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Laura Lindsay from Lonely Planet answers readers travel questions. This week: which trekking destination to take on next & independent travel in Africa.

I want to go on an adventure holiday next year and I’m unsure where to go. I have already done trekking in Nepal and Peru, so I want something as incredible but something a little bit more unusual.
Jen, via email

Consider Costa Rica. It is becoming increasingly popular, so I would advise visiting this spectacular country sooner rather than later. It is an incredible destination for adventure, with volcano climbing, whitewater rafting and surfing all on offer. It is also home to some of the world’s most stunning wildlife.
 
Costa Rica is a relatively small country, meaning you can cover a large proportion of the sights. Start out in the cosmopolitan capital San José before heading out to explore the country.  You can take a direct four-and-a-half-hour bus north to La Fortuna, the gateway to the Arenal Volcano National Park. The bus costs about £2-£3. From here you can organise activities including bungee jumping, canoeing, rafting and the highly popular canopy zip lining.

Next, head west to the coast, where you can surf Pacific waves at the laidback town of Dominical. Further north, there’s Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio for gorgeous beaches patrolled by the cute capuchin monkey.  If you’re keen on hiking, a completely different excursion to consider is Mount Elbrus in Russia. The climb is not for the faint-hearted; it’s considered by many as harder than Kilimanjaro. There is also skiing on the mountain.

My fiancé and I would like to spend about two months in Africa, starting in Ethiopia and travelling to Malawi and Mozambique. We want to travel as independently as possible rather than join a tour. Can this be done, and, if not, where would we be best to undertake a tour to save time and money?
Sarah, via email

Independent travel certainly is possible, it just requires more planning. Your journey will most likely be made up of a combination of buses, minibuses and coaches. A combination of independent travel and the occasional organised tour will give you the best of both worlds.

You will most likely arrive at Bole airport in Addis Ababa on an international flight. To enter Kenya, the most commonly used crossing is at Moyale (a one-and-a-half-day bus ride from Addis Ababa), but you should check the security situation as it is sometimes closed.  Be aware the Foreign and Commonwealth Office currently advises against travel in some areas of Ethiopia and Kenya (fco.gov.uk). In Tanzania, you may find it wise to book your bus ahead on popular routes.  In Malawi and Mozambique, you’ll find buses are the best option for getting around.

However, in rural areas public transport is more infrequent and accommodation options less varied. You may find that booking tours for small sections of your trip will be beneficial, allowing you to access once-in-a-lifetime experiences. On The Go Tours (onthegotours.com) have a number of options.


Lonely Planet's Laura Lindsay will give you the benefit of her infinite wisdom if you email a question to traveltips@tntmagazine.com
If your question is answered and printed in TNT magazine, you'll win a Lonely Planet guide of your choice.


Main image: The Arenal volcano in Costa Rica


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Travel tips from Lonely Planet's Laura Lindsay: Trekking destinations and independent travel in Africa
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