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Essential Reading List for a South African Adventure

There’s nothing worse than travelling to a new place without knowing the tiniest tidbit about it—it’s only after the adventure is over that you begin to realize the significance of the things that you saw, and you think, “If only I had known what it all meant when I was right there!” Luckily, I happen to have an insatiable thirst for more books to read, and I also had the luxury of nine months to prepare for my dream trip to South Africa. For anyone headed out to this amazing country, I highly recommend the following books to read before you go:

by Bryce Courtenay

I know, the title suggests: predictably inspirational…and corny. But, I couldn’t have been more wrong in making that assumption—this one made it to my top 3 favorite books of all time. A tremendous story about a little boy growing up in South Africa & aspiring to be the welterweight champion of the world—action-packed, and truly insightful.

by Dominique Lapierre

The most captivating way to get a beginner’s rundown of South Africa’s history. Told in a way that keeps you turning the pages for more, Lapierre’s narrative takes you from Jan Van Riebeeck’s Dutch Cape farming settlement in the 1600’s all the way to the presidential election of Nelson Mandela in 1994.

by Patricia Schonstein

A seductive fable about food, love, and magic within an Italian-Jewish community. Mystical, sensual, really enjoyable—and just happens to be set in a post-WWII Cape Town.

by J.M. Coetzee

Written by a modern Nobel laureate, this book has much to say about morality during the period of British imperialism in South Africa. Don’t read this one if you’re in a good mood or (like I did) if you’re already on your vacation. Not exactly an uplifting story.

And then, of course, you’ll need some great travel guides:

A great overview of South Africa as a travel destination. Great pictures (It’s National Geographic—what do you expect?), very readable, and has wonderful tips for the adventurous traveler who really wants to see the wild side of Africa.

LOTS of information and ideal for someone who wants the specifics on each area they’ll be visiting. Gets down to the nitty gritty of each stop along the way.

(Megan is our friend from Colorado who won a fabulous dream vacation to South Africa & is sharing the experience with us)

From our featured vacation:

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