Ultimate Aldabra: A Voyage through the Seychelles

November 16, 2014 - December 2, 2014

Please pay close attention to the following sections: Passport and Visa Requirements, Health Information, and Baggage Allowance. 

Activity Level

For most activities, a moderate level of exertion is required. You must be able to get in and out of Zodiacs for snorkel activities and excursions ashore. You must be able to walk over rough terrain, such as beaches and forest trails. Should you have any physical limitations, please notify us in advance of your departure.

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Arrivals and Departures

Departure / Airport Check-In Procedures

Please arrive at the airport for your international flight at least two hours prior to departure and have access to your passport and airline E-ticket confirmation. Do not pack your passport or other travel documents in your checked luggage. Be certain the check-in agent properly tags your bags through to the final destination allowed, and that you have all baggage and E-ticket receipts.

Airlines change flight times frequently and if you booked your tickets through our air department, Zegrahm Expeditions will send you any updates as they are received from the carrier.  Still, we recommend reconfirming the departure time of your flights with the airline directly within 24 hours of departure.  This can be done easily online and will ensure you arrive at the airport with plenty of time to board your flight.

Arrival / Departure Transfers

Transfers and assistance between airports and group hotels are arranged for participants arriving and departing on group dates only. If you are arriving prior to the group day and Zegrahm Expeditions has booked additional night(s) at our group hotel, an airport transfer will be provided.

If you are handling your own travel arrangements, please forward a copy of your itinerary to Zegrahm Expeditions as well as contact information where you can be reached prior to and after the program.

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Baggage Allowanceimportant

Airline baggage limitations and charges for checking bags vary by airline, destination, and class of service you are traveling. If you have purchased your tickets from Zegrahm Expeditions and have questions, please contact our Air Department for the specific allowances and limitations. If you have booked your own arrangements you will need to visit the airline website or contact the airline directly.

PLEASE NOTE: Most airlines strictly enforce their baggage regulations. Excess baggage charges, which can be substantial, are the personal responsibility of each participant.

We recommend the use of soft-sided luggage, as it is easier to store. Your carry-on bag should include anything you may need in transit. We recommend that you carry with you essential toiletries, prescription medications, and a change of clothing appropriate for the initial activities of our itinerary so that you will be more comfortable in the unlikely event your baggage is delayed in transit or is slow to be delivered to your room upon arrival.

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Climate

Temperatures will range from the low to mid-80s°F, though may feel warmer due to humidity.

If you wish to do your own research on the region’s climate, you may want to check local weather conditions on the Internet, the Weather Channel, or Accuweather shortly before departure.

The following are average high/low temperatures in November and December for selected locations on our itinerary:

 

High

Low
Mahé, Seychelles

86º

77º
La Digue, Seychelles 84º 75º
Zanzibar, Tanzania 89º 75º

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Currency

The British pound is the standard currency on board the Island Sky. Your voyage includes most necessities; therefore, we strongly recommend that you carry most of your spending money in smaller denominations. At the end of your voyage, you may settle your onboard account with your credit card. The Island Sky will charge your credit card in British pounds and your bank will convert the charge to the currency it honors.

As of June 2014 the exchange rates are as follows:

$1 US dollar (USD) 12.18 Seychellois rupee (SCR)
$1 US dollar (USD) 1,687 Tanzanian shilling (TZS)
$1 US dollar (USD)

0.59 British pounds (GBP)

While the SCR is the unit of currency in the Seychelles, please note that most shops and all hotels accept U.S. dollars, British pounds, and Euros. Hotels will not accept rupees for payment. If you exchange money into rupees, do so only for a small amount. When leaving the Seychelles, you can change your rupees back to dollars, pounds, or Euros, but note that you must have the receipt from the original exchange. Currency can be exchanged at several banks in Mahé. Be sure to have your passport with you when exchanging currency. American Express and Visa cards are also accepted by many merchants.

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Documentation

You will receive your Pre-Departure Packet—including a Personal Information Form that will need to be returned to Zegrahm, a complete packing list, reading list, and gift certificates—approximately five months prior to departure. Final documents—including a final itinerary, contact list, and staff biographies—will be sent approximately one month prior to your departure.

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Electricity

Electricity in the Seychelles operates at 240V/50hz with the British standard square three-pin plug (type G). If you are bringing standard, North American appliances with you, and plan on using them at the hotel, bring a converter and adapter. Electricity onboard the Island Sky runs at 110 volts and outlets take North American-style two flat-prong plugs.

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Extending Your Stay

Interested in extending your stay? Speak with one of our Expedition Advisors to find out how easy it is for you to stay an extra night or two. Or, our Private Travel department is available to design customized extended stays for individuals, families, and groups of friends—the same horizon-broadening adventures and life-changing experiences as our group expedition, but on a flexible, intimate, and personalized scale. Call 800.628.8747 or 206.285.4000 for more information.

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Flight Information

Flights are not included in the cost of expeditions; however, Zegrahm Expeditions has a fully-staffed air department that can assist you with flight arrangements.

You will need to purchase airfare from your home city/Mahé and Zanzibar/home city. For more detailed information, please contact our in-house Air Department for fare quotes, reservations, or other air-related questions.

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Health Informationimportant

A yellow fever vaccination is required for entry into the Seychelles and Tanzania only if arriving within six days after leaving or transiting infected or endemic areas. Please refer to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website for a list of yellow fever endemic countries.

Yellow fever vaccinations, valid for life, must be given at official centers designated by your state’s health departments. The International Certificate of Vaccination must be validated by the center that administers the vaccine and carried with you on your trip. Your local or state health department can provide information regarding the locations and hours of yellow fever vaccination centers if needed.

No other vaccinations are required for this expedition at this time.

Insect bites can be a problem, and we urge you to bring an adequate supply of both insect bite relief products and insect repellent.

Protect yourself against the strong sun. Drink plenty of fluids whenever you can, not just when you are thirsty. By preventing dehydration, you may prevent a range of medical problems associated with traveling. Take precautions to avoid overexposure to the sun. Bring a sun hat with a wide brim or scarf, sunglasses, and a high-SPF sunscreen.

Be sure to bring a sufficient amount of your personal medications as pharmacies are not found in the remote areas of this expedition.

During our program, all food and drink taken as part of our itinerary and at our hotels are perfectly safe. However, tap water is best avoided. Bottled water will be provided.

In case of serious injury or illness while traveling, it is important to understand that satisfactory medical facilities may not exist nearby. Should you require emergency medical care, it may be necessary to depart the country by international medical evacuation services. The cost of your expedition includes medical expense coverage and emergency evacuation insurance. Details of this policy are available online at www.travelguard.com/zegrahm.

The information herein is a guideline and is subject to change without notice. Contact your physician or local health center for current and other information concerning health precautions, immunizations, and prescriptions based on your physical condition and medical history.

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Internet and Phone

For Internet access, the Island Sky has Wi-Fi access available on two desktop computers in the Panorama Lounge. Due to the remoteness of this itinerary, however, Internet availability may be intermittent and in some cases, unavailable. Rates will be provided with your final documentation, along with contact information for the ship, including phone and fax numbers, as well as email address.

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Local Time

Following are local times that apply to this expedition when it is 7:00a.m. on the North American west coast:

7:00am

Seattle, WA (PST)

10:00am New York, NY (EST)
7:00pm Victoria, Seychelles
6:00pm Zanzibar, Tanzania

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Meals

Should you have any dietary needs, please let us know on the Personal Information Form included with the Pre-Departure packet, and we will do our best to prepare for them. Unfortunately kosher meals cannot be accommodated.

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Packing Suggestions

Clothing on Board

The ship is air-conditioned and heated throughout, with individual controls in each cabin. Comfortable and casual clothing, in the expedition spirit, is recommended.

Typically there are two occasions on board when you may wish to wear slightly more formal attire: the captain’s welcome aboard and farewell cocktail parties followed by dinner. On these two occasions, women may choose to wear a dress or other appropriate, dressy attire, and men, possibly a jacket and tie. The degree of dress is in accordance with one’s personal preference.

Clothing Ashore

Sporty summer-weight clothing is a good basis for your wardrobe. Loose, lightweight, wash-and-wear slacks, skirts, shorts, blouses, shirts, and T-shirts made of natural fibers are recommended. For protection against insect bites, long pants and long-sleeved shirts are useful as well. The sun can be strong, so bring adequate sun-protective clothing and gear, wear hats, and use sun block, as we will be out in the sun for extended periods of time. Also, keep in mind that we may encounter a rain shower or two on our excursions.

Shore excursions will involve a moderate amount of walking over uneven trails. Sturdy walking shoes with thick soles or light hiking boots are recommended for walking on the often-rough terrain. If you have weak ankles, high-top hiking boots will provide better support than shoes.  Make sure your shoes or boots are well broken-in before your trip.

Wet Landings

Sport sandals with a sturdy sole are the best type of footwear for frequent wet landings, especially where there are rocky and/or coral covered beaches. They provide excellent protection and dry quickly. Other footwear you may wish to bring includes canvas sneakers that you don’t mind getting wet or dirty. You will want to wear pants that are easy to roll up, shorts, or a sarong for wet landings.

You will receive a complete Packing List with your Pre-Departure Packet, approximately five months prior to departure.

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Passport and Visa Requirementsimportant

Passport

A valid passport is required for participation in this program. It must be valid for your 6 months after you return home, through June 2, 2015. If you do not have a passport, or if it is not valid for the correct length of time, you should apply for one as soon as possible. You need to have a minimum of four blank pages available for entry/exit stamps in your passport and secure additional pages if necessary. We suggest that you carry extra passport photos and a photocopy of your passport’s information page when you travel.

Visas

Visas are not required of U.S. and Canadian nationals for entry into the Seychelles. A visa is required for Tanzania and it will be issued onboard the ship on arrival in Zanzibar for a fee of $50-100.

If you are traveling independently of the group or to any other countries prior to or after the voyage, check the entry and visa requirements with the local consulates of each country you plan on visiting.

PLEASE NOTE: Nationals of countries other than the U.S. should check with the nearest consulates for specific visa and entry requirements for their entire itinerary, including both the group arrangements and any travel prior to or after the program.

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Payments and Cancellations

Reservations

A deposit totaling 25% of the expedition fare will reserve a place for you on this Zegrahm program. The balance of the expedition fare is due 120 days prior to departure. Air fare is due at the time tickets are issued. All prices are quoted in U.S. dollars and must be paid in U.S. dollars.

Cancellation & Refund Policy

Notification of cancellation must be received in writing by Zegrahm. At the time we receive your written cancellation, the following penalties will apply:

  • 180 days or more prior to departure: $750 per person
  • 120 through 179 days prior to departure: 25% of expedition fare
  • 60 through 119 days prior to departure: 50% of expedition fare
  • 1 through 59 days prior to departure: 100% of expedition fare

Please note, fees associated with cancelled airline tickets are in addition to this and will be clearly outlined for you on your flight itinerary.

Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance

We strongly advise that all travelers purchase trip cancellation and interruption insurance to protect themselves from an unforeseen emergency that may force you to cancel or leave an expedition while it is in progress. Information describing coverage will be sent to you upon receipt of your deposit for the expedition.

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Snorkeling and Diving

There will be several opportunities for diving and snorkeling on this expedition. Although there is a supply of masks, fins, and snorkels on board, we recommend you bring your own equipment for best comfort and fit. Where we plan on diving and snorkeling, the sea temperatures range from 80-85 degrees Fahrenheit. Depending on personal tolerances to water temperatures, the base recommendation for divers is to bring a 3-5mm shorty wetsuit. For snorkelers, if you get cold quickly we recommend bringing a lightweight wetsuit (1 or 2 millimeters), or if you do not get cold quickly, a quality Lycra or PolarTec suit may be adequate.

For those interested in scuba diving, a packet of forms must be completed, including a Physician’s Certificate, Diving History, and Release from Liability agreement. These forms are available upon request, by checking the box on your Personal Information Form, and must be completed and returned to us no later than eight weeks prior to the departure date. Further diving details for this expedition, including the equipment available on board and items you will need to bring with you, will also be included in this packet.

PLEASE NOTE: We require that divers be Advanced Open Water certified scuba divers (or an equivalent level of certification) and have completed two open water dives within the year prior to the trip’s departure. The number of diving participants is limited to a maximum of 16. Diver participation will be on a first come, first served basis, based on the return of all completed forms.

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With Our Compliments

We are pleased to offer complimentary amenities to our explorers so they can be fully prepared before departing on one of our expeditions. Gift certificates to our Zegrahm Store and Longitude Books will offer you the opportunity to choose one of several specially selected items from our store along with books or maps suggested in the highly recommended titles sent. The certificates will be sent in your Pre-Departure Packet approximately five months prior to departure. Please refer to the gift certificates for more details.

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