Why take a library on safari? This excellent offline location-specific field guide app makes it easy to go way beyond the ‘big five’.
Traveling light while on safari is not easy. As well as camera equipment, sunscreen, those trademark beige shirts and, of course, some good binoculars, you have to decide which of many available field guides to lug around with you. Or you could just look at your phone …
Stuarts’ African Mammals Field Guide App: introduction
Authors of a range of books on African mammals, wildlife and conservation, as well as numerous scientific papers and popular articles, Chris and Mathilda Stuart now bring their knowledge and experience to this app. It claims to contain details of all 1,286 mammal species found in Africa. Sadly TravGear didn’t have time to find them all, but we can confirm that everything we did see during a recent safari in Namibia, and then a trip through the Great Rift Valley lakes of Ethiopia, were to be found in this app.
Stuarts’ African Mammals Field Guide App: how it works
For each animal, there’s an entry including four sections. Firstly, there are a plethora of detailed pictures, then a detailed description and classification section, along with identifying features, habitat, behavior, food, reproduction, predators, and much more. Then there’s a distribution/location map, and then finally, for many species, there’s also a video and sounds section. All this is downloaded to your device so there’s no need for internet access when on location.
Stuarts’ African Mammals Field Guide App: what we liked
TravGear thought it was great that you could set your location to only display the animals you might see in one country or region. The quick search box for animals proved very useful and works well. We also used the ID points and the similar species sections, and it was really helpful to be able to compare two species next to each other on the screen. The bonus section to help identify tracks and dropping was unexpected but is really comprehensive. The option to tick off what you’ve seen, and when, is quick and easy to access in the top right corner. You can even add GPS coordinates as well as your own notes. It’s also possible to export your observing list to a CSV file for emailing to yourself, which gives this app excellent potential for researchers.
Stuarts’ African Mammals Field Guide App: conclusion
As with any app it takes a few minutes to familiarise oneself with the screens and options, but in the main, this app was quick and easy to use with lots of unexpected and advanced features. When it comes to content the Stuarts Field Guide to African Mammals is a truly excellent, comprehensive product, and it’s on a device that you already have in your bag, so gets a big thumbs up from TravGear. If you’re going on safari in Africa you need this app.