Lonely Planet Africa 12th Ed.: 12th Edition Paperback – Jul 12 2010
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Who We AreAt Lonely Planet, we see our job as inspiring and enabling travelers to connect with the world for their own benefit and for the benefit of the world at large. What We Do- We offer travelers the world's richest travel advice, informed by the collective wisdom of over 350 Lonely Planet authors living in 37 countries and fluent in 70 languages.- We are relentless in finding the special, the unique and the different for travellers wherever they are.-We update our guidebooks by visiting thousands of places in person to get the details right and tell it as it is.- We always offer the trusted filter for those who are curious, open minded and independent.- We challenge our growing community of travelers; leading debate and discussion about travel and the world.- We tell it like it is without fear or favor in service of the travelers; not clouded by any other motive. What We BelieveWe believe that travel leads to a deeper cultural understanding and compassion and therefore a better world. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
About the Author
Anthony Ham worked as a refugee lawyer for three years, during which time the people of the world visited him in his office. After tiring of daily battles with a mean-spirited Australian Government, he set out to see the world for himself and restore his faith in humanity. He has been travelling ever since throughout Asia and Africa, all the while discovering unimagined uses for his Masters Degree in Middle Eastern politics. He is now based in Melbourne and works as a freelance writer and photographer. On his travels for Lonely Planet, Anthony has eaten rat in West Africa, been arrested in Iran and found himself constantly overwhelmed by the many kindnesses from anything-but-ordinary people wherever he's travelled.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
While no single book can give an indepth look at every country, this one gives you all the information you need to travel through Africa on a budget. Best of all it is small enough to fit in your pack and well built enough to make it through the trip in one piece. I will be going back next year and this book will be coming along.
As you can guess, with only about twenty five pages per country, some info is glossed over or left out all together. Due to space constraints Lonely Planet left out some of the "where to go and what to see" advice but they made sure to include all the information relevant to transportation and lodging. If you need more indepth information you should buy one of the individual guides that cover each country you plan to visit along with Africa on a Shoestring.
My one gripe with this book is that it seems a bit too focused on the backpacker/camper type lodging. I personally prefere to travel like the locals and stay in guest-houses and cheap hotels and at times this book skips right over this information. The worst way to save three dollars a night is to pitch a tent on the ground instead of booking into a local guest house. When you stay at one of the urban campsites the only "culture" you are going to experience is provided by the young, loud, drunken tourists. Not my idea of fun.
If you are looking for a book that will make traveling in Africa trouble free you are going to be disspointed, that book does not exist and never will. In Africa almost nothing is easy and that includes travel. But that is part of the adventure.
If you want to see Africa without all the hassle then you need to talk to one of the travel agents who offer all inclusive tours for small groups in large overland trucks. You will get some nice photos but you won't really be traveling "in" Africa, you will be traveling "over" it, and you don't need any book for that.
That being said, I'm really disappointed in parts of this book. As the market leader, LP should be able to keep its books properly updated. Yet many country sections start with: "We were unable to do on-the-ground research in (country_name), so some information in this chapter may not be reliable". While this is understandable in someplace like Liberia or Cote d'Ivoire where the national security situation is volatile, it's inexcusable for countries like Nigeria. Yes, there are some problem areas in Nigeria, and Lagos can indeed be chaotic. But Nigeria is not Lagos. And Nigeria is not the Niger Delta. I certainly hope that they manage to update some of these chapters for the next edition.
In the interest of full disclosure, here are the countries LP didn't bother to update for this edition: Guinea-Bissau, Nigeria Sierra Leone, Liberia, Cote d'Ivoire, Congo-Brazzaville, CAR, Congo-Kinshasa, Burundi, Somalia, Angola. Libya is listed as potentially being partially unreliable.
If you're traveling to Africa, my advice is to get this book _and_ the Rough Guide to whatever region of Africa you're going to. If you're going somplace that LP's book doesn't cover, look for a specific book that covers it. My last bit of advice for Africa travelers is to roll with the punches. There aren't nearly as many folks going to Africa as there are to Europe, so the information on Africa isn't as cutting-edge new. That hotel you read about and planned on staying in tonight? It burned down six months ago. But there are always other options, so just relax and take it easy.
The newest version is at least clumps groups of countries together. Mine is just a year old and has the countries in alpha order.
I would suggest buying the smaller books (LP East Africa, etc) instead.