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9 Reviews
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprised at negative feedback - Was invaluable for me.
I am surprised at the negative feedback here. As a consistent user of Lonely Planet guides, I have to say that this ranked as one of the more useful country guides i have come across. Writing guidebooks must be a very tricky business - it is necessary to include such a vast quantity of information, while trying simultaneously to capture the feel and mood of a country in...
Published on 25 Aug 2008 by pishpish

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
I have been a fan of lonely planet books in the past and own quite a few of them. However, having just returned from a trip to South Africa where used this one heavily to plan the trip, I was pretty disappointed. In general there seemed to be too heavy an emphasis on the backpacking traveller and people who have lots of time for their travels (lots of details of 5-day...
Published on 10 Mar 2008 by Slow reader


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 10 Mar 2008
I have been a fan of lonely planet books in the past and own quite a few of them. However, having just returned from a trip to South Africa where used this one heavily to plan the trip, I was pretty disappointed. In general there seemed to be too heavy an emphasis on the backpacking traveller and people who have lots of time for their travels (lots of details of 5-day hikes and things) as opposed to the general holiday(ing) traveller. I also think that there were just some significant misjudgments in their recommendations. There were several towns described as "choc-full" of activities that then proved to be pretty dull and others that were described as "historic" or "quaint" which had little to look at.

Finally, I also think that there was too much "worthiness" creeping in as well. I think there was an appropriate emphasis on township tours and the complex social situation in South Africa (the section on history was very good) but there was then also sideways digs at places the book perceived to be "tacky" or "artificial" when in some cases these were actually pretty well run tourist attractions. I am sure with more time and with a slightly hardier spirit I could have gone for some of the more "authentic" options the book outlined, but short of time and looking for some ease of travel I actually rather enjoyed some of the "artficial" places the book was so disparaging of.

Like I say- not one for the holidaying tourist- this is strictly one for the backpacker or gap year traveller.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprised at negative feedback - Was invaluable for me., 25 Aug 2008
I am surprised at the negative feedback here. As a consistent user of Lonely Planet guides, I have to say that this ranked as one of the more useful country guides i have come across. Writing guidebooks must be a very tricky business - it is necessary to include such a vast quantity of information, while trying simultaneously to capture the feel and mood of a country in such a way that people know what to expect back home. This particular guide does an excellent job in this respect.

I spent one month travelling from Pretoria to Cape Town, taking a winding route through Swaziland and Lesotho. I had no schedule and went where I wanted when I wanted. And perhaps it is for this kind of travelling that this guide is most suitable - it doesn't necessarily tell you how best to combine two or 3 attractions for a short holiday, which is a travel agent's job, but rather it gives a very involved lowdown on most places of consequence in which you might find yourself.

The information was detailed and correct, with pleasingly accurate (both on facts and on less tangible factors - atmosphere, attitude, etc.) descriptions of places and accommodations, and some fantastic recommendations for restaurants, especially in and around Cape Town.

I can't imagine which towns the other reviewers are referring to when they talk about misplaced or underdone praise. I felt that the passion with which the authors wrote the book was well apportioned.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Useful guide but not the best, 2 Jun 2008
By 
Darren Simons (Middlesex, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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As Lonely Planet guides go, I must admit this one was a little disappointing. Certainly the usual details of history, maps, accomodation, sites and restaurants are included. But somehow the guide doesn't really pick up on what South Africa's about... The details of game reserves was very disappointing and certainly much of the area that I visited was not covered in as much detail as I'd have liked. For a country with the scenery of the Drakensburg, the beauty of Cape Town and the wonder of the game reserves that's really rather surprising.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely useful and up-to-date, 15 Nov 2010
By 
Miss Hartley "seh0211" (Oxford, UK) - See all my reviews
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I bought this book to accompany me on my 3-month trip to South Africa. The book packs in a lot of information, and I didn't come accross anything that seemed out-of-date or no longer existing. Cape Town is covered extremely well and I used many of the recommendations for restaurants (it's imperative that you visit Mama Africa, but definitely make sure you book in advance), backpackers and tourist attrcations.
I valued the travel information section, which provides accurate details on how to get around and advice on local customs.
Other cities seemed well covered too and the maps at the back were invaluable. Kruger National Park is also covered in some depth and is useful when visiting this attraction.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good read - whets your appetite for travel, 28 Nov 2009
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D. Richards (UK) - See all my reviews
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Lonely planet books are okay and this does a good job. We made a decent holiday plan from this and another book but were able to leave enough space in our itinerary to wing some time on holiday with this in our backpack.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic guide, 9 July 2009
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This guide book has almost everything you could want, small town maps, suggested accomodation at various prices and lots of helpful hints and ideas of what to see in the area.
I really like that the pages are not too thin or flimsy (others are easily ripped!), but still not too thick to waste space and weight!
The only way it would have been better was to have a better big map of certain areas as you can get a bit frustrated having to flick backwards and forwards through different sections to try and get an overall view.
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2.0 out of 5 stars not up to standard, 16 May 2009
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This guidebook is useful enough if people are intending to stick to the popular tourist routes when visiting South Africa. However for the traveller that is more interested in off the beaten track experience, this LP guide does not offer enough to go by. Their section on the Northern Cape is particularly deficient. And in the case of the Namaqualand area, the information given is downright inaccurate. For example, LP states that there are only a couple of buses per week departing from Springbok. Well, I have now lived in SA for 4 years, and I can guarantee this not to be the case. There are, in fact, two buses and several mini-bus taxi companies that offer transportation everyday to and from Springbok! LP you need to do your research better: not all people are interested in visiting solely the Kruger and the Garden Route!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars seriously flawed, 27 July 2008
By 
spiderboy (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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I suspect the brief of the SA LP authors was the following: do the least amount possible to fill a couple of 100 pages and make sure that on each page, completely redundant information is included and useful, nay, vital data is kept out. To this end, the authors have succeeded, excelling themselves in every regard. For example, the maps are just terrible, rarely peppered with more than a few pieces of information. The Durban and KZN section is hopeless and indicative of a lazy author who couldn't be bothered to do more than the bare minimum.

I came back from Africa having had a great time, despite LP, having found some enjoyment in doing my own travel research. Pull your socks up LP, this is not your usual high standard that I have come to expect over the last 20 years.
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5 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great series of books., 3 Jan 2004
By 
J. C. Eames "Winston" (Yorkshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland (Lonely Planet Country Guides) (Paperback)
As me and a friend are planning a round the world trip this series of books has been a great help.
In picking places where to go it's helpful to know whats there!
Were mainly backpacking and using hostels so specific country guides aimed at this was essential. We needed to know campsites, country entry requirements, cost of living, activities, etiquette, transport options, do's and don'ts and most importantly what the food was like! As well as info on touring in campervans, car or footslogging.
The book has it all and more. It covers all such topics and then reviews each place in the country individually. It has topics on law, car rental and purchase, gay and lesbians interests and so much more. If your travelling to this country then this book will be very useful. I don't think there is one thing I could think of that it does not cover. It even has places to rock climb in it! There are even phone numbers and addresses of hostels and hotels. Local culture and etiquette is covered, which is very useful in order that you don't upset the local inhabitants. Loads of major city centre maps and tons of colour pictures all add to the books appeal.
In addition their website [...] is a great site containing a lot of invaluable information.
The books are very durable and will stand the test of time. I now own five in total, including a Thai phrasebook, as the LP guides are an extensive series, covering more than just travel.
A very worthy and essential purchase, money very well spent indeed!!
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