Zambia & Malawi: travel books to read before you go

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

In Scribbling the Cat: Travels with an African Soldier, Alexandra Fuller journeys with a companion through Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, revealing a legacy of conflict and its effects on themselves and the region’s indigenous peoples.

Zambia: Safari in Style by David Rogers is an indispensable guide for those considering an upmarket safari in Zambia. It reveals in detail 25 of the country’s top wildlife lodges, peeling apart their unique ambience.

In The Ukimwi Road, Dervla Murphy, the famously eccentric Irish grandmother, recounts her adventures as she cycles through Africa (including Malawi and Zambia), downing beers and observing life – most notably the harrowing effects of AIDS.

A fun and fascinating collection of stories from Africa about cars, bars, rebellions and other diverse subjects, Mr Bigstuff and the Goddess of Charm by Fiona Sax Ledger includes some insightful conversations with Zambian politicians.

In Quest of Livingstone by Colum Wilson and Aisling Irwin is the story of two British travellers who followed the explorer’s footsteps through Tanzania and Zambia, combining contemporary observations with flashbacks to Livingstone’s own journals.

Laurens van der Post’s poetic descriptions of his ‘exploration’ of Malawi’s Mt Mulanje and Nyika Plateau in Venture to the Interior are augmented by his report of the quaint workings of the British colonial administration.

Zambezi – Journey of a River by Michael Main is a slightly rambling but immensely fascinating study of Zambia’s mighty river; a combination of history, geography, geology, anthropology, careful observation, humour, rumour and myth.

The well-written and entertaining The Scramble for Africa: White Man’s Conquest of the Dark Continent from 1876 to 1912, by Thomas Pakenham, is the standard work that details both sides of the colonial story.

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