The most recommended books on Namibia

Who picked these books? Meet our 7 experts.

7 authors created a book list connected to Namibia, and here are their favorite Namibia books.
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Book cover of Soul of a Lion: One Woman's Quest to Rescue Africa's Wildlife Refugees

Britt Collins Author Of Strays: The True Story of a Lost Cat, a Homeless Man, and Their Journey Across America

From my list on non-fiction for cat lovers.

Who am I?

I am an international bestselling author of Strays and a London-based journalist for The Guardian, The Observer, The Sunday Times, and other publications. I've written about animals, conservation, and volunteered at sanctuaries around the world, from tending big cats and baboons in Namibia to wild mustangs in Nevada—a labour of love that has inspired features for The Guardian, The Independent, and Condé Nast Traveller. I've raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for many charities through my investigative animal-cruelty stories; as an activist, I helped shut down controversial breeders of laboratory animals in the UK. I also created Catfestlondon, a sell-out boutique festival that rescues and rehomes Moroccan street kittens in the UK.

Britt's book list on non-fiction for cat lovers

Britt Collins Why did Britt love this book?

A beautifully told story about a Namibian family who created a real-life Noah’s Ark in the desert. Marieta van der Merwe and her late husband Nick turned their cattle ranch into a refuge for thousands of wounded or orphaned animals who can’t make it on their own in the wild. This book, full of wonder and gentle souls, has special meaning for me. I met Barbara Bennett, a North Carolina University literature professor, when I was sent to Namibia to write a story about Harnas Wildlife Sanctuary for the Guardian and we were both volunteering. Afterward, I introduced her to my New York literary agent who sold the book. It’s so vividly written that it allowed me to relive my experiences of daily mischief of the baboons, walking full-grown lions in the desert, sleeping with cheetahs under the stars, and watching the giant thunderstorms on the porch with a menagerie…

By Barbara Bennett,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

It chronicles the unique Harnas Wildlife Foundation in Namibia, where Marieta van der Merwe and her family, former wealthy cattle farmers, have sold land to buy and care for embattled wildlife.


Book cover of Blood Rose

Paul Mendelson Author Of The First Rule Of Survival

From my list on crime thrillers set in Africa.

Who am I?

Africa can easily become an obsession: an extraordinary continent, blessed with breath-taking beauty and wonderful people, yet cursed by climate, corruption, war, and… crime. This continent is the most incredible setting for stories about people driven to crime, victims of crime, the detection of crime. Based in the UK, but a frequent visitor to Southern Africa, having written many non-fiction books, South Africa (and Cape Town in particular) was always going to be my choice of setting for my crime novels. For me, a good novel – within any genre – transports the reader into an unfamiliar world, absorbs them in the lives of the characters, and reveals insights which touch on their own lives.

Paul's book list on crime thrillers set in Africa

Paul Mendelson Why did Paul love this book?

This book is all about the dark, foreboding atmosphere of its setting, a township in an isolated part of Walvis Bay, in Namibia. Dr. Clare Hart is a police profiler sent in to try to pin down the perpetrator of a gruesome crime against a teenage boy. For all Hart’s professional competence, her emotional and relationship skills are in doubt as her wavering romantic interest, Captain Reidwaan Faizal, arrives to lead the investigation. Fantastically well-observed, very dark, and beautifully written, you lose yourself in its fog-filled pages, but the journey is far from comfortable.

By Margie Orford,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Walvis Bay: a down-at-heel port town, isolated in the vast sweep of the Namib desert. Hard-eyed teenagers run the streets. Prostitutes gather around the transient dockworkers. Nobody chooses to live here. The perfect place to hide a killer...

When a homeless teenage boy is gruesomely murdered, police profiler Dr Clare Hart is brought into this claustrophobic township to work the case. To track down a monster with a taste for young male victims, Clare must enter the world of the desperate street kids who run the rackets of the dock. And Clare is glad for the distraction, a chance for…


Book cover of I Dreamed of Africa

Kathryn Williams Author Of Rhino Dreams

From my list on for wild women desperately seeking adventure.

Who am I?

I grew up in the high plains mining towns of Montana and Wyoming but I couldn’t wait to get out and see the world. Peace Corps was my ticket. A teaching post in Chad, Africa, was open, but civil war and famine loomed, so I chose Afghanistan. After my two-year contract in Kabul, I continued traveling but my fascination with Africa never waned. A job teaching college English allowed me summers to continue traveling. However, I never did get to Africa, so when Carolyn suggested we write about Namibia, I agreed. Someday, I hope to visit before the magnificent black rhino has been wiped off the face of the planet.

Kathryn's book list on for wild women desperately seeking adventure

Kathryn Williams Why did Kathryn love this book?

Kuki Gallman, an Italian socialite, is another wealthy woman who sought adventure in Kenya. And another woman, with her husband, who set out to start a ranch in an inhospitable land. When her husband and son are killed in separate accidents, Gallman turns the ranch into a conservation park, using her money to bring attention to the plight of the local wildlife. And, as is true in Namibia, she enlisted the help of local tribal leaders to save both the endangered wildlife and native culture. In 2010, she founded Prayers for the Earth and in 2011, she and her daughter donated 300 acres for a project called “Land of Hope.” Gallman could so easily have returned to an easy life in Italy but instead challenged herself and those around her.

By Kuki Gallmann,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This autobiography tells the story of an Italian woman whose life is driven by love of Africa. The prologue covers a string of deaths which shaped Kuki Gallmann's life including that of a woman friend who died in a car crash. The widower, Paulo (who then married Kuki), his two daughters and Kuki's son by a previous marriage all went to Kenya and bought a large estate. Paulo died in an accident and Kuki's son died aged 17, bitten by one of his own puff-adders. Kuki had a couple of affairs - one with a married white planter, another with…


Book cover of Environmental Infrastructure in African History: Examining the Myth of Natural Resource Management in Namibia

Gufu Oba Author Of African Environmental Crisis: A History of Science for Development

From my list on environmental history, science, and development.

Who am I?

Gufu Oba (Professor) has taught Ecology, Pastoralism, and Environmental History at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences for 21 years. He previously worked for UNESCO-MAB on issues of environmental conservation. He has published four books on social and environmental history. His books include Nomads in the shadows of Empires (BRILL, 2013), Climate change adaptations in Africa (Routledge, 2014), Herder Warfare in East Africa: A social and Spatial History (White Horse Press, 2017), and African Environmental Crisis: A History of Science for development (Routledge, 2020).

Gufu's book list on environmental history, science, and development

Gufu Oba Why did Gufu love this book?

Environmental Infrastructure in African History offers a new approach for analyzing and narrating environmental change. Environmental change conventionally is understood as, moving from a state of more nature to a state of less nature and more culture. In this model, non-Western and pre-modern societies live off natural resources, whereas more modern societies rely on artifacts, or nature that is transformed and domesticated through science and technology into culture. Emmanuel Kreike argues that both non-Western and pre-modern societies inhabit a dynamic middle ground between nature and culture. He asserts that humans - in collaboration with plants, animals, and other animate and inanimate forces - create environmental infrastructure that constantly is remade and re-imagined in the face of ongoing processes of change.

By Emmanuel Kreike,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Environmental Infrastructure in African History as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Environmental Infrastructure in African History offers a new approach for analyzing and narrating environmental change. Environmental change conventionally is understood as occurring in a linear fashion, moving from a state of more nature to a state of less nature and more culture. In this model, non-Western and pre-modern societies live off natural resources, whereas more modern societies rely on artifact, or nature that is transformed and domesticated through science and technology into culture. In contrast, Emmanuel Kreike argues that both non-Western and pre-modern societies inhabit a dynamic middle ground between nature and culture. He asserts that humans - in collaboration…


Book cover of The Last Train to Zona Verde: My Ultimate African Safari

John Ahern Author Of On the Road . . . with Kids: One Family's Life-Changing Gap Year

From my list on inspirational life-changing memoirs.

Who am I?

John was born in Brisbane, Australia, and grew up roaming the beaches and playing backyard sports with his mates. His career spanned from mowing lawns and packing groceries, to being the Global Head of Acquisitions for a public listed travel company. In between bouts of work, he has travelled through over 80 countries, and been shot at, tear-gassed, robbed at gunpoint, and locked up in an African jail. He has stowed away in a Columbian cargo plane and been a passenger in two train derailments. John now lives with his family in the comparative safety of the Currumbin Valley on Australia’s Gold Coast. He considers it their base camp.

John's book list on inspirational life-changing memoirs

John Ahern Why did John love this book?

How could I leave out the doyen of modern-day autobiographical travel writing? Paul Theroux’s list of books describing his overland adventures and the history and culture of places he rides through, is impressive. He is funny, cantankerous, offensive, likable, and informative. I chose his last book Zona because he travels the same path I myself once took. It also differs from his earlier tomes in one distinct way; Paul undertook the hard overland journey from Cape Town to Angola at age 71, when most of us expect to be tucked up in bed with a warm toddy and a cat purring at our feet. His perspective from an older man commentates on and compares the Africa he once knew to now. At times, it’s a depressing tale, exposing stories of hunger and starvation, genocide, nature clogging with plastic, and vast examples of greed, climate change, wilderness destruction, and species extinction.…

By Paul Theroux,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Following the success of the acclaimed Ghost Train to the Eastern Star and The Great Railway Bazaar, The Last Train to Zona Verde is an ode to the last African journey of the world's most celebrated travel writer, Paul Theroux.

'Happy again, back in the kingdom of light,' writes Paul Theroux as he sets out on a new journey though the continent he knows and loves best.

Having travelled down the right-hand side of Africa in Dark Star Safari, he sets out this time from Cape Town, heading northwards in a new direction, up the left-hand side, through South Africa…


Book cover of German Colonial Wars and the Context of Military Violence

Peter H. Wilson Author Of Iron and Blood: A Military History of the German-Speaking Peoples since 1500

From my list on German military history saying something different.

Who am I?

I have been drawn to the history of the German lands ever since I opened a historical atlas as a child and wondered why the middle of Europe was a colorful patchwork compared to the solid blocks depicting other countries. I then wondered how the people living under this multitude of authorities could manage their affairs, resolve differences, and defend themselves against each other and outsiders. Digging deeper into these questions has unearthed fascinating stories, not all of them pleasant, but which also shed light on the complexities of our shared existence. 

Peter's book list on German military history saying something different

Peter H. Wilson Why did Peter love this book?

Addressing his troops prior to their departure for China in 1900, Kaiser Wilhelm urged them to behave like the Huns and give no quarter to the Chinese accused of murdering the German ambassador during the Boxer Rebellion.

Four years later, German troops mercilessly drove the Herero and Nama people of what is now Namibia into the desert to die, while their comrades in what is now Tanzania fought a vicious war to suppress another colonial revolt. These events have recently returned to broader consciousness as the victims’ descendants demand reparations.

Without minimizing the violence, Kuss shows how it was rooted in specific situations and that there was no simple, inevitable line ‘from Windhoek to Auschwitz’. 

By Susanne Kuss, Andrew Smith (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked German Colonial Wars and the Context of Military Violence as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Germany fought three major colonial wars from 1900 to 1908: the Boxer War in China, the Herero and Nama War in Southwest Africa, and the Maji Maji War in East Africa. Recently, historians have emphasized the role of German military culture in shaping the horrific violence of these conflicts, tracing a line from German atrocities in the colonial sphere to those committed by the Nazis during World War II. Susanne Kuss dismantles such claims in a close examination of Germany's early twentieth-century colonial experience. Despite acts of unquestionable brutality committed by the Kaiser's soldiers, she finds no direct path from…


Book cover of COVID-19 and Sovereign Debt: The Case of SADC

Barry Herman Author Of Overcoming Developing Country Debt Crises

From my list on developing countries sovereign debt crises.

Who am I?

My interest in sovereign debt began as a UN economist in the 1980s. We detailed statistics on the stark impact of the crises and watched Latin American presidents plead for help in the General Assembly. Based in New York, I got invited to some meetings of major banks that held problem debt, wouldn’t admit it, but ultimately had to accept losses. African countries in crisis were mainly in debt to official creditors that also did not want to accept losses. Over time, the types of creditors changed and changed again, and debt crises kept reappearing, being fixed, reappearing until today. This is dramatic stuff. How could I not be interested?

Barry's book list on developing countries sovereign debt crises

Barry Herman Why did Barry love this book?

In this recent book from South Africa, a group of mostly African academics and lawyers, including some young researchers, examine the financial stresses that COVID put on the sovereign debt burden of countries in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), including studies of Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

The authors view the debt constraints on SADC governments from an economic, financial, and human rights perspective, domestically and in interacting with international institutions, including limits on available debt relief.

The book also contains proposals to evade such crises in the future, including in a chapter by your correspondent.

The book is available in French and Portuguese as well as English, and you can download a copy for free. What could be better?