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WINGS Birding Tours – Information

The Solomon Islands

Tour Information

Note: The information presented here is an abbreviated version of our formal General Information for this tour. Its purpose is solely to give readers a sense of what might be involved if they take this tour. Although we do our best to make sure that what follows is completely accurate, it should not be used as a replacement for the formal document which will be sent to all tour registrants and whose contents supersedes any information contained here.

ENTERING AUSTRALIA: U.S. and Canadian citizens may travel to Australia on a passport valid at the time of entry with an Australian visa or, if eligible, on a valid passport and an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA), which replaces a visa and allows a stay of up to three months. The ETA costs $20 USD and is easily obtained online at https://www.eta.immi.gov.au/ETA/etas.jsp.

ENTERING THE SOLOMON ISLANDS:  An entry visa for the Solomon Islands can be obtained in Honiara by U.S. and Canadian citizens. Other nationalities need to check with their local consulate as to whether a visa can be purchased on arrival.  You will need a complete spare page in your passport to receive it.

It is always a good idea to take a photocopy of your passport and air ticket with you when travelling abroad.  They can prove invaluable in helping you get replacements if your originals are lost or stolen.  Obviously, you should keep the photocopies in a separate bag to the originals.

COUNTRY INFORMATION: You can review the U.S. Department of State Country Specific Travel Information for the Solomon Islands https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/country/solomon-islands.html , and the CIA World Factbook background notes at https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/bp.html.

PACE OF TOUR: Most walks will be of less than a mile in distance and on level ground over generally even terrain. Some days will be broken up into optional sections, with pre-breakfast excursions, morning/afternoon trips, and, on some nights, after dinner spotlighting for nocturnal birds.  You will be able to choose all-day birding or a more relaxed scheduled as you so wish.  On other days, especially when we are travelling from one area to another, opportunities to take time off will be more limited.  Generally, we will avoid difficult up-hill hikes on the tour and try to keep to level tracks.  However, on the optional extension to Santa Isabel we cannot avoid a fairly long (3-4 hours) up-hill hike to the location where we will stay, and where most of the good birds are to be found.  We’ll usually return to the lodge in the late afternoon/early evening and we’ll almost always have a break of an hour to shower and relax before dinner.

HEALTH: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all travelers be up to date on routine vaccinations. These include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot. 

They further recommend that most travelers have protection against Hepatitis A. 

Please contact your doctor well in advance of your tour’s departure as some medications must be initiated weeks before the period of possible exposure. 

The most current information about travelers’ health recommendations can be found on the CDC’s Travel Health website at https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/solomon-islands?s_cid=ncezid-dgmq-travel-single-001.

Malaria: Malaria is present and widespread in the Solomons so a malaria prophylaxis is important. Please check with your physician to determine which is best for you. Please remember that many antimalarial drugs must be started one or more weeks before the period of exposure, and continued for several weeks after it concludes.

Water: Bottled water will be provided throughout the course of the tour.

Insects: Mosquitoes and other biting insects will be encountered throughout our stay. In addition to Malaria a recent outbreak in Dengue fever (2016-2017) in Honiara will require you to exercise due diligence. We suggest bringing plenty of spray repellent and wearing long sleeves and trousers when in the field. 

Smoking: Smoking is prohibited in the vehicles or when the group is gathered for meals, checklists, etc. If you are sharing a room with a non-smoker, please do not smoke in the room. If you smoke in the field, do so well away and downwind from the group. If any location where the group is gathered has a stricter policy than the WINGS policy, that stricter policy will prevail. 

CLIMATE: It will be hot and humid throughout the trip with daytime temperatures normally in the 25-30°C range. We are visiting at the end of the dry season, but rain is possible at any time, especially in the hills. Rain showers can be quite heavy so a small folding umbrella and waterproof jackets and pants are a good idea.  Some tracks may be wet and/or muddy.

ACCOMMODATION:This will vary from rather basic landowner lodges in many places to Western style hotels in Honiara and on Gizo.  Single rooms may not be available at all locations, and in many places bathrooms will be shared (i.e. not en suite).

FOOD: Food is likely to be very basic and generally less exotic and Western in style. 

Drinks: A soft drink, a beer or a glass of wine is provided at lunch and dinner, as is coffee or tea. All other drinks or ‘personal’ drinking water for use in your room and during the day is the responsibility of the individual. We will have a supply of water available in the van at all times. 

Food Allergies/Requirements: We cannot guarantee that all food allergies can be accommodated at every destination. Participants with significant food allergies or special dietary requirements should bring appropriate foods with them for those times when their needs cannot be met. Announced meal times are always approximate depending on how the day unfolds. Participants who need to eat according to a fixed schedule should bring supplemental food. Please contact the WINGS office if you have any questions. 

TRANSPORT: Transportation throughout most of the tour will be in a small buses or minibuses. Participants must be willing and able to ride in any seat in our tour vehicles.

Created: 03 April 2017