Kenya: travel books to read before you go

This excerpt from Lonely Planet’s Kenya guide provides a selection of travel literature to get you in the mood for your trip.

A Primates MemoirAlready a firm favourite among animal lovers and conservationists, A Primate’s Memoir: Love, Death and Baboons in East Africa, by Robert M Sapolsky, is an engaging account of a young primatologist’s years working in Kenya.

Tick Bite FeverEqually personal and a bit less serious at heart, David Bennun’s entertaining Tick Bite Fever tells of the author’s accident-prone childhood in Africa, complete with suicidal dogs and Kenya Cowboys.

No Mans LandFor a more serious look at social and cultural issues, read No Man’s Land: An Investigative Journey Through Kenya and Tanzania, by George Monbiot, which follows the fortunes of the region’s nomadic tribes.

African DiaryBill Bryson turns his social conscience and trademark gentle humour on the region in his African Diary, concentrating on a seven-day trip to Kenya.

Londoner Daisy Waugh provides a city girl’s take on the thoroughly untouristy town of Isiolo in A Small Town in Africa, giving a more modern alternative to the many settlers’ tales in print.

Journey to the Jade SeaIncreasingly hard to find but worth the effort, Journey to the Jade Sea, by John Hillaby, recounts this prolific travel writer’s epic trek to Lake Turkana in the days before the Kenyan tourist boom.

Out of AfricaFinally, while some of her observations are far from politically correct by today’s standards, the heartfelt Out of Africa, by Karen Blixen (Isak Dinesen), remains perhaps the single definitive account of the colonial experience in Africa.

More travel literature reading lists for other destinations can be found here.