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  • Writer's pictureTyrone McKeith

The Ultimate Safari Reading List - Zambian Edition



1.⁠ ⁠"Kakuli: A Story about Wild Animals, Their Struggle to Survive and the People Who Work to Save Them" by Norman Carr - This book provides insights into Carr's experiences in the Luangwa Valley and his pioneering efforts in conservation. It's a great read if you're interested in the history of conservation in Zambia.


2.⁠ ⁠"The Old Drift" by Namwali Serpell - This novel by Zambian author Namwali Serpell is a sweeping tale that covers multiple generations and intertwines the lives of three families over the course of a century in Zambia, from colonial times through to a near-future scenario.


3.⁠ ⁠"Bitterness" by Malama Katulwende - A novel that explores the socio-political landscape of contemporary Zambia through personal and political turmoil. It’s a critical examination of the impact of globalization and governance in Zambia.


4.⁠ ⁠"Patchwork" by Ellen Banda-Aaku - This award-winning novel follows the life of a young girl in Zambia as she grows up dealing with family dynamics and personal challenges. It offers a poignant look at Zambian society through the lens of family and personal identity.


5.⁠ ⁠"Africa: Altered States, Ordinary Miracles" by Richard Dowden - Although not exclusively about Zambia, this book provides a broader context of African politics and societies, including Zambia. It is useful for understanding the larger regional dynamics that affect the country.


6.⁠ ⁠"The Grass is Singing" by Doris Lessing - While this novel is set in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), Doris Lessing's poignant exploration of race, class, and gender in colonial Southern Africa offers valuable insights that are also applicable to understanding neighboring regions like Zambia during similar periods.


7. "The Eye of the Elephant" by Delia and Mark Owens is a gripping non-fiction narrative that recounts the extraordinary true story of the authors efforts to save elephants in the remote wilderness of North Luangwa during the 70's and 80's.


8.⁠ ⁠"Return to the Wild" by Norman Carr - Another insightful book by Carr that recounts his experiences and challenges with wildlife conservation in Zambia, focusing on his work with lions and other wildlife.


9.⁠ ⁠"Walking with Lions: Tales from a Diplomatic Past" by John Flynn - This memoir includes fascinating stories about Zambia's wildlife and the author's experiences in conservation circles, offering a unique diplomatic perspective on the challenges of wildlife conservation.


10.⁠ ⁠ "The Sacred Combe" Simon Barnes - A contemplative exploration of nature, spirituality and the human experience. In this memoir Barnes reflects on his lifelong fascination with a particular place in the English countryside with references to his experiences in Zambia.


Notable Mentions for Reads from the Region -


  • Cry of the Kalahari - Delia and Mark Owens

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

  • Blood River - Tim Butcher

  • West with the Night - Beryl Markham

  • Dead Aid - Dambisa Moyo




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