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East Africa (Lonely Planet Multi Country Guides) Paperback – 1 Jun 2009
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My only gripe is that they have seriously cut back on the photos and wildlife guide from the previous edition.
However, in my opinion, this is still the best guide to the region available. If you want more you should get a book on each country!
Could do with a few more pictures of 'real' Africa.
While at first I was a bit disappointed with the bleak innards, and tightly-packed text, but I guess if you have a travel book it is better if pretty pictures and flashy design are replaced by a wealth of information. And yes, even if the book contained sections on Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Congo, Rwanda and Burundi, there was plenty of useful information, including short sections on history, culture and customs. In fact, for those two months I spent in the region I didn't need another travel book at all.
The information contained was extremely useful, particularly for an independent backpacker. Information on local events, places of interest and hostels/hotels was particularly good, and how to travel with public transport to various places was invaluable. They pack a lot of stuff in, and had I not had this book I would have missed out on so many things! On the basis of the books recommendations I even took some local Ugandan friends to cool places they had never heard of!
I also particularly liked that they included a section for lone female travellers with hints and tips on how to make the journey safer, and mentioned in the hostel-descriptions if the hostel wasn't recommended for lone females. As I only used Uganda and Rwanda I don't know much about sections on Kenya or Tanzania, but a friend of mine used Congo section and him too found the book very useful.
My copy is in absolute tatters now, as I used it so much, but I still like to occasionally flip through some pages to remind myself of the places I visited. It is a great book, and everyone travelling in the region should get one!
There is the usual information about sights and activities, full of addresses, prices, and everything you need to know. The full colour wildlife guide is handy (especially for distinguishing between antelopes) and there is a whole section devoted to safaris and gorilla trekking. The history sections for each country and for the region in general are easy to read and informative.
The 'directory' section includes useful information on everything under the sun, plus there are chapters devoted to health, transport, and language. The introductory information at the start of the book covers culture, art, food, history, etc. The maps are clear and reasonably easy to read.
I looked through both this guide and specific country guides for those I was visiting in the region, and decided this one covered pretty much everything you need but in one volume, making it a much better bet for travelling with.
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