Vietnam to Re-Open in October

The borders of Vietnam have been shut for the last 18 months, and now, the country is set for a phased re-opening in October.

Phased Re-Opening

Vietnam’s initial re-opening will be the tropical island of Phú Quốc, to the south of the mainland. Much like Thailand’s sandbox re-opening of Phuket, this scheme is designed as a boost to the local economy, and a precursor of a further re-opening down the line.

From October, fully vaccinated tourists can visit Phú Quốc, and travel by both chartered and commercial flights. A negative PCR test is a requirement.

The government is also working towards securing mutual recognitions of vaccine passports with other countries in order to facilitate travel and ensure a smooth return to the travel market.

About Phú Quốc

Considered one the best kept secrets in Vietnam, Phú Quốc is a holidaymaker’s dream. Also known as Pearl Island, the 150km long coastline offers visitors their pick of glitteringly white beaches. Dotted along the southern coastline are palm-lined resorts, restaurants, bars, and markets. It is not yet clear whether visitors will be required to stay in specific hotels, but Phú Quốc has accommodation options to suit every budget.

The marine life around Phú Quốc allows for exceptional diving and snorkeling. The coral is colourful and abundant, a myriad of species of fish, and if you’re lucky, giant clams, sea turtles, and other rarities, make for a memorable experience.

To the north of the island is the Phu Quoc National Park – over 30,000 hectares of protected forest. A UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, the park offers visitors a wide range of activities and experiences. The dense forest has a number of hiking trails, including, for the fit, a four-hour trek and a climb up a bamboo ladder, to Mount Heaven.

Phú Quốc is the ideal tourist destination, so it is hoped that it’s re-opening will provide a healthy boost to a struggling economy.

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Our Top Beach Getaways for the December Holidays

Leave Father Christmas a forwarding address this year, and soak up some sun on a beautiful beach.

Aruba

Golden beaches in Aruba

With an almost guarantee of perfect weather, Aruba is the ideal destination for sun-soaking. And it has the beaches to match. One of them, Eagle Beach, was even named TripAdvisor’s 3rd best beach in the world. Pop on a mask and snorkel and explore Aruba’s gentle, turquoise waters. There are plenty of excellent snorkeling spots around the island, Boca Catalina, and Malmok are two of them. Away from the beaches, Aruba’s mountains and caves are ideal for those wanting to get active and experience the island’s diverse landscape.

Restrictions: All travellers are required to complete the Dis/embarkation travel card online (ED Card) before being granted entry to Aruba. Visitors who do not have proof of vaccination are required to take a Covid-19 test between 3 days and 4 hours before their arrival. All travellers must purchase the Aruba Visitors Insurance. The ED Card cannot be completed without it.

Bonaire

Admire the flamingos and other wildlife on Bonaire

The island of Bonaire, in the Dutch Caribbean, is a haven for those in search of a pause button. Its unspoiled beauty is emphasised through its preservation efforts – the Washington-Slagbaai National Park is one such example, providing a sanctuary for flamingos, parrots, iguanas, and other land species. Bonaire was the first Caribbean island to have a protected marine park and the diving opportunities are unapparelled. Aside from the vivid corals and kaleidoscopic reef fish, keep an eye out for pods of dolphins, eagle rays, and sea turtles.

Stay: Divi Flamingo Beach Resort

Eat: Brass Boer

Restrictions: Bonaire has a traffic light system in place for travel restrictions. Only those from safe, green listed countries do not need to be tested before arrival. A Health Certificate needs to be completed by all travellers between 72 and 48 hours of departure.

Dominican Republic

Playa el Valle, Samaná

Beaches, beaches, everywhere. The Dominican Republic is home to the Caribbean’s longest beach coastline. At 48km long, you’re guaranteed to get a sun lounger spot. If you’re looking for a wilder side to the Caribbean, then the Samaná Peninsula has it all. Rainforests, untouched beaches, and verdant mountains all play a role in a region that specializes in ecotourism. If you fancy wandering narrow, historical streets past sleek, modern art galleries then head to the capital Santo Domingo to learn more about the Dominican Republic’s culture and history.

Stay: Cosón Bay Hotel and Residences

Eat: Pueblo de los Pescadores

Restrictions: Most travellers do not need to present a negative PCR test on arrival. Travellers from some higher risk countries are required to present either a negative PCR test result no older than 72 hours, or, a complete vaccination card dated no sooner than 3 weeks before arrival. All travellers must complete the electronic exit and entry form.

>> Visit the Maldives – It’s Open!

Seychelles

The Seychelles has plenty of beaches to choose from

The Seychelles archipelago consists of over 100 islands and atolls scattered across the Indian Ocean, enough to keep even the most curious traveller satisfied. The innermost are the main islands which have more amenities. Day trips can be arranged to explore uninhabited atolls such as such as Conception Island which is home to pristine beaches and undisturbed ecosystems. Situated on Curieuse Island is the Curieuse Marine National Park. Here, visitors can enjoy activities such as bird watching, nature trails, snorkeling, and diving. The latter two will introduce you to the breathtaking coral life, and maybe even some sea turtles.

Stay: Hotel L’Archipel

Eat: Moutya

Restrictions: All travellers to the Seychelles must provide a negative PCR test no older than 72 hours before departure. All prospective travellers must apply for Travel Authorization via the Seychelles official site. All arrivals must present proof of sufficient valid travel insurance for the duration of their stay. The Seychelles are open to visitors from all countries except: Brazil, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Cote D’Ivoire & Guinea.

Zanzibar

Relax on pristine white beaches in Zanzibar

If you’re looking for a bit of everything – wildlife, history, gastronomy, and tropical beaches, then head to Zanzibar. Visit Stone Town, a UNESCO world heritage site with a vivid and complex history. Other eye-catching landmarks in Zanzibar town include the Old Dispensary which has a beautiful lattice-work exterior, and the Old Fort, which was built by Omani Arabs in the 17th century. Zanzibar’s beaches each have their own character. On the island of Pemba, in particular, you’ll find a paradisiacal haven. Startlingly white beaches, and lush forests – the tranquility makes it the ideal beach escape.

Stay: Aiyana Resort and Spa

Eat: Pemba Moonlight

Restrictions: All travellers must complete the online registration form before arriving in Zanzibar. All arrivals must present the negative results of a PCR test which is no older than 96 hours prior to arrival. Travellers from, or who have travelled through, higher risk areas will be tested again at their own cost on their arrival (USD25). Children under 5 are exempt from testing requirements.

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EU Travel Restriction Changes

EU travel restrictions change rapidly, we take a look at the latest updates.

Austria

Austria has removed the following countries from its ‘safe’ list:

  • Albania
  • Armenia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Brunei
  • Israel
  • Japan
  • Kosovo
  • Montenegro
  • North Macedonia
  • Serbia
  • Thailand
  • United States

Arrivals from these countries must now present either, a negative PCR test result, proof of vaccination, or proof of recovery. Travellers who can show proof of vaccination or recovery do not need to registered for pre-travel clearance. Unvaccinated arrivals are required to self-isolate for 10 days.

As from the 15th of September 2021, the following are considered areas of variants of concern:

  • Brazil
  • Chile
  • Costa Rica
  • Suriname
  • Zimbabwe

Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, and Uruguay have been removed from this list. Travellers who have been in one of these countries in the 10 days prior to travel will not be allowed to enter Austria. Exemptions such as for Austrian residents and citizens, are in place.

Children under the age of 12 are exempt from all testing and vaccination requirements.

>> US Travellers Face Restrictions from these EU Countries

Belgium

From the 11th of September, Belgium has placed the following EU/Schengen regions on its red list, indicating a higher epidemiological risk:

  • Croatia: Adriatic Croatia, City of Zagreb, North Croatia
  • Norway: Trøndelag
  • Caribbean Netherlands: Bonaire

Germany

Germany has removed the following regions and countries from it’s high-risk list:

  • Argentina
  • Bolivia
  • Ecuador
  • France – the regions Corsica, Occitanie and the overseas department Réunion
  • Greece – the regions Crete and South Aegean
  • Namibia
  • Oman
  • Paraguay
  • Peru

New high-risk areas that have been added to the high-risk list this week are:

  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Grenada
  • Nicaragua
  • Norway – the counties Oslo and Viken

Travellers who have been in a high-risk area within 10 days before entering Germany are required to quarantine for 10 days on arrival (at home). Travellers with proof of either vaccination or recovery do not need to quarantine.

All arrivals over the age of 12 must carry with them either: a negative PCR test result; a vaccine certificate; a recovery certificate.

Greece

In Greece, domestic travel on planes, trains, busses now requires all passengers over the age of 12 to provide one of the following:

  • Proof of full vaccination certificate which was issued no sooner than 14 days prior to travel
  • Proof of recovery certificate valid within the last 6 months
  • Negative PCR test taken within 72 hours before the scheduled time of arrival in their destination
  • A rapid antigen detection test taken within 48 hours before the scheduled time of arrival in their destination

Minors between the ages of 4 and 11 can have a self-test which is free-of-charge and provided by the state.

Spain

Spain has placed the whole of France on its high risk list. This list is valid until the 19th of September. Arrivals from France are required to present either a negative PCR test, or certificates of either vaccination or recovery.

EU travel restrictions are constantly changing, so we advise travellers to double check the requirements before their trip.

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Travel to Rodrigues – An Island Escape

If you’re searching for Indian Ocean islands to escape it all, then the island of Rodrigues is just the ticket. According to Mauritians, the unspoiled beauty of Rodrigues is what Mauritius was 50 years ago. So, experience both sides of the coin, and while you’re in paradise, travel to Rodrigues. Just over an hour away by air, and you’re in paradise of yesteryear.

About Rodrigues

The Mauritian territory is located 650km from Mauritius, but, beyond the beautiful beaches, it couldn’t be more different. While Mauritius has drawn a steady stream of tourism, and development over the last few decades, Rodrigues has not. The ultimate result of this is a tropical island without too much of the modern-day trappings of development.

Rodrigues has a small population – under 40,000 inhabitants – and the pace of life is slow, perfect for a holiday escape. The official language of the island is English, however, French and Créole are the most widely spoken.

The island’s natural beauty has been kept intact, and, as a small volcanic outcrop in the Indian Ocean, it’s surrounded by a turquoise lagoon and coral reefs teeming with marine life. Volcanic mountains, cloaked with rich vegetation provide ideal hiking routes, while coves and caves make for great exploring along the coastline.

Explore

There are plenty of islets dotted around Rodrigues
Explore the islets dotted around Rodrigues

For a small space (the island is only about 18km in length), Rodrigues packs a lot in.

The Grande Montagne Nature Reserve offers panoramic views over the island. Wind through the trails of the forest to reach the 300-350m high summit. The nature reserve is a prime spot to view the island’s rare plant life, endemic trees, and previously endangered bird species.

After working up a sweat, cool down on a boat trip to Île aux Cocos, one of the smaller islands neighbouring Rodrigues. White crystal white sands and turquoise seas are somewhat ubiquitous in this region, Île aux Cocos’ charm lies in its size – 1,2km in length and 250m across. Ensuring that you feel like you truly have escaped it all. You’ll find as your companions on your day trip, seabirds of varying species.

You’ll feel like you stepped into the pages of Treasure Island when visiting Trou D’Argent. Flanked by rugged cliffs, protecting pristine waters and picturesque beach, this little cove is only accessible by foot. Indian Ocean pirates and corsairs once sailed these waters, and it’s easy to imagine them choosing this spot to hide their loot. This spot is an ideal day trip for families as the path is easy-going and well marked.

The island has plenty to offer visitors, from intricate cave systems, to giant tortoises, and incredible diving, a few days spent here while on holiday in Mauritius is worth the trip.

Your Visit

When to visit: Rodrigues usually experiences pleasant weather all year round. November to April are the summer months, and temperatures usually peak at the mid-30oCs. The winter months, between May and October see temperatures peak at the mid-20oCs. Cyclone season usually runs from December to May, although this is often difficult to predict.

Where to stay: The island offers a range of accommodation types, although you won’t find the sprawling resorts you would in Mauritius. We love the charming beachside boutique hotel, Tekoma, or, the relaxed, garden retreat of La Belle Rodriguaise, with endless views over the ocean.

How to get there: Rodrigues is a Mauritian territory, so travel via the main island. Air Mauritius is due to restart flights to Rodrigues soon. Under usual circumstances, the airline operates daily return flights between Rodrigues and Mauritius.

Current restrictions: Until the 30th of September, fully vaccinated travellers can enjoy an in-resort stay at select hotels for 7 days. PCR tests: 3-7 days prior to travel. There is still a travel ban in place for arrivals from some countries.

From the 1st of October, Mauritius fully re-opens to vaccinated travellers. After presenting a PCR test no older than 72 hours, these arrivals are free to explore the island. Non-vaccinated travellers need to quarantine in their hotel rooms for the first 14 days.

>> Travel to Mauritius: Now Open to South Africans

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Travel to Mauritius: Now Open for South Africans

South Africans will once again be able to travel to Mauritius as the Indian Ocean island has lifted its travel ban. From the 1st of October, the specific bans against arrivals from South Africa will be removed, and tourists will be welcomed once again.

Prior to this, travellers from South Africa had to spend 15 days outside of the country before being allowed to enter Mauritius’ borders.

Travel to Mauritius in October

From October, South African tourists can visit Mauritius provided they meet the requirements depending on the category they fall into:

Vaccinated travellers: Fully vaccinated travellers can explore the island, and book any accommodation they choose. A negative PCR test must be presented on arrival, but otherwise no other restrictions are in place. The PCR test must be be taken no more than 72 hours from the last point of embarkation.

Unvaccinated travellers: An in-room hotel quarantine stay is required for unvaccinated travellers. The 14-day stay must be at one of the official quarantine hotels, and must be booked in advance. Arrivals need to present a negative PCR test dated between 3-7 days from their last point of embarkation. Depending on the length of stay, travellers will be tested again on day 7 and on day 14. If the final test result is negative, then the visitors are free to explore the island.

All travellers must follow the PCR testing requirements, including children and infants.

All travellers must download, print out and complete the following documents to hand over to officials on arrival:

South Africans can once again travel to Mauritius

Who is Flying to Mauritius?

The following airlines have been authorized to operate direct commercial flights between the two countries: Air Mauritius, Comair South Africa, SAA, and FlySafair. Air Mauritius has already resumed flights between Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport and O R Tambo International Airport, South Africa’s main hub, in Johannesburg. Comair is scheduled to resume flights on the 30th of November. Alternatively, routes via Kenya, and Reunion island are also viable options for South African travellers.

>> 5 Important Travel Rules You Need to Know

Recognized Vaccines

The following vaccines are recognized by Mauritian authorities:

  • AstraZeneca: Covishield
  • AstraZeneca: Vaxzevria
  • Covaxin
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Moderna
  • Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine
  • Sinopharm
  • Sputnik
  • Sinovac- CoronaVac

Mixed vaccinations are also accepted provided the travellers provides proof of both doses. Children under the age of 18 are currently exempt from vaccination requirements.

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Travel to Spain: Everything you need to know

Fancy a sangria in Seville? A stroll down Las Ramblas in Barcelona? Spain has been open to tourism for a few months now, however, it maintains strict travel rules, and it’s high risk lists, may see you postponing that beach escape to Mallorca.

We take a look at the latest travel rules to Spain.

Travel to Spain From Risk EU/EEA Countries

As of Monday the 30th of August, the following EU/EEA/Schengen countries have been put on the high risk list:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland (Helsinki-Uusimaa, Etelä-Suomi, Länsi-Suomi and Pohjois- ja ItäSuomi)
  • France (Corse, Guadeloupe, Guyane, La Réunion, Martinique, Occitanie, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Bourgogne-FrancheComté, Bretagne, Centre — Val de Loire, Grand Est, Hauts-de-France, Ile-deFrance, Normandie, Nouvelle-Aquitaine and Pays de la Loire)
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Italy (Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Marche, Sardegna, Sicilia, Toscana, Abruzzo, Emilia-Romagna, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Lazio, Liguria, Lombardia, Piemonte, Provincia Autonoma di Bolzano/Bozen, Provincia Autonoma di Trento, Puglia, Umbria, Valle d’Aosta/Vallée d’Aoste and Veneto)
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Norway
  • Portugal
  • Romania (Bucureşti-Ilfov)
  • Slovenia
  • Sweden
  • The Netherlands

Travellers from these countries must provide a proof of vaccination, recovery, or a negative PCR test in order to enter Spain. In addition, travellers from these countries as well as the safe countries, must provide a passenger locator form.

Travel to Spain from Third Countries

Cathedral and tower in Seville
Dusk over the Cathedral of St Mary of the See in Seville, Spain

Non-essential travel to Spain from Third party countries is not permitted unless you meet one of the exemptions, or you are travelling from a country that is considered epidemiologically safe. Currently, the following countries are regions are the only ones on this list:

  • Albania
  • Albania
  • Armenia
  • Australia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Brunei
  • Canada
  • China
  • Israel
  • Japan
  • Jordan
  • Lebanon
  • Montenegro
  • New Zealand
  • Qatar
  • Republic of Moldova
  • Republic of North Macedonia
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Serbia
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • United States of America
  • Ukraine
  • SAR of Hong Kong
  • SAR of Macao
  • Kosovo
  • Taiwan

Fully vaccinated travellers and their accompanying minors (under 12) are exempt from the travel ban, but must still ensure that they meet all the necessary entry requirements. The vaccines must be recognized by Spanish authorities and travel cannot take place less than 14 days after the second dose.

All travellers must complete a passenger locator form before departure.

What to Expect in Spain

Spain’s regions are governed autonomously, which means you may experience different regulations across the country. Many regions have dropped nightly curfew rules, and no longer require masks to be worn in outside environments provided a distance of 1.5metres is maintained. Masks must be worn indoors and on public transport.

Bars, restaurants and cafes are open across Spain, but it is advisable to check in advance, as bookings may fill up, closing times may change due to curfews, and many restaurants have a table capacity limit.

Museums, and other attractions are open, however in some regions these operate at specific capacities so always check in advance.

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Travel to Cyprus – Who can and who can’t?

Think crumbling ancient Greek architecture, pristine beaches, and captivating hilltop villages – it’s no wonder that many tourists plan to travel to Cyprus.

Although the island has been open for tourism for a number of months, it has still retained its traffic light system. So, before you book your holiday to this jewel in the Med, make sure that you meet the specific requirements.

>> Outdoor Travel – Our Top Picks

Please Note: All travellers to Cyprus, regardless of their vaccination, or country status, must register online with the CyprusFlightPass within 48 hours of their departure.

The categorization of the below countries is effective from the 19th of August 2021.

If you travel to Cyprus, expect sparkling seas, and blue flag beaches

Who can Travel to Cyprus – The Green List

Arrivals on the ‘low risk’, green list can travel to Cyprus without facing any restrictions or testing. These countries are:

  • European Union member states: Germany, Croatia, Hungary, Poland, Romania,
    Slovakia, Czech Republic
  • Third countries: Australia, Jordan, Canada, New Zealand, Singapore

The Orange List – Testing Needed

Travellers arriving from countries on the medium risk ‘orange’ list will need to provide a negative PCR test no older than 72 hours. These are:

  • European Union member states: Austria, Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Latvia,
    Luxembourg, Slovenia, Finland
  • Small states: Vatican City
  • Schengen members: Lichtenstein, Norway
  • Third countries: North Macedonia, Canada, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Qatar, China,
    Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Bahrein, Saudi Arabia

Arrivals who are Cypriot nationals or citizens, maybe undergo additional medical screening on arrival.

The Red List

Travellers on the red list are only permitted to enter Cyprus for essential reasons. These travellers must have a negative PCR test 72 hours before travelling and will be tested again on arrival. The second test and the subsequent self-isolation until a negative test result is at the traveller’s own expense. These countries are:

  • European Union member states: Belgium, France, Denmark, Estonia, Ireland, Spain,
    Lithuania, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden
  • Small states: Andorra, Monaco, San Marino
  • Schengen members: Switzerland, Iceland
  • Third countries: Azerbaijan, Egypt, Albania, Armenia, Georgia, United Arab
    Emirates, United States of America, United Kingdom, Japan, Israel, Kuwait, Belarus,
    Lebanon, Montenegro, Moldova, Brunei, South Korea, Ukraine, Russia, Serbia

Grey List Countries

Any country not listed above is on Cyprus’ grey list. This means that visitors cannot travel to Cyprus without special permission and must quarantine for 14 days.

Exceptions to Travel Restrictions

Any person who has received a full dose of an accepted vaccine can travel to Cyprus without facing any testing or quarantine rules. Vaccines that are currently recognized by Cyprus authorities are: Pfizer/BioNTech, AstraZeneca, Moderna, Janssen, Sputnik V, Sinopharm, Sinovac.

>> Vaccines for Travel: Who Accepts What?

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Outdoor Travel – Our Top Picks

It’s been a long year and a half, inside and online. Now, as the world is starting to re-open for tourism, we take a look at our top picks for outdoor travel. We’re only bringing you countries that are currently open for tourism, or will soon be.

Consider our outdoor travel list for the entry-level outdoorsperson – you won’t need to fish out your grappling hooks when heading to these destinations. Get ready for a whole lot of fresh air!

Austria

A couple of hikers look over a lake in Switzerland
Austria’s mountain trails have something for every level of experience

Austria dominates the winter sports scene, and has a wealth of ski resorts to choose from. If you visit in the warmer months though, the verdant mountains provide the perfect backdrop for walking, hiking, cycling and more. For example, if you try the highly rated Seespitz from Gleinkersee trail, you’ll pass through alpine pastures, and thick forests. And, if it’s hot, cool down with a swim in the Gleinkersee lake, or, have a snack at one of the inns dotted along its shores.

If you’re a seasoned climber, or just starting out, Austria’s mountains have something for every capability. If you prefer to be near water then you’re in luck as Austria is home to number of beautiful lakes. In Tirol, you’ll find Achensee Lake where you can spend your days surfing, sailing and diving, whilst surrounded by mountains. Between Upper Austria and SalzburgerLand, there’s Wolfgangsee Lake – its chocolate-box villages will certainly give your photography game a boost. Take the vintage cable car up the mountain for even more spectacular views.

Travel Info: Anyone entering Austria must provide either proof of vaccination, proof of recovery, or a negative PCR test no older than 72 hours. Travellers arriving from ‘safe’ countries do not need to self-isolate. Vaccinated travellers from ‘other’ countries are also exempt from quarantine rules. Non-vaccinated travellers must self-isolate for 10 days with a test to release on day 5. Children under 12 are exempt from testing.

>> Austria Lifts Quarantine Requirements

Ireland

Ireland must be on every outdoor travel bucket list
Cycle through the forests of Wicklow Mountains National Park

When you’re known as the Emerald Isle, outdoor travel is going to be a specialty. Ireland has a little bit of everything, from the beaches to the mountains, to forests, you’ll have your pick. Of course, the weather can be unreliable, but, with a good raincoat, an invigorating hike will whet the appetite for a pint of Guinness by a roaring fire. Ireland’s wealth of hiking and walking trails are of varying lengths, so can cater to all capabilities and time frames. If you’re a confident hiker and happy to build up a sweat, then head to Waterford and try the Coumshingaun Lake Walk. Around 5 hours, this hike takes you through forest, and up into the mountains, offering unrivalled views of the country surrounds. The pristine lake, protected by an amphitheatre of mountains makes this hike all the more breathtaking. Alternatively, hire a bike, and cycle through the beautiful dappled forests of Wicklow Mountains National Park.

Head to the picturesque town of Dingle, in County Kerry, where you can combine exploring the warmth and beauty of the area with getting out on the ocean. Here, you can kitesurf, dive, sail, kayak and more. The area is abundant with marine life, and sea safaris such as Dingle Sea Safari are an ideal way to see the beautiful coastline and all its islands, caves and crags. The Dingle peninsula is also home to some spectacular walking and hiking trails for those who prefer to stay on solid ground.

Travel Info: Arrivals must have a negative PCR test no older than 72 hours, unless they have been vaccinated or have recovered and are arriving from a ‘safe’ country. Travellers from ’emergency brake’ countries (with higher Covid-19/variant incidences) can skip quarantine provided they are fully vaccinated. All arrivals to the Republic of Ireland must complete the Passenger Locator Form before travelling.

Rwanda

Rwanda's National Parks provide the perfect tour for an outdoor travel itinerary
From grasslands to rainforests, Rwanda’s National Parks have something for everyone

Rwanda is the ultimate bucket list destination. If you’re looking for a change of scenery, and to get outside, then you can’t do better than this. A topographical melting pot, Rwanda is home to savannahs, volcanoes and rainforests. An emerging safari destination, the country has recently become home, once again, to the big 5. Rwanda has four national parks, each with their unique landscapes and biodiversity. Visitors can choose to visit just one, or take outdoor travel to the next level and plan a tour to see them all.

The Volcanoes National Park is the ultimate outdoors adventure. In the northwest of the country, towering volcanic peaks emerge from the mists of the rainforest. This park is home to the endangered mountain gorilla, which you can track through the undergrowth with the help of experienced guides. As the trees sing with over 200 species of birds, visitors can canoe, mountain bike and visit local villages. For an entirely different landscape, go to Akagera National Park in the eastern part of Rwanda. The low-lying land is made up of grasslands, wetlands, and forests and gives visitors the opportunity to see the Big 5 as well as a myriad of bird and buck species. Nile crocodiles and hippos wallow in the many lakes – visitors can see them in their element from either a tour-operated drive, or a self drive.

Travel Info: All travellers must provide a PCR test no older than 72 hours. They will be tested again on arrival and required to wait for the results at a designated hotel – this will be a maximum of 24 hours. The tests are at the traveller’s own cost and are USD50 with a USD10 service fee. All passengers are required to complete a Passenger Health Locator Form prior to arrival in Rwanda. Children under 5 are exempt from testing requirements.

>> Where Can South Africans go on Holiday?

Slovenia

Slovenia is ideal for both cultural and outdoor travel with its blend of history and nature
Hike the mountains in the Julian Alps, or enjoy water-based activities along the coast near Piran

Can’t choose between Riviera-style dining along the coast, or hiking in Alpine mountains? Slovenia has it all, and in a relatively small space, allowing travellers to see more in less time. To the south, the country’s tiny coastline (just over 46km long), will make you feel like you’re in Italy, which you nearly are as Trieste is just across the border. In Piran, Slovenia’s main ‘Mediterranean town’, escape to nature in Strunjan Nature Park. Perched on the cliffs overlooking the Adriatic, you’ll be afforded fabulous views, whether you stay over night in the reserve, or just visit for the day.

If you want to prioritize hiking while in Slovenia, then the 10,000+ kilometers of marked trails will make planning easy. The Julian Alps offer rugged terrain for varying degrees of mountaineering aptitude, while the Karavanke Alps have some gentler routes. Take for example, the Stari Grad Castle Hill hike, which takes you up to castle ruins with magnificent panoramic views. It takes less than 30 minutes to ascend, so it’s easy to fit into an afternoon trip and suitable for families. Finish off a long day’s walk with a rest at one of Slovenia’s many wellness spas and resorts and you’ll be fit to take on the next mountain. There’s no reason why outdoor travel can’t include a spa day!

Travel Info: Slovenia is open for tourism for arrivals from EU and Schengen Area states, as well as third party ‘safe’ countries. Arrivals must submit either, a negative PCR test (72 hours), a Rapid Antigen Test (48 hours), proof of recovery certification, or proof of vaccination. The proof of recovery must be older than 10 days and not older than 6 months. Vaccinated travellers must have received the full dose, unless they also have a recovery certificate, in which case 1 dose is accepted. If none of these documents can be provided then the traveller will either be denied entry, or required to quarantine for 10 days. All travellers to Slovenia must complete the Passenger Locator Form before arrival.

South Africa

South Africa’s coastline combines hiking with spectacular views

South Africa is a large country with vastly different landscapes across its provinces. In the north of the country, wildlife and game reserves are abundant – the Kruger National Park being the most famous, but the Pilanesberg National Park also offers great game sightings slightly closer to Johannesburg. Book a stay in one of the many game lodges and enjoy guided walks and professional game drives. In the north east coast of the country is Kwazulu-Natal. This province is home to the Drakensburg, a mountain range on the border with Lesotho. Famous for its beauty, hikes, and rock art, this area is ideal for an outdoors enthusiast, and a must-do on any outdoor travel itinerary.

Head down the coast, passing famous surfing spots such as Jeffrey’s Bay, and eventually you’ll reach the Garden Route – one of the most scenic drives in the world. Stop for a day hike in the Garden Route, or Tsistikamma National Parks. If you’re feeling brave, trying bungee jumping off of Bloukrans, Africa’s highest bridge. The Western Cape is filled with mountain ranges for every type of hiker. Start with the most famous, and hike up Table Mountain. Or head to the water and go kayaking or snorkeling with the seals. In Gansbaai, get up close and personal with Great White Sharks, or, head up the West Coast to enjoy the bright, white beaches dotted with wild flowers.

Travel Info: All arrivals must present a negative PCR test no older than 72 hours and from an accredited laboratory and signed by the medical practitioner administering the test.

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The Greek Islands: Travel Requirements

Those looking for some Hellenic island-hopping will continue to face specific entry requirements when returning to the Greek mainland. Authorities have announced an extension on the testing requirements for domestic travel as the vaccine rollout has been slower than anticipated.

Travellers returning to the mainland from an island must have a vaccination certificate, proof of recovery, or a negative PCR test or antigen test result. The details are as follows:

  • Vaccinated Travellers: Have received the full dose of an accepted vaccine no sooner than 14 days before travel. The certificate must be in either Greek, English, French, German, Spanish, Italian or Russian. Travellers must carry both printed and digital versions of their certificate with them. Greece accepts the highest number of vaccine types in the EU.
  • Recovered Travellers: Travellers who recovered from Covid-19 at least 30 days before travel can submit a recovery certificate. A recovery certificate is valid for 180 days.
  • Testing: Negative PCR tests no older than 72 hours, or negative antigen tests no older than 48 hours will be accepted.

Children under the age of 12 are exempt from travel restrictions.

>> Vaccinations for Travel: Who Accepts What?

Greece’s Restrictions-Free List

A beautiful view over the sea is a great way to see Greece, but make sure you know the island hopping travel requirements
Make sure you know the travel requirements when island hopping through Greece

Visitors from the following countries and principalities can visit Greece without facing quarantine or self-isolation requirements:

  • All European Union countries
  • EU++ countries – Andorra, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican, the Principality of Monaco
  • USA
  • UK
  • Albania
  • Armenia
  • Australia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Bahrein
  • Belarus
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Brunei
  • Canada
  • China
  • Israel
  • Japan
  • Jordan
  • Kuwait
  • Lebanon
  • Moldova
  • Montenegro
  • New Zealand
  • North Macedonia
  • Qatar
  • Russia
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Serbia
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • Turkey
  • UAE
  • Ukraine

What to Expect

Restaurants are open, and offer outdoor seating

Masks must be worn in all public spaces, as well as in public transport.

Restaurants, cafes and bars are open, however seating is only available outside and limited to 6 per table. Archaeological sites are open, and allow 20 visitors at one time. If you want to catch a show while in Greece, it’s advised to book in advance, as theatre and concert capacity is capped at 75%.

Greece is known for sparkling white beaches and turquoise seas. Get to your lounger early though, as only 80 people are allowed on 1000m2 of beach. Plus, with the exceptions of families, only 2 people can share an umbrella.

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Visit the Maldives – It’s Open!

If you’re looking for paradise, then it’s probably time to visit the Maldives. The tropical archipelago is open to tourists from any country and doesn’t require in-room quarantine. These are our tops picks, from activities, to accommodation, we’ve got ideas for every budget and traveller.

The Family Friendly Holiday

The Maldives have plenty of family-friendly options for every type of budget

If you’re travelling with your family, particularly small children, you might not want to venture too far away from the main islands. Travel between the atolls isn’t always straightforward, so staying within reachable distance of facilities such as hospitals is a good idea. Touchdown in the Maldivian capital, Male, and start by exploring the vibrant markets and ornate historical mosques. As soon as the urge to laze under swaying palms overcomes, catch one of the short domestic flights, or boat trips to the atoll of your choice.

Spoil yourselves and head to Niyama Private Island Maldives. Here, your luxury beach side villa has everything you might need (down to a humidor with cigars). This is the ultimate getaway for kids and adults. Little ones can create their own memories at the Explorer Kids Club, while the grown-ups enjoy a well-earned massage, and a cocktail on the beach. Plus, just a 40 minute flight from Male, its not a headache to get there!

Alternatively, head for the all-inclusive package holiday with Club Med Maldives at their Kani Resort, just to the north of Male. Here, you’ll guaranteed a stress-free holiday!

Paradise on a Budget

A holiday in paradise doesn’t have to cost you the earth

To visit the Maldives doesn’t have to mean to spend a fortune. There are a number of lovely guesthouses scattered throughout the archipelago. Acqua Blue, for example, is an intimate guesthouse on the island of Rasdhoo, 60km away from Male. The guesthouse simple, modern rooms, which are all air-conditioned. Rasdhoo is the only inhabited island in its small atoll, and is popular for its excellent diving and snorkeling opportunities.

Plus, if you still want to stay in a hotel, there’s always the Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma where you’ll still be spoilt with pristine beaches and turquoise sea. And its just a 45 minute speedboat ride from the airport!

Visit the Maldives – Just the two of you

The Maldives is the ultimate place to rekindle that spark

If you’re looking for a romantic getaway to rekindle passion dulled by nearly two years of sweatpants and do-it-yourself haircuts, the Maldives has more romantic resorts than you could shake a palm leaf at.

If you want to stay close to the main islands and the airport, try the Kurumba Maldives Resort. Located on an atoll just a short 10 minute flight from Male, you’ll be relaxing on the beach in no time.

If you prefer to stay in a children-free zone, then head to the Komandoo Resort. Stay in a luxury villa built on stilts in the lagoon, luxuriate in your own Jacuzzi, and enjoy world-class dining under the sea at the 5.8 Undersea Restaurant. Komandoo is in the Lhaviyani Atoll, just 40 minutes flight from Male.

Must Knows

Best Time to Visit: The weather is balmy all year round, however the ‘dry season’ is considered to be between November and April. The ‘wet season’ between May and October doesn’t need to be off-putting though – during this time there are fewer visitors, and prices are often lower.

Currency: Maldivian rufiyaa

Official Language: Dhivehi, but English is widely spoken

Things to Do: The Maldives has something for everyone. The surfing spots in the north are world renown. Scuba diving, and snorkeling opportunities abound, with varying degrees of difficulty. Male is home to colourful markets, including the fish market, which is a must-see. The Maldivian cuisine, with its Islamic influences is an explosion of colour and flavour, and food tours can be arranged.

Important: The Republic of the Maldives is an Islamic nation. Alcohol isn’t freely available, and is generally only served in the resorts. When in public, visitors are encouraged to dress modestly.

Top Tip: Due to the pandemic, many resorts don’t accommodate guests who have already stayed in another accommodation elsewhere in the Maldives – double check in advance.

Please Note: Although a large number of them have re-opened, not all accommodations and tourism facilities have resumed operations yet. Most appear likely to have re-opened by October. You can find out more details here.

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