences with the wildlife and his wealthy guests – sometimes the latter are more dangerous than the former! Peppered with a genuine love for the animals and passion for trips that aren’t invasive to the local habitat (despite his guests getting lost naked in the jungle, refusing to wear safari gear in favour of pink, and letting a squirrel eat their malaria pills), Allison offers essential words of safari wisdom, such as Don t run,whatever you do , and never stand behind a frightened zebra!


The Elephant Whisperer: Learning about life, loyalty and freedom from a remarkable herd of elephants, by Lawrence Anthony and Graham Spence

South African Conservationist Lawrence Anthony writes of his experience accepting a herd of rogue elephants on his game reserve at Thula Thula. The herd had escaped from reserves before, and this was their last chance of survival – but the tragic loss of a mother and baby mean they don’t make it easy for Lawrence as they try to resist his attempts to bond with them. Equal parts laugh out loud funny and incredibly moving moments, the book is as much a fascinating insight into life on a reserve as a great read on elephants and other types of wildlife. It’s a bit of an emotional roller-coaster and thoroughly absorbing, so great for a long journey and fighting jetlag!



What do you think of this safari reading article? Let us know if we’ve missed any great safari books let us know in the comments below!


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