Something To Declare: Windhoek; Southern African alerts; Earl's Court

What's new in travel to Southern Africa
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The Independent Travel

Bargain of the week: Windhoek and beyond

Travel from Britain to Namibia became much easier this month thanks to the revival of the London-Windhoek link. Each Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, an Air Namibia (020-7960 6016; www.airnamibia.com.na) jet departs Gatwick at 9.30pm, taking just over 10 hours to reach Windhoek at a very civilised 7.45am. The inbound flight is also overnight, and arrives at Gatwick at 4.55am.

Besides giving easier access to Windhoek, the flight could benefit travellers to other parts of Southern Africa. Air Namibia has connections to Johannesburg, Cape Town, Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and a range of airports in Namibia and Botswana.

Fares are likely substantially to undercut the prevailing prices for flying to Windhoek and the South African cities.

Warnings of the week: Southern African alerts Most visitors to the region experience only a warm welcome and a trouble-free trip. But governments and guidebooks offer some warnings to travellers. Botswana: "Homosexuality is illegal" - Foreign Office

Lesotho: "Take care when approaching the cattle post where herd boys [young shepherds who roam the uplands] live; they often have dogs that are trained to go for any unknown passers-by as a guard against stock theft" - Footprint South Africa

Malawi: "Contrary to the frequent claims of the local tourist industry, Lake Malawi contains the parasite schistosomiasis

State Department

Mozambique: "Carry your passport (not a photocopy) at all times, as police frequently stop tourists, hoping to get a fine/bribe if you have no identification with you" - Africa on a Shoestring, Lonely Planet, £19.99.

Namibia: "Because of the continuing presence of landmines in the border area from Katwitwi (a village on the Okavango river) to Kongola town (Caprivi Region), the US Embassy in Windhoek strongly recommends avoiding leaving the well-travelled roads between these two points" - State Department

South Africa: "Given the high level of HIV/Aids in the country, you should seek immediate medical advice if you are sexually assaulted or otherwise injured" - Foreign Office

Swaziland: "The road to Manzini and the Ezulwini Valley from Mbabane has to be one of the world's most dangerous roads. It is very straight and alarmingly steep - it once made a listing in the Guinness Book of Records as having the highest car accident rate in the world" - Footprint South Africa, £16.99

Zambia: "Armed robbery, car-jacking, petty crime and residential break-ins are common throughout the country. Thieves often target travellers in bus and railway stations and shopping areas. Security risks increase after dark, especially in tourist areas" - Australian Department of Foreign Affairs

Zimbabwe: "We advise against visiting the high-density suburbs, which have been the scene of recent violence and tension. This is especially relevant at this time as the Government of Zimbabwe's 'clean up' campaign has increased tension in these areas. You should avoid engaging in overtly partisan political activity, or in activities that could be construed as such " - Foreign Office

Destination of the week: Earl's Court

If you are undecided about your African adventure, you could get advice and inspiration at one of the free regular slide shows offered by Exodus at the Barkston Gardens Hotel in London's Earl Court. Over the next four months, they will be taking place on 26 July, 16 August, 13 September and 18 October. Book in advance online at www.exodus.co.uk or by telephone to 020-8772 3753.

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