9 Novels That Will Make You Want to Visit Africa

Any of these masterfully told stories could prompt you to pack your suitcases and head for the places where they're set.

Africa comes alive in all of these nine novels. They include famous classics like Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness as well as lesser-known gems such as Paul Bowles's Let It Come Down.

1. The Power of One, by Bryce Courtenay. This novel features a South Africa that happily no longer exists, but the story nevertheless will lure you there with its descriptions of rich cultures and the landscape.

2. Circles in a Forest, by Dalene Matthee. The author breathlessly captures all the beauty and mystery of the mountains inland from what is now known to international travelers as the Garden Route. 

3. Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad. This might well be the greatest short novel (only around 100 pages) that will ever be written about the African interior. 

4The Poisonwood Bible, by Barber Kingsolver. The author reveals herself as a potential heir to the Conradian throne for her rich portrayal of a bizarre family life deep in the Congo jungle.

5. Let It Come Down, by Paul Bowles. This is a riveting tale of American ex-pats hopelessly ensnared in the shadowy labyrinths—and the even more unforgiving deserts—of Morocco. 

6. Second Chance in Tangier, by Anouar Majid. Majid’s descriptions, plot, and evocative dialogue portray life in Tanjier’s bazaars and teashops and lead you through the city’s old medina.

7. Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe. Despite being almost 50 years old, this powerful story concerning the struggle between tradition and progress should be required reading for anyone trying to understand modern Africa. 

8. Things They Lost, by Okwiri Oduor. Read Oduor’s debut novel not only for the plot and beauty of the descriptions but also for a glimpse into rural life in Kenya’s Rift Valley. 

9. Out of Africa, by Karen Blixen. From the first page to the last, this famous semi-autobiographical book evokes the beauty and soul of Kenya.

Mark Eveleigh has written for more than 120 media outlets, including National Geographic, CNN, and the BBC. His recently published first novel is Driftwood Chandeliers.