Sunday, February 3, 2008

Going to Africa?

It's hard to find a continent more diverse - culturally and geographically - than Africa. I'm sure the French and Belgians will argue that they are very different from one another, but hey, c'mon. So if you are a traveler looking for unique adventure, stunning wildlife, exotic scenery and fascinating culture then you might well think of going to Africa. And if this is your first time, you might want to thumb through The Rough Guide to First-Time Africa: everything you need to know before you go. There are two things to keep in mind with this book, however: it is indeed a rough guide to a vast continent, and it probably doesn't tell you everything you need to know before you arrive on the tarmac in Addis Ababa. It is an excellent jump-off point for your research, though. It has a very brief overview of the diversity of Africa's lands and cultures, a short summary of each country that includes information about attractions, tourist season and travel, and larger chapters on how to plan your trip. These cover topics such as visas, costs, culture shock, how to stay healthy and how to stay out of trouble (not a minor issue). You can encounter Kalahari wildlife in Botswana, travel by boat across Lake Victoria, or see the Numidian mausoleums of Algeria. This being a print publication, however, the information might not be as current or as thorough as you need. For instance, it doesn't include any mention of the recent unrest in Kenya, and in Sudan it says that "things finally seem to be changing for the better". If you are serious about traveling (anywhere off the beaten path, not just Africa), you might want to also check out the State Department's website for Background Notes and Travel Advisories: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/ . Bon voyage!

1 comment:

Gerard said...

Suzanne Arruda has a few mystery novels set in 1920s Africa. You have two: MARK OF THE LION and SERPENT'S DAUGHTER.