RFI Namibia And Botswana

Dear mammalogists,
I have a request for information for people who have (recently) traveled to Namibia and Botswana. In august/september I’m visiting this area myself for a mammalwatching holiday with 3 other good and passionated friends.
Three questions:
1 Which fieldguide is the best for this trip? I have bought the kingdon field guide to mammals of Africa, but this includes everything from Africa, so a lot more than we need.
There are many books called “mammals of Southern Africa”, which only include a selection of the ones living there, but which one of these books should I get? Which one is the absolute best for identification + scientific / ecological identification?
2 Any additional tips to the tripreports on the website for mammals in that region would be very welcome! Especially we would like to see wild dogs, aardvark, aardwolf, brown hyena,.. So a bit more of the elusive animals.
3 We are also photographers, so any adivse on photography in these areas would also be very welcome (hides, nice drinking pools, dens, places where we can find animals used to human beings,… )
Pieter-Jan D’Hondt


  • SLahaye

    Hi Pieter-Jan,

    We were in Namibia and Botswana in august-september 2015.
    We saw aardvark and six different aardwolfs in two locations. We missed wild dog and brown hyena though…
    Some pictures are here: https://mammaling.wordpress.com/2015/09/10/our-africa-trip-in-50-pictures/

    I haven’t finished a trip report yet and right now I don’t have time to give extenive information but I’ll post something later.


  • Miles Foster

    Dear Pieter-Jan,

    if you don’t already have them take a look at The Safari Companion and The Behaviour Guide to African Mammals by Richard Despard Estes. Unfortunately, neither is a field guide in the usual sense, they weigh a kilo each, cover the whole of Africa and, of course, they are not exhaustive. So not what you are really looking for, I know, but really useful reference works for anyone seriously interested in African mammals and ideal for the ecological / scientific information you seek. I am travelling to Botswana in a couple of weeks and taking a couple of basic pocket guides, total weight 500 grams. I cannot really recommend either as they fit your description of ‘Mammals of Southern Africa’. I agree it is hard to find a really good, lightweight guide and will watch this thread with interest! But do have a look at those books by Estes. And have a great trip!

  • Richard Webb

    Stuart and Stuart’s new edition of Mammals of Southern Africa including Angola, Zambia and Malawi is the most comprehensive and up-to-date guide to Southern Africa and thoroughly recommended. It’s a photographic guide and quite bulky and if you want something lighter the previous edition which excludes Angola, Zambia and Malawi is very good and still available on Amazon but I would recommend the new edition. It’s much more user friendly than Kingdon.

    • Miles Foster

      Thank you, Richard,

      having read your post, I have bought the Stuarts’ Mammals of Southern Africa Pocket Guide edition, as weight is crucial on my own trip, and ditched the other two guides I mentioned earlier. I don’t generally like photographic guides but this one is excellent, as you say. It is just 10.5 x 18 cms., slim and very light and for a small guide it is packed with useful information.

      Someone has just sent me foc Mike Unwin’s Southern African Wildlife – a Visitor’s Guide. For anyone who might be planning their first trip to Africa (obviously no one on this thread) this is an excellent introduction to the habitats, parks, as well as mammals, birds, reptiles and insects, with tips on planning your trip.

      Miles Foster

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