Compared with the number about many African countries, there is a shortage of books in English about Namibia (the former colony of German South-West Africa). However, “An Arid Eden: A Personal Account of Conservation in the Kaokoveld” by Garth Owen-Smith is certainly worth a few hours of your time. (The Kaokoveld is the northern desert of Namibia that includes both the Hoanib and the Kunene rivers.) Owen-Smith developed a deep affinity for the Himba, Herero and Damara pastoralists and, over 27 years, struggled to create a conservation paradigm that would allow humans and their livestock to live in equilibrium with wildlife. The recent travel books of Paul Theroux are an acquired taste, as they tend to present depressing portraits of Third World dystopias. His most recent Africa book, which includes a section on Namibia, is true to form. Theroux is a fine writer, but after a few pages of “The Last Train to Zona Verde,” I felt in dire need of a stiff drink. “Skeleton Coast” by Amy Schoeman is the classic illustrated book about this spectacular region.
For a general introduction to the country’s wildlife, I recommend National Geographic’s “Wild Namibia,” which you will find on YouTube. “Vanishing Kings,” a one-hour documentary about desert lions shot at Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp, is due for imminent release. To whet your appetite, you may wish to view the three-minute trailer on YouTube.