Skip to main content

It is unsurprising that many epic and wonderful novels have been set in some of the breath-taking locations you can choose to horse safari in, and the spectacular landscapes Africa has to offer.

A good book goes hand-in-hand with an African Horse Safari. Whether it acts to whet the appetite and build excitement before you set out on your adventure; or as something to enjoy in those quiet moments when you have stepped down from the saddle, and are absorbing the serenity of the African bush. Below is a list of books we feel will compliment your African Horse Safari beautifully:

Before your Namibia Horse Safari:

The Sheltering Desert – Henno Martin

Book cover The Sheltering DesertWild Horse Riding

Before you set out on any of the Namibian rides, particularly the Namib Desert Ride, you should read the unbelievable tale of two men’s survival in one of Africa’s harshest landscapes.

Henno Martin and Hermann Korn, two German geologists conducting field research in South-West Africa, escape into the desert to avoid being interned in a local camp, due to the outbreak of World War II. The autobiographical account, written by Henno Martin, tells of the two men’s challenges of survival in the vast desert, living like the ancient Bushmen and in constant fear of being detected.

The Namib Desert Ride takes you through some of the spectacular and barren landscapes Henno describes, even passing one of the caves used by the two men.

We would highly recommend reading The Sheltering Desert before you depart of your epic expedition, to really gain an insight into the challenges and beauties of the landscape before you.

Before your Mozambique Horse Safari:

104 Horses – Mandy Retzlaff

Book Cover One Hundred and Four HorsesThree horses galloping in water

One Hundred and Four Horses is the epic story of how Mandy and Pat Retzlaff, owners of the establishment running the Mozambique Rides, came to settle in Vilanculos and their incredible journey across Africa. Mandy Retzlaff weaves the tale of an idyllic existence in Rhodesia that is torn apart; a tale of unbreakable bonds, the importance of family and friends, a love of the soil to which you were born, and the incredible connection between man and his horse.

Get swept up in the mesmerising story, either before you head off to Mozambique or as your holiday-read whilst you’re there. It will allow you to truly understand the beauty of the Retzlaff’s relationship with their horses.

Before your Kenyan Horse Safari:

Out of Africa – Karen Blixen

Book cover - Out of AfricaHorse riders and cHorse riders and cheetah in Masai Maraheetah

Out of Africa is a beautiful memoir by Karen Blixen, a Danish Baroness who made her life in Kenya, which was then called British East Africa. First published in 1937, Blixen recounts tales of her life in Kenya, providing a beautiful and intriguing insight into African colonial life in the last decades of the British Empire.

After reading Blixen’s wonderful and vivid descriptions of Kenya, you will be itching to get out to Africa and horse ride across the Masai Mara. Out of Africa is an excellent way to whet your appetite before you set off on your African Horse Safari in Kenya.

Before your Horse Safari in Botswana:

The Number 1. Ladies Detective Agency – Alexander McCall Smith

Book cover - Number one Ladies Detective AgencyHorse riders with Zebra

This enchanting, light-hearted and charming series follows the adventures of a detective agency located in Gaborone, Botswana. The lead detective and protagonist is a Motswana woman called Mma Precious Ramotswe. This series is not loved for its ‘crime-thriller’, ‘mind-boggling’ plot lines, but the wonderful way in which it provides an insight into the lives of Botswana citizens, and the development and eccentricities of the different characters.

An easy-read, The Number 1. Ladies Detective Agency makes a great accompaniment for any Botswana adventure – something to chuckle over as you lie in the sun before your afternoon ride.

Cry of the Kalahari – Mark & Delia Owens

Book cover - Cry of the KalahariThree horse riders with herd of zebra

This autobiographical book details the experiences of Mark and Delia Owens, two American zoologists studying the wildlife in the Kalahari desert, Botswana in the mid-1970s. For seven years they inhabited the previously unexplored areas in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, living without roads, people and with the nearest civilisation over 8 hours away. This book tells the story of the Owens’ experiences of the trials and tribulations of living in such hostile and unforgiving landscapes, with only the animals they studied for company.

This fascinating account compliments the Kalahari and Makgadikgadi Salt Pans Ride beautifully. As you ride through the vast landscapes you can’t help but imagine the sense of isolation the Owens’ must have felt, living out in the middle of the enchanting desert.

Before your Horse Safari in Tanzania:

The Shadow of Kilimanjaro: On Foot Across East Africa – Rick Ridgeway

Book cover - The Shadow of KilimanjaroGiraffe and horse riders with Kilimanjaro

Rick Ridgeway recounts his impressive and exciting journey on foot, from the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro to the Indian Ocean, traversing Kenya’s famous big five Tsavo National Park in 1999. This exciting and compelling account keeps you turning pages as Ridgeway describes how it feels to be charged by an enraged elephant, and gets your spine tingling with stories of being kept awake by stalking lions.

As you ride through Tanzania’s breath-taking scenery, in the shadow of the magnificent Mount Kilimanjaro, you will get a sense of the kind of journey Ridgeway took on – keeping a careful eye out for any stalking lions!

Before your Horse Safari down the Wild Coast, South Africa:

On the Wild Coast – Patrick J. Lee

Book cover - On the Wild Coasthorses galloping on the beach

Incredible untouched wildernessIncredible untouched wildernessThis absorbing and intense story investigates the mystery which surrounds the body of an unidentified white man, found washed up on the rocks in Port Victoria on the Wild Coast. Set in post-apartheid South Africa, the tale of tragedy, humour and displacement, compliments the unforgettable and interesting social structures of Port Victoria.

Read this book before you take on the Wild Coast to bring context to the spectacular and truly wild landscapes and civilisations you will encounter.

Before your Horse Safari in Uganda:

The White Nile – Alan Moorehead

Book Cover - White NileWoman riding bay horse along the Nile River

This epic book tells of the intrepid exploration along the Nile River in the second half of the nineteenth century. At that time, it was one of the most mysterious and impenetrable regions on earth. Moorehead writes enticing and encapsulating tales of exploration, featuring figures such as Stanley, Livingstone and Burton, and providing vivid detail and descriptions.

As you ride through Uganda’s stunning setting and along the seemingly idyllic River Nile, you’ll find it hard to believe it was once the intense wilderness Moorehead describes.

Before your Horse Safari in South Africa:

The Courtney Series – Wilbur Smith


Book Covers by Wilbur Smithhorse riding with elephant

Wilbur Smith tells the story of the lives of the fictional Courtney family, living in Africa from the 1860s to 1987, through a series of thirteen novels.  Smith weaves exciting and intriguing tales of love and adventure, conjuring vivid and enticing images of Africa.

“When I first came to Botswana, I was completely addicted to the Courtney’s and threw myself into the first 4 books. Reading them whilst listening to the sounds of the real African bush outside my tented accommodation was magic – I would highly recommend them for a holiday read! Don’t be intimidated by the ‘thirteen novels’ however, I must admit I did find after the 5th book I was ready to move on to something new!” Isabel Juby, Sales & Marketing Manager

Long Walk to Freedom – Nelson Mandela

Book Cover - Long Walk To Freedomhorse riding with rhino

Get up close to the resident rhinosWherever you are going on your African Horse Safari this book is relevant. Nelson Mandela has helped to shape African history and his influence is spread across the continent. Read the words of an African hero and be inspired by his determination and perseverance in the face of adversity. His autobiography speaks of the struggles against apartheid South Africa and is a must read for anyone interested in African history and leadership.

The Elephant Whisperer – Lawrence Anthony

Book cover - The Elephant Whispererhorse riders seen through elephant legs

An exceptionally written account of South African conservationist Lawrence Anthony and his journey with elephatns. He was asked to accept a herd of ‘rogue’ elephants on his Thula Thula game reserve in South Africa. As Lawrence battled to create a bond with the elephants and save them from execution, he came to realise that they had a lot to teach him about life, loyalty and freedom. Set against the background of life on the reserve, with unforgettable characters and exotic wildlife, this is a delightful book that will appeal to animal lovers everywhere.