Planning out trip to African countries

Q and A

Q&a

February 19, 2006|By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE AND KNIGHT RIDDER NEWSPAPERS

Can you recommend an agency that specializes in travel to Africa? I'm looking for a specialized trip to Namibia, Cape Town and Kruger National Park in South Africa.

Mountain Travel Sobek in Emeryville, Calif., and Big Five Tours and Expeditions, based in Stuart, Fla., can arrange customized tours. We asked them to suggest possible itineraries for you.

Nadia Le Bon at Mountain Sobek (mtsobek.com) suggested beginning your trip at Cape Grace (www.capegrace.com), a small luxury hotel in Cape Town and a good base to visit Robben Island and the wine country. At Kruger National Park, there are several private reserves bordering the park with lodges and camps, including Mala Mala, Leopard Hills and Sangita. In Namibia, visit the Cheetah Conservation Fund (cheetah.org) and Sossusvlei Wilderness Camp and Skeleton Coast Camp.

Deborah Kilcollins of Big Five Tours and Expeditions (big five.com) suggested Kruger Park, which has a variety of wildlife that can be viewed on safari tours or on foot.

At what point during a pregnancy are women not permitted to fly?

Each airline has its own guidelines for pregnant women, so check with the carrier first and then consult your obstetrician.

American Airlines, for example, allows domestic travel up to seven days before the delivery date but requires a medical certificate if traveling within seven days (international travel usually isn't advised within 30 days of a woman's due date). United requires a certificate, dated within 72 hours of travel, if a woman is flying within a month of her due date.

The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology says the safest time for pregnant women to travel is during the second trimester (18 to 24 weeks), when there is the least danger of premature labor.

We make a round trip between London and New York each summer and would like to take Tigger, our border terrier puppy, with us. We have been unable to find out the rules for onboard versus in-the-hold transport. Can you help?

Traveling with pets can be a daunting experience, and you will find that some airlines are more pet-friendly than others. But before dealing with airlines, travelers should check regulations for countries they are traveling to or through, and make sure they have all the documents they need.

The United States, for instance, requires that your pet be at least eight weeks old and fully weaned before traveling on an airline, and you will need a health certificate from your vet. Information: www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dq/faq_animal_imp ortation.htm.

American travelers flying into Britain are eligible for the European Union's Passport for Pets program. It allows dogs and cats from certain countries to enter Britain and other EU countries without the normal six-month quarantine, as long as they are fitted with a microchip tracking device (or a tattoo) and have been vaccinated against rabies.

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