The best books to read on an African safari

Who am I?

I'm an Australian who fell in love with Africa in my 30s. I've now written 20 thrillers set in Africa and several non-fiction biographies. My wife and I have travelled extensively on the continent and now spend at least half our lives in Africa, and the remainder in Australia. I'm passionate about Africa's people, wildlife, and fragile natural environment. While my books focus on some of the continent's problems – especially the illegal trade in wildlife – I'm a sucker for a happy ending and find no shortage of positive, inspirational people on my travels who serve as the inspiration for the good guys and girls in my stories. 


I wrote...

Blood Trail

By Tony Park,

Book cover of Blood Trail

What is my book about?

Evil is at play in a South African game reserve. A rhino poacher vanishes into thin air, defying logic, and baffling ace tracker Mia Greenaway. Meanwhile, Captain Sannie van Rensburg is investigating the disappearance of two young girls who locals fear have been abducted for use in sinister traditional medicine practices.

But poachers are also employing witchcraft, paying healers for potions they believe will make them invisible. When a tourist goes missing, Mia and Sannie must work together to confront their own demons - which challenges everything they believe in - while following a bloody trail that seems to vanish at every turn.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Hold My Hand I'm Dying

Tony Park Why did I love this book?

This was the first novel I read about Africa and one of the first 'grown-up' books I was allowed to read as a young teen. It had a huge impact on me. At the time, growing up in Australia, I didn't know I'd end up living in Africa and writing about the continent, but this book moved me. Set in the former Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), it's a thriller and love story told against the background of a tumultuous struggle for a country. When I first visited Zimbabwe for real it was like I'd been there already – I had, through the pages of this moving story.

By John Gordon Davis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hold My Hand I'm Dying as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A stirring and compelling story, full of adventure, set against the background of the move to freedom in Africa. In the face of opposition, hatred, violence and death, the gentler human feelings of friendship and love are nonetheless maintained. Joseph Mahoney is the last Colonial Commissioner in the Kariba Gorge, faced with easing the transition to new rule. To complicate matters, his servant Samson has been accused of murder, and he is drifting apart from Suzie, whom he loves very deeply. Yet personal matters apart, he must deal with the simmering undercurrent of violence and revenge that might envelope the…


Book cover of Fever

Tony Park Why did I love this book?

South African author Deon Meyer is, in my opinion, the best crime writer in the world. Most of his books are detective stories set in Cape Town, but Fever was a radical departure for him. As an author, I know how important it is for me to keep myself engaged and interested in my writing and not become stale. Deon shook up his readership with this tale of a fictional pandemic (written before Covid 19) and its impact on South Africa. Brilliant and scary and top marks to Deon for leaping out of his comfort zone.

By Deon Meyer, K.L. Seefers (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'UK readers, you have a nice surprise coming. No, not Brexit, FEVER, by Deon Meyer. Reminiscent of THE STAND and THE PASSAGE. Great stuff' STEPHEN KING

'An epic read that
has a dystopian feel and makes
you ask the question: What if?' SUN

I want to tell you about my Father's murder.

I want to tell you who killed him and why.

This is the story of my life.

And the story of your life and your world too, as you will see.

Nico Storm and his father drive across a desolate South Africa, constantly alert for feral dogs, motorcycle…


Book cover of Whatever You Do, Don't Run: True Tales of a Botswana Safari Guide

Tony Park Why did I love this book?

I know Peter – we josh each other and trade funny insults on social media. I hate to say it, but he is a very funny guy. Safari guide memoirs are a dime a dozen in Africa, but this one stands out from the pack because it is both humorous and moving. Peter has a wonderful self-deprecating style and tells, hilariously, of some of his epic failures as a young Australian finding his way in the African bush. Peter loves Botswana, and his passion shines through in this book.

By Peter Allison,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Whatever You Do, Don't Run as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A hilarious, highly original collection of essays based on the Botswana truism: "only food runs!" With a new introduction and new material from the authorIn the tradition of Bill Bryson, a new writer brings us the lively adventures and biting wit of an African safari guide. 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…


Book cover of The Dark of the Sun

Tony Park Why did I love this book?

I'm sometimes compared to the late, great, Wilbur Smith, who wrote dozens of books set in Africa. I think that if there is a similarity, then my books are probably most like Wilbur's earlier novels, where he tended to write about contemporary southern Africa (as I do now). My favourites were his stand-alone novels, including The Dark of the Sun about a group of mercenaries who have to rescue a train load of civilians during the fighting in the former Belgian Congo in the 1960s. It was made into a movie back in the day (The Mercenaries), and later provided the inspiration for the Bruce Willis film, Tears of the Sun.

By Wilbur Smith,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Dark of the Sun as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An action-packed thriller by global bestselling author, Wilbur Smith.

'A master storyteller' - Sunday Times

'Wilbur Smith is one of those benchmarks against whom others are compared' - The Times

'No one does adventure quite like Smith' - Daily Mirror

The highest prize comes at the highest price . . .

Captain Bruce Curry has a simple enough mission: to lead his mercenary soldiers to rescue a town cut off by rebel fighting in the Belgian Congo. But events quickly take a turn for the worse as it becomes clear that the town's diamond supplies are the real focus of…


Book cover of The Last Resort: A Memoir of Mischief and Mayhem on a Family Farm in Africa

Tony Park Why did I love this book?

Douglas Rogers, a Zimbabwean journalist living in the US, tells the true story of how his elderly parents survived a harrowing period in the African country's history when former President Robert Mugabe's supporters were invading and claiming white-owned farms. Rather than fleeing, Rogers' parents transformed their backpackers' lodge into a have for a wildlife disparate group of hookers, spies, soldiers, and refugees. It's hilarious and harrowing and proof that in Africa, truth is stranger than fiction! By the way, Zimbabwe is now a beautiful, peaceful country to visit and an excellent safari destination.

By Douglas Rogers,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Last Resort as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Thrilling, heartbreaking, and, at times, absurdly funny, The Last Resort is a remarkable true story about one family in a country under siege and a testament to the love, perseverance, and resilience of the human spirit.

Born and raised in Zimbabwe, Douglas Rogers is the son of white farmers living through that country’s long and tense transition from postcolonial rule. He escaped the dull future mapped out for him by his parents for one of adventure and excitement in Europe and the United States. But when Zimbabwe’s president Robert Mugabe launched his violent program to reclaim white-owned land and Rogers’s…


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Quick Bright Things

By Michael Golding,

Book cover of Quick Bright Things

Michael Golding Author Of A Poet of the Invisible World

New book alert!

Who am I?

It took me awhile to understand that I was on a spiritual path. I started out as an actor, and working in the theater brought me joy. But as time passed, and I turned to writing novels, the same questions kept emerging: “Who am I?” “Why am I here?” I began to see that I was on a spiritual journey. With A Poet of the Invisible World, I finally felt ready to write about that journey. Nouri’s adventures chart the twists and turns—as well as the deep rewards—of the spiritual path. It’s a book that’s very close to my heart.

Michael's book list on accompanying you on your spiritual journey

What is my book about?

This delightful fable about the Golden Age of Broadway unfolds the warm story of Artie, a young rehearsal pianist, Joe, a visionary director, and Carrie, his crackerjack Girl Friday, as they shepherd a production of a musical version of A Midsummer Night's Dream towards opening night. 

Drawn from the personal experiences of its author, it's a glittering love letter to the Great White Wayand all the crazy, gifted people who keep it humming.

Quick Bright Things

By Michael Golding,

What is this book about?

This is a delightful fable about the Golden Age of Broadway. It follows Artie, a young rehearsal pianist, Joe, a visionary director, and Carrie, his crackerjack Girl Friday, as they shepherd a production of a musical version of A Midsummer Night's Dream towards opening night.

Drawn from the personal experiences of its author, this is a glittering love letter to the Great White Way, and all the crazy, gifted people who keep it humming.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Zimbabwe, survivalism, and the Belgian Congo?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Zimbabwe, survivalism, and the Belgian Congo.

Zimbabwe Explore 14 books about Zimbabwe
Survivalism Explore 18 books about survivalism
The Belgian Congo Explore 7 books about the Belgian Congo