The old African natural history books include the works of naturalists and travellers from the early 20th century. Much of the natural history observations of the time were related to sport hunting, plus there was a great interest in ornithology.
Please note, this page contains affiliate links, which means Shakari Connection receives a commission if you make a purchase using these links.
Dr Andrew Leith Adams (1827 – 1882) was a Scottish physician, naturalist and geologist who served with the 22nd Infantry Regiment in India.
Wanderings Of A Naturalist In India: The Western Himalayas, And Cashmere by Andrew Leith Adams (1867) is an account of his observations on the wildlife of India, Himalayas and Kashmir made during his spare time and leave from his work as an army doctor. Free eBook
Notes Of A Naturalist In The Nile Valley And Malta by Andrew Leith Adams (1870) is "A Narrative of Exploration and Research in Connection with the Natural History, Geology, and Archaeology of the Lower Nile and Maltese Islands." Free eBook
David Armitage Bannerman (1886 - 1979) was a prominent British ornithologist. He wrote many books on the birdlife of many regions of the world but only the African ones are listed here.
The Birds Of Tropical West Africa by David A Bannerman (1930) is a collection of 8 volumes with special reference to birds of the Gambia, Sierra Leone, the Gold Coast and Nigeria. Contain maps and beautiful coloured plates.
The Birds Of West And Equatorial Africa by David A Bannerman (1953) is two volumes of author's famous work used for years by those working in Nigeria and the Gold Coast.
Larger Birds Of West Africa by David A Bannerman (1958) describes in detail practically every species of the larger birds known to occur between the Senegal river and the Cameroon-Nigerian highlands, except for the migrants from Europe.
Arthur Lennox Butler (1873 – 1939) was a British naturalist who was born in Karachi and he became a curator of a natural history museum in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He later became the superintendent of a game preserve in Sudan.
Brief Notes For Identifying The Game Animals Of The Sudan by A L Butler (c.1950) is a very scarce brochure that mentions every game animal (with horn information where applicable) in the Sudan in the 1950s.
Gregory Douglas Hale Carpenter was a British entomologist and medical doctor. He worked in Uganda on tsetse flies and sleeping sickness. His main work in zoology was on mimicry in butterflies, an interest he developed in Uganda and Tanganyika.
A Naturalist On Lake Victoria: With An Account Of Sleeping Sickness And The Tse-Tse Fly by G D Hale Carpenter (1920) is an account of the naturalist author's study of Lake Victoria in Uganda with particular attention given to sleeping sickness and tsetse flies, about which the author was known for his extensive study. Free eBook
A Naturalist In East Africa by G D Hale Carpenter (1925) is another book about the insects of Uganda, Tanganyika and Portugese East Africa.
Samuel Cron Cronwright-Schreiner (1863 - 1936) was a South African farmer, lawyer, businessman and politician who was married to Olive Schreiner who was a South African author, pacifist, feminist and intellectual. They were the uncle and aunt of the big game hunter Frederick Finlay and contributed chapters to his book on hunting in south-east Africa.
The Migratory Springbucks Of South Africa: (The Trekbokke) Also An Essay On The Ostrich And A Letter Descriptive Of The Zambesi Falls by S C Cronwright-Schreiner (1925). 'Trekbokke', or 'wandering antelope' refers to the phenomenally vast herds of migrating springboks which crossed the Karoo, which were described by hunters and naturalists from the mid 1700s onwards. Eyewitnesses recall a 'sea of antelopes' which stretched 'miles upon miles around on all sides'. Cronwright-Schreiner was among the last to witness the last great springbok treks of 1892 and 1896 and was the first person to fully research the trekbokke phenomenon.
Sir Frank Fraser Darling (1903 - 1979) was an English ecologist, ornithologist, farmer, conservationist and author.
Wild Life In An African Territory: A Study Made For The Game And Tsetse Control Department Of Northern Rhodesia by F Fraser Darling (1960). A survey commissioned by the government of Northern Rhodesia to provide a basis for planning wildlife parks.
Captain John Guy Dollman (1886 - 1942), known as Guy Dollman, was a British zoologist and taxonomist. He was an authority on many species and wrote numerous books and articles of which only the ones connected to Africa are listed here.
Catalogue Of The Selous Collection Of Big Game In The British Museum (Natural History) by J G Dollman (1921). This catalogue details the collection of big game shot by Captain F C Selous, between the years 1870 and 1916, which was in the British Museum (Natural History). The African big game collection contains 443 specimens with 81 specimens from Europe, Asia and North America. Excerpts from Selous' book 'A Hunter's Wanderings In Africa' have been included as part of the descriptive text. Free eBook
The Game Animals Of Africa by J G Dollman and R Lydekker (1908) are detailed descriptions of the characteristics and natural history of a wide variety of game mammals, with numerous full-page and text illustrations.
Rowland Ward's Records Of Big Game With Their Distribution, Characteristics, Dimensions, Weights, And Horn And Tusk Measurements edited by J G Dollman and J B Burlace (1922). Includes numerous charts of measurements of big game.
Ralph Evelyn Drake-Brockman (1875 - 1952) was a tropical disease physician who became a Foreign Office medical officer, serving in Uganda, British East Africa, Somaliland and Abyssinia. He was also a natural history specimen collector and author.
British Somaliland by Ralph E Drake-Brockman (1912)
Charles Frederick Holder (1851 - 1915) was an American naturalist, businessman, philanthropist and conservationist/sportsman and known as the pioneer of big game fishing. He wrote numerous books on marine zoology, outdoor life and the first books on big-game fishing. He was the first man to catch a tuna with rod and reel.
The Ivory King: A Popular History Of The Elephant And It's Allies by Charles Frederick Holder (1886). The elephant "in war, pageantry, sports and games, as a faithful labourer and servant, comrade and friend." Looks at the elephant's anatomy and evolution. Holder foresees extinction of the elephant "in the near future" due to ivory hunting, and he calls on the "rising generation" to protect the noble beasts. Free eBook
All Charles Frederick Holder's other books about big game fishing and more
Frederick John Jackson (1859 - 1929) was an English administrator, explorer and ornithologist. He led an expedition to make contact with Emin Pasha and in 1889 led another expedition to explore the new British colony of Kenya. Jackson later became the first Governor of Kenya, and also served as Governor of Uganda from 1911 to 1918. The Jackson's hartebeest, Alcelaphus buselaphus jacksoni was named after Frederick Jackson.
Notes On The Game Birds Of Kenya And Uganda (Including the Sand-Grouse, Pigeons, Snipe, Bustards, Geese And Ducks) by Frederick J Jackson (1926) is a comprehensive look at game birds of Kenya and Uganda, accompanied by beautiful full-colour plates. One of the first major publications on the subject, the book contains important information on a broad range of species throughout the area. Organized and designed as a reference book.
The Birds Of Kenya Colony And The Uganda Protectorate by Frederick J Jackson (1938) is a valuable contribution to East African ornithology, edited and enlarged by W L Sclater. The specimens and notes used to complete this book (which was published posthumously) were collected during the late 1800s.
Cyril Winthrop Mackworth-Praed (1891 - 1974) was a British Olympic gold medallist in shooting at the 1924 Games as well as an ornithologist. He went to East Africa to collect bird specimens for the British Museum.
Captain Claude Henry Baxter Grant (1878 - 1958) was a British ornithologist and collector. Grant's rock rat, Grant's bushbaby and Grant's golden mole are named after him.
Birds Of Eastern And North Eastern Africa by C W Mackworth-Praed & C H B Grant (1952). 2 Volumes. Covers the birds of Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Malawi.
Birds Of The Southern Third Of Africa by C W Mackworth-Praed & C H B Grant (1962). 2 Volumes. This monumental work is an attempt by two leading ornithologists to give to others the book they wanted when they first visited and lived in Africa. Much skilled research has gone into the making of it - it took twenty years to compile the material and the scientific and systematic side of the work has been published in various ornithological journals.
Birds Of West Central And Western Africa by C W Mackworth-Praed & C H B Grant (1970)
The Elephant In East Central Africa: A Monograph by Dr W H Osman Hill et al (1953) is a rare Rowland Ward publication bringing together contributions by some of the leading elephant hunters, game wardens and naturalists from different regions of Africa.
Dr William Charles Osman Hill (Zoological Society of London) covers the evolution of the African elephant, Major W R Barker (former Chief Game Warden Anglo-Egyptian Sudan) covers 'The Elephants in Sudan', Lt Colonel C H Stockley (authority on Asiatic & African big game) covers 'The Elephants In Kenya', Lt Colonel C R S Pitman (former Game Warden of Uganda) covers 'The Elephants In Uganda', Lt Col P B Offerman (Game & Fish Warden in the Belgian Congo) covers the 'Elephant In The Belgian Congo', G G Rushby (Game Dept Tanganyika Territory) covers 'The Elephant In Tanganyika', Sir William Frederick Gowers (former Governor of Uganda & Vice President of Fauna Preservation Society) covers the 'African Elephant In History'. There are references to hunting experiences, poaching etc.
Philip Lutley Sclater (1829 - 1912) was an English lawyer, zoologist and expert ornithologist. He identified the main zoogeographic regions of the world. He was Secretary of the Zoological Society of London for 42 years.
Michael Rogers Oldfield Thomas (1858 - 1929) was a British zoologist who worked at the Natural History Museum on mammals, describing about 2,000 new species and subspecies for the first time.
The Book Of Antelopes by Philip Lutley Sclater and Thomas Oldfield (1894-1900) is the perfect combination of scientific knowledge, written and visual description. A very scarce book. Sclater was the Secretary of the Zoololgical Society of London. Vol I Free eBook Vol II Free eBook Vol III Free eBook
Sir Andrew Smith (1797 - 1872) was a Scottish surgeon, naturalist, explorer and zoologist. He joined the Army Medical Services in 1816 and was sent to the Cape Colony in 1920. He led a scientific expedition into the interior and was able to indulge in his interests of natural history and anthropology.
Illustrations Of The Zoology Of South Africa by Andrew Smith (1838). 5 Volumes. These volumes are the rarest works on African zoology.
The Diary Of Dr Andrew Smith, Director Of The Expedition For Exploring Central Africa 1834-1836 by Andrew Smith & edited by Percival R Kirby (1939). This expedition to central South Africa was undertaken to find out more about people living to the north. Smith travelled to Kuruman and into Ndabele country, exploring the Oori, Mariqua, & Limpopo rivers. The expedition included a number of missionaries, among them Robert Moffat. Exploring Baralong social life the expedition then moved to Mafeking & Mosega. They then returned eastward to Cape Town via Mzilikazi. The diary includes extended accounts of wild life as well as the customs of the African people that they encountered.