Stress, smog and soul-destroying traffic – all the things we get to escape come year-end. Whether you’ll be getting away to the bush, the beach or some other wild beyond, there is a book for you.
Here is a list of some of the fine South African books devoted to enjoying wild and wonderful things. Birding, star-gazing, spotting animals are covered, and so is enjoying beautiful landscapes and local flora. Burchell and travel pioneer Geoffrey Kent will provide inspiration for the travel-timid.
So, which epic holiday get away will it be for you?
New Guide for Beginner Birders: Sasol 300 Easy-to-see Birds by Chevonne Reynolds and Nicholas Tye
This practical, straightforward guide to some of the most commonly seen birds in southern Africa is aimed at beginner birders, or even juniors. Less daunting than a full-blown field guide, it’s handy and accessible, combining simple text with clear artwork and photographs to introduce 300 of the region’s easy-to-see birds.
New: 100 Common Bird Calls in East Africa by Dave Richards and Brian Finch, with Accompanying CD
Recognise birds by their calls with this handy package of CD and accompanying book. These will help identify the sounds made by a range of the most common and widely distributed East African bird species.
This is the perfect starting point for those who wish to develop their knowledge of bird calls.
New from the Astronomical Society of Southern Africa: Sky Guide Africa South 2016
This annual publication is an invaluable resource for anyone who has even a passing interest in the night skies of southern Africa and is “… an absolute must for first-time star-gazers and professional astronomers alike”.
Charles Griffiths, Jenny Day and Mike Picker Present Freshwater Life – The First Field Guide of its Kind
Freshwater Life – the first illustrated field guide of its kind for the wider southern African region – describes a vast range of plant and animal groups in a single volume. A ground-breaking concept that encompasses diverse groups from the large and conspicuous vertebrates to the diverse microscopic taxa, the book facilitates identification and describes the ecology of more than 1 000 freshwater organisms.
Presenting Jeff Gordon’s 101 Kruger Tales: Extraordinary Stories from Ordinary Visitors to the Kruger National Park
101 Kruger Tales contains first-hand accounts of sightings, scrapes and encounters in one of Africa’s greatest National Parks. It details hair-raising experiences from the Kruger Park’s roads, camps, picnic sites and walking trails.
Wherever you are, this book will transport you directly into the bush. It’s a book to keep by your bedside in Kruger, to dip into at home when you’re missing the bush, to lend to friends who’ve never visited Kruger, or to pore over before your next trip.
Enjoy Our Rich Geological Heritage with 50 Must-see Geological Sites in South Africa by Gavin Whitfield
South Africa has just about the richest geological heritage on the planet. By showcasing 50 must-see sites, this guide describes why, where and how to enjoy it.
The book presents 50 of the most recognisable and geologically interesting sites around South Africa, including some of palaeontological or historical renown and some of mining interest.
Presenting Grasses & Grazers of Botswana and the Surrounding Savanna by Veronica Roodt
An accessible reference to the grasses and grazers of this region, Veronica Roodt’s book details the fascinating ways in which these plants and animals have evolved together.
Nature lovers, farmers, students and tourists who seek an in-depth look at the interactions between grasses and the grazers that depend on them for life need look no further than this invaluable guide.
“Warm, Fluffy and Sexy”: Justin Fox Tells John Maytham about Searching for The Impossible Five
The well-known travel writer, novelist and photographer, Justin Fox, launched his latest book, The Impossible Five: One Man’s Search for South Africa’s Most Elusive Animals early in July at The Book Lounge.
Publishing manager, Marga Stoffer, reflected on how many visitors to the Kruger Park know about “the big five” and evaluate the success of a trip on how many of these creatures were spotted. Fox, who has gone on these kinds of trips with his parents since he was a child, wanted to go a step further and seek out animals that even the game rangers seldom get to see.
Discover Our Country’s Floral Splendour with Pocket Guide: Wild Flowers of South Africa by Braam van Wyk
Wild Flowers of South Africa covers some 260 flowers representing all of the region’s major vegetation types.
This book showcases some of the region’s diverse, strikingly beautiful floral splendours.
Presenting My First Book of Southern African Frogs by Jeanne Tarrant and Sally MacLarty (Includes CD)
Frogs are appealing and colourful creatures. Children may be familiar with stages of the frog’s curious life cycle, and see their eggs or tadpoles in local streams; and everyone has heard their calls. My First Book of Southern African Frogs introduces 55 different types of frog and includes a CD of their calls. A short introduction outlines key features and includes an illustration detailing their life cycle.
What’s in a Name? Adrian Koopman Explores Language, Culture and Plant Life in Zulu Plant Names
In this book Adrian Koopman details the complex relationship between plants, the Zulu language and Zulu culture.
Zulu Plant Names do not just identify plants, they tell us a lot more about the plant, or how it is perceived or used in Zulu culture.
Burchell’s Travels by Susan Buchanan; Illustrated with over 100 Sketches and Paintings
Burchell’s Travels tells the story of Burchell’s journeys, bringing to life an important figure who has faded into historical obscurity. It is a fascinating account of what travel was like 200 years ago – reconstructed from the rich source of Burchell’s own writings.
Beautifully illustrated with over 100 of Burchell’s sketches and paintings, this is a perfect book for anyone interested in history, art, nature and travel.
Presenting Safari: A Memoir of a Worldwide Travel Pioneer by Geoffrey Kent
Geoffrey Kent shares his secrets as an entrepreneur always on the edge of the travel industry and will detail the most unforgettable, daredevil and entertaining moments of his 50-year career with each chapter in the book focusing on a different trip and country. He will also present an inspiring bucket list of adventures for every class of traveler, as well as reveal inside tales from tours with his most famous clients.
Presenting Mooiloop! The Book – The People, the Places and the Recipes as Seen on TV
The essence of the award-winning programme Mooiloop! (as seen on SABC 2) is captured in this book, which invites you to take South Africa’s provincial/regional routes and experience small-town South Africa.
Stop and get out … admire some of the breathtaking, picturesque settings, take a walk down the streets and explore the shops and places of interest
Watch an Elephant Tackling a Buffalo in the Kruger Park, and Find Your Own Incredible Sightings (Video)
Wildlife Southern Africa National Parks & Reserves covers all the major national parks and reserves in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Lesotho.
The guide includes an overview of Southern Africa with coverage of country facts, peace parks, malaria areas, time zones, cities and towns. This handy specialty atlas provide information boxes covering park size, fauna and flora, nearest town and airport location, contact details, camp facilities, accommodation and seasonal information