Book reviews:    Field Guide to the Trees of the Kruger NP

book39a.jpg (25654 bytes) Title
Field guide to the Trees of the Kruger National Park
Piet van Wyk
1 86825 508 5
Third 1994
Struik Publishers Ltd
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Several years ago I bought this book in one of the bookshops in Kruger NP, while visiting during my Field Guide training. I had to learn to identify the different trees and was looking for a good book to help me studying. Although this book concentrates on trees occurring in Kruger, it was very valuable to me. It is written by famous Dr. Pieter van Wyk, the leading botanist in South Africa. He has also written the big two volume "tree bible" Trees of the Kruger National Park, which is a standard work on this subject. Maybe you are more interested in animals and wonder why you should identify trees. At first I asked myself this question too. But once you can identify trees, you can also identify habitats. Then you are able to forecast what kinds of animals you can expect too see in this habitat.

book39b.jpg (46719 bytes)This book concentrates on trees in the Kruger National Park, but it is still also very valuable outside the national park. The first part of the book is about the 200 plant species growing in the park, which have been given tree status. The second part of the book describes the 180 species which are officially called shrubs or tree shrubs.

Each species is described on a separate page with a text and color photographs. The text describes identification features and distribution, leaves, flowers and fruits. Each species is shown in a big color photo, with smaller photos for fruits, flowers, leaves and bark.

Of course all trees are described with scientific, English and Afrikaans names and their national tree number. In the restcamps in Kruger, you will find many big trees which have a plate with this number attached.

If you have an interest in trees, but find this book just too big and detailed, the small Southern African Trees might be more interesting for you.

Conclusion: A very nice book for anyone interested in identifying the different trees in South Africa. It focuses on Kruger, but can very well be used outside Kruger too. The book is very high quality and the standard field guide on this subject. Definitely recommended.

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