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I so appreciated to spend those days close to the Wall and not just to “fly in” for one day. This enables me to get a bit of a “feel” for the country. To be with the Chinese crew also was a privilege I won’t forget. Our tour guide gave us valuable insights. I am thankful that I could be part of this challenge, it was worth it.
Lebanon Update: 4 August 2014
There has been continuing tension in Beirut and Tripoli, including random explosions and violent demonstrations, with sporadic closure of the main road leading to the international airport in Beirut. Govt Travel Advices warn against travel to regions of the Bekaa Valley, where World Expeditions scheduled itineraries would visit, due to proximity to the Syrian border and ongoing tension in those regions. The ongoing conflict in neighbouring Syria is having a destabilising effect on Lebanon and together with internal political and sectarian tensions there is potential for violent protests in any part of the country. All World Expeditions scheduled departures remain cancelled until further notice.
Kenya Update: 4 August 2014
All clients visiting Nairobi and Mombasa are strongly advised to pay close attention to personal security at all times, heed the advice of local authorities, hotels and tour guides and avoid non-essential visits to large public places. You should avoid the Nairobi central CBD area (World Expeditions does not stay at hotels in the central CBD) and low income areas of the city particularly Kibera, Mathare, Kasirani and Eastleigh.
Aust Govt Travel Advisory advises to “Reconsider Your Need to Travel” for coastal Tana River county and all of Lamu county due to the high threat of ongoing violence and terrorist attack. For the time being, all trips to Lamu are not operational.
Govt Travel Advice also warns not to travel to the border regions with Somalia, South Sudan, Ethiopia and the A2 highway north of Isiolo. None of these regions are visited on World Expeditions itineraries. Our local partners and other tour operators in Kenya continue to host many visitors from around the world. There are no travel restrictions in place for Kenya overall, with the exception of the FCO (UK) travel advice below.
The FCO (UK) advises against all but essential travel to Mombasa Island and the surrounding area (within 5km of the coast from Mtwapa creek in the north to Tiwi in the south, but not including Diani or Moi International Airport) following recent incidents and the continuing threat of violence in the area. Following on from this, several UK travel companies have cancelled all charter (private) flights and trips to Mombasa until 2015. The FCO (UK) advisory to avoid all but non-essential travel currently refers to specific areas in and around Mombasa (as above), the regions within 60km of the Kenya-Somali border, Kiwayu and coastal areas north of Pate Island (both are north of Lamu Island), the Garissa District (near Somalia), the Eastleigh and low income areas of Nairobi, and Lamu County and those areas of Tana River County north of the Tana river itself. The travel advisories from the governments of Australia, New Zealand, Canada and USA remain at a lower level.
Security around major establishments in Nairobi and Mombasa such as airports, government buildings, shopping malls and hotels is very high, and has been for a while now. These include enhanced security checks at all Kenyan airports, and on the main roads leading to/from the airports. Also there have been no changes or cancellations to international scheduled flights by the major airlines (eg. Kenya Airways; KLM etc) passing through Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (Nairobi) or Moi International Airport (Mombasa). All World Expeditions scheduled departures to Kenya remain operational, as are transits through Nairobi to other East African countries. All our tour guides are trained to keep abreast of local conditions and to avoid the nominated areas of Nairobi. Further updates will be provided should the situation change. The safety of our travellers is our foremost priority, and we are receiving constant updates from our local partners in Kenya.
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS): 4 August 2014
Cases of MERS have been reported in several Middle East countries including Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen and Lebanon. Other countries outside the Middle East have also reported imported cases from returned travellers. The majority of cases have either lived in or travelled to Saudi Arabia, or had close contact with travellers or healthcare workers returning from this country. MERS can cause a rapid onset of severe respiratory illness, and a variety of other symptoms. There is no vaccine for MERS. Camels are suspected to be the source of infection for sporadic cases, and person-to-person transmission has been documented in healthcare settings. WHO does not advise any special health screening or travel restrictions to the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia. World Expeditions does not operate any trips in Saudi Arabia. A precautionary letter has been sent to all clients that are travelling to the Middle East or transiting through Middle East airports, to inform them about MERS and details preventative measures including thorough hand washing and avoiding contact with camels. If you have any concerns, please discuss with your doctor/GP.
Egypt Update: 4 August 2014
As a result of ongoing political tensions in Egypt the security situation across the country remains unstable. Further violence and civil unrest as a result of ongoing demonstrations could occur without warning. Due to the potential for ongoing civil unrest, and Govt Travel Advice for Australia, UK, NZ, Canada and USA all indicating all but essential travel should be avoided, World Expeditions' scheduled departures to Egypt remain cancelled until further notice.
Syria Update: 4 August 2014
Civil unrest continues to occur throughout Syria, affecting the entire country. Security along and entry / exit to/from any of Syria's borders or airports cannot be guaranteed. The Australian, UK, NZ & Canadian Government Travel Advices and the US State Department continue to warn against travel to all parts of Syria. In light of travel warnings that remain in place, World Expeditions’ scheduled departures to Syria have been cancelled until further notice.
Mozambique Update: 4 August 2014
Due to ongoing political unrest in the central province of Sofala, and recent violent clashes between the rebel Renamo group and government forces in the Inhambane province, World Expeditions itineraries passing through these areas of the country have been re-routed to avoid Mozambique. This is a temporary change at this stage and as soon as the country becomes more settled in these regions, original itineraries will be restored. Please refer to your trip notes for details.