Nelson’s Columns: A Blindman’s Bluffs

first_imgLet’s be honest, most people never venture further than Europe. When the cheap spirit of wanderlust awakens, a group trip (courtesy of Easyjet) to the sun-kissed regions of Spain soon cures the travel-bug. Often the holy trinity of boozy paradises – Majorca, Minorca and Malaga – in association with Club so and so, adequately nourish the Joepublic soul with the sublime necessities of sand, sea, sex and more sex. Meanwhile Africa merely registers as that place where Bob Geldof “did his bit for us, for those skinny kids”. Often the seasonal destination of many a “Hoorah Henry” and the hutbuilding wealthy Gap year student, “cos laahk yah know, I raahlly wanna help the children”, Africa remains distant and inaccessible to most. A continent that conjures up images of expense, famine, disease and poverty couldn’t really be a holiday destination for the masses, could it? Lonely Planet’s excellent new travel guide, Africa on a Shoestring aims to dispel the miasma of thought surrounding the continent. A mixture of social comment, history, practical information and observational humour, this sturdy tome is an invaluable guide for any budgetconscious traveller aiming to explore the impressive diversity of Africa. From the Roman and Pharaonic temples of the Maghreb (North Africa), to the spicy charm of the East, the platelicking cuisine of the West and right down to the jaw-droppingly inspiring natural sites of Southern Africa, any adventurer on a tight budget can experience the continent to its fullest, particularly students suffering from the monstrous after-effects of a student loan. The emphasis is on “shoestring” and so each page is conceived with this concern in mind; the helpful itineraries to plan budget backpacking around specific regions of Africa, from North to South, “the Maghreb Meander” to “French Footsteps”, must be looked at. With this endlessly useful one-stop reference guide, you can’t really go wrong. Lonely Planet adds yet another jewel to backpacking culture.ARCHIVE: 2nd week TT 2004last_img

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