Best Books about Kenya you should read before your trip

Out of Africa by Karen Blixen

Autobiographical novel by Danish writer Karen Blixen about the time she spent in Africa.  Blixen left Denmark  for Kenya  in 1914 to run a coffee plantation. The book beautifully describes African landscape and life during the  last years of the colonial British Empire.

Available on Amazon


Unbowed by Wangari Maathai

In Unbowed,  Wangari Maathai  describes her personal journey from childhood in rural Kenya  to becoming the founder of Kenya’s Green Belt Movement and the first African woman and environmentalist to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

Available on Amazon


Dust by Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor

Set is Kenya’s turbulent 1950s and 1960, Dust is debut novel by Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor. The action begins with  a murder of a young man Odidi Oganda on the streets of Nairobi. The death prompts the reunion of his family and unlocks the memories of the past. The book covers a range of topics like  life in Kenya before and during the liberation struggle, Mau Mau rebellions and Tom Mboya’s assassination.

Available on Amazon


Say You’re One of Them by Uwem Akpan

Collection of five stories written by Nigerian  Jesuit priest. Each of the stories is told from the perspective of a child and set in different African country.  Beautiful and devastating, Say You’re One of Them shines a light on the poverty and violence that exists in many African nations.

Available on Amazon


The White Masai by Corinne Hoffman

The White Masai is an autobiographical novel written by Corinne Hofmann about the time she spent in Kenya, where while on vacations in Mombasa she met and fell in love with a Samburu warrior. Despite language and cultural barriers, she decides to leave her home country of Switzerland and move to an isolated Masai village.

Available on Amazon


One Day I Will Write About This Place by  Binyavanga Wainaina

In this memoir, Kenyan writer Binyavanga Wainaina tells the story of his middle-class childhood  in post-colonial Kenya and  journey toward becoming a writer.  Along his personal story, Wainaina also  describes the life in Africa in the seventies and eighties, Western influences and political unrest. 

Available on Amazon


Circling the Sun by Paula McLain

Circling the Sun takes reader back in time to 1920’s colonial Kenya. This is the fictionalised story of Beryl Markham, an extraordinary woman, record-setting aviator and racehorse trainer. Markham was the first woman to fly the Atlantic solo from east to west, the achievement however isn’t the focus of this novel.

Available on Amazon


A Grain of Wheat by Ngugi Wa Thiong’o

A book by Kenyan novelist and playwright Ngugi Wa Thiong’o.  The story takes place in a Kenyan village,  in 1963  during preparation  for  Kenya’s independence day (Uhuru day). It focuses on Mugo, the village’s hero, who is haunted by a terrible secret.  As Mugo’s story unfolds, we learn about other villagers’ troubled past.

Available on Amazon


My Maasai Life: From Suburbia to Savannah by Robin Wiszowaty

A memoir by a young middle class  American woman, who spent a year living with a Maasai tribe in rural Kenya. The book describes the cultural differences, customs, beliefs and Maasai way of life .

Available on Amazon


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