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The Safari Companion

A Guide to Watching African Mammals Including Hoofed Mammals, Carnivores, and Primates

By Richard D. Estes


The best field guide to observing and understanding the behavior of African mammals and an indispensable tool for naturalists traveling to Africa!

The Second Edition has been fully revised and includes a new preface.

The Safari Companion enables readers to recognize and interpret visible behavioral activities, such as courtship rituals, territorial marking, aggression, and care of young. Each account of over 80 species includes a behavioral table in which the unique actions of the hoofed mammals, carnivores, and primates are described for easy reference.

Other features include:

  • Expert Illustrations
  • Useful maps showing major national boundaries, vegetation zones, and game parks
  • An extensive glossary
  • Tips on wildlife photography
  • A list of organizations working to protect African wildlife


“The best behavioral field guide ever.”—Sy Montgomery, author of Tamed and Untamed

“The book is more than a field guide; it is a valuable tool for conservation.”—Kathryn S. Fuller, President, World Wildlife Fund (U.S.A.)

Reviews and Praise

Library Journal-
Anyone who goes on safari will want to make room in his or her suitcase for this treasure. Estes, who is affiliated with the Smithsonian Institute as a research associate, spent over eight years doing fieldwork in Africa and over 17 years leading safaris. His admirable qualifications as an expert on the social ecology of African mammals are reflected in the text, which describes approximately 86 species of African mammals. Introductory chapters give practical advice on how to observe animals, including tips on using binoculars and photographic equipment. Other chapters are arranged by standard taxonomic classification. Estes first covers the characteristics of families and subfamilies and then goes into even more detail on the individual species, charting behaviors one can expect to see and the usual context or meaning. Icons illustrating the behaviors effectively take the reader to a description of the behavior being observed. Appended to the text are a brief suggested reading list, addresses of major wildlife organizations, a glossary of terms, and a thorough index. The only "fault" with this exceptionally well-written and researched book is its size. With a 6 9 trim and some 470 pages of text, this is a fairly large, hefty volume to pack on safari--but it is worth the extra effort, as nothing compares with it. Essential for any traveler to Africa, any student of animals or behavior, any zoo visitor, and any size public library.