Reading List



There are hundreds of books out there. Your tour leader, Karen Ross, and our local travel partner, Glen Stephen, and CNH Tours have created the following shortlist to start you off. If you've discovered some jewels out there, please share them with us, along with a few comments, and we'll add them to our list.


  • The Shell Field Guide to Trees and Shrubs of the Okavango Delta. Veronica Roodt, Shell Guides. 1998
  • The Shell Field Guide to the Common Wild Flowers of the Okavango Delta. Veronica Roodt, Shell Guides. 1998
  • Kirstenbosch: The Most Beautiful Garden in Africa. Brian Huntley. Kirstenbosch is a name that resonates round the world as the home of a uniquely rich flora in a setting of unsurpassed beauty, and in 2013 Kirstenbosch celebrates its 100th anniversary.


  • Wild Ways: Field Companion to the Behaviour of Southern African Mammals. Peter Apps and Penny Meakin. 2014 (Glen Stephen’s favourite).
  • Wildlife of the Okavango by Duncan Butchart 2000
  • Smithers’ Mammals of Southern Africa.   Peter Apps, 2012.  
  • The Safari Companion: A Guide to Watching African Mammals. Richard Estes. According to Karen Ross: “For anyone who wants to learn more about the ecology and behaviour of animals rather than just a species description.”
  • Roberts’ Bird Guide. Hugh Chittenden, Davies and Weiersbye.
  • Sasol's Larger Illustrated Guide to Birds of Southern Africa. Ryan Hockey, Sinclair & Tarboton


  • Botswana Safari Guide: Okavango Delta, Chobe & northern Kalahari by Chris McIntyre. Bradt Travel Guide Publications


  • Okavango River – The Flow of a Lifeline. John Mendelsohn, Selma El Obeid, Struik. 2005
  • Okavango: Jewel of the Kalahari.  By our very own Karen Ross (Struik) 2003



  • Tsodilo Hills:  Copper Bracelet of the KalahariEdited by: Alec Campbell, Larry Robbins and Michael Taylor (Michigan State University Press). 2010.  A well-researched and richly textured description of one of Africa’s most sacred sites. It looks at geological, ecological, anthropological, and historical evidence to construct a chain of interaction that extends for tens of millennia and ties together people and place.



  • Cry of the Kalahari. Mark and Delia Owens, HarperCollins. 1984; reprinted 1992. Karen Ross says: “Reads more like a novel than a biographical account of their time in the Kalahari – a cracking read!”.
  • The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency novels. Alexander McCall Smith, Abacus. 2003 onwards. About a woman detective who solves cases for wives whose husbands have gone missing, with Botswana almost taking on a full role itself. The novels are as much about the adventures and foibles of different characters as they are about solving mysteries.
  • Before The Knife: Memories of an African Childhood. Carolyn Slaughter 2003
  • Don’t Run, Whatever you do. Peter Allison. Funny and not so funny tales of an Okavango guide.
  • Twenty Chickens for a Saddle. Robyn Scott. A funny and endearing novel about growing up in Botswana.
  • Under African Sun.  Marianne Alverson.  This book shares a personal, intimate encounter with a culture, a village, a people in Botswana.  They are real people who display quirks, experience, wisdom beyond our "civilized" grasp, human feelings, and social demands.  Recommended by the author's son Keith, a former UNESCO colleague of CNH Tours' Marc Patry, and a character in the book.  


  • Livingstone. Tim Jeal.  David Livingstone, from a very poor family in Scotland, to medical doctor, African explorer and Christian proselytizer. The first white man to see Victoria Falls (1855), where a statue still stands in his honour.  This is a comprehensive book - providing a great deal of historical / cultural context to Livingstone's life and journeys.
  • The Scramble for Africa: White Man's Conquest of the Dark Continent from 1876 to 1912. Thomas Pakenham. A very comprehensive account of how European nations vied for a piece of the Africa pie. This is a bit beyond the scope of our trip – but nevertheless provides a foundational understanding of what went on in the fairly recent past (recommended by Marc Patry).



The World Heritage Centre provides rich information on the heritage values of global significance for each World Heritage site.  You'll also find detailed information on conservation challenges these sites contend with, and the responses applied over the years.