Picture yourself snuggling up in your favourite armchair, a big, steaming mug of tea, and cracking open a new book. There’s nothing quite like it. When wanderlust takes over, reading is quicker than packing your bags and hopping on a plane and most certainly less expensive.
Are you ever lost in thought about the rising mist at Victoria Falls or being able to gaze upon a meandering herd of elephants? Besides reminiscing over old travel photos, the next best thing to being in Zambia is diving into a fantastic book. Check out our list of wanderlust inspiring books about Zambia.
It might not be a novel, but we can’t think of any book more apt than this one. There are plenty of friends and family on our gift list that would be thrilled to unwrap this on their birthday or on Christmas morning. The 120 blank pages are ideal for planning your next trip to Zambia and then using it as a scrapbook and journal once you get there.
The Africa House: The True Story of an English Gentleman and His African Dream
By Christina Lamb
A gripping true story, a fascinating read, an incredible historical novel – these are all terms used to describe Christina Lamb’s novel, The Africa House. Set in northern Zambia, Shiwa N’gandu is a captivating colonial home currently operational as a secluded, upmarket lodge. The story itself is set in the last decades of the British Empire as the grandfather of the current owners set out to build a paradise in an area still considered rural. Part love story, part history lesson, you will be spellbound that truth can be so much more captivating than fiction.
The Old Drift: A Novel
The story begins a few miles away from the Victoria Falls in 1904.
Futile but hopeful, determined and courageous, this book is both magical and scaring. The Old Drift is a sweeping tale spanning three generations by combining history, romance and Sci-Fi into one satiating story. Namwali Serpell’s debut novel was met with rave reviews on the world stage. In their series about ‘5 Books Not to Miss’, USA Today spoke of magical realism and real-life history. Gracing numerous ‘must read’ lists for 2019, The Old Drift will have you immersed in Zambia with all of her multifaceted layers and intricacies. Namwali Serpell has cemented her place as one of the best writers to come out of Zambia, and we look forward to reading more of her work in the future.
A Cowrie of Hope
by Binwell Sinyangwe
A mother’s love for her children and a willingness to do anything to ensure their survival is universal. Set in the 1990s in Zambia, A Cowrie of Hope paints a vivid picture of what life was like as the AIDS pandemic swept through a generation. Though a story of struggle and adversity, it doesn’t dwell on sympathy or pity. Rather, this is an uplifting book about strength, love and overcoming challenges. A Cowrie of Hope is a quick read at only 152 pages but leaves you with a taste of Zambia so real that you’ll forget you’re not in Lusaka.
The Mourning Bird
By Mubanga Kalimamukwento
Originally from Zambia, Mubanga Kalimamukwento is now based in Minnesota. Her debut novel, The Mourning Bird, blends words into a beautiful portrayal of Zambian life in the 1990s. The writing is so vivid that you dream of reaching out and touching the characters as they manoeuvre through the catastrophic consequences of being orphaned and finding themselves living on the streets in Lusaka. This is a story that will have you rethinking empathy, and the reality of how quickly and brutally life can be turned upside down.
Travel Light, Move Fast
By Alexandra Fuller
Almost every avid reader with a longing for Zambia will have an Alexandra Fuller book on their shelf. Her life is so entrenched in the area that her mother often told her she was conceived in one of the hotels overlooking Victoria Falls. Ms Fuller’s books burst with vivid, honest depictions of what it was like growing up on the Zambezi River banks in what was then North Rhodesia, now Zambia. Her latest novel, Travel Light, Move Fast, tells of carrying her father’s ashes back to the family farm in Chirundu. This is another story that showcases how Africa never leaves you once it gets into your blood.