Southern Africa on the Wild Side, Rupert Isaacson (Cadogan, pounds 15.99)

Whether you want to go dune boarding in Namibia, or kloofing in Cape Town, this book is an essential, practical guide to outdoor pursuits in South Africa. As well as old favourites such as white-water rafting, riding, fishing and rock-climbing it also offers off-beat things such as parachuting.

Southern Africa on the Wild Side is a user-friendly handbook providing the sort of comprehensive yet specialist information that makes independent travel in far-flung places less of a gamble. Catering to the independent traveller who likes to know exactly what, when and how much, this book lists all activities by country - Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Malawi - where to go to get the best value deal for the chosen pursuit, and how to organise your adventures. As the specialist tour operators listed are in South Africa, there are none of the hefty mark-ups common to safari packages organised by UK tour operators and travellers should find comfort in the thought that their money is going straight into the local community. The approximate cost of each activity is indicated by an elephant rating: one elephant is cheap ($70 or less) and four elephants is luxury ($200 and more), and the elephants are evenly distributed allowing for all budgets to participate.

Alongside the listings - there are some 20 different activities to chose from, not all of which are for adrenaline junkies - there is information about the continent's varied flora and fauna, accommodation, getting around, and access to parks and game reserves.

Priced at pounds 15.99, Southern Africa on the Wild Side is on the pricey side for a travel guide; you should also find that the book saves you more than the cover price if you use it thoroughly.

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