browser icon
You are using an insecure version of your web browser. Please update your browser!
Using an outdated browser makes your computer unsafe. For a safer, faster, more enjoyable user experience, please update your browser today or try a newer browser.

Great Books for your Safari in Uganda

Posted by on October 31, 2020

Great Books to Read while on Safari

Enjoy Reading? Here are Books for your Safari in Uganda


Bradt Guide to Uganda – 9th Edition

This is the latest and current Bradt guide to Uganda.  The Bradt Travel Guide is a must-read for those planning a Safari in Uganda.  Though it is written with the Backpacker in mind, its Park, Cities, Town, and Village information is priceless.  You can buy this in Paperback or download it on your Amazon Kindle Device. You will be more than delighted since it gives you Historical, Cultural, and in-depth insights into Uganda.

The downside is that the Guide gives the impression that Travel in Uganda is a cakewalk. We know that it can be chaotic for many Tourists without the guidance of a Tour Operator.  We highly recommend it and use it ourselves as a must-read for new staff members.

The 9th edition of the Ugandan Bradt Guide is a Must-read for serious travelers to the Pearl of Africa.


 My African Journey Winston Churchill (Illustrated)

Winston Churchill ventured to East Africa in 1907, keeping notes of his Travels in his journal.  Those journals became the basis of his Book “My African Journey,” in which he popularized the Pearl of Africa and called it a country unlike any other on the African Continent.

His book is a nostalgic primer for those wanting to visit Uganda.  It is a delightful and descriptive travelogue about Uganda that you will treasure and one of our favorite books.

It is especially significant to visit Entebbe, Kampala, Jinja, Masindi, and Murchison Falls Park.  His journey was mostly on foot, and in 2019, 24 Canadian will retrace some of his steps on their Miles on the Nile Hike.  This book can also be downloaded onto your Kindle App or device, saving space and weight in your luggage.


 Uganda@50-Uganda since Independence

This book was published on the 50th Anniversary of Uganda in 2012 by the Observer Newspaper in Uganda.  It is a compilation taken from various contributors to the Book who either shaped the History of Uganda since Independence or were observers of it.

It is probably the best publication that has to do with Uganda’s history since independence. It is perfect for someone interested in Uganda, a country that has often been misrepresented and is seen through the eyes of Westerners.

The book is an easy read that you will enjoy since journalists put it together. Looking back to Independence, there is a lot to celebrate. But there is also a lot Ugandans would rather forget, such as Idi Amin’s disastrous rule and Joseph Kony’s banditry in the northern part of the country.


Up Among the Mountain Gorillas

His first encounter with Mountain Gorillas was instrumental in his determination to protect the Gentle Giants of the Forest – Walter Baumgärtel could easily be called the Father of  Gorilla Tourism in Uganda. He was instrumental in convincing the British Colonial Government to allow visitors to see the Mountain Gorillas.

Visitors to his Travellers Rest Hotel included the Gorilla Notables of his day, including Dian Fossey and George Schaller.  Walter Baumgärtel was a German who left the country before World War ll and spent most of his adult days across Africa settling in Uganda, where like many fell in love with the Mountain Gorillas.

If you read German, you can read his other Books about his Gorilla Observations in German.


 The Ghosts of Eden – Andrew Sharp

I found I had accidentally ordered a masterpiece.’
Andrew Croft’s review on Amazon.com said it best.

Zachye, tending cattle in the grasslands of East Africa, and Michael, son of missionaries, are happy in their childhood idyll. But the world is changing, propelling them towards tragedy. Haunted by guilt and grief, they grow up severed from their heritage. When they both fall in love with the same beautiful woman, they must each face their past and hear their ancestors if they are to be the one to win her.

In lyrical prose, Andrew JH Sharp immerses the reader in a world where ancient ways of life and belief are being overwhelmed by the new. Neither a bandit-soldier in the remnants of Idi Amin’s army nor a restless and detached surgeon can escape the memory of innocent boyhood. An intriguing cast of nomads, missionaries, expatriates, and Indian traders share a landscape haunted by ancestral ghosts. The reader is drawn to a moving denouement where love and mortality are confronted.


 Abyssinian Chronicles: A Novel about Uganda by Moses Isegawa

This is one of my favorite Books:  

Like Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children and Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude, Moses Isegawa’s Abyssinian Chronicles tells a riveting story of twentieth-century Africa that is passionate in vision and breathtaking in scope.

At the center of this unforgettable tale is Mugezi, a young man who manages to make it through the hellish reign of Idi Amin and experiences firsthand the most crushing aspects of Ugandan society: he withstands his distant father’s oppression and his mother’s cruelty in the name of Catholic zeal, endures the ravages of war, rape, poverty, and AIDS, and yet he can keep a hopeful and even occasionally amusing outlook on life. Mugezi’s hard-won observations form a cri de coeur for a people shaped by untold losses.


 The Queen of Katwe: One Ugandan Girl’s Triumphant Path to Becoming a Chess Champion

The “astonishing” (The New York Times Book Review) and “inspirational” (Shelf Awareness) true story of Phiona Mutesi—a teenage chess prodigy from the slums of Uganda.

In 2005, while searching for food, nine-year-old Ugandan Phiona Mutesi followed her brother to a dusty veranda where she met Robert Katende.

Katende, a war refugee turned missionary, had an improbable dream: to empower kids in the Katwe slum through chess—a game so foreign there is no word for it in their native language. Laying a chess­board in the dirt, Robert began to teach. At first, children came for a free bowl of porridge, but many grew to love the game that—like their daily lives—requires persevering against significant obstacles. Of these kids, one girl stood out as an immense talent: Phiona.

By the age of eleven, Phiona was her country’s junior champion, and at fifteen, the national champion. Now a Woman Candidate Master—the first female titled player in her country’s history—Phiona dreams of becoming a Grandmaster, the most elite chess player. But to reach that goal, she must grapple with everyday life in one of the world’s poorest countries.


 The Impenetrable Forest: My Gorilla Years in Uganda, Revised Edition

Lying in the remote hills of southwest Uganda, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest harbors elephants, chimpanzees, monkeys, and half the world’s endangered mountain population gorillas.

For two years, Thor Hanson called that forest home, working with local guides and trackers to develop an ecotourism program for the newly formed Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

Thoroughly researched and beautifully told, Hanson’s story blends natural history with cultural insight to place the forest and the gorillas in the context of modern Africa. The Impenetrable Forest offers a rare glimpse into the world of mountain gorillas and the human cultures surrounding them. A must-read for anyone interested in gorilla tracking, endangered species, or travel to Uganda.

We found it very enjoyable, especially for Gorilla Trekkers.


Gorillas in the Mist by Dian Fossey:

One of the most important books ever written about our connection to the natural world, GORILLAS IN THE MIST is the riveting account of Dian Fossey’s thirteen years in a remote African rain forest with the greatest of the great apes. Fossey’s extraordinary efforts to ensure the rainforest’s future and its remaining mountain gorillas are captured in her own words and candid photographs of this fascinating endangered species. As only she could, Fossey combined her personal adventure story with groundbreaking scientific reporting in an unforgettable portrait of one of our closest primate relatives.

Although Fossey’s work ended tragically in her murder, GORILLAS IN THE MIST remains an invaluable testament to one of the longest-running field studies of primates and reveals her undying passion for her subject.


 Inside the Hotel Rwanda: The Surprising True Story … and Why It Matters Today

In 2004, the Academy Award-nominated movie Hotel Rwanda lionized hotel manager Paul Rusesabagina for single-handedly saving the lives of all who sought refuge in the Hotel des Mille Collines during Rwanda’s genocide against the Tutsi in 1994. Because of the film, the real-life Rusesabagina has been compared to Oskar Schindler, but unbeknownst to the public, the hotel’s refugees do not endorse Rusesabagina’s version of the events.

In the wake of Hotel Rwanda’s international success, Rusesabagina is one of the most well-known Rwandans and now the smiling face of the very Hutu Power groups who drove the genocide. The Rwandan prosecutor general accuses him of being a genocide negationist and funding the terrorist group Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR).

Inside the Hotel Rwanda, survivor Edouard Kayihura tells his own story of what life was really like during those harrowing days within the walls of that infamous hotel. He offers the testimonies of others who survived there, from Hutu and Tutsi to UN peacekeepers. Kayihura writes of a divided society and his journey to the place he believed would be safe from slaughter.

The book exposes the Hollywood hero of the film Hotel Rwanda, Paul Rusesabagina, as a profiteering and politically ambitious Hutu Power sympathizer who extorted money from those who sought refuge, threatening to send those who did not pay to the génocidaires, despite pleas from the hotel’s corporate ownership to stop.

Inside the Hotel Rwanda is at once a memoir, a critical deconstruction of a heralded Hollywood movie alleged to be factual, and a political analysis aimed at exposing a falsely created hero using his fame to be a political force, spouting the same ethnic apartheid that caused the genocide two decades ago.

Kayihura’s Inside the Hotel Rwanda offers an honest and courageous first-hand account of the reality of life inside the hotel, exposing the man who exploited refugees and shedding much-needed light on his victims’ plight.


 Kintu

In this epic tale of fate, fortune, and legacy, Jennifer Makumbi vibrantly brings to life this corner of Africa and this colorful family as she reimagines Uganda’s history through the cursed bloodline of the Kintu clan.

The year is 1750. Kintu Kidda sets out for the capital to pledge allegiance to the new leader of the Buganda kingdom. Along the way, he unleashes a curse that will plague his family for generations. Blending oral tradition, myth, folktale, and history, Makumbi weaves together the stories of Kintu’s descendants as they seek to break free from the burden of their past to produce a majestic tale of clan and country – a modern classic.

Author Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi is a Ugandan novelist and short story writer who has a Ph.D. from Lancaster University. Her first novel, Kintu (Oneworld, 2018), won the Kwani? Manuscript Project in 2013 and was longlisted for the Etisalat Prize in 2014. Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi was awarded the prestigious Windham-Campbell Prize for Fiction 2018 to support her writing. She lives in Manchester with her husband and son and lectures in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University.


 Snake Pit

The title of Ugandan-born Isegawa’s successor to his well-received Abyssinian Chronicles (2000) vividly suggests the quality of life in his homeland during the brutal military dictatorship of Idi Amin.

The story itself is a panorama initially focused on two ambitious men: Cambridge-educated Bat Katanga, who returns to Uganda in the early 1970s to seek a civil service job, and General Samson Bazooka Ondogar, who directs Amin’s murderous Anti-Smuggling Unit.

Bat is (somewhat improbably) given a high-echelon executive position in the Ministry of Power and Communication, swiftly acquires influence and wealth, and attracts the love of Victoria, a brainy beauty who is Ondogar’s former mistress, and the “decoy” he employs to keep tabs on upwardly mobile underlings (like Bat).

In swiftly paced juxtapositions that gradually expand to include numerous other characters variously involved with these three, Isegawa assembles a devastating portrait of a paranoid society riddled with rivalries and enmities and fuelled by quests for one-upmanship and revenge. Victoria bears Bat a daughter but is discarded when he falls in love with the village girl Babit.

Attending a trade conference in Saudi Arabia, Bat is persuaded to accept a bribe from a power-hungry Arab billionaire, and his privileged life begins unraveling. Ondogar crosses swords with white criminal adventurer Robert Ashes, who has rapidly become Amin’s unprincipled strongman and former confidant—and the General also begins to sense his power slipping away.

Anti-Amin rebellions multiply, embracing even such obscure citizens as Bat’s brother Tayari, an underachieving “fireworks specialist.” Bat is imprisoned, Victoria takes her vengeance, and the embattled country explodes. Snakepit isn’t well constructed. Still, its flailing energies create a fascinating narrative texture deepened by Isegawa’s sharp, cynical portrayals of its grasping, desperate characters and brooding empathy with their destroyed culture.


Great Safari Book Reads: Books for your Safari

Whether you read one of these Books on Safari before you come to Uganda or as you relax and chill out after the Gorilla trek, we know that you will enjoy them.

Most know little about this part of Africa. The books will give you a glimpse into both Uganda and Rwanda.

The books are available on Amazon, and if we make any money on sales of the listed books, we will use it to purchase Reading Books for Ugandan Children.

We also suggest that you bring some Children books that you can give as gifts to children that you meet on Safari in Uganda or Rwanda.


 

Comments are closed.