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Our Guide to the Best Safari Playlist and African-Inspired Reads

There’s no better way to start a journey than to have inspiring tunes playing on repeat, making up the soundtrack to your adventure. Just like you wouldn’t road trip without the perfect tracks to sing along to, so you wouldn’t venture through Africa without listening to songs that’ll get you in the African spirit.

Africa is all about the journey and you need to be fully prepared – not just in the music department, however; you need a good book for those relaxing, lazy afternoons. We’re talking about those sunny African afternoons, where everything seems still and peaceful, the birds are singing, the trees are whistling and nature is reveling in the warm sunshine. What’s better than finding a peaceful spot in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by nature, to read a good book?

Playlist recommendations:

Diamonds on the Soles of her shoes, Ladysmith Black Mambazo

Although this song isn’t about Africa, it’s performed by one of South Africa’s most promising up and comers. This is a feel good track that’ll have you singing and dancing your way through Africa – so you’ll definitely fit in with the locals!

Pata Pata, Miriam Makeba

Miriam Makeba was yet another iconic South African artist, and was nicknamed ‘Mama Africa’. Her songs give one a real feel for African music, with traditional sounds coming from the djembe drums, a West African instrument beaten with bare hands, and made from rope and animal skin.

Scatterlings of Africa, Johnny Clegg – Definitely listen to this!

You can’t go wrong with Johnny Clegg; one of South Africa’s most iconic artists. You may want to download his other favourite ‘Great Heart’, too.

Africa Unite, Bob Marley

Soothe your senses with Bob Marley’s soulful ‘Africa Unite’. You may also want to download Freshly Ground’s cover of this track too – it’s a melody too good not to download.

Circle of life from The Lion King

We just can’t leave the soundtrack from The Lion King off of this list, can we? It’s one of the all time favourites – and the filmset was, in fact, inspired by Kenya’s Hell’s Gate National Park. Fitting indeed!

Waka Waka, Freshly Ground feat. Shakira

Waka Waka was the official World Cup anthem of 2010 which was held in South Africa. This song, though it’s a little dated now, will still get you on your feet, and singing along!

Grazing in the Grass by Hugh Masekela

Hugh Masekela was known as ‘the father of South African jazz’. His music is still loved to this day, as it’s soulful and incredibly composed. Jazz will get you in the African vibe, as it’s one of the most popular genres on the continent; so best you download Hugh Masekela’s music asap!


Out of Africa by Karen Blixen

Out of Africa is a world-renown memoir written by Danish author, Karen Blixen. The book recounts the seventeen years she spent living in Kenya; taking the reader on her journey of self discovery, including her marriage to her second cousin, a Baron; as well as the development and management of her coffee plantation in a country which was in its last decades of being ruled by the British Empire.

Anything by Tony Park

Tony Parks’ fictional thrillers are all set in Africa; including Sossusvlei Namibia, Botswana and Kenya to name a few. Although he is an Australian writer, him and his wife live between Sydney and South Africa; where they have a home in the Kruger National Park, and they travel frequently to other areas of the continent. His books are not only captivating, but you’ll also be able to relate to them, especially if you’re travelling through the very place he is writing about.

Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela

Long Walk to Freedom is an incredible autobiography written by the late Nelson Mandela himself. In the book he hones in on his journey to freedom in South Africa, beginning with his early childhood, his adolescents; through to his education and his 27 years in prison.

Dark Star Safari by Paul Theroux

Dark Star Safari is a true story based on author Paul Theroux’s trek from Cairo to Cape Town. It’s a thrilling, captivating read about the places he visited along the way, the people he met and the life changing lessons he learned.

I Dreamed of Africa by Kuki Gallmann

I Dreamed of Africa is very similar to Out of Africa by Karen Blixen, and surprisingly it’s set in the same area; the Savannah, near the Great Rift Valley in Kenya. This memoir, however, is a little different as Kuki fled the comfortable life she lived in Italy, to run a farm with her husband and son, in the continent that fascinated her since she was a small child.

Join us on one of our exhilarating tours through Africa!

About Andrew Walton

Just a happy guy who loves travelling, loves Africa and feels that travelling changes you forever.
Article by: Andrew Walton
on August 20, 2022
Filed under  Africa Blog • Travel Articles 
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