Your questions answered by our panel of travel experts
Sunday 18 January 1998
WE HAVE heard that it is possible to go on a wolf-watching holiday. Wolves are without doubt my favourite animals. Can you give me some details and addresses of how we might be able to go and do this?
Jill Crawshaw replies: As I'm sure you know, wolves are very elusive, and even the companies offering "wolf-watching" cannot actually guarantee sightings - you take your chance.
Much hunted and practically extinct in Europe, your best chance on this continent is probably in Poland, where wildlife specialist Naturetrek (01962 733051) offers a winter adventure tour during February, which includes tracking wolf, European bison, lynx, and other mammals that are rare in Europe.
Most tracking is done by moonlight over freshly fallen snow in three areas of northern and eastern Poland; in Bialowieza Forest, the Unesco World Heritage site; in the marshes of Czerone Bagno, were visits are timed to coincide with the full moon; and in the Puszcza Forest, once the favourite hunting ground of Kaiser Wilhelm II. This superb tour costs pounds 990 for flights, accommodation, meals and expert guiding.
Russia would obviously be a good place for wolf-spotting, though as yet organised tours in this area do not seem to be generally available.
Over in North America, Canada is probably the country that offers the best chance of sightings. All Canada Travel & Holidays (01502 585825) offers two day add-ons for wolf and black bear observation daily, from mid-August to October for wolves and mid-July to mid- August for black bears.These cost pounds 158 per person for two sharing.
Although I've never seen a wolf in the wild, I have been to a "wolf howl" - an eerie but exciting experience organised in Canada's Algonquin Park, where park rangers "communicate" with the wolf pack on certain evenings during the summer months. You can get further details of transport and accommodation from the Canadian Tourist Office (0171 930 8540).
Jill Crawshaw is a travel expert, writer and broadcaster.
Why do I often get depressed after returning from a long trip abroad?
Every couple of years or so, I go on a fairly lengthy expedition- type trip abroad, usually in India or Africa. One strange thing that I find is how I always seem to get not only ill, but also depressed immediately after my return. Several friends of mine who take similar trips have noticed the same thing in their own cases. Is there a clinical explanation for this? Is there any way to minimise the effect?
Dr Larry Goodyer replies: You are probably suffering from what is known as "reverse culture shock", which, as the name implies, occurs on returning home after a long trip abroad. This sort of thing would be more commonly observed amongst expatriates who have been living and working overseas for some years, but could easily occur in a milder form in those who have been travelling for a few months.
A number of factors may contribute to your feeling of depression - including a return to poor weather, the more hectic pace of life and the inability to relate very well to friends and family who have not shared your travel experiences.
However, it may be worth a check up to ensure that you have not picked up an infection or parasite which can cause symptoms such as anaemia and lack of energy.
Like the well recognised syndrome of culture shock, the main assurance is that the problem does resolve with time and it is probably important to accept that it may be a while before you readjust to a faster pace of life.
You should also remember that a major element in resolving culture shock lies in becoming familiar, and to some extent taking part in, the local way of life, rather than trying to maintain your usual lifestyle and expectations. Perhaps on return your old lifestyle needs to be relearned. If the feelings of depression are particularly severe or it carries on for a long period of time, then counselling may be of benefit.
Dr Larry Goodyer is superintendent of the Nomad Pharmacy (3-4 Turnpike Lane, London N8, Tel: 0181-889 7014) which specialises in catering for travellers' medical needs.
US holidays for the disabled
My husband and I would like a holiday this year. He was paralized in an accident some years ago, his mobility is very limited and he needs two sticks to get around (but he won't use a wheelchair). I was wondering about driving round the USA in a motorhome (I can do the driving). What can you suggest?
The travel editor replies: Your best advice would be to contact The Royal Association for Disability and Rehabilitation (better known as Radar), on 0171 250 3222, or write to them at 12 City Forum, 250 City Road, London EC1V 8AF. They have some very helpful and friendly staff who inform me that a huge range of holidays in fact is now available for the disabled - and these include activities as energetic as skiing.
They can provide information on the specific things that you are interested in, which can be virtually anything. They certainly have information about specially adapted motorhomes in the US. They can also supply various books and fact-packs (for which you have to pay - ask Radar for details).
Another organisation that is specifically in the business of helping disabled people to travel is Tripscope (0345 585641). If you tell them what you would like to do, they will advise you how to do it.
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