Friday, 21 February 2014

Essential Books if you are heading for the Serengeti

Animals of the Serengeti - and Ngorongoro Conservation Area by Adam Scott Kennedy and Vicki Kennedy. Princeton Wildlife Explorer Guide  £17.95  ISBN 9780691159089  152 pages, 146 colour illustrations.

Anyone who remembers the BBC black and white TV wildlife programmes headed up by Armand & Michaela Dennis will have heard of the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater in Northern Tanzania.  Now Princeton University Press bring us two excellent guides to help experience that fantastic place.

This new title describes and illustrates the 89 species most likely to be encountered in this splendid area of Tanzania. It is very much a photographic field guide and there is a section on how to use the book and a real first in a section of biographies with photos of the "Top Six" safari guides in the region. The book also contains a helpful section of the geography of the area and a helpful seasonal map of the animal migrations. Another large map shows the context of Serengeti and Ngorongoro with the Masai Mara in neighbouring Kenya. The preliminary section of the book ends with a gazetteer of the best places to look for wildlife in the area.

The book deals not only with the mammals of the area but also reptiles as well.  Each species is lavishly illustrated with superb photographs as well as information on size, gestation, identification, habits, location and food. I particularly loved the inserted comments from the safari guides already mentioned.

You will find all the familiar species such as the Big Five of Lion, Elephant, Black Rhinoceros, Leopard and Cape Buffalo but also smaller and less familiar creatures too.  Aarvark would really be worth catching up with.

A full index and suggestions for further reading complete the book.

Birds of the Serengeti - and Ngorongoro Conservation Area. by Adam Scott Kennedy. Princeton Wildlife Explorer Guide £17.95  ISBN 9780691159102 224 pages, 480 colour illustrations.

This slightly bigger companion volumes is structured in the same way but has some differences.  There is a section on the habitats of the birds which is also utilised when setting out the species order in the book.  I found this slightly irritating to begin with but can imagine that in fact this method would be helpful when actually in the field.

Once again the photographs are of the highest quality and cover more than 270 species of birds likely to be found in the area.  The habitats dealt with are in the main predictable but I loved the separate sections on Birds in the Air (species you always see flying above you) and Night Birds.  The book concludes with a list of all scientific names of the species included as well as a full index.

East African birds are truly spectacular with chances of amazing raptors as well as other interesting wetland, grassland and forest species. 

The experienced authors Adam Scott Kennedy and Vicki Kennedy have managed remote safari camps in Tanzania and now work as private safari guides specialising in photographic and wildlife safaris in East Africa.

If you are contemplating visiting this wonderful area of Tanzania then you will find these handy sized guides essential.  They will easily pop into a small bag or a jacket pocket. All the wildlife you are likely to come across will be included and the additional information will add to what will be an unforgettable experience.

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