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SMITHSONIAN JOURNEYS

South Africa by Sea

READING AND TRAVEL GUIDE

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Books for

Enrich your travels with reading! Here's a hand-picked list prepared for your journey in conjunction with the book experts at Longitude.

Essential Reading

Item EXSAF201. Buy these 5 items as a set for $88 including shipping, 15% off the retail price.
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Insight Guide South Africa

Insight Guide South Africa

by Insight Guides

  • GUIDEBOOK
  • 2011
  • PAPER
  • 384 PAGES

South Africa is brought to life in hundreds of color photographs and vividly written essays by a team of experts. Panoramic in scope, the guide takes us from Johannesburg out into the veld, providing genuine insight into the history, nature and modern politics of this complex land. (SAF21, $24.99)

My Traitor's Heart

My Traitor's Heart

by Rian Malan

  • BIOGRAPHY/MEMOIR
  • 2000
  • PAPER
  • 425 PAGES
  • FAVORITE

Afrikaner journalist Malan recounts his journey back to his homeland just before the collapse of apartheid. He grapples with the black and white heart of South Africa, drawing on the 300-year history of his family in Africa and legends of the Zulu nation, in this beautifully written and brutally honest story of return. (SAF19, $15.00)

Long Walk to Freedom

Long Walk to Freedom

by Nelson Mandela

  • BIOGRAPHY/MEMOIR
  • 1995
  • PAPER
  • 640 PAGES

An unpretentious tale of an extraordinary life, Mandela's autobiography is essential reading for an understanding of South Africa. His grace and his love for his country shine throughout. (SAF15, $18.00)

The Wildlife of Southern Africa, A Field Guide to the Animals and Plants of the Region

The Wildlife of Southern Africa, A Field Guide to the Animals and Plants of the Region

by Vincent Carruthers | Kenneth Newman

  • FIELD GUIDE
  • 2008
  • PAPER
  • 320 PAGES
  • BEST SELLER
  • COMING IN APRIL

With 1,200 color illustrations by a range of experts, this compact field guide includes all the birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, insects, fish and plants that a traveler is likely to encounter in southern Africa. (SAF59, $28.00)

South Africa Map

South Africa Map

by Globetrotter

  • 2011
  • MAP
  • HARD TO FIND ELSEWHERE

Detailed maps of Cape Town, the Garden Route, Kruger and other popular spots are featured on the reverse of this country map. (SAF09, $8.95)

 
Cape Town Pocket Map

Cape Town Pocket Map


by MapLink

  • MAP
  • OUT OF PRINT

A detailed map of Cape Town at a scale of 1:25,000. (SAF103, $7.95)

Durban Street Plan


by MapLink

  • MAP

Detailed map of Durban, published in South Africa. (SAF104, $19.95)

Culture Smart! South Africa

Culture Smart! South Africa


by David Holt-Biddle

  • GUIDEBOOK
  • 2007
  • PAPER
  • 168 PAGES

This handy guide will help you navigate local customs, etiquette and culture. (SAF169, $9.95)

A History of South Africa

A History of South Africa


by Leonard Thompson

  • HISTORY
  • 2014
  • PAPER
  • 512 PAGES

A succinct history of South Africa, especially strong on early Africans and European colonization. (SAF101, $20.00)

Anatomy of a Miracle, The End of Apartheid and the Birth of the New South Africa

Anatomy of a Miracle, The End of Apartheid and the Birth of the New South Africa


by Patti Waldmeir

  • HISTORY
  • 1998
  • PAPER
  • 289 PAGES
  • OUT OF PRINT

An insider's account of the extraordinary transition of power from de Klerk to Mandela, told with verve and an eye for detail by the Financial Times Johannesburg bureau chief. (SAF47, $22.95)

Beyond the Miracle, Inside the New South Africa

Beyond the Miracle, Inside the New South Africa


by Allister Sparks

  • HISTORY
  • 2009
  • PAPER
  • 408 PAGES

The South African journalist (Tomorrow is Another Country), continues the tale of the transformation of South Africa and its accomplishments, failures and challenges in the decade following the collapse of Apartheid. (SAF166, $20.00)

The Fate of Africa

The Fate of Africa


by Martin Meredith

  • HISTORY
  • 2011
  • PAPER
  • 792 PAGES

Ambitious in scope, immensely readable -- and as big as a doorstop -- Martin Meredith's blockbuster country-by-country overview of the tumult in Africa since independence is now revised and updated to reflect recent events. (AFR154, $21.99)

The Peoples of the Middle Niger


by Roderick James McIntosh

  • CULTURAL PORTRAIT
  • 1998
  • HARD COVER
  • 346 PAGES

A scholarly study of the ancient inhabitants of the Niger floodplain, incorporating archaeological discoveries and oral traditions. (WAF93, $94.95)

The Scramble for Africa

The Scramble for Africa


by Thomas Pakenham

  • HISTORY
  • 1992
  • PAPER
  • 738 PAGES

Absorbing and meticulously researched, this in-depth history of the Victorian land grab in 19th century Africa includes excellent portraits of the egomaniacal personalities who overran the continent. (AFR26, $23.99)

The Washing of the Spears

The Washing of the Spears


by Donald R. Morris

  • HISTORY
  • 1998
  • PAPER
  • 692 PAGES

Written at Hemingway's suggestion, this sprawling chronicle of the Zulu nation and particularly of the war of 1879, takes places in an "endless land of scattered riches and infinite variety." (SAF49, $27.95)

Tomorrow is Another Country, The Inside Story of South Africa's Road to Change

Tomorrow is Another Country, The Inside Story of South Africa's Road to Change


by Allister Sparks

  • HISTORY
  • 1996
  • PAPER
  • 254 PAGES

Sparks explores the extraordinary developments that led to multiracial democracy in South Africa, an essential key to understanding the country today. (SAF31, $25.00)

Cry, The Beloved Country

Cry, The Beloved Country


by Alan Paton

  • LITERATURE
  • 2003
  • PAPER
  • 317 PAGES

The deeply moving story of Reverend Kumalo's quest for justice. First published in 1948, it is a striking, poetic tribute to the power of the individual and a trenchant indictment of apartheid. (SAF30, $16.00)

Life & Times of Michael K

Life & Times of Michael K


by J.M. Coetzee

  • LITERATURE
  • 1995
  • PAPER
  • 184 PAGES

Coetzee sets this short, hallucinatory novel, the powerful tale of a troubled boy, in South Africa in the midst of civil war. (SAF17, $14.00)

None to Accompany Me

None to Accompany Me


by Nadine Gordimer

  • LITERATURE
  • 1995
  • PAPER
  • 324 PAGES

With keen attention to character and racial politics, Nobel Prize-winner Gordimer traces the experiences of two families during turbulent, post-Apartheid South Africa. (SAF76, $16.00)

Skinner's Drift, A Novel

Skinner's Drift, A Novel


by Lisa Fugard

  • LITERATURE
  • 2006
  • PAPER
  • 304 PAGES

This family drama, by the daughter of playwright Athol Fugard, unspools in Johannesburg, where the main character returns to care for her dying father. (SAF168, $19.99)

The Reader's Companion to South Africa

The Reader's Companion to South Africa


by Alan Ryan

  • ANTHOLOGY
  • 1999
  • PAPER
  • 310 PAGES
  • OUT OF PRINT

A collection of 19 mostly classic traveler's accounts of South Africa. It is a vivid introduction to the land by foreign luminaries and comic masters, including Mark Twain, Alan Moorhead, Michael Palin and P.J. O'Rourke. (SAF61, $16.00)

Elephant Destiny


by Martin Meredith

  • NATURAL HISTORY
  • 2004
  • PAPER
  • 288 PAGES

Inspired by the work of Cynthia Moss (Elephant Memories) and Iain Hamilton (Among the Elephants), Meredith journeyed all over Africa for this succinct biography of the elephant, its sophisticated social structure and ecology, long association with people and threats to survival. (AFR187, $14.95)

Horn of Darkness, Rhinos on the Edge

Horn of Darkness, Rhinos on the Edge


by Carol Cunningham | Joel Berger

  • NATURAL HISTORY
  • 2000
  • PAPER
  • 256 PAGES

A lively account of field work, combining adventure, natural history and thoughtful commentary on the plight of the severely endangered black rhinoceros in Namibia. (NMB07, $50.00)

Wild at Heart

Wild at Heart


by Peter Godwin | Chris Johns

  • NATURAL HISTORY
  • 2007
  • HARD COVER
  • 176 PAGES

This lush collection of full-color photographs tackles conservation, development and tradition in southern Africa. It's a well-illustrated portrait of the region by National Geographic photographer Johns and veteran journalist Godwin. (SAF130, $65.00)

Kingdon Pocket Guide to African Mammals

Kingdon Pocket Guide to African Mammals


by Jonathan Kingdon

  • FIELD GUIDE
  • 2004
  • PAPER
  • 272 PAGES

A conveniently compact edition of Kingdon's gloriously illustrated Field Guide to African Mammals. Includes abbreviated information on identification, distribution, ecology and conservation status and 480 outstanding color illustrations and maps. (EAF128, $25.95)

Newman's Birds of Southern Africa

Newman's Birds of Southern Africa


by Kenneth Newman

  • FIELD GUIDE
  • 2010
  • PAPER
  • 538 PAGES
  • CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE
  • >

This commemorative 10th edition celebrates the late author with a fully revised and updated version. Edits were done by his daughter, Vanessa Newman, to reflect the latest research, taxonomy and common names. (SAF29, $26.00)

Southern African Wildlife, A Visitor's Guide

Southern African Wildlife, A Visitor's Guide


by Mike Unwin

  • FIELD GUIDE
  • 2011
  • PAPER
  • 234 PAGES

A popular photographic guide to the mammals, birds, reptiles and habitats south of the Zambezi. With 300 color photographs and illuminating text. (SAF131, $26.99)

The Safari Companion

The Safari Companion


by Richard Estes

  • FIELD GUIDE
  • 1999
  • PAPER
  • 459 PAGES
  • BEST SELLER

An invaluable encyclopedic guide to Africa's mammals by a noted scientist, this perennial bestseller includes black-and-white drawings, an overview of each animal group and in-depth information. Written with the typical safari-goer in mind. (AFR06, $30.00)

More Recommendations

Here are some other groups of books that might be of interest

Longitude provides recommended reading for travelers in partnership with the leading tour operators and travel programs for hundreds of destinations worldwide. We've got the classic, new and hard-to-find books and maps to help you get the most out of your adventures.