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4.3 out of 5 stars52
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 10 April 2010
This provides an outline of of wildlife in East Africa, mainly covering birds and mammals (150 pages and 70 pages respectively out of 250 in all), with a few pages each (just a token gesture, really) on trees, reptiles, insects and flowers. Nothing on fishes or marine life (useful if you're visiting Zanzibar). Useful to have a book that covers everything in a single volume, but in addition to the drawbacks noted by other reviewers, I'm not convinced of the photo approach for identification. For instance, most of the species have just one photo, in some (particularly of birds) the light has somewhat washed-out the colours, and there are several photos where it looks like the photographer just gave up: the photo of the African Palm Swift is over-enlarged to the extent that graininess masks all the detail, and the Black Heron is preening, completely hiding its breast, neck and head! For birds, this is not even in the same league as "Birds of East Africa" (Helm Field Guides) by Terry Stevenson, which uses artwork for identification much more effectively (and, it must be said, much more attractively). Nevertheless for a single-volume easily-pocketable guide to what is presumably the most common wildlife you'll encounter on safari, it "does what is says on the tin". If it were comprehensive it would weigh kilos and need a wheel on each corner to move it.
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on 2 December 2007
This small book with 248 pages deals with photography in the first few pages. Explains lenses you need, cameras, exposure,lighting and posture to take pictures of moving subjects. Covers over 475 commonly-seen species including birds, mammals, reptiles, invertebrates and plants. Each species is illustrated with a full-colour photograph and features a detailed description. It is written by wildlife experts with extensive knowledge of the area.
Then the book moves on to beautiful photos of birds. The pictures are on the right pages and writing on the left pages. Nearly the 2/3 rd of the book is on birds of East Africa, which has nearly 500 different birds. Then the book explains in similar fashion about mammals, reptiles, flowers and trees.
It is an excellent book to take with you on safari to Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. The size of the book is just right for travel.
Having born in Kenya and travel there on safari frequently, I would reccomend this book, so that you may enjoy and spot the wildlife easily. Your guide/driver will also show you the wildlife. Other small books with similar theme are:-
(1) Birds of East Africa, Dave Richards 1995 (2000)
(2) Mammals of central and East Africa, Chris and Tilde Stuart 1992 (2001)
(3) The Beautiful Plants of Kenya, John Karmali 1988 (1993)
(4) Collins Birds of Eastern Africa, Ber Van Perlo 1995
(5) The Wild Flowers of Kenya, Michael Blundell 1982
(6) The Lion and the Lily( A Guide to Kenya), Kenneth Bolton 1962
Read and ENJOY.
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on 6 February 2009
At a simple level, this guide does what it purports to: picture of animal and brief description. Big drawback though is that these three countries constitute a huge area and there is little information about where you are likely to see such species - a small thumbnail location map for each would have been very useful. Geographically it's largely biased to Tanzania and Kenya - particularly for birdlife. As I'm going to Uganda, it's not going to be particularly useful unfortunately. Photography tips at the front a bit on the limited side also.
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on 6 August 2009
Each of these countries has a checklist of over 1000 bird species and together they boast almost 1400. This book picks 360 of the most frequently seen to create a handy pocket-size photographic field guide. The selection of species is fairly predictable and covers everything that you could expect to see on a standard safari holiday with a good mixture of savannah and with wetlands. There are by comparison rather few species that you would find in deeper forest. Raptors, game birds, waders and waterfowl are well-represented, but at the other extreme, only three out of a potential 31 barbets are depicted, and similarly Common Bulbul is the only representative of its family despite 39 others being present, and only two cisticolas are shown. Each species is depicted by a colour photograph and this is accompanied by around 100 words of text describing its plumage and habitats.

For me the best part of the book was that covering 77 mammals. I particularly liked the photographs of these which really augmented the literature I had already. In addition there is a small sample of the reptiles and amphibians you can see plus some examples of the typical trees and common plants.

This is a nice book to take with you on a safari but if you are keen to be able to identify a very wide range of birds this book will not take away the need for an extensive field guide.
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on 12 July 2008
This book is an excellent field guide and reference book which is small enough to take in your camera bag on your game drives. It has very clear and concise descriptions of the relevant animals and has a huge section on birds. The photos are of good quality.

The beginning of the book has a brief description of photography and the equipment you will need to take with you. It then attempts to explain some basic photography skills. This was not comprehensive enough to be of much use other than for the complete novice and I feel there are better books for this.

An excellent field reference and I would recommend it for your trip.
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on 9 March 2009
Very informative without being too heavy to carry around for reference on Safari. Excellent pictures of the animals. Good value for money.
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on 8 February 2010
This book is about 11.5 cm by 19 cm and hence it's size means you could easily carry it with you on your trip. Most of the book shows you the varied bird life but there are also sections on mammals, reptiles, invertebrates and plants. The right hand page has photos and the left hand page an explantion to match the photo. The photos are not very good quality but adequate to identify the animal or bird. The first few pages give photographic techniques and advice about taking your camera on a safari. There are 249 pages of information and I would recommend this book.
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on 8 December 2009
I am not a "dyed in the wool" wild -life spotter but I was delighted with this book when I took it on a Kenya safari. With the book, the advice of the local guide and using the eyes of the other travellers, we saw and appreciated so much more than we would have done without it. Spotting the wildlife and then reading and checking against the book's excellent & accurate photos greatly improved our enjoyment of the trip.
JPN Haxell
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on 3 November 2013
Took this book on safari to Kenya and found it extremely useful. Good clear photos and descriptions and a manageable size to take out and about and comply with tight weight allowances.
Useful section on wildlife photography too.
Emphasis mainly on birds and mammals so would have liked a few more insects, reptiles and amphibians perhaps.
Also, I did find it quite difficult to identify some of the birds when out and about as you needed to know what 'family' you were looking for whereas if they had been entered in some kind of size and colour order it would have made it much easier.
All in all though a great little book and good value for money. Recommended for taking out on game drives and bird walks for those who want a quick, basic guide.
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on 2 November 2009
An extremely comprehensive and informative book. Giving a good variety of photographs for several of the species to show colour variations. Having travelled extensively throughout Africa I have found this to be one of the best guides for the natural history you might expect to see on your travels.
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