Books and Movies
learning about Africa becomes a passion
Queen of Katwe
You're not too cool to love this movie, trust us
the story of a girl chess champion from the slums of Uganda
The Real Queen of Katwe
this is why we do it
modern safaris for a fair and just world
Articles, Travel Guides, Literature
East Africa; Kenya and Tanzania
“Tanzania: Home to the world's wildest game reserve” The Telegraph Feb. 5, 2000
Tanzania, Africa: Greystoke Mahale Where Apes are Lords of the Jungle. The Telegraph. Sept. 7, 2012.
Conservancies provide safety for Maasai Mara Lions. Africa Geographic. Dec. 21, 2015.
“Down to the last three: can science save northern white rhino from extinction?” The Guardian, May 14, 2016
Google Safari View: Walking with Elephants in Kenya The Guardian, Sept 2015
Help Stop Poaching: Go on Safari in Africa. The Guardian May 30, 2015. https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2015/may/30/africa-safari-tourism-elephants-conservation
Lamu: The island where cars are banned. CNN, Feb. 17, 2016.
Southern Africa: Namibia and Botswana
“Africa’s Super Park” Alexandra Fuller National Geographic June 2011 (photographs by Frans Lanting)
Namibia: A wildlife safari in the Kunene region offers substance over style Emma Gregg, the Independent March 2011
Desert Lions of ‘Five Musketeers’ Fame Poisoned National Geographic Aug. 25, 2016
Namibia’s Spooky Skeleton Coast March 15, 2014 The Daily Beast
'Like nowhere else': Madagascar casts a spell over Simon Reeve. The Guardian. Aug. 26, 2016.
Family Holidays in Madagascar: The Call of the Weird. The Telegraph. Nov. 18, 2015.
“Only in Madagascar” Jeffrey Gettleman, The New York Times*
*we quibble with his typical tourist trail choices….at least a few of them
The magic of Madagascar! Discovering an untouched corner of a wildlife-packed island. Daily Mail. Apr. 26, 2013.
Madagascar: A Safari Tour. Travel + Leisure.
Madagascar Travel Guide. Wanderlust Travel Magazine.
Profile of Steve Goodman: “The Michael Jordan of Field Biology”
"The Path of Stones" Burkhard Bilger. The New Yorker. 2006. (Sorry, behind paywall.)
“Funk Factor: There is no McDonald’s in Madagascar” Susan Zakin Tucson Weekly, July 12-18, 2001
“A Plague of Sapphires” Aaron Ross, Roads & KingdomsTR
Entertainment Weekly. 1992.
“Mining Giant Threatens to Scar Island Paradise” Rory Carroll The Guardian June 22, 2003
“Madagascar: Local protests against Rio Tinto” ejolt Environmental Justice Organisations, Liabilities and Trade January 25, 2013
“Rio Tinto heavily blamed by protesters over 41 mine worker deaths” The Guardian April 15, 2014
“Rio Tinto threatens to leave Madagascar after CEO is trapped by protestors” The Telegraph Jan. 11, 2013
“Mining activities and environmental protection in Madagascar” Mamy Rakotondrainibe, Collective for the Defence of Malagasy Lands – TANYWorld Rainforest Movement Aug. 10, 2015
“Collapse of the Eighth Continent: Shangri-La Meets Global Capitalism” Susan Zakin Truthdig Dec. 19, 2013
“Why Madagascar Matters” Susan Zakin The Huffington Post May 25, 2011
One Day I Will Write About This Place. Binyavanga Wainaina. 2012.
Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood. Alexandra Fuller. 2003.
The Zanzibar Chest: A Story of Life, Love, and Death in Foreign Lands. Aidan Hartley. 2003.
So many excellent writers have come out of Africa, from Chinua Achebe to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Less well-known but equally deserving of a read: Ahmadou Kourouma (Waiting for the Wild Beasts to Vote; Allah is Not Obliged); Helon Habila (Waiting for an Angel; Oil on Water).
And, of course, no one should miss out on reading Nadine Gordimer or J.M. Coetzee.
Paul Theroux taught in Uganda for six years as a young man. Whenever he returns to Africa, he produces a book that is not only beautifully written but knowledgeable, both about Africa and the Westerners who want to "help."
Dark Star Safari: Overland from Cairo to Capetown. 2004.
The Last Train to Zone Verde: My Ultimate African Safari. 2014.
Michela Wrong has spent nearly two decades writing about Africa. As a Reuters correspondent based in first Cote d'Ivoire and former Zaire, she covered the turbulent events of the mid 1990s. Her writing is always elegant and her books accurate and enlightening.
In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz: Living on the Brink of Disaster in Mobutu's Congo. 2002.
It's Our Turn to Eat: The Story of a Kenyan Whistle-Blower. 2010.
I Didn't Do It For You: How the World Betrayed a Small African Country. 2006.
A few others:
Africa: Dispatches from a Fragile Continent. Blaine Harden. 1991.
Last Days in Cloud Cuckooland: Dispatches from White Africa. Graham Boynton. 1997.
Mosquito Coast: Travels from Maputo to Mogadishu. Jon Lee Anderson and Guillaume Bonn. 2016.
Le Mal D'Afrique: A Journey Into Old and New Africa. Guillaume Bonn. 2006.
Africa. Sebastiao Salgado, Lelia Wanick Salgado, Mia Couto. 2007.
Across the Ravaged Land. Nick Brandt. 2013.
Out of Africa, Karen Blixen. Blixen has been criticized for being too colonial but despite a few cringeworthy moments, her writing remains monumental.
West with the Night and Straight on Till Morning. Beryl Markham's autobiography and her biography still inspire women and interest men.
At the Hand of Man: Peril and Hope for Africa's Wildlife. Raymond Bonner. 1994. One of America's best reporters went to Kenya. What he discovered changed his ideas about saving animals. His book may change yours, too.
Black Poachers, White Hunters: A Social History of Hunting in Colonial Kenya. Edward I. Steinhart. 2006. Another mind-changer.
Madagascar: Science and Nature
If you only read one book, Hillary Bradt’s Madagascar is the definitive travel guide and it is available in digital form, too.
Alison Jolley was the first researcher to discover that females are dominant in several species of lemur. For this alone, we would like her, but she is also an engaging writer who came from a quirky and amusing family. Her popular books include:
Thank You, Madagascar: The Conservation Diaries of Alison Jolley is the posthumously published personal account of Jolly’s pioneering work in Madagascar. With a forward by Hillary Bradt.
Lords and Lemurs: Mad Scientists, Kings With Spears, and the Survival of Diversity in Madagascar (2004) is Jolly’s upbeat account of working with the French family that supported Malagasy independence and protected thousands of acres of spiny forest, a tale that offers a window to the complexities of the colonialist legacy.
A World Out of Time features photographs by the great wildlife and wilderness photographer Frans Lanting and an essay by Gerald Durrell. 1990.
The Ako books are six illustrated children’s books for ages 4-10. (https://www.amazon.com/Ako-Madagascar-Lemur-Adventures/dp/097660096X)
Jolly’s academic works include:
Lucy's Legacy: Sex and Intelligence in Human Evolution (1999)
A World Like Our Own: Man and Nature in Madagascar. 1980.
The Evolution of Primate Behaviour. 1972
Steve Goodman has produced the most up-to-date science in Madagascar.
Extinct Madagascar: Picturing the Island's Past. Steven M. Goodman William L. Jungers, University of Chicago Press, 2014.
The Natural History of Madagascar. Editors Steven M. Goodman, Jonathan P. Benstead, University of Chicago Press, 2003.
Chamberlain’s Birds of the Indian Ocean Islands: Madagascar, Mauritius, Réunion, Rodrigues, Seychelles and the Comoros Ian Sinclair and Oliver Langrand 2013
Birds of Madagascar and the Indian Ocean Islands (Helm Field Guides) .2016. Roger Safford, Adrian Skerret, Frank Hawkins.
Conservation International’s representative in Madagascar for decades, ornithologist Frank Hawkins identified many species new to science and now heads the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. While Chamberlin’s had been preferred by birders, Helm may well become the standard guide.
D'Gary, Malagasy Guitar Hero
From emerging filmmakers like the director of Nairobi Half-Life to the masterful films of Ousmane Sembene, there's a lot to see.