Dawn’s Reading List

Okay, so many clients ask me what books to read before embarking on their safari adventure.  Some people want to learn more about Tanzania, and others just want a great story relating to the area.  Well there are MANY great books out there, and many of them are already listed on the ADS reading list.  I’ve read most of these books myself, but the truth is I do have my favorites!  If I had to pick a *TOP 3* favorite all time African Safari books, I couldn’t do it.  So here are my *TOP 4*:


#1:  ”Lion’s Share: The Story of a Serengeti Pride”

By Jeannette Hanby and Illustrated by David Bygott

Sigh.  This is one of my FAVORITE stories of all time.  Beautifully written and exquisitely illustrated by Jeannette Hanby and David Bygott, both of whom actually lived among the Serengeti lions for four years (wow), this is the story of the “Sametu” lion pride.  Not only is it packed with fascinating information about lions as told by scientific experts who have observed real animals in the field, it is a beautiful story. Unique and creative, this story transports the reader to another place and time and allows one to experience the Serengeti from a lion’s perspective.  You will journey alongside the lions and get to know them as individuals as they earn your empathy and respect.  You will experience all the highs and lows, the triumphs and tragedies, and the living and the dying that is the dance of Africa.  The story takes on an even more special meaning when one visits the Serengeti in person, specifically Sametu Kopjes, and gets the opportunity to meet one of these amazing lions in person.  Perhaps even a descendent from one of the lions in the story!  Rare is the book that can teach and still capture your imagination in such a special way at the same time.  This is a must read.


#2:  ”My Serengeti Years: The Memoirs of an African Game Warden”

By Myles Turner

It’s truly amazing what a mass of information and factual data you can pick up by reading this book, without even realizing you learned anything!  This story is the perfect solution for those of you interested in learning more facts about the Serengeti and how it came to be, but tire quickly of reading long dry articles or textbook-style literature. This is a memoir of Myles Turner, an African Game Warden, involved with the Serengeti in the early and turbulent years when it was being defined as a National Park.  A true story told by not only an amazing man but an extremely articulate writer; you will be drawn head over heels into his personal journey.  All told by Myles himself!  And accidentally you’ll learn a lot too.


#3:  ”Serengeti Home”

By Kay Turner

A companion to the aforementioned book “My Serengeti Years”, this is the story of Kay Turner – the wife of Myles Turner.  If “My Serengeti Years” is the ying, this is the yang.  Told by Kay herself, this is her amazing story of how she lived alongside Myles for many years in the raw wilderness of the Serengeti and its many challenges, an amazing feat in itself, and somehow successfully raised two children along the way!  Kay has a profound respect and appreciation for the beauty and solitude of the Serengeti’s great wilderness and the amazing animals that reside here, and she has a wonderful knack for conveying the feeling of Africa to the reader.  Kay’s writing style is equally brilliant but quite different than her husband Myles, and her description of the Serengeti reads almost like beautiful prose at times.  Reading Kay’s writing is decadently cozy, like wrapping yourself up in a favorite blanket by the fire on a cold and rainy Sunday afternoon and sipping hot tea.  A heroine, humorist, artist, poet and adventurer, by the end you’ll want to be her best friend.


#4: “Whatever You Do, Don’t Run”

By Peter Allison

The funniest book I’ve ever read. This one had me laughing out loud.  A lot.  Technically not written about Tanzania or the Serengeti, the truth is there are just some safari experiences that translate across the board to any safari anywhere in Africa.  Peter Allison is a Safari Guide in Africa, and his collection of real life stories and humorous outlook is Jerry Seinfeld brilliant.  Not only has he gathered an amazing collection of experiences that will have you gasping in awe, part of his art is observing and articulating the funniest animal (and people) behaviors that anyone who has been on safari will instantly relate to.  This one is a rare gem.  Go get yourself a copy and read it!  Now!!!


A quick side note.  Some of these books and others on our reading list may be out of print.  But a quick internet search can usually yield positive results!  I’ve personally had very good luck finding inexpensive used copies of these books on websites such as Albris and Amazon .  Happy Reading!!!

14 Responses to Dawn’s Reading List

  1. Martha says:

    Who has time to read on safari, Dawn! We brought several books, including “My Serengeti Years”, but managed only a few pages. The exhilarating games drives sure put us to sleep at night. I’ll be reading these now, post-safari.

  2. Dawn says:

    That’s very true Martha! It may be difficult to find time to read while you are actually in Tanzania and on safari! Best time to read these picks is before the safari while you are anticipating, or after the safari while you are appreciating, or maybe on the airplane! (either direction!)

  3. Guy McWhorter says:

    Hi Dawn,
    As I get ready to leave for our Safari, just two weeks away now,I have bought a book titled
    “The Worlds of a Maasai Warrior” It’s an autobiography by Tepilt Ole Saitoti. It is my understanding that he was raised traditional Maasai and then later pursued higher education in Europe and the US. I have been told it is a great pre-safari read as it gives insight into the Maasai culture and traditions. Also talks about his transition from a Maasai to Western Culture. It is a short read (144 pgs) so I plan on reading it before arriving in Tanzania on the 26th. I will let you know my thoughts on it when done. Thanks for the reading list. Serengeti Home is also on my list but I have now added “Whatever you do, Dont Run” Thanks Dawn!

  4. Dawn says:

    Thanks Guy! “The Worlds of a Maasai Warrior” sounds like a very interesting read! I will be very curious to know what you think of it! And of course, with your trip being just a few days away now, HAVE A GREAT SAFARI!!! Can’t wait to hear all about that from you too!

  5. Pat Eacho says:

    Hi Dawn,

    I was able to locate most of these books on BetterWorldBooks.com! They claim to be a ‘green’ company and support several literacy programs including ‘Books for Africa’.

  6. Dawn says:

    Great suggestion Pat! Thank you!!!

  7. susan christensen says:

    My husband & I went on safari w/ ADS….we worked through Sharon…we had Reggie as our guide….am curious as to where abouts of them both.Thanks..we loved our trip…3yrs ago this mo!! Would love a reply……Susan

  8. Sharon Lyon says:

    Hi Susan,
    Sharon here! Great to hear from you again!! Of course I do remember you and also planning your safari with you! I am still honored to be selling safaris with ADS and helping others to live their dreams of going to Tanzania. I still return several times a year (last year 4 x’s )and still love what I do and everything about Tanzania. Reggie is currently driving/guiding one of my personal clients. They are at Lemala Ngorongoro tonight and then on to Swala for 2 nights. I will pass on your regards to Reggie through our Arusha office. I know he would also send you his best regards. Thanks again and please let me know if there is anything else I can do for you or any family and/or friends.
    All the best,

  9. Bill and Mary Ann H. says:

    Martha. having read 2 out of 4 (before our safari)I have to say your list is right on. Loved 2 and My Serengeti Home is on my nightstand ready to go. Have you read “Don’t Look Behind You” also by Peter Allison? Got that one for Christmas as a gift.


    • Dawn says:

      Thank you for your comments Bill! I am glad you have enjoyed the reading material. I am sure you will enjoy Serengeti Home. I do actually have “Don’t Look Behind You” by Peter Allison on MY nightstand, ready to go! Smile! He is such a funny guy. Thank you for the suggestion!

  10. Bill and Mary Ann H. says:

    Finished the book last night. Brought back great memories of our trip. Trying to learn what happened to Kay after Myles death, but not having any luck. Do you know what happened to Kay?

    • Dawn says:

      Hi Bill and Mary Ann,

      Unfortunately I do not know what happened to Kay after Myle’s passed away. I would be interested to know though, if you ever happen to find out!!

  11. Bill and Mary Ann H. says:

    Hi Dawn, searched the internet for almost an hour last night and could not turn up anything. Just doesn’t seem to be anything out there.


  12. Dawn says:

    Hi Bill,

    Yes, I also spent some time looking! To no avail. Not yet anyway. If I stumble across anything, I’ll let you know.

    All the best!

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