NECK STOP, AFRICA

Sunday Herald Sun - Escape - - ASK THE EXPERT DOC HOLIDAY - KIM CULYER

DOC

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

TALL STO­RIES

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.

PATAGONIA CRUISE

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

PIC­TURE: IS­TOCK

Check out gi­raffes in Kruger Na­tional Park, where a skilled guide is worth the ex­tra cost, es­pe­cially if time is lim­ited.

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