Arrivals & Departures Weekly Travel News & Views 23 April 2024

Zebra. Masai Mara, Kenya.
Picture: Stephen Scourfield  The West Australian

With a focus on Africa, cruising and what's new in the world of tech, Travel Editor Stephen Scourfield delves into another week in Travel


Reader Cheryl Williams noticed my advice to carry ground cumin to help with tummy problems overseas. She writes: “I am in India and had a serious bout of Delhi belly last week. Several hours late, I used your remedy — a quarter of a teaspoon of cumin, which seemed to do the job. I packed the cumin and, as you suggest, remembered to pack a spoon, but I made the mistake of packing the cumin into my check-in luggage. You were wise to remind some of us who may not have thought to pack a spoon, but I didn’t even consider not to have it packed in my check-in bag! I won’t make that mistake again. I like a natural remedy and think this is a winner.”

(PS Take a quarter of a teaspoon of ground cumin, place on the tongue, and wash down with bottled water. I learnt it from locals in north Africa.)


Think of the Amazon River and most will think of Brazil, but exploring the Amazon in Peru has a lot going for it. The river is born here, with the convergence of the Ucayali and Maranon rivers, in the protected Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve, in rainforest which feels untouched. The Peruvian Amazon is smaller and generally narrower than the river in Brazil, making a cruise on this part of the river feel more personal.

All this has clearly been recognised by Abercrombie & Kent, which on Monday announced the launch of a new Peruvian riverboat. Its maiden voyage will be in April 2025. It will have 10 double cabins and two singles and offer three and four-night itineraries in the backwaters of the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve. All start and end in the port town of Nauta, a short transfer from the city of Iquitos, the nearest international airport.


It is not so long since I wrote that Ecuador is close to being “the perfect country”. A relatively small country, it has the Amazon rainforest, Andes and Galapagos. I have spent happy days in Guayaquil, Ecuador’s biggest city and a historic place, where Simon Bolivar and Jose de San Martin met in 1822, with Bolivar emerging as sole leader of the South American liberation movement. He was one of the most important leaders of South America’s fight for independence from Spain. But a big part of my work is to watch the politics and safety of countries, and Ecuador is now largely in the grip of violent gangs — particularly in Guayaquil. While it is a local turf war, it is clearly dangerous for visitors, too. Ecuador now has the highest recorded murder rate in Latin America.


Cruise line Ponant is adding a 24m maxi-catamaran with six staterooms to its fleet. The yacht will be launched in June 2024 and spend the summer around Corsica and France, before heading to the Seychelles for winter 2025.


The number of Australians cruising has overtaken pre-pandemic levels, according to data released by Cruise Lines International Association on Tuesday. In 2023, 1.25 million Australians went cruising, compared with 1.24 million in 2019 .


This time last year, I was just back from Africa. As we were planning that trip, prices of accommodation and some internal flights were rising dramatically — and they haven’t eased since.

Added to this, in the Maasai Mara in Kenya, peak-season game-park fees will more than double to $US200 ($312) per day from July 1 — more than an extra $US1000 for a couple for a four-night trip.

In Uganda, the cost of a gorilla tour permit rises from $US700 to $US800 per person from July 2024. This is a Uganda Wildlife Authority permit for Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga National Park. In Rwanda, a gorilla permit for Volcanoes National Park remains at $US1500.

In the Galapagos, off the coast of Ecuador, entry fees are being increased to support conservation revenue and reduce overtourism. They will double in price from $US100 to $US200 per person from August 1, 2024.


I am intrigued to see that Jane Goodall has a Lego set fashioned after her. The English primatologist and anthropologist has studied the social and family interactions of wild chimpanzees for more than 60 years. Find the Jane Goodall Tribute set online for about $60.


Radisson is back in South Africa’s “Mother City”, with the rebranding of Park Inn Cape Town Foreshore to Radisson Hotel Cape Town Foreshore. Near the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, it is Radisson’s third hotel in South Africa. There has been an eight-month renovation of the hotel’s 120 rooms.


In Zambia . . .

Lower annual rainfall has brought drier conditions to the Liuwa Plain National Park, which has opened to visitors earlier than expected this year.

A fire in 2023 has ended on a positive note for the Ila Safari Lodge in Kafue National Park, where a new multilevel boma has been built.


Singita is one of the best known groups in Africa and this month it relaunches its founding lodge, Singita Ebony, to mark its 30th anniversary. Set among giant trees by the Sand River in the private 18,000ha Sabi Sand Reserve, Singita Ebony has a refreshed and contemporary safari style inspired by the curved, flowing lines of adobe architecture. There are 14 suites, each with a private plunge pool.

And Singita Milele, a private hillside villa, will open in the heart of Tanzania’s Serengeti in May 2024. It has taken South African based HK Studio three years to design and build. A spokesperson says it is “intentionally designed to minimise the barriers between guests and nature, visually, acoustically and physically”.


Much closer to home, Yelverton Brook in Margaret River lives by the ethos to “detach from the world and reconnect with nature”. It celebrated its 32nd anniversary last Tuesday. Joy and Simon Ensor’s Yelverton Brook Conservation Sanctuary has spacious self-contained accommodation on more than 40ha.


The latest gadget from tech company Twelve South is a ButterFly — which an insider calls “the world’s smallest two-in-one USB-C MagSafe charger”. It will charge an iPhone, Apple Watch and AirPod Pro with USB-C. ButterFly has an aluminium shell that unfolds to reveal the MagSafe charger. It is $219.99 and will be in Apple stores in June.


Scoot airline’s first Embraer E190-E2 aircraft landed at Singapore Changi Airport on Tuesday. It is the first of Scoot’s nine new E190-E2s, with the second due to arrive by the end of April. The aircraft are made in Embraer’s production facility in Sao Jose dos Campos, Brazil.


And finally, we’re getting ready for our West Travel Club weekend at New Norcia with readers. Mogens Johansen will be leading our photography course, with Will Yeoman teaching travel writing. There will be PhotoWalks and an evening musical concert. We’re looking forward to it. (There are new PhotoWalks at