The obsessive traveller
Sunday 14 November 1999
I would like to travel to Africa for a holiday with my partner. After seeing news footage of a gay-rights group member making a citizen's arrest this week on Zimbabwe's homophobic president, Robert Mugabe, perhaps Africa, or at least Zimbabwe, is not the best destination for gay travellers? Are there any companies that organise trips to Africa specifically for gay travellers, and where are the best places to go?
The Travel Editor replies:
If you are nervous about travelling in Africa, the best guarantee for your comfort and safety is to go with a tour operator that caters for an exclusively gay market and can pre-arrange accommodation and transport for you with tried-and-tested gay-friendly organisations.
Man Around (tel: 0181-902 7177) organises group tours worldwide for gay travellers and has recently launched its programme in South Africa. It features holidays in Cape Town, such as the African Explorer safari programme, which includes wine-tasting tours and game drives. The eight-day Cape Explorer starts in Cape Town and includes an excursion to Table Mountain, two days on the beach and a wine tour. The cost is pounds 311 per person, based on two sharing, including all accommodation, transfers, transport, some meals and excursions as detailed in the itinerary. Flights can be arranged at an extra cost. Man Around also tailor-make city breaks in South Africa and is planning to feature north African destinations.
When it comes to independent travel in Africa, traditionally the most relaxed places for gay travellers are Morocco and Egypt. But these are Muslim countries and, as with everywhere in Africa, discretion is advised.
For further information about gay-friendly travel destinations and organisations, visit www.gaytoz.com, an on-line gay listings service. Another good source of information is the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association, based in the US, at www.iglta.com.
There are a lot of old wives' tales about the best ways to combat feelings of nausea from motion sickness in the absence of actual medicine. Some recommend drinking sweet fizzy drinks; some recommend eating oranges; some recommend dry toast and water. What in your experience are good things to eat and drink in these circumstances?
Dr Larry Goodyer replies:
Motion sickness is a very common problem and affects people travelling by air, sea or land. The reason for the condition lies in the fact that the human body is simply not adapted to artificial forms of motion.
In terms of diet, there does not appear to be any conclusive proof for or against light meals, fatty foods or onions, the commonest suggestions. Of non-drug methods, the special acupressure wristbands seem to help some people. Others find that homeopathic remedies ease the sickness.
It is also useful to take measures such as finding your way to the centre of a ship or fixing your eyes on the horizon. Medication to prevent motion sickness works for most people, providing it is taken before travel - half an hour to a couple of hours, depending on the product; your pharmacist can advise on the best choice.
Dr Larry Goodyer is a lecturer in clinical pharmacy at King's College, London. Contact the Nomad Travel health helpline (tel: 0891 633414; calls cost 60p a minute).
I am interested in touring the South Pacific but am worried about vast distances and expense. How can I get to as many countries as possible in one go without breaking the bank?
Phil Haines replies:
There are two main routes across the vast Pacific that enable the island- hopper to commence their beach quest economically. North of the equator, Continental Airlines - actually Continental Air Micronesia, or Air Mike, in that part of the world - has a twice-weekly flight serving several of the Pacific islands. Between Honolulu and Guam, it stops at Johnston Island, Majuro, Kwajalein, Kosrae, Pohnpei and Truk.
From Guam, Air Mike flies to Japan, Manila (via Palau, one of the world's finest dive/snorkel locations) and Hong Kong.
The Escapade Round the World ticket (using Air New Zealand, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways and Ansett) is from pounds 933 plus taxes and allows you to visit a choice of South Sea islands, including Tahiti, Cook Islands, Tonga, Samoa and Fiji, up to a total distance of 29,000 miles.
If South America is on your way, Lan Chile flies from Santiago to Papeete, Tahiti, via Easter Island and the remarkable Rapanui.
Finally, there is a Visit South Pacific Air Pass, which allows you to purchase two to eight sectors on 10 participating airlines. Each sector costs $175-$320 (pounds 110-pounds 200), depending on distance. Flight coupons are bought in conjunction with your international tickets to the region. Polynesian Airlines' 30-day Poly Pass costs $999 for seven countries.
Phil Haines, the youngest person to have visited every country in the world, runs a travel company, Live Limited (tel: 0181-737 3725; phil.haines@live- travel.com), "specialising in travel to special places".
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