Books that have inspired me to travel to a destination

I am a bookworm and whenever I am engrossed into a good book I am fully immersed, even more so, when it covers a destination, which is a fantastic way to travel without even getting on a plane! From a good book you can glean so much about a place, whether its the history, the culture, the people or even the wildlife.

If I know I happen to be travelling to a specific destination soon, I love pre-reading travel stories about the place, to build up the excitement! I also love reading books based in Kenya, non-fiction and fiction,where I am from, as its lovely to have all the familiarity as well as learn about its history, politics, culture and wildlife.



Born Free by Joy Adamson

Growing up in Kenya, one of my favourite books has been Born Free by Joy Adamson, which details Joy and her husband’s efforts to raise and rehabilitate lions in Kenya in the mid-20th century, with a particular focus on a lioness called Elsa.

I think its where my love for Wildlife Conservation stemmed from and it also gives an in depth insight into issues and controversies that surrounded different approaches to conservation and animal rehabilitation that continue to this day, such as trophy hunting and poaching, although we also now have new issues such as unethical animal tourism with the rise of social media and destinations seeking new ways to make money, often at the expense of animals.

Since then, the Born Free Foundation, set up by actress Virginia McKenna who starred as Joy in the film Born Free based on the book, and her son Will, has been an organisation I have supported, as I admire their efforts in Wildlife Conservation globally.

The Born Free Foundation has also published a children’s version of this book, making it a great introduction for kids who may be going on safari for the first time.

Find out more about Born Free here.


Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen

If you are interested in colonial Kenya, Out of Africa is the first hand account of Danish Karen Blixen who travels out to what was then British East Africa to marry her second cousin and to start a coffee plantation.

In Nairobi you can visit the Karen Blixen Museum which was her former farm and residence until 1931, somewhere I visited after reading the book a few years ago.


 The Constant Gardener by John Le Carre

John Le Carre is one of my favourite fiction authors and his book The Constant Gardener (also a film) is about a British Diplomat who believes that the murder of his activist wife in Kenya has more sinister roots than reported.

The novel touches on corruption and explores the darker more troubling side of the after effects of colonialism and independence.

Particularly resonating with me is the location of some of the book, in Muthaiga, where I actually live in Nairobi!

Read about Kenya here:

Top tips for an African Safari

Things to do in Mombasa, Kenya



Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes

Never have I wanted to visit Tuscany and buy a rural Tuscan villa more than when I read Frances Mayes ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’ about finding out her husband is cheating on her from a writer whom she gave a bad review, and then going into depression. In an attempt to rise from it,  she is encouraged by her best friend to take a tour of Italy, during which on a whim she decided to decides to buy a rural Tuscan villa. While my husband isn’t cheating on me, it is the descriptions in the book that had me intrigued about the Tuscan countryside and when I arrived myself eventually (without the funds to buy a villa sadly), it was just as described and blew me away!

Read about Tuscany here:Things to do in Tuscany


Mumbai, India

Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts

Shantaram, a novel by Gregory David Roberts, is a chunky book but a fantastic read about an Australian bank robber and heroin addict who escaped from Pentridge Prison and flee to India, based mainly in Mumbai.
When I read the book, I really wanted to visit the Leopold Cafe in Mumbai, a central location in the book, and given the opportunity a few years ago I finally made it!
Actually seeing a spot in person, which up until now I only knew from the pages of a book is an inspiring feeling. The imaginations that you came up with, page after page, were catapulted  into reality.
Read more about The Leopold Cafe here.

Has a movie/book/TV series inspired travel or have you visited set locations in a certain destination? I would love to know in the comments below xx 


About Binny

Hi, I'm Binny - a writer, dreamer and serial wanderluster with a love for Wildlife Conservation. I am originally from Kenya but I now live in London. 'Karibu' to Binny's Food and Travel! I regularly share my experiences eating out, cooking and travelling, both in the UK and globally, as well as educate on the plight of Wildlife. I am an ambassador for World Animal Protection and regularly support the work of The Born Free Foundation, Four Paws and Dreams Come True Charity. I love packing my bags and going off on adventures as one of the best things about travelling is the ability to just get lost in it. To set aside the maps and itineraries and just see where the road takes you, learning and evolving and living in the moment along the way. It's my goal to get swept off my feet as often as possible!

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  1. kerry wrote:

    Ahhh Shantaram, one of my favourite books! I need to re-read it. I love the sound of the Born Free book Binny. Sounds right up my street. I may have to add that to my “to be read” shelf! Kenya sounds such a fantastic place, and it has been on my wish list for the longest time. I am hoping to go for my next big birthday!

    Posted 8.1.19 Reply
  2. Bejal wrote:

    fab read Binny. Shantaram, Out of Africa and Born Free are amongst some of my favourite books but considering that I visit Tuscany every year, I have never read ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’!

    Posted 8.1.19 Reply
  3. There’s something special about reading a good book set in the place you’re travelling too. Some great suggestions there, Binny! The only one I’ve read is Shantaram, which I thought was excellent!

    Posted 8.1.19 Reply
  4. I’m a bookworm too:) read some of these too:) I have visited certain places in cities on my trips because I’ve either read about them or saw them in movies 🙂 #travellinkup

    Posted 8.2.19 Reply
  5. Amanda wrote:

    Constant Gardener and Shantaram are two of my favourites! Such engrossing reads! xx

    Posted 8.2.19 Reply
  6. Neha wrote:

    Binny this is great. I never used to like reading when I was younger and I remember the Out of Africa book being put in front of me all the time. Now I need to read it to see what I missed out on. A recent read has made me want to visit Bilbao. It is a great idea you have to read before visiting a location

    Posted 8.3.19 Reply
  7. I’m slightly ashamed that I haven’t read any of these! I will definitely be buying them for holiday reads!

    Posted 8.3.19 Reply
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