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on December 6, 2002
I was looking for a book or two (as luggage weight limits were tight)to enhance my first safari experience to the national parks of Tanzania. I selected this book based on Amazon.com reader feedback. It was a real help during the safari and continues to be used while reviewing video, photos, and books on African wildlife. I also took a good field guide (Audubon)--but these were widely available on the safari 4WD as well as at the lodges. What makes the Estes book unique is it describes the MEANING of the behavior and social groups you see on the game drives. Almost daily we would see sights that struck me as unexpected--like an all male group of 40 impalas, or zebras leading a line of hundreds of wildebeest; I'd look up that species in the Estes book back at camp and he would explain the meaning of the behavior. My safari mates were all very experienced and involved in zoos in the USA. They would often ask to borrow my "Estes" for their use.
In my opinion, if you can only take one book other than your safari journal--take this one. If you can take two, include a good field guide (like Audubon).
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on June 21, 2002
Most African Mammal guides are designed for people working in that field. Here, we have one specifically designed for the average enthusiast who wants to know a bit more than provided in the also essential Audobon Guide to African Wildlife. Let's face it - while you may get the occasional bird or even reptile enthusiast, it's the mammals that capture the imagination of the average person on the street when it comes to the wildlife of Africa.
You don't have to travel to the Dark Continent to enjoy this one, and - in acknowledgement that people can be interested in wildlife without necessarily being able or willing to go on Safari - it's also designed for use if you're fortunate enough (as I am) to be a regular at a quality zoo or even a regular viewer of "National Geographic" or "Nature".
The book is very easy to use and browse through, explaining habits and noting the best parks and reserves for each animal, as well as the animal's major predators or relationship with other predators. You don't have to look through it long to wish for similar volumes for Asia and North America.
Certainly worthy of being one of the first books on the shelf of anyone who loves African wildlife.
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on January 11, 2000
Some folks may argue you don't even need underwear on safari, but after nearly a decade of annual (plus) trips to East Africa, this would have to be the single desert island book for a true wildlife fanatic. The perfect combination between scholarly and readable. Enjoy!
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on September 7, 2003
While I agree with most of the other reviewers comments,I wouldn't agree that it is the only book you need. Descriptions and explanations are exemplary but the book is black/white illustrations with no color and no photographs.
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on March 22, 2004
Just returned from a safari to Tanzania. This book, along with the Audubon Field Guide to African Wildlife, made our experience that much better. The information contained in this book embellishes the wildlife viewing experience, by providing fascinating and in-depth information about the animals seen there. The text is organized very well and crammed full with useful information. Highly recommended reading for before a safari, and especially while there.
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on December 28, 2003
This is the book my tracker had in his jeep on a trip I took to southern Africa (SA, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia). My tracker didn't need it, but I found it fantastic reading during siestas and the longer drives. There are so many behavioural explanations missing from the standard safari guide. What's the difference between a high-horn threat and a low-horn threat in a roan antelope? I could see the different display postures, and this book told me a little more precisely what the display was all about. The only problem with this book is that there is no guide to spoor, so you'll have to get one. There are no colour photos, which is good for identification, because you don't want to get hung up on slight colour variations. Sometimes a roan antelope is about the same colour as a sable antelope. Look at the other identification marks. Anyway, as soon as I found a bookshop, I bought my own copy, and I still refer back to it.
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on September 7, 2005
Initially I tried to read this before my trip to Kruger National Park--not a good idea. It's tough to keep track of the behavioral habits of umpteen different kinds of antelope when you haven't seen them yet.

Once you're there, however, this is a terrific reference--a "must-have" book whenever we were observing game. We routinely pulled it out to better understand what we were seeing and why various animals were acting the way they were. Being armed with such an understanding adds considerably to the wildlife-watching experience!
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on March 27, 2001
If you are going on safari, and you need to bring only one book, this is the one. Contrasts with other books in that its focus is on explaining animal behavior -- answers the "what are they doing?" query better than any other book out there. And its intellectually inquisitive aspect makes for interesting reading. Also --- we happened to meet the author by chance, and he was quite nice and interesting; a passionate scholar.
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on June 12, 2005
We have referred to this book over and again in relation to our Southern Africa game viewing. Its detailed information was informative and insightful for those genuinely interested in learning about the animals they see in the wild, including their territorial, mating, and feeding habits.
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on November 7, 2009
I brought this book along for a Safari in Tanzania and was very glad I brought it. The book might be a tad bigger and thicker than one would want to travel with, but it paid dividends in offering much more interesting and complete descriptions of the animals and their behavior. It is very easy to look them up while viewing the animals from the back of a bumpy jeep ride. I also brought along "Wildlife of East Africa," published by Princeton Pocket Guides, which is a more glossy, pictorial treatment, and does fit in your pocket. I found that the two books went together nicely: one to give you the glossy color picture and a thumbnail description, and the other to offer a non-glossy, more thorough description.

Anyway, Estes seems like a terrific authority, and I would definitely recommend bringing this book on Safari. Not a bad book to have around the house to remember the journey either.
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