12 Great Sources for Learning More about South Africa

&Beyond Ngala Tented Camp, Ngala Private Game Reserve on the western edge of Kruger National Park, South Africa
An elephant grazes at Ngala Private Game Reserve in South Africa. Photo courtesy of &Beyond Ngala Tented Camp.

Ujuzi has several trips planned for South Africa. If you’re looking to learn more about the country, its people and wildlife, here are some good places to start.

General Travel Guides

South Africa Highlights (Bradt Highlights South Africa) by Philip Briggs. At 208 pages, this light, easy-to-carry guide provides an overview of South African natural and human history, with separate sections on the country’s different regions and general travel tips.

South Africa InfoThis is a huge website with lots of helpful, up-to-date information. Especially helpful is the travel section. And don’t miss South Africa Info’s entertaining and informative guide to South African English.


The Safari Companion: A Guide to Watching African Mammals Including Host Mammals, Carnivores, and Primates by Richard EstesFor those who want a deeper understanding of animal behavior then most field guides provide, this book explains courtship rituals, aggression, territorial marking and more.

The Kingdon Field Guide to African Mammals by Jonathan Kingdon O.ne of the most acclaimed books of its kind, it covers every mammal genus you’re likely to encounter on safari. Paperback and ebook.  The Kingdon Pocket Guide to African Mammals is also available.

Southern African Wildlife (Bradt Travel Guide. Southern African Wildlife) by Mike Unwin. With over 300 color photographs, this guide provides a good overview of every major animal group as well as descriptions of the different types of ecosystems and habitats in which you’ll find animals. Paperback.

Pocket Guide: Birds of Southern Africa (The Pocket Guide) by Ian SinclairFeatures the 500 bird species you are most likely to encounter in South Africa. Paperback.


Vanishing Cultures of South Africa  by Peter Magubane. Documents the customs and traditional beliefs of ten indigenous peoples in South Africa.

Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela by Nelson Mandela–The story of the political prisoner who became South Africa’s first black president after the country’s liberation from apartheid. Paperback, ebook and audiobook.

Nelson Mandela’s Favorite African FolktalesFeatures fascinating folktales from around the continent. South African contributions include selections from the Xhosa, Zulu, and Karanga (Shona) people. Paperback, ebook and audiobook.

South Africa LanguagesSouth Africa is known as the “rainbow nation” because it is home to so many diverse cultures. This website offers an overview of each of South Africa’s 11 official languages and many of the other languages also spoken in the country. 

Learn to Speak an African Language from University of South Africa. This website highlights five of South Africa’s 11 official languages. It includes audio recordings of many common phrases.