Travel publications continue to fill the book shelves and suitcases of curious rovers. Here are reports on three.
"Fodor's Animal Parks of Africa," by Edmund Blair Bolles, David McKay Co. Inc., New York. (347 pp., $9.95).
It is perhaps an indication of the growing attention given to vacation travel in Africa that one of the latest editions among the dozens of Fodor worldwide travel books is this specialinterest guide. Jet-age travel makes getting to Africa easy. This guide is aimed at helping tourists get around once there. It is for a special kind of visitor: one interested specifically in viewing the wildlife found in the continent's animal parks.
The author, Edmund Blair Bolles, a former Peace Corps teacher in Tanzania, writes that "Africa is easier to visit than most people realize." His guidebook is a good indication of that. It describes accommodations for lodging, food, sightseeing and transportation in 18 African nations, with special emphasis on Kenya, Tenzania and South Africa, the countries with some of the largest and most frequently visited game parks.
Beyond accommodations, though, the book includes detailed background material on what types of animals may be found in which parks and what to expect on a drive through a wildlife reserve. It points out that migration patterns and seasonal weather changes play an important role in determining what kinds of animals a tourist will see. It further notes that, even during one day, a cool morning's drive through a game park could be far more rewarding for animal-watchers and photographers than one just several hours later under the hot equatorial sun.
The book briefly discusses the question, prompted by daily newspaper headlines about political turmoil, that undoubtedly would be asked by many concerned tourists planning an African vacation: Is it safe? Author Bolles answers that, yes, in most countries one can travel without fear of being caught up in the region's political problems.
But where frontier war or internal police problems could affect a vacationer,m the author has included political remarks. There is a warning about police activities in Uganda (events are moving rapidly in that country) and notes of caution about security in remote areas of Zambia (not near the major game parks) and changing political developments in Rhodesia (another fluid situation).
The editor-in-chief for Fodor's Modern Guides, Robert C. Fisher, says the Fodor guidebooks try to include "aspects of politics that a traveler can see." He says that about a fourth of the Fodor guides (there are some 60 books current for 1979) include specific commentary when a political issue could affect tourists.
With specific details and tips to help plan trips either privately or as part of a group tour, "Animal Parks of Africa" is a useful introduction for a tourist considering a first visit. It makes clear that a trip to Africa, once a visitor is outside the major cities, will be vastly different from the usual vacation. The guidebook notes, for example, a park rule in Kenya: "Buzz airstrip once to scare off animals."