The Best Books About African Animals on Amazon Today

Written by Gail Baker Nelson
Updated: April 28, 2023
© Yulia Lakeienko/Shutterstock.com

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Best forProduct
Best Photography BookInto Africa
Best for BirdersBirds of Southern Africa: The Complete Photographic Guide
Best Migration GuideAfrican Odyssey: 365 Days
Best on African SnakesThe Dangerous Snakes of Africa
Best for ConservationRemembering African Wild Dogs
Best Book About HyenasHumans and Hyenas: Monster or Misunderstood
Best for ZoologistsThe Behavior Guide to African Mammals

Key Points

  • This review seven selections that approach African animals from very different angles.
  • When you’re shopping for a book about African animals, ask yourself whether you’re interested in a photo book, a guide to identifying certain types of animals by sight or behavior, supporting conservation efforts, or learning about the behavior of a much-maligned species.

Sadly, most of us will never go on an African safari. Yet, we can live vicariously through the books published by world-class photographers and glimpse the continent’s dizzying array of wildlife.

We rounded up a few of our favorite books showcasing African animals. Whether they’re encyclopedic in nature or focused solely on stunning photography, we think you’ll enjoy them.

  1. Into Africa
    • Award-winning photographer shares some of his most iconic images of Africa's animals
    • Great explanatory text accompanying the photos
    • Images are printed on thick, high-quality paper
    Check Amazon
  2. Birds of Southern Africa: The Complete Photographic Guide
    • Color photos of each bird species
    • Extensive profile for all birds
    • Over 2,500 images
    • Images of birds in flight, perched, and differences in sex or age.
    • Behavioral and diet information
    Check Amazon
  3. African Odyssey: 365 Days
    • Includes images from the seasonal migrations of three large herds across Africa
    • Lovely way to celebrate the beauty of Africa
    • Portable and lightweight
    Check Amazon
  4. The Dangerous Snakes of Africa
    • Covers 170 dangerous snake species in Africa
    • Also covers the type of venom
    • Great photos
    Check Amazon
  5. Remembering African Wild Dogs
    • The series has raised more than $1,000,000 for conservation projects
    • Over 140 pages of beautiful photographs of African wild dogs
    • Great way to support the cause of conservation
    Check Amazon
  6. Humans and Hyenas: Monster or Misunderstood
    • Explains the behavior of all three species
    • Dispels myths about hyenas
    • Great for naturalists
    • Full of extensive information
    Check Amazon
  7. The Behavior Guide to African Mammals
    • Complete information on dozens of species
    • Behavior, habitat, diet information for each
    • Discusses how each species affects each other
    • Great for people who love learning everything they can about animals
    Check Amazon

1. Into Africa by Frans Lanting

In Frans Lanting’s Into Africa, the award-winning photographer shares some of his most iconic images of Africa’s animals. The images are printed in full color and on thick paper — displaying the raw beauty of the animals he included in his gorgeous book.

It’s an African safari in your hands! Readers love the text that accompanies photographs and has some information about each animal; we love that you can flip through Into Africa and discover something unique and beautiful on each page. This awe-inspiring book will inspire nature lovers and photographers to explore our planet and is a wonderful addition to any library.

Pros and Cons of Into Africa by Frans Lanting

ProsCons
This book features some of award-winning photographer Frans Lanting’s most iconic photos of African animals.None
They’re printed in full color on thick paper.
Each photo is accompanied by text providing info about the featured animal.
Best Photography Book
Into Africa
  • Award-winning photographer shares some of his most iconic images of Africa's animals
  • Great explanatory text accompanying the photos
  • Images are printed on thick, high-quality paper
Check Amazon

2. Birds of Southern Africa by Peter Ryan and Ian Sinclair

Birds fascinate we humans, and have since the beginning of time! Where we’re stuck on the ground, they’re free to fly and see the world in ways we cannot imagine. The variety in these feathered flyers is as dizzying as their comfort at great altitudes. 

In Birds of Southern Africa, the author includes over 2,500 color photos of the various species that inhabit southern Africa. Each species profile is complete with habitat, breeding, and diet — including photos of each species in flight, perched, and age or sex differences, where appropriate.

Pros and Cons of Birds of Southern Africa by Peter Ryan and Ian Sinclair

ProsCons
This book includes over 2,500 color photos of birds that inhabit southern Africa.None
Each species profile includes their habitat, breeding, and diet.
It also includes photos of each species in flight, perched, and age or sex differences, when applicable.
Best for Birders
Birds of Southern Africa: The Complete Photographic Guide
  • Color photos of each bird species
  • Extensive profile for all birds
  • Over 2,500 images
  • Images of birds in flight, perched, and differences in sex or age.
  • Behavioral and diet information
Check Amazon

3. African Odyssey: 365 Days by Anup Shah (Photographer) and Manoj Shah (Photographer)

Join Anup Shah and Manoj Shah on a year-long journey through Africa in African Odyssey: 365 Days. In it, you’ll find a photo that celebrates the animals for each day of the year.

This beautiful book includes images from the seasonal migrations of three large herds across the African landscape. Although African Odyssey: 365 Days isn’t as full of information as some of the other books on our list, the photography in it may spark a new interest in the animals that travel in huge herds. We love that they included enough photos with corresponding information enjoy a different one every day. We also love that it’s easy to flip through and enjoy reading about each animal — no matter which day you flip the book open to see.

A sole reviewer said that the quality of the photos and their reproduction was “disappointing.”

Pros and Cons of African Odyssey: 365 Days by Anup Shah (Photographer) and Manoj Shah (Photographer)

ProsCons
This book includes a photo for each day of the year.A sole reviewer said that the quality of the photos and their reproduction was “disappointing.”
It includes images from the seasonal migrations of three large herds across the African landscape.
It’s easy to flip through and enjoy reading about each
Best Migration Guide
African Odyssey: 365 Days
  • Includes images from the seasonal migrations of three large herds across Africa
  • Lovely way to celebrate the beauty of Africa
  • Portable and lightweight
Check Amazon

4. Dangerous Snakes of Africa by Stephen Spawls and Bill Branch

These slithering reptiles conjure terrifying images in the mind. Some continents, like Africa, seem to have more than their share of dangerous snakes.

In Dangerous Snakes of Africa, authors Steve Spawls and Bill Branch detail all 170 dangerous African snakes, including the 70 or so that look similar. Each profile details proper identification, habitat, behavior, venom, and snakebite treatment. Although the species profiles are excellent, the photos are sadly a bit small. 

Small photos aside, Dangerous Snakes of Africa is a terrific addition to an African herpetology library!

Pros and Cons of Dangerous Snakes of Africa by Stephen Spawls and Bill Branch

ProsCons
This book details all 170 of Africa’s dangerous snakes, including the 70 or so that look similar.The photos are a little bit small.
Each profile details proper identification, habitat, behavior, venom, and snakebite treatment.
Best on African Snakes
The Dangerous Snakes of Africa
  • Covers 170 dangerous snake species in Africa
  • Also covers the type of venom
  • Great photos
Check Amazon

5. Remembering African Wild Dogs by Margot Raggett and Wildlife Photographers United

Remembering African Wild Dogs is the sixth book in a series, the proceeds of which support conservation efforts in Africa and Asia. As of 2021, over 150 photographers have contributed to the books, and the series raised more than $1,000,000 for conservation projects.

Species and habitat information accompanies the beautiful photographs in this 144-page book, making it a fantastic book for conservation-minded animal lovers. We love how wildlife photographers worldwide have united to support a worthy cause.

Pros and Cons of Remembering African Wild Dogs by Margot Raggett and Wildlife Photographers United

ProsCons
This is the sixth book in a series, the proceeds of which support conservation efforts in Africa and Asia.None
So far, 150 photographers have contributed to the series and raised over $1,000,000 for conservation projects.
This 144-page book includes beautiful photos as well as species and habitat information.
Best for Conservation
Remembering African Wild Dogs
  • The series has raised more than $1,000,000 for conservation projects
  • Over 140 pages of beautiful photographs of African wild dogs
  • Great way to support the cause of conservation
Check Amazon

6. Humans and Hyenas: Monster or Misunderstood by Keith Somerville

For all the myths and beliefs surrounding this apex predator, Humans and Hyenas: Monster or Misunderstood by Keith Somerville describes hyenas in all their glory — from their complex social structure to their astounding ability to adapt to change.

In over 260 pages, the author discovers the origins behind our dislike and argues for conserving all three hyena species. Humans and Hyenas looks at the hyena, its behavior and its relationship with humans; it’s perfect for those interested in conservation and wildlife. 

It’s not an easy read, but it’s definitely worth the time!

Pros and Cons of Humans and Hyenas: Monster or Misunderstood by Keith Somerville

ProsCons
This 260-page book examines why humans dislike hyenas.It’s not an “easy read.”
He argues for conserving all three hyena species.
It looks at hyenas, their behavior, and their relationship with humans.
It’s ideal for readers who are interested in wildlife conservation.
Best Book About Hyenas
Humans and Hyenas: Monster or Misunderstood
  • Explains the behavior of all three species
  • Dispels myths about hyenas
  • Great for naturalists
  • Full of extensive information
Check Amazon

7. The Behavior Guide to African Mammals: Including Hoofed Mammals, Carnivores, Primates — 20thAnniversary Edition by Richard D. Estes (Author), Daniel Otte (Illustrator), and Edward O. Wilson (Foreword)

The next book on our list isn’t a field guide, and instead describes the behavior of the major African mammal groups. It’s one of the most comprehensive books of its kind available and many readers consider it a must-have book.

The Behavior Guide to African Mammals goes in-depth with the most current research available when it was written in 1991. If there’s a complaint, it’s that the 20th anniversary edition didn’t include newer research completed since the original publication.

The Behavior Guide to African Mammals is a foundational book for aspiring naturalists and zoologists worldwide.

Pros and Cons of The Behavior Guide to African Mammals: Including Hoofed Mammals, Carnivores, Primates — 20thAnniversary Edition by Richard D. Estes (Author), Daniel Otte (Illustrator), and Edward O. Wilson (Foreword)

ProsCons
The book describes the behavior of the major African mammal groups.The 20th anniversary edition doesn’t include newer research completed since the original publication.
It’s considered to be one of the most comprehensive books of its kind and is invaluable to aspiring naturalists and zoologists.
Best for Zoologists
The Behavior Guide to African Mammals
  • Complete information on dozens of species
  • Behavior, habitat, diet information for each
  • Discusses how each species affects each other
  • Great for people who love learning everything they can about animals
Check Amazon

How to Choose the Right Book About African Animals

While all of the books in this review are about African animals, they cover an amazingly wide variety of topics. Several are compilations of photographs of African animals, which are, as we said before, like holding an African safari in your hands.

The list also includes three guides: for birds, snakes, and mammals. The first two can be used for visual identification, while the last is a guide to the behavior of key African animals.

If you would like to support conservation efforts, check out Remembering African Wild Dogs. And if you are curious about the behavior of one of the most maligned animals on the planet, Humans and Hyenas: Monster or Misunderstood is the book for you.

Best forProduct
Best Photography BookInto Africa
Best for BirdersBirds of Southern Africa: The Complete Photographic Guide
Best Migration GuideAfrican Odyssey: 365 Days
Best on African SnakesThe Dangerous Snakes of Africa
Best for ConservationRemembering African Wild Dogs
Best Book About HyenasHumans and Hyenas: Monster or Misunderstood
Best for ZoologistsThe Behavior Guide to African Mammals
About the Author

Gail Baker Nelson is a writer at A-Z Animals where she focuses on reptiles and dogs. Gail has been writing for over a decade and uses her experience training her dogs and keeping toads, lizards, and snakes in her work. A resident of Texas, Gail loves working with her three dogs and caring for her cat, and pet ball python.

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