|South African landscape. Image credit: TpsDave.|
Because there are thousands of information to read about travel to South Africa it can sometimes be hard to decide which ones to use. It is important to go prepared to South Africa as it has such a rich history, culture and diverse population. Many visitors download information from the Internet but I would suggest to buy some books which you can keep to remind you of your visit. Before you travel to South Africa it is important to at least obtain some background on its history, culture, politics, most important attractions and wines.
My suggestion of five books can all be bought on Amazon and are thus easily accessible.
South African history and culture
For all the essential background information on South African history and culture, I recommend:
The South Africa Reader: History, Culture, Politics (The World Readers) [Kindle Edition] Clifton Crais (Editor), Thomas V. McClendon (Editor)
The South Africa Reader will give you ample background and different perspectives on South Africa's diverse people as well as how its history was shaped. This guide is a must to become acquainted with this country's history, culture and politics and some insight on all its current and future challenges. Knowing the background of South African history and politics will give you added insight when you visit places of historical value.
South Africa - Culture Smart!: the essential guide to customs & culture by David Holt-Biddle
This is a concise guide that will give you quick insight into South African's attitudes, beliefs and behaviour in different situations. If you want to be prepared about major cultural differences, this guide comes highly recommended as it is small enough to carry with you while you explore.
Long Walk To Freedom (Abacus 40th Anniversary) [Kindle Edition] by Nelson Mandela (Author)
Written by Mr Nelson Mandela himself, this book will give you insight into his heroic life and how he became the first black President of the country.This book is in particular recommended if you will be visiting Robben Island in Cape Town, as this tour concentrates on his days as a political prisoner. See my Robben Island quick guide.
South Africa's finest wines
While in South Africa you need to try out some South African wine. I recommend:
Wines of the New South Africa: Tradition and Revolution by Tim James (Author)
A visit to South Africa is incomplete without trying out some of its best wines. By also providing background and historical information about the wine regions in the Western Cape, you will be armed with the necessary knowledge when you decide on which wine estates to visit in the Western Cape.
Best attractions to visit
Which areas and attractions to visit is always on visitors' minds, especially if you want to make the most of your time in South Africa. With the hundreds of guides available it is not an easy task to decide which ones to use. I recommend:
National Geographic Traveler: South Africa, 2nd Edition by National Geographic and Samantha Reinders