I’ve traveled overland from Ethiopia to South Africa two times, spending several months in total in the region, and these are some of the best books about Africa that I read during those trips, and since again.
These should be on your travel reading list if you plan on going to Africa.
Or just out of interest have a read anyway!
Disclaimer: I own none of these images of the best books about Africa, they are used under fair use terms to discuss the books. The article has affiliate links to where you can buy the books on Amazon at no extra cost to you.
On Foot Through Africa
When Ffyona Campbell vowed to walk around the world, she was only sixteen. By far the hardest stage of this incredible journey was Africa which she completed in September 1993.
This personal account of her achievement tells of her relationship with the women of the villages she passed through, how she learnt their traditions and skills; how she was nearly murdered, almost raped, taken for a cannibal spirit, stoned and mobbed when they suspected she was a slave merchant.
And it tells how her anger turned to contentment as she found peace within herself and how each evening her campsite became a home when she fell in love with one of her drivers.
Dark Star Safari
In Dark Star Safari the wittily observant and endearingly irascible Paul Theroux takes readers the length of Africa by rattletrap bus, dugout canoe, cattle truck, armed convoy, ferry, and train. In the course of his epic and enlightening journey, he endures danger, delay, and dismaying circumstances.
Gauging the state of affairs, he talks to Africans, aid workers, missionaries, and tourists. What results is an insightful mediation on the history, politics, and beauty of Africa and its people.
Whatever You Do Don’t Run
Peter Allison gives us the guide’s-eye view of living in the bush, confronting the world’s fiercest terrain of wild animals and, most challenging of all, managing herds of gaping tourists.
Passionate for the animals of the Kalahari, Allison works as a top safari guide in the wildlife-rich Okavango Delta. As he serves the whims of his wealthy clients, he often has to stop the impulse to run as far away from them as he can, as these tourists are sometimes more dangerous than a pride of lions.
No one could make up these outrageous-but-true tales: the young woman who rejected the recommended safari-friendly khaki to wear a more “fashionable” hot pink ensemble; the lost tourist who happened to be drunk, half-naked, and a member of the British royal family; establishing a real friendship with the continent’s most vicious animal; the Japanese tourist who requested a repeat performance of Allison’s being charged by a lion so he could videotape it; and spending a crazy night in the wild after blowing a tire on a tour bus, revealing that Allison has as much good-natured scorn for himself.
Traversa: A Solo Walk Across Africa, from the Skeleton Coast to the Indian Ocean
Documents the author’s three-thousand-mile trek across Africa, a foot journey marked by such challenges as land mines, a syphilitic donkey, and giant cockroaches, in an account that also muses on the experiences of such explorers as David Livingstone, Sir H. M. Stanley, and Sir Francis Galton
Walking The Nile
He is walking every step of the way, camping in the wild, foraging for food, fending for himself against multiple dangers.
He is passing through rainforest, savannah, swamp, desert and lush delta oasis. He will cross seven, very different countries. No one has ever made this journey on foot.
In this detailed, thoughtful, inspiring and dramatic book, recounting Levison Wood’s walk the length of the Nile, he will uncover the history of the Nile, yet through the people he meets and who will help him with his journey, he will come face to face with the great story of a modern Africa emerging out of the past.
Exploration and Africa are two of his great passions – they drive him on and motivate his inquisitiveness and resolution not to fail, yet the challenges of the terrain, the climate, the animals, the people and his own psychological resolution will throw at him are immense.
The dangers are very real, but so is the motivation for this ex-army officer.
If he can overcome the mental and physical challenges, he will be walking into history.
Long Way Down
In Long Way Down Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman share their 15,000-mile journey, from the northernmost tip of Scotland to the southernmost tip of South Africa, to ride some of the toughest terrain in the world.
Along the way, from the pyramids in Egypt to Luke Skywalker’s house in Tunisia, they meet people who have triumphed over terrifying experiences—former child soldiers in Uganda and children living amidst the minefields of Ethiopia.
They have a close encounter with a family of gorillas in Rwanda and are nearly trampled by a herd of elephants in Botswana. Riding through spectacular scenery, often in extreme temperatures, they face their hardest challenges yet.
With their trademark humor and honesty, they tell their story—the drama, the dangers, and the sheer exhilaration of riding together again through a continent filled with magic and wonder.
Books About Africa Travel
Africa is a destination that has fascinated me for a long time and I loved my time travelling there.
I always love to read books about the places I visited and hopefully, you will find one of these books about Africa travel interesting for your own journey, whether from the comfort of your home or traveling in Africa.
For more on Africa Travel check out my Africa guides.
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