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Great Books to Read before your Botswana Safari

Here is a selection of books that will give you a taste of Botswana in various forms; personal experiences from residents, researchers and guides who have all spent time in this semi-desert country.

  • Whatever You Do, Don’t Run [Peter Allison]

  • Cry of the Kalahari [Mark & Delia Owens]

  • Twenty Chickens for a Saddle [Robyn Scott]

  • The Lost World of the Kalahari - Laurens Van der Post

  • The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency [novels] Alexander McCall Smith

Whatever You Do, Don't Run: True Stories and Reflections by Not-So-Rugged Rangers by David Hood, James Hendry, Chris Roche, Megan Emmett

A collection of encounters in the wilds by a group of true-blue game rangers. Anecdotes of perilous meetings with dangerous animals are interspersed with self-deprecatory asides, ruminations on nature - and the foibles of the 'nature tourist'.


Cry of the Kalahari by Mark & Delia Owens,

This is the story of the Owens' travel and life in the Kalahari Desert. Here they met and studied unique animals and were confronted with danger from drought, fire, storms, and the animals they loved. This best-selling book is for both travelers and animal lovers.


Twenty Chickens for a Saddle

by Robyn Scott

In this brilliant, hilarious memoir, Robyn Scott recounts the years living in Botswana while her dad works as a flying doctor. At first she thinks her parents don't have the best ideas, but soon she begins to realize the importance of her father's work. Botswana has the highest rate of HIV infection in the world, but still no one wants to talk about it and, for once, Scott is proud that her parents are willing to be unconventional.


The Lost World of the Kalahari

by Laurens van der Post

The distinguished explorer and writer recounts his rediscovery of the Bushmen, outcast survivors from Stone Age Africa. Faced with constant attack from all the peoples who followed them, the last of the Bushmen have retreated to the scorching depths of the Kalahari Desert in southern Africa. After a gruelling trek, van der Post finds the Bushmen, thriving in one of the world’s most inhospitable landscapes, with their physical peculiarities, their cave art and their joyful music-making intact.


The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency

by Alexander McCall Smith

Precious Ramotswe has only just set up shop as Botswana's No.1 (and only) lady detective when she is hired to track down a missing husband, uncover a con man, and follow a wayward daughter. However, the case that tugs at her heart, and lands her in danger, is a missing eleven-year-old boy, who may have been snatched by witch doctors.

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