Five Great Nature Reads

Five Great Nature Reads

From tracking to birding to mammal spotting, we have a great selection to choose from …

50 Top Birding Sites in Kenya

Catherine Ngarachu (Penguim Random House South Africa)


For the very first time, local and visiting birders will have a detailed guide to Kenya’s best birding sites. The book will help them to locate the key species in each area, including sought-after ‘specials’ and endemics. The book offers:

  • A detailed map for each site with specific guidance on what to look for and where.
  • Information about the birds likely to be seen.
  • Descriptions of each site, indicating the plants and wildlife that may be encountered in addition to the birds.
  • Tips for planning your trip.
  • Road directions to each site.
Field Guide to Succulents in Southern Africa

Gideon F. Smith; Neil R. Crouch & Estrela Figueiredo (Penguim Random House South Africa)


Southern Africa is the natural home of the richest and most diverse succulent flora in the world. These plants come in all shapes and sizes, from trees such as the baobab at more than 20m tall, to miniature soil huggers, just a few millimetres high, which mimic their pebble-desert surroundings. This user-friendly, richly illustrated field guide features more than 700 southern African succulents, focusing on the most interesting and commonly encountered species. An introduction to families and their key features will help readers identify the relevant plant group, while concise accounts describing the plants’ diagnostic features, along with distribution maps, will enable quick identification of species. More than just an ID guide for plant lovers, this book will inspire gardeners who are turning to indigenous, low-maintenance and water-wise plants for cultivation.

  1. Stuarts’ Field Guide to Larger Mammals of Africa

Chris & Mathilde Stuart (Penguin Random House South Africa)


Of the more than 5 500 mammal species worldwide, at least 1 200 occur in Africa. Stuarts’ Field Guide to the Larger Mammals of Africa concentrates on all the visible and easily distinguished larger species, but also includes some of the more frequently seen smaller mammals such as rodents. This new edition has been extensively revised, expanded and redesigned and includes:

  • The most recent research and taxonomy.
  • Revised distribution maps and new images.
  • Colour-coded grouping of orders.
  • Size icons.
  • Detailed descriptions of each species, offering insight into key identification characters, typical behaviour, preferred habitat, food choice, reproduction and longevity.
  • Whales and dolphins are now featured too.
Tracker Manual

Alex Van Den Heever, Karel Benadie & Renais Mhlongo (Struik Nature)


This practical guide to animal tracking is a one-of-its-kind manual, based on information developed with the help of southern Africa’s few remaining traditional trackers and their centuries-old wisdom in the field. It presents the more concrete and obvious wildlife signs for some 160 animals and teams them with a host of seemingly unrelated details to give a comprehensive picture of recent – and not-so-recent traffic through the bush. Simple, bulleted text guides readers through the key points and teaches the broad–based observational skills required to detect and interpret messages; multiple photographs, some annotated, along with accurate track drawings for all the animals, offer a clear visual guide too. What began as the Tracker Academy student textbook is now available to the public.

Understanding Elephants: Guidelines for safe and enjoyable elephant viewing

The Elephant Specialist Advisory Group (Penguin Random House South Africa)


Elephants are both charismatic and enigmatic, and often the biggest attraction to game reserves and national parks. Understanding Elephants cautions us to be sensitive to their needs when we enter their territory, to read the signs and to act accordingly, and describes elephant family life, from rearing of infants to establishing dominance within a herd; it unpacks regular elephant behaviour, the matriarchal system, the particular dangers of males in musth, and many other aspects of their lives. Most of all, it provides guidelines for ensuring safe and enjoyable encounters with these majestic animals. An essential guide for those planning visits to reserves; aside from the interest factor, reading the signs accurately may just save lives!

Images: Penguin Random House, Struik Nature