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Although the front page reflects a date of March 17, it is actually the June 2, 2013 travel section of the Washington Post that is dubbed “The Africa Issue.”  This nomenclature results from just three articles on the continent –  a safari in Madagascar and two examinations of very different African cities: Cape Town and Ouagadougou.  Of the two, I have only been to Cape Town.

I have no idea who Sadie Dingfelder, the author of the Cape Town piece is, but I suspect she hasn’t traveled in Africa (or even outside of Europe much).  Most startlingly, she makes the very audacious claim that “casual strolls are generally inadvisable” in Cape Town.  I could make other complaints, but I’ll just say that the piece is a rather inferior hashing of the typical  work that one reads all too frequently on Cape Town, a city that I think it is fair to say, is very much unlike any other on the continent and gets a lot of attention for that very fact (although Dingfelder appears to have been less appreciative of this than most).

The Ouagadougou piece, by Christopher Vourlias is much more considered, although my knowledge of the country and region makes me unfamiliar with his claim that expatriates cannot travel “more than 60 miles north of Ouagadougou without written permission and an army escort.”  While there are the typical mentions of brochettes and lukewarm beer, the author also explores Burkina Faso’s abortive Arab spring in 2011 and tells an interesting story about a Nigerian footballer he encounters.

On the whole, it’s good to see the Post talking about travel in Africa, even if two of the three pieces offer nothing new.

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