The best books of Southern Africa with wild life

Evadeen Brickwood Author Of The Rhino Whisperer
By Evadeen Brickwood

Who am I?

I moved from Germany to Botswana when I was a fledgling translator, and then on to South Africa 2 years later. I fell in love with this part of Africa that had a hand in making me the person I am today. Since I used to travel a lot, not all of my books are set in Southern Africa, but I have a passion for sharing my African stories with the world, and in a few of my novels, I include African wildlife in the storyline. Being a translator, I also translate books into German/English, and four of my own books - so far - are also available in German.


I wrote...

The Rhino Whisperer

By Evadeen Brickwood,

Book cover of The Rhino Whisperer

What is my book about?

Rhino poaching and the murder of a ranger create havoc in the peaceful Shangari Safari Park in South Africa. When another murder takes place in Johannesburg, it becomes clear that there is a lot more to this case than meets the eye. A criminal network is not just dealing in the illegal rhino horn trade with impunity. The San-people, who live in Shangari can communicate with the animals in the park and try to keep this a secret hidden to protect their way of life. 

The books I picked & why

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The Elephant Whisperer: My Life with the Herd in the African Wild

By Lawrence Anthony, Graham Spence,

Book cover of The Elephant Whisperer: My Life with the Herd in the African Wild

Why this book?

I had no idea that this book existed when I wrote my novel. Then at book events, people approached me to ask if my book had anything to do with The Elephant Whisperer and told me how wonderful this non-fiction book was. I read it and couldn’t agree more. This South African man devoted his life to elephants and his book deserves my recommendation. I love how he sets everything aside to patiently help a herd of Elephants, traumatised by poachers, and how he connects with the animals at a deep level. Animals and African wild animals in particular react to this level of emotional connection with humans and that’s an important thing to learn.

The Elephant Whisperer: My Life with the Herd in the African Wild

By Lawrence Anthony, Graham Spence,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Elephant Whisperer as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When South African conservationist Lawrence Anthony was asked to accept a herd of "rogue" wild elephants on his Thula Thula game reserve in Zululand, his common sense told him to refuse. But he was the herd's last chance of survival: they would be killed if he wouldn't take them. In order to save their lives, Anthony took them in. In the years that followed he became a part of their family. And as he battled to create a bond with the elephants, he came to realize that they had a great deal to teach him about life, loyalty, and freedom.…

The Grass Is Singing

By Doris Lessing,

Book cover of The Grass Is Singing

Why this book?

I don’t remember if there is actual wildlife in this book (apart from a dog), but nature plays a big part in the story. It was one of the first novels about Africa I read and it moved me deeply. Doris Lessing has written quite a few books about Africa, some political, others with a focus on the land, its people, and nature. She grew up in Zimbabwe (which was called Rhodesia back then) and is an award-winning author. I had to include at least one of her books in my list, so there.

The Grass Is Singing

By Doris Lessing,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Grass Is Singing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Nobel Prize-winner Doris Lessing's first novel is a taut and tragic portrayal of a crumbling marriage, set in South Africa during the years of Arpartheid.

Set in Rhodesia, 'The Grass is Singing' tells the story of Dick Turner, a failed white farmer and his wife, Mary, a town girl who hates the bush and viciously abuses the black South Africans who work on their farm. But after many years, trapped by poverty, sapped by the heat of their tiny house, the lonely and frightened Mary turns to Moses, the black cook, for kindness and understanding.

A masterpiece of realism,…


Love, Life, and Elephants: An African Love Story

By Daphne Jenkins Sheldrick,

Book cover of Love, Life, and Elephants: An African Love Story

Why this book?

Daphne Sheldrick has written this memoir to give us an insight into her life, saving and raising young elephants and numerous other wild animals with her husband in the Tsavo National Park in Kenya. Her book is hugely inspiring and, although Kenya is strictly speaking not in Southern Africa. South African and East African wildlife are very similar and her description of an orphan sanctuary inspired me to write about such a sanctuary in my own book.

Love, Life, and Elephants: An African Love Story

By Daphne Jenkins Sheldrick,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Love, Life, and Elephants as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Daphne Sheldrick, whose family arrived in Africa from Scotland in the 1820s, is the first person ever to have successfully hand-reared newborn elephants. Her deep empathy and understanding, her years of observing Kenya's rich variety of wildlife, and her pioneering work in perfecting the right husbandry and milk formula have saved countless elephants, rhinos, and other baby animals from certain death.

In this heartwarming and poignant memoir, Daphne shares her amazing relationships with a host of orphans, including her first love, Bushy, a liquid-eyed antelope; Rickey-Tickey-Tavey, the little dwarf mongoose; Gregory Peck, the busy buffalo weaver bird; Huppety, the mischievous…


The Memory of an Elephant

By Alex Lasker,

Book cover of The Memory of an Elephant

Why this book?

This book is strictly speaking not Southern African, but I believe that the author’s engaging style and love for African wildlife is reason enough to include his book in my list of recommendations. My focus is on worthwhile books and not just any old book on African wildlife. Plus, it is a work of fiction, which makes it a favourite of mine. Written from the perspective of an aging elephant with a mission, I find this novel refreshingly different.

The Memory of an Elephant

By Alex Lasker,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Memory of an Elephant as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"The Memory of an Elephant" is an epic saga told by an aging African elephant as he makes a last, perilous journey to find the humans who rescued him as an orphan some fifty years ago. Interwoven with his narrative are the tumultuous lives of the family who raised and then lost him. This timeless story is alternately heartwarming and heartbreaking, spanning east Africa, Great Britain and New York from 1962 to 2015.

When the Lion Feeds: Volume 1

By Wilbur Smith,

Book cover of When the Lion Feeds: Volume 1

Why this book?

This is the debut novel by the iconic Zimbabwean author Wilbur Smith, who lived in South Africa until his recent death at age 88. Animals appear in most of his African novels and I read this book a long time ago. It is more about a family saga in – then – Rhodesia than about lions, but I appreciate how the main character finds comfort and himself in the bush. The simplicity there trumps his riches. There is just something about the African bush that puts everything else in perspective. Okay, he goes ivory hunting and I don’t condone it, but that’s what people did in those days.

When the Lion Feeds: Volume 1

By Wilbur Smith,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked When the Lion Feeds as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Edition of two Wilbur Smith favourites.

5 book lists we think you will like!

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And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

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