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Lonely Planet Africa (Travel Guide) Paperback – 10 Nov 2017
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From the Inside Flap
Colour maps and images throughout
Highlights and itineraries help you tailor your trip to your personal needs and interests
Insider tips to save time and money and get around like a local, avoiding crowds and trouble spots
Essential info at your fingertips - hours of operation, phone numbers, websites, transit tips, prices
Honest reviews for all budgets - eating, sleeping, sight-seeing, going out, shopping, hidden gems that most guidebooks miss
Cultural insights give you a richer, more rewarding travel experience - history, culture, wildlife, safaris, cuisine, music, environment
Over 220 maps.
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First - and most important - this is a guide to THE MOST ACCESSIBLE PARTS OF AFRICA - not a guide to the continent as such. The following countries have not been researched: Libya, Tunisia (!), Mali, Niger, Central African Republic, Chad, South Sudan, Burundi, Angola and Somalia - and while some island nations have been included, there's no mention of the Comoros, the Seychelles and Mauritius. Which means that 13 of the 53 countries in Africa are either left out or just given a cursory historical background text which could just as well have been written ten years ago.
Why, you may ask, write a guidebook about countries nobody in their right mind would visit anyway? Well, because, as a matter of fact, that was why Lonely Planet guides used to be written in the first place. Besides, anyone wishing to visit Kenya, South Africa or Egypt probably won't buy this book at all, since there are lots of more detailed guides on the market. A guide to Africa should be about ALL OF Africa, not just the most popular destinations.
What's even worse, Lonely Planet is turning into a publisher for the affluent segment of the market, not for the backpackers it was originally meant to serve. There are truly few budget options here, while the most expensive luxury hotels are mentioned in most capital cities. Everything points towards well-off middle-aged holiday goers who prefer safety, comfort, expensive meals, cocktail lounges and renting a car with a driver. In most countries with functioning railways (such as Ethiopia and Madagascar) there's no mention of trains. Useful information about how to get a visa (such as in the republic of Congo) has not been updated. Anything listed about dodgy countries sounds mass-produced and general, as if the author can barely understand that the reader wishes to read about this hellhole at all.
So how can you defend publishing 1120 pages about "Africa" and yet hardly produce a single interesting page? That's quite a feat! How can you possible manage to make 53 - or ehem, rather 40 different, independent countries look more or less similar? Didn't your research in Djibouti, Ivory Coast, DR Congo or Mauritania produce any new or remarkable results? Why skip three perfectly safe and accessible Indian Ocean nations? And although there's been unrest in countries like Burundi, Chad, Niger and Mali, that doesn't necessarily mean that people won't go there, does it? Traditionally Lonely Planet haven't been afraid of walking the extra mile.
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