Great African Reads


There is no shortage of literary gems coming from the dark continent - biographies, novels, short stories, historical accounts, anthologies.   Picking just 6 titles is near impossible...  So the ones below are more a summarised smorgasbord of all the great titles covering Africa, her warts and all (hover over each title for more and for links to online purchases).


For a more comprehensive list of top African reads in preparation for, or to accompany your next safari - you can also refer to one of the BETTER ARTICLES out there on the subject... 

Longing for Darkness - Kamante
When I first came across this gem from Karen Blixen's majordomo, it made my year... never before nor since has the silly mazungu's exploits in Africa been so lovingly & creatively captured quite as well. Simple & naive in all the best senses, with some great Peter Beard photography, try get this one for your coffee table back home...
Long Walk to Freedom
My #1 choice of books about Africa - not because of emotional reasons, nor because I think the man was a legend in every way, but because it really should (as the cover says) be read by every person alive... 'nuff said
The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency
This selection covers the whole series of these light-hearted & sweet rooibos-infused books about Mma Ramotswe & the goings on at her detective agency. Alexander McCall Smith's books provide some easy reading for your travels & such a breath of fresh air considering all the serious & depressing books on Africa these days...
The Scramble for Africa
Thomas Pakenham (he of Boer War & Meetings with Remarkable Trees fame) writes arguably the most detailed & most enjoyable account yet of the period 1880-1914 when Africa was the plaything of a handful of powerful Europeans. All you ever need to know about how colonial Africa was created & why it was (often) such a mess...
Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight
Alexandra Fuller writes a moving coming-of-age story about her own wonder years growing up in Zimbabwe/Rhodesia. A close tie with Peter Godwin's Mukiwa, which tells a similar tale from a male perspective... get both & enjoy! Also check out both authors' follow up books (3 from each)
The Wonder Safaris by Adam Levin
My selection bolter...relatively unknown but brilliant series of shorts that capture the magic & wonder of Africa's darker spots - Africa unveiled by an author using beautiful imagery & phrasing...
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