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The Kingdon Field Guide to African Mammals - Jonathan Kingdon publ Academic Press
Beautifully detailed. Only problem with this book is that it is quite big, since it includes mammals from the whole continent. However, none of the smaller/popular books are fully comprehensive, no matter what their cover hype says. In fact, some of them must fall foul of the Trades Descriptions Act!
For even more detail, The Behaviour Guide to African Mammals - Estes/Otte publ University of California Press. Not a field guide, but very informative.
The Birds of Kenya and Northern Tanzania - Zimmerman/Turner/Pearson/Willis/Pratt
Absolutely essential if you're interested in birds. Now available in paperback.
On Safari in East Africa - a background guide - Ernest Neal Harper Collins
A super little book helping you to 'look' more effectively and to understand and interpret what you're seeing. Worth going out of your way to get this one.
The Insight Guide to East African Wildlife: Safari Special APA publications
The Spectrum Guide to Kenya publ Camerapix Publicatons
The Insight Guide to Kenya - APA Publications
The Bradt Buide to Tanzania - Philip Briggs
The Bradt Guide to Zanzibar - David Else
The Rough Guide to Kenya, especially if you're going it alone, on a budget. Also useful for cultural, historical and political background.
For more historical background, Jomo Kenyatta's Facing Mount Kenya - an anthropological/ethnographic study of the Kikuyu people.
In the lodges and camp shops, you will find small booklets about the reserves - most reserves have their own booklet: in Kenya they are produced by the Friends of Conservation. These are packed full of information about the habitats, vegetation, animals and birds you will find in each reserve. When you see one, buy it - don't wait until you get to that reserve - the shop there might not have it!
If you would like to try your hand at learning some Swahili:
For evocative background reading:
The Flame Trees of Thika and The Mottled Lizard - Elspeth Huxley
More recently written, I Dreamed of Africa, African Nights and Night of the Lion - Kuki Gallman publ. Penguin
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