Looking for books to read about South Africa before you visit? Are you interested in learning more about the history, people, and culture of this beautiful country? We have you covered! In this guide, we have selected what we believe are the very best books about South Africa.
If you haven’t visited South Africa before these books will help you to understand more about the country including its complex history and the horrors of the apartheid regime.
I am constantly adding new books to my best book lists so why not check out my Amazon shop which has even more great South African books to read or the travel book section of this website.
This post may contain compensated links. Please read our disclosure for additional information. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Best South African books to read before you visit
Best books about South Africa
Born a crime by Trevor Noah
Who doesn’t love Trevor Noah? Find out all about his background and life in South Africa before he became the well known presenter we all know.
Born to a white Swiss man and a black Xhosa woman his birth, during the time of apartheid, was considered a crime.
A must read for any fans of Trevor Noah and anyone who wants to know more about life under apartheid.
Kaffir Boy - an autobiography
The classic story of life in Apartheid South Africa.
A History of South Africa
For those wanting to learn more about the history of South Africa this is an excellent book to read. Understanding how pivotal events in history shaped and influenced South Africa over the centuries.
A Long Walk to Freedom
Cry The Beloved Country
I remember reading this book at school and it still remains a classic to this day. Published in 1948 it remains one of the most important novels in 20th century South African literature.
The Booker Prize winning novel by J M Coetzee centres around a university lecturer who, after an impulsive affair with a student, is forced to resign.
After retreating to the South African bush to his daughter’s small holding their lives change forever after a savage attack.
If you have watched the filmCry Freedom will know who Donald Woods is. The journalist who escaped the apartheid regime after the murder of his friend Donald Woods was an influential anti-apartheid campaigner.
His books were banned under the apartheid government and I actually remember smuggling in a copy on a trip into the country in the 1980’s.
Killing for Profit
Find out about the illegal rhino horn trade which is behind the brutal killings of hundreds of rhinos every year in Africa. If not stopped greed, corruption and brutality will lead to the extinction of the species in the near future. All because some idiots wrongly believe the horn is an aphrodisiac.
Story of an African Farm
Another South African novel from my school days Olive Schreiner’s tale is a classic.
A Dry White Season
Written by Andre Brink one of South Africa’s most distinguished authors this novel was written in 1979 and focuses on the death during detention of a man wrongly suspected of being a black activist.
Plan your visit to South Africa
If you are planning a trip to South Africa you will find lots of inspiration on this website including the definitive South African bucket list as well as practical tips and advice to help you make the most of your holiday.
You can find links to all my articles to help you plan your trip included in my Essential Travel Guide to South Africa.
Interested in more to read from countries across the globe? I have selected the best books to read for the following destinations: