4 Great Reads On Africa

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Images: Penguin Random House

Bookworms will relish in the latest releases showcasing Africa’s best…

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  1. Wildlife Of The Okavango by Duncan Butchart

R160 (Struik Nature)

A remarkable variety of animals and plants can be found in the wilderness region surrounding the Okavango Delta. This photographic guide covers more than 470 of the area’s most conspicuous and interesting mammals, birds, reptiles, frogs, fishes, invertebrates, trees and aquatic plants. An informative introduction describes the area’s geology, climate, habitats and the key roles played by some animals, such as termites and elephants. The species accounts feature concise text describing the species’ appearance, size, habits, habitat and status, with full-colour photographs to facilitate identification.

Duncan Butchart is a naturalist, illustrator and photographer. He is the author and editor of numerous articles and books on wildlife, including Wildlife of South Africa (Struik Nature), and has worked in 11 African countries as a specialist in ecotourism communication.

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  1. South Africa by Sean Fraser

R350 (Struik Nature)

When a burning sun dips low enough on the horizon to touch the brown-black earth, that is when South Africa is at its very best – a blazing expanse of broad landscapes of sea and veld, dusty savanna and equally dusty pavements. It is a vast country, extending from pristine coastal plain to rugged mountain passes across wide stretches of semi desert and forest, hills and valleys. Even travelling South Africans are unprepared for the sheer scale and enormous diversity of this grand landscape. Every day, everywhere, there are new sights to behold and new experiences to share. It is the sun, the sand, the textures, the colours and the sounds that conjure up the spirit of South Africa.  This is the face of the nation – the essence of South Africa. An excellent souvenir celebrating the diversity of South Africa, this volume is a fine tribute to the country, its people and its land- and cityscapes.

Sean Fraser is a graduate of Journalism and Media Studies from Rhodes University and the author of a number of coffee-table, reference, travel and guide books on the people and places of southern Africa. His titles to date include Seven Days in Cape Town and Picturesque South Africa, published by Random House Struik, as well as Scenic South Africa, Scenic Cape Town and the National Geographic African Adventure Atlas. He is also an established editor and publishing consultant.

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  1. Africa’s Top Geological Sites by Richard Viljoen, Morris Viljoen, Carl Anhaeusser (eds)

R390 (Struik Nature)

Africa comprises some of the oldest and most extraordinary geology on planet Earth, which is discussed in this detailed and colourful book.  Some 44 of the continent’s most spectacular and interesting ‘geosites’ are included, from Table Mountain in the south to the eroded necks and plugs of the Hoggar region in Algeria; and from the volcanic islands of the Atlantic Ocean to the continental fragments off the African east coast. Each site is authored by a geologist (or specialist in a related field) with in-depth knowledge about the particular feature or landform: how it formed and developed, its current geological status, ecological impact, and its archaeological and cultural interest.

Supported with many photographs, maps, satellite images and explanatory illustrations, the text is accessible to geologists and lay enthusiasts alike, unpacking the how’s and whys of Africa’s most intriguing landforms, sites and geological features.

Richard Viljoen, Morris Viljoen and Carl Anhaeusser are all Honorary Professors of Geology at Wits University. They have overseen and edited submissions from more than 40 contributors to this volume, ensuring quality, accuracy and readability throughout.

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  1. The Bedside Ark by David Muirhead

A riotous assembly of unrespectable southern African creatures

R160 (Struik Nature)

This riotous assembly of unrespectable creatures comprises 42 short accounts of southern Africa’s vibrant collection of wild animals. From the one-of-its-kind aardvark to the willfully ignorant ostrich; the Houdini-like honey badger to the precariously specialised klipspringer; and from the curvaceous, sports-model springbok to the recklessly insensitive hyena – this book airs the dirty laundry (and shares the trade secrets) of some of our wackiest, most eccentric fauna. Many of the stories are illustrated with delightful line drawings.

Basing his accounts on accurate, true-to-life detail, but always looking on the light side, author David Muirhead captures the weird and wonderful lives of his subjects, investigating their often-exaggerated reputations, their habits, weaknesses, armouries and modi operandi. At once informative and hugely entertaining, this riotous assembly will appeal to anyone with the slightest interest in wildlife and – for its excellent entertainment value – will make a particularly wonderful gift.

Long-time English writer and journalist David Muirhead has already published several books, including a collection of satirical short stories that drew acclaim from the British press.

Source: Penguin Random House

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