SA driving roadmap recommendation?

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May 23rd, 2005, 05:16 AM
  #1
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SA driving roadmap recommendation?

Hi

I will be going to SA in Nov and doing a fair amount of driving. Can anyone recommend the best roadmap to buy if I am going on the following routes?

Johannesburg International Airport to Madikwe and back
George/Garden route to Cape Town, via Hermanus, Klein Karoo, Franschoek, etc.

I have found a few: Rough Guide map, Collins map, Globetrotter map. The Collins one sems pretty comprehensive - anyone had any use of these?

Also I want to get a guide book - Frommers seems ideal as it has Cape Town and also Vic Falls. Any recommendations here as well?

Thanks
John
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May 23rd, 2005, 09:29 AM
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Of the ones readily available in the US, Globetrotter is my favorite. But my favorite maps for southern Africa are those published by Map Studio. I think they are available only in Africa, but you may be able to get them over the internet. If not, you can find them at any CNA bookstore in South Africa, including the one at the airport so you can have them when you first arrive.

The very best guidebook for South Africa, in my opinion, is Footprint South Africa, published by Footprint Handbooks Ltd. I've probably read or looked at every SA guidebook available in America, and I've bought and used many of them, but Footprint is far and away the best. Not only does it include
the information you need for the cities and the game parks, it covers all the towns along the way. This makes it especially valuable if you're driving.

The Fodor's books look pretty good to me. I found the Brandt for South Africa to be less than useful. (Side note -- other participants here have found the Brandt for Zambia very good, I think.) I've looked at the DH guide to South Africa, and I think it's pretty bad. The format that works so well for European cities is not at all useful for a country full of game parks.

Footprint South Africa is organized geographically, which is another plus when driving.
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May 23rd, 2005, 11:23 PM
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If you want to consider on line options, see my post in the thread "mapquest for capetown or equivalent". You can then buy something when in S.A. Celia suggests the Map Studio maps, and they are the "bible" here. Or if you can get to an AA store (www.aa.co.za/live/content.php?Item_ID=636), their maps are very good. Free to members, but I think available at a price to non-members.

One or more of the online options I listed in that other post might be applicable for routes as well as locations. Especially that "Plan Your Route" option on Shellgeostar. The reason I said don't accept its detail as gospel, is because the only time I tried it (for a relatively long distance) there was a part where it didn't seem to be correct. That could have been because of recent roadworks, or my own incompetence!
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May 23rd, 2005, 11:27 PM
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Of course "AA" is "Automobile Association", not "Alcoholics Anonymous"!

BTW, perhaps the S.A. AA is affiliated with other Associations and provides services (including maps) to their members. I don't know.
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May 24th, 2005, 12:39 AM
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Have a look at www.veza.co.za. It's a project that produces a multimedia CD with extremely detailed maps on it (down to streets in small towns). You can order it on their website, and I think they also have some of the maps plus trip planning tools on there.

Have a good time in SA!
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May 24th, 2005, 06:21 AM
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Members of AAA (American Automobile Association) in the US have reciprocal privileges with AA in South Africa. AA will suggest routes for you, and give you those cute little "strip maps", I think they're called, that show in a straight vertical line just the towns you'll pass through and the route numbers, not the actual topography.
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May 24th, 2005, 06:39 AM
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Celia, that was my guess, that AAA members might have reciprocity, but I didn't know for certain. But those "strip maps" (that I too remember from the past) have been replaced by more "conventional" maps that cover the major routes and provinces. I don't know why, the former were unique and very useful, my guess is cost. But the maps are still good and usually up-to-date.
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May 24th, 2005, 06:45 AM
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Correction to my last post! It seems as if the "strip maps" are still available, and also much more colourful than the old ones that I remember.

And they are also available online! Select from the page http://tinyurl.com/bbkpl.
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May 24th, 2005, 06:56 AM
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Although the AA says that only the "most popular" maps have been published online.

BTW, I had to use IE instead of Firefox to select a map, either Firefox doesn't work or it's a Java option that has to be changed.
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May 24th, 2005, 08:17 AM
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Arthur, I just took a look at the links you mentioned in the other post, and found that for at least the area around Umfolozi-Hluhluwe, neither Geostar nor Map Studio are up to date. They show the southernmost park bordered by the Umfolozi river, not connected to the other park, and they don't show the roads between the two. I wonder if they are using old data, or what? I have a fairly current Map Studio book that shows that area correctly, so it isn't that Map Studio doesn't have the copyright to the current info.
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May 24th, 2005, 11:15 PM
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That's very strange Celia. If I can find some time later (w**k calls at the mo!), I'll look up that example, then call Map Studio "armed with the evidence" and see what they have to say.
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May 25th, 2005, 04:59 AM
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I've now been onto the Map Studio site. Although I had listed it, it was the only one that I hadn't actually used myself before. I had just repeated what someone else had told me, that they had a website. So I made the mistake of assuming any online maps there would be theirs.

But unless I'm going in the wrong direction, it appears that apart from samples, they don't have an online version of their hardcopy mapbooks. The only relevant link I can see is "Interactive" and that transfers to an "MWEB partner" site. (MWEB is a major S.A. ISP.) And that site's maps are supplied by a company called Mapit.

Is that the map you looked at Celia? If so, it seems as if it is different to the Map Studio ones, and would explain the discrepancy. And it would be an example of the need to find a reliable source for maps.
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May 25th, 2005, 10:01 AM
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That could be what I actually saw, Arthur, I'm not sure.
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