Book Review: Marine Mammals (of southern Africa and the Southern Ocean)

Chris and Mathilde Stuart’s latest book is a pocket guide to the almost 50 species of  whales, dolphins and seals you might encounter off of southern Africa. Like all the Stuarts’ books, this one has obviously been designed and written by mammalwatcher (for those who don’t know them, the Stuarts have been involved in wildlife research and book writing for over 40 years: the first field guide I ever bought was their guide to the mammals of southern Africa).

The new book covers key identification features, behaviour, diet and distribution, and most species accounts include both photos and illustrations highlighting diagnostic features. There is also a page – a very useful page for the field – showing the profiles of selected species cruising and diving. Like many of their recent books it includes the best times and places to view more commonly seen species – something that ought to be compulsory in all field guides in my opinion. Especially for species I have not seen yet!  Spoiler alert: do not expect any new must visit locations for beaked whales species. I live in hope …

Published by Struik Nature/Penguin Random House in South Africa but available worldwide.



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