21 OCTOBER 1972, Page 37

Africa and points East

Carol Wright

"Go East young people" should be the cry of the travel writer where longer distance holidays are concerned. The Caribbean, unless package holiday prices fall, and there are signs they may, is not en the whole value for holiday money. With around £200 to spend on the basic cost, the value holidays come in the East African and Indian Ocean areas. Gems here are the Seychelles, already discovered by the discriminating tourists. Coral sands, crystal sea and jungle scenery make the Seychelles the find of the '70s.

Increasingly the safari life, even if hunting with cameras rather than guns, Makes Hemingways of us all. Barefoot boys pad along to the rooms at 5.30 am bearing trays of tea, inevitable and unstoppable. Then the white hunters assemble; the women in severe safari suits, or loud, animal-scaring outfits. The men have jackets looped for gun shot, pocketed for every conceivable knife and compass necklaced with cameras, their navels a vast zoom lens for close-ups of some zebra bottoms bounding away.

A solid British breakfast even including Porridge and enlivened by platters of Papaya and pineapple, and a race to be first in the forest before the gathering crowds is the order of the day. The Competitive spirit is strong; arms brace on the Land-Rover roofs, legs jam against the

seats as the Jeep lurches through high grasses, over rocky paths, or squelches along lake shores. At Lake Manyara below the Great Rift Valley wall an elephant blows his discontent, and lions sleep in the trees unbothered by lenses leering at their underbellies from the cars below.

Transtrek expeditions have launched probably the most unique series of tours ever offered to the younger set. Winter expeditions combine skiing above the clouds of the Atlas Mountains just outside Marrakesh, with a desert tour to the edge of the Sahara.

Siafu offer longer-term overland expeditions either by LandRover, or by their new landcruiser which has air-conditioning, and built-in cooking facilities. A complete Trans-African expedition can be experienced for about £295, taking between two and three months.

The African game parks offer the visitor a wealth of new experiences amongst the world's most exciting fauna and flora. Too many people mistake game parks for glorified zoos where the pretty big pussycats can be fed with sweets. Kenya travel agents still smile over the British lady tourist who got off the plane carrying a large bag of bananas which she explained she had brought for the monkeys.

The beach lizard can go gaming the easy way with companies running day air flights from Mombasa to most of the best known game parks. In the rainy season this is often the most reliable, if expensive way of visiting the parks

Kenyavillas is a villa-letting operation offering top class accommodation on the Kenyan coast. The villas themselves are scattered along the romantic miles of white coral sand beaches fringed with palm treees. Kenya offers a great wealth of new impressions and fascinations. One thing not to be missed is goggling — the sight of millions of brilliantly coloured fish of all shapes and sizes flitting around amongst the coral-heads is breath-taking. If you are frightened by the unknown, then you can observe them almost as well from the safety of a glass-bottomed boat.

As well as goggling there are innumerable other marvellous things to do such as surfing, sailing, water-skiing, reef walks, fossicking for shells and starfish, and the general excitement of exploration. Deep-sea big game fishing is the most thrilling experience of all. The bill-fish leaping over the surf is a sight never to be forgotten.

The coast of Kenya is not only for lazers and sun-lovers. At intervals there are remains of Portuguese and Arab towns and fortifications. Parts of Mombasa have barely changed since the days when the Portuguese and Arabs first landed, and one can wander through the narrow streets of Old Mombasa, passing the carved Arab doors studded with brass, smelling the spices drifting out of the little shops, watching the street vendors shouting their wares, and then wander on down to the Old Harbour to watch the dhows being unloaded, until eventually one seems to be drifting back in time to a long-dead century.

East African Airways offer an inclusive fourteen-day holiday with hotel accommodation starting at £156 return, for those who like the complete package. If you prefer a luxury cruise on the outward journey, the very best in accommodation, and a jet flight home, Union-Castle offers this excellent package lasting for about forty days starting at around £700.