Customer Review

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars needs more detail for independent travellers, 19 Dec 2011
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This review is from: Guide to Ethiopia, 5th Ed. (Bradt Travel guides(Slow Travel))) (Kindle Edition)
I certainly agree with many of the other reviews in that the book is very well written and is full of a lot of interesting local detail. I particularly like the personal nature of the narrative, and the fact that if the author is not sure about a situation, place, connection, then it clearly says so, i.e. "I heard this might be possible" instead of "it is" or simply leaving out unsure details. The admission that the author does not know all perfectly is a refreshing change.

That said, I had one or two minor gripes about the book. Firstly I found the maps were lacking a little as there no middle ground between a very sparse low-detail map of the entire north, and the city level maps. I missed intermediate regional level maps showing the surrounds of towns one was visiting. The second moan is that the book is written from the viewpoint of (and consequently for) someone travelling the country in a private vehicle. Details on public transport were often sparse, connection times only given for the historical tour in the clockwise direction, and no details of bus/minibus prices are given (which of course always need "inflation" adjusting, as with hotel prices, but help to avoid being taken for a ride, monetarily speaking...!)
The third thing is that the book, while a wonderful read, is sometimes a little tooooo wordy, which makes it a heavy book to carry around with you (time to get a kindle perhaps?). For the background, history, culture etc it is fine, but flowery prose for transport or accommodation options is not always necessary; I would rather have note-form text and save some weight - I noted quite a few instances of repetition between sections which probably resulted from poor incorporation of updates for more recent editions, that the editors could have worked on. Lastly, there were a couple of instances where the book suffered from not being updated (e.g. view tower in Gondar castles has been closed now for over a decade) but no worse than any other book I've used (LP, RG etc...) -

All in all, the gripes are quite minor. I haven't compared to LP for Ethiopia but from the other listings it sounds like this guide is far better. I would certainly use a guide written by this author for other African countries.
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