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Books to read while waiting for your long-planned safari...

Books to read while waiting for your long-planned safari...

May 1st, 2009, 03:56 PM
  #1  
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Books to read while waiting for your long-planned safari...

OK - I do the internet-based planning for our trips. My husband tends to hit the local library and then stock up on tons of books with any connection to our destination. This year, he hit the jackpot with two books we absolutely devoured (and our trip is still months away!). I thought I'd share them with you folks:

Blood River: A Journey to Africa's Broken Heart, by Tim Butcher

The author is a British journalist, who determined to follow the path of British explorer Stanley ( of "Dr Livingstone, I presume" fame) through the Congo. It covers much history of the early explorers, hunters, missionaries and even touches upon his mother's 1958 trek with a girlfriend! But his journey took place (while nearly every step of the way he is warned "No one goes there...it is too dangerous") in 2004. Places that were once thriving cities with trade and industry - have truly returned to the jungle. (Yes, there are references to Conrad as well.) He makes it -- but the difficulties and frustrations were many. I kept thinking how different this trip was from our wonderfully enjoyable and comfortable safari trip in Botswana at just about the very same time. It is easy to overlook the immensity of Africa...but reading this book drives that point home. As it does the impact of colonialism, the slave trade, and centuries old tribal conflicts in different parts of Africa. Even the presence of valuable natural resources doesn't guarantee a "future" apace with the modern world.

The second book:
Mukiwa! A White Boy in Africa, by Peter Godwin

This is an historically based memoir by a man who was raised by his expatriot British family in Rhodesia (obviously,now Zimbabwe). What is different about this book, is that he tells it almost like a "coming of age" novel and stays true to his voice as a young child of about six through his school years and young adulthood - which happened to occur during the tumultuous (and continuing struggles) history of Zimbabwe. It is a fascinating story of what his family's life was - and I guess, continues to be although he himself now lives in England.

Anyway - I found both books impossible to put down and I feel like I understand a good bit more of Africa than I did before reading them. While these books are very different, they both can make you think harder about your own relationship to travel, adventure, exploration, hunting, history, and culture.
uhoh_busted is offline  
May 1st, 2009, 06:28 PM
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"Something of Value" by Robert Ruark and also another of his called, "Uhuru" One is about the start of the Mau Mau Uprising and then 2nd is about after. They are not book and sequel...but seperate books.
LEANNA is offline  
May 1st, 2009, 07:24 PM
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"The Trouble With Africa" Vic Guhrs Stories From A Safari Camp
"Whatever You Do, Don't Run" Peter Allison True Tales of a Botswana Safari Guide
The #1 Ladies Detective Agency series set in Gabarone, Botswana
matnikstym is offline  
May 1st, 2009, 10:07 PM
  #4  
 
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I agree with the above. Add "Tick Bite Fever" by David Bennun which is hilarious and an easy read.
safarimama is offline  
May 2nd, 2009, 03:30 AM
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A Primates Memoir by Robert Sapolsky. Into Africa by Craig Packer. There are a lot of good books about elephant communication too. I just can't remember the names or authors right now.....I just woke up and the coffee hasn't kicked in yet!
Lillipets is offline  
May 2nd, 2009, 05:40 AM
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Cry of the Kalahari
Mark/Delia Owens

A favorite of mine
cybor is offline  
May 2nd, 2009, 07:47 AM
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If you like Mukiwa you must read the sequel - When A Crocodile Eats the Sun.
sundowner is offline  
May 2nd, 2009, 08:05 AM
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You've tagged this thread "Zimbabwe", so I'll list a few books I have specifically about or set in Zimbabwe:

"Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight - An African Childhood", Alexandra Fuller

"Scribbling the Cat - Travels with an African Soldier", Alexandra Fuller

"Where We Have Hope - A Memoir of Zimbabwe", Andrew Meldrum

"Songs to an African Sunset - A Zimbabwean Story", Sekai Nzenza-Shand

"All the Way Home - Stories from an African Wildlife Sanctuary", Bookey Peek
ShayTay is offline  
May 2nd, 2009, 09:37 AM
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More reading about Zim: all written by Keith Meadows
"Between the Sunlight and the Thunder"
"The sand in the Wind"
"Sometimes when it rains, White Africans In Black Africa"

"House of Stone: The True Story of a Family Divided in War-Torn Zimbabwe" by Christina Lamb

"The Dust Diaries: Seeking the African Legacy of Arthur Cripps" by Owen Sheers

Doris Lessing wins 2007 Nobel Prize for literature: (Not sure for which book)
"The Golden Notebook"
"Going Home"
"The Grass Is Singing"
"African Laughter: Four Visits to Zimbabwe"
safarimama is offline  
May 2nd, 2009, 12:22 PM
  #10  
 
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You should also read P. Godwin's "when crocodile eats the sun". Eyeopener as well.http://www.amazon.de/s/ref=nb_ss_w?_...he+sun&x=0&y=0
My traitor's heart written by Malan
http://www.amazon.de/s/ref=nb_ss_w?_...+heart&x=0&y=0
spassvogel is offline  
May 2nd, 2009, 04:20 PM
  #11  
 
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Lots of good suggestions here, and some I'll definitely need to check out. I love threads like this, thanks! Not specifically about Zimbabwe, but for elephants, I'd recommend:

"The Elephant's Secret Sense" by Caitlin O'Connell (which also mentions her studies with the elephants I work with at my local zoo!)

"Elephant Memories" by Cynthia Moss


And for some compelling writing about the African continent, it's history and it's present, in general:

"Dark Star Safari" by Paul Theroux

"The Zanzibar Chest" by Aidan Hartley
MyDogKyle is offline  
May 2nd, 2009, 07:56 PM
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Another good one written by my Zimbabwean guide;

Kamchacha - Rhodesian Game Ranger by Bryan Orford
email for book [email protected]

This is a book about Bryan's step dad Thomas patrick Orford who was a pioneering conservationist in Rhodesia.
cybor is offline  
May 2nd, 2009, 08:08 PM
  #13  
 
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Eye of the Elephant by Mark/Delia Owens
This story was written after Cry of the Kalahari, which is also a great true story. But I loved this one even more! Very real, very touching, very enlightening...
karn is offline  
May 2nd, 2009, 11:22 PM
  #14  
aby
 
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Hi
here's a link to another thread
"Books about Africa, set in Africa and African books"
http://www.fodors.com/community/afri...can-books.cfm#

there's another link there

Here is the link to the original thread http://www.fodors.com/forums/pgMessa...ding+right+now
aby is offline  
May 2nd, 2009, 11:42 PM
  #15  
aby
 
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i've recommende elsewhere on this forum:
Facing Mount Kenya by Jomo Kenyatta

from Wikipedia:
Facing Mount Kenya, written in 1938, is an anthropological book about the Kikuyu people of central Kenya. It was written by native Kikuyu and future Kenyan president Jomo Kenyatta.

The book's introduction was written by anthropologist Bronisław Malinowski, who mentored Kenyatta while both were at the London School of Economics.
aby is offline  

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