Books About Kenya

Whether you are reading up before visiting Kenya or you are simply interested in the country, these books about Kenya are a great introduction to the Kenyan people, culture, wildlife and history.

Non-Fiction and Memoirs

Books About Kenya

Born Free: A Lioness of Two Worlds

by Joy Adamson
The author recounts her adventures as the surrogate mother of an orphaned lion cub called Elsa. First published in 1960 and closely followed by a hit movie of the same name.

 

Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen, Karen Blixen

Out of Africa

by Isak Dinesen, Karen Blixen
An autobiography about the time the Danish author spent running a 4,000-acre coffee plantation in the hills near Nairobi from 1914 to 1931.

 

African Hunter by Bror Blixen

African Hunter

by Bror Blixen
Originally written by Bror Blixen (husband of Isak Dinesen), and then translated from Swedish to English in 1938. The book contains detailed descriptions of Blixen’s travels and hunts.

 

West with the Night by Beryl Markham

West with the Night

by Beryl Markham
A true classic, the book tells the story of Beryl Markham’s life growing up in Kenya East Africa and her career as an aviator.

 

Straight on Till Morning: The Life of Beryl Markham by Mary S. Lovell

Straight on Till Morning: The Life of Beryl Markham

by Mary S. Lovell
If you loved “West with the Night”, this fascinating biography of Beryl Markham is a must-read.

 

 

The Flame Trees of Thika: Memories of an African Childhood by Elspeth Huxley

The Flame Trees of Thika: Memories of an African Childhood

by Elspeth Huxley
As pioneering settlers in Kenya, Huxley and her parents built a house of grass, eat off a damask cloth spread over packing cases, and find out the hard way—the world of the African.

 

I Dreamed of Africa by Kuki Gallmann

I Dreamed of Africa

by Kuki Gallmann
At the age of 25, Gallman moves to Kenya and established a vast ranch on the Laikipia plateau. This moving memoir is both a dream fulfilled and personal tragedy.

 

Unbowed by Wangari Maathai

Unbowed

by Wangari Maathai
Wangari Maathai, the winner of the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize and a single mother of three, recounts her life as a political activist, feminist, and environmentalist in Kenya.

 

Mountaineering

No Picnic on Mount Kenya: A Daring Escape, A Perilous Climb by Felice Benuzzi
No Picnic on Mount Kenya: A Daring Escape, A Perilous Climb

by Felice Benuzzi
A mountaineering classic about three Italian prisoners of war who escaped from a British POW camp in 1943 to climb Mount Kenya.

 

Wildlife

Wildlife of East Africa by Martin B. Withers
Wildlife of East Africa

by Martin B. Withers
A concise yet informative, visually breathtaking field guide. It features full-color photos of 475 common species of bird, mammal, snake, lizard, insect, tree, and flower.

 

 

Birds of Kenya and Northern Tanzania by Dale A. Zimmerman

Birds of Kenya and Northern Tanzania

by Dale A. Zimmerman
A compact and beautiful guide for birdwatchers and travelers featuring 124 color plates, depicting all 1,114 species in the area, including variations by subspecies, age, and sex.

 

Fiction

Wizard of the Crow by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o
Wizard of the Crow

by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o
From the exiled Kenyan novelist, playwright, poet, and literary critic–a magisterial comic novel that is bound to take its place as a landmark of postcolonial African literature.

 

History and Culture

Facing Mount Kenya by Jomo KenyattaFacing Mount Kenya

by Jomo Kenyatta
Kenyatta, the first president of the Republic of Kenya, provides a detailed insider description of the Kikuyu people of Kenya covering virtually every aspects of tribal life.

 

 

 

African Warriors: The Samburu by Thomasin Magor

African Warriors: The Samburu

by Thomasin Magor
A striking photo-essay detailing the folkways of the Samburu people of Kenya.

 

Other Pages That May Interest You

Books About Africa
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