NECK STOP, AFRICA
If you and your father are travelling on an Australian passport, you will not require a visa for entry to South Africa, provided your stay is under 90 days.
Botswana and Zimbabwe issue visas on arrival – it is advisable to have US dollars ready to pay for these. Both are currently charging $US30 (about $37) a person, but this can change at any time, so perhaps carry some small denomination US notes just in case.
The Kenyan visa is the one you should organise before your departure. This eVisa can be obtained online from the Kenyan Consulate (evisa.go.ke) for $65. If you don’t have time, it can also be obtained at your port of entry.
In addition, these countries require you have at least six months validity remaining in your passport from the date you return to Australia. It’s also a good idea to double check the stamp you receive is legible, as immigration officials may want to see evidence of your entry stamps on departure.
Another thing to be aware of is yellow fever. If there is an outbreak or you arrive from an infected area, you will be required to produce a valid vaccination certificate. I would suggest visiting your travel health clinic about having this vaccination and malaria prevention at least eight weeks before your trip.
Self-driving through Kruger National Park can be rewarding but is more ideal for those who will be spending two or more weeks there.
I would suggest a local guide for this region. You don’t necessarily need to join a large escorted tour, but rather be accompanied by a skilled person native to the area.
During a self-guided trip, you will definitely see many animals, but you could also miss lots. The guides in African national parks have an uncanny way of sensing where the animals are and spotting things far in the distance. Guides also let each other know where particular animal activity has been taking place, giving them the ability to take you directly to the spot.
The cost will be slightly more than simply hiring a vehicle and going it alone, but the reward will be worth it.
SOLO SAFETY DOC
Sri Lanka is predominately Buddhist, and you will find friendly, welcoming and helpful locals wherever you go.
As with travelling in any foreign country, you should always be respectful of local customs. So dress appropriately, be polite, stay alert and go with your instincts.
You could look at joining short, locally arranged tours which may include other solo explorers, or book before you go.
The Individual Traveller (individualtraveller.com.au) provides a 12-night trip for solo travellers. Most dinners are at your leisure, giving you the option to join the others or do your own thing. The tour also includes plenty of leisure days with a driver on hand for extra exploring.
Beginning with the sights of Colombo, you’ll be led by a local guide through the Portuguese and Dutch Fort, the Grand Oriental Hotel and walk the open-air bazaar of Pettah. Kandy, Sigiriya Rock Fortress, Ritigala Archaeological Monastery, Dalada Maligawa (or the Buddhist Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic) and the port city of Galle will also be visited.
SLEEP MACHINE DOC
Qantas and Emirates allow the carriage and use of CPAP machines
on-board their aircraft, so if you are flying with either of these airlines, you will not have to check the machine in at Dubai. Each airline has a form which must be submitted at least 72 hours before your flight to gain clearance for the machine and to provide other necessary information.
Emirates (emirates.com) requires a letter from your doctor, Qantas (qantas.com.au) doesn’t. There are also specific requirements for the carriage of the machine’s batteries. You will find this information along with the required forms on your airline’s website.
are limited to 200 and there are three-, four- and seven-night itineraries from September to April.
They sail between Punta Arenas in Chile and Ushuaia in Argentina, along the Strait of Magellan and the Beagle Channel and are the only operator to offer regular cruises through the narrow fjords of Tierra del Fuego. Plus they give passengers the chance to go ashore on fabled Cape Horn. The ships are sensitive to the conservation of the area’s environment and feature cabin windows which are almost floor to ceiling, along with complimentary guided excursions and nature lectures.
National Geographic Expeditions (nationalgeographicexpeditions.com ) also provide two cruises of this region. The 15-day tours depart March 7 and October 25 this year, with a maximum group size of 102 passengers.
Another option is Chimu Adventures (chimuadventures.com), who offer a variety of cruise options through the region, ranging from one to 29 nights.
DOC’S TIP OF THE WEEK
Check out giraffes in Kruger National Park, where a skilled guide is worth the extra cost, especially if time is limited.