QUESTION: We would like to be married in Nassau, the Bahamas, during our vacation there starting March 20.
What are the procedures? We want a simple ceremony with a justice of the peace.ANSWER: Weddings can be arranged, first by applying for a marriage license, either in person or through the mail, from the registrar eneral's office in Nassau.
Strictly speaking, a couple must be in the Bahamas for two weeks, with a mimimum of three days in Nassau before the ceremony can take place.
But the two-week requirement, a Bahamian official said, can usually be waived on application to the registrar general. Visitors may be married anywhere in the Bahamas.
After applying for a license, a couple should approach the Bahamas' People to People Program, which makes arrangements for all visitors' weddings and can order, if required, catering and flowers, which have to be paid for, and provide attendants, who give their services free.
Sylvia Cole, manager of the program, said it could arrange a simple civil ceremony or a traditional wedding in church or in a garden or on the beach. The program, Mrs. Cole said, prefers to have at least a week's notice.
Application for the $20 license should be made to the Registrar General, Post Office Box N-532, Nassau, the Bahamas (telephone, 809-322-3316).
The bride and bridegroom must produce proof of citizenship, birth certificates and proof of their marital status: that they are single or, if married before, that the previous marriage was dissolved.
A widow must supply a notarized copy of the spouse's death certificate. The People to People office is at the Ministry of Tourism, Post Office Box N-3701, Nassau, the Bahamas (809-326-5371).
QUESTION: Can you help me find a tour to Africa focusing on the black experience, though the trip could also explore game parks?
I do not want simply a luxury tour but would like to share the experience with other black people.
ANSWER: One of the first companies to develop black heritage tours in West Africa was Henderson Tours, which offers a variety of programs, including what it calls a Roots tour to Senegal, Ivory Coast, Gambia and Liberia.
The tour's sightseeing concentrates on African culture, history and art.
A two-week escorted tour to the four countries, including air fare between New York and Dakar, Senegal, and back from Abidjan, Ivory Coast, as well as flights within Africa, is $2,600 a person, double occupancy. Breakfast and dinner daily are included.
There are departures about every two weeks in summer and less frequently, but depending on demand, the rest of the year. (Henderson Tours, 931 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive N.W., Atlanta, Ga. 30314; 800-241-4644 or, in Georgia, 404-522-6881.)
One organization that runs tours combining historic sites in West Africa and a safari in Kenya is Uniworld (163 West 23d Street, New York, N.Y. 10011; 212-924-4331), whose president, Laye Thiam, comes from Senegal.
Many clients, Thiam says, are ethnic travelers eager to visit cultural sites.
One escorted, two-week tour combining Senegal, Ivory Coast and Kenya costs about $2,400, including round trip air fare between New York and Dakar and flights within Africa.
Sightseeing includes Goree, the island near Dakar from which slaves were shipped. After a stay in Abidjan, the group flies to Nairobi for a five-day animal safari using a minibus.
Black associations are among clients of African Step Travel (681 Lexington Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10022; 212-308-4249), which arranges trips according to clients' needs in Senegal and neighboring Gambia and Mali. Goree is among places visited.
According to Magical Holidays, a major American tour operator in Africa, most travelers on its visits to West Africa are African Americans attracted by the black heritage.
One of the company's best sellers is a two-week tour combining Senegal, Ivory Coast and Togo, where the remains of a slave port and West Africa's largest fabric market are among the sights. The price of $1,999 includes half-day sightseeing tours of Dakar, Goree, Abidjan and Lom'e (Togo) as well as air fare from New York to Dakar and return from Abidjan and local flights. No meals are included. The tour is not escorted from New York but is met and escorted by local guides. Magical Holidays (501 Madison Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10022; 212-486-9600) also operates tours in East Africa.
QUESTION: I expect to be in Belgium for a visit from Feb. 22. What weather conditions might I expect?
ANSWER: As in most parts of northwestern Europe, the weather in Belgium can be very changeable the year round, but generally it's rarely unpleasant, except during hard winters in the Ardennes region in the southeast.
In Brussels, in the central region, temperatures in February range from an average minimum of 32 to an average maximum of 44. Precipitation is about 2.4 inches during the month (compared with 3.8 in New York City). March temperatures are generally from 36 to 51.
QUESTION: Where can I obtain a free listing of dude ranches, including some that offer horseback riding, in Western states?
ANSWER: Information on 29 ranches in Arizona, Colorado, Montana and Wyoming is given in a 12-page catalogue available from American Wilderness Experience, Post Office Box 1486, Boulder, Colo. 80306 (800-444-3833).
All offer package rates that include lodging, three meals a day and activities, with prices running about $90 to $100 a day, and less for children.
American Wilderness Experience is a reservations service for outdoor vacations. Listings of dude ranches in individual states may be obtained from a state's tourist bureau in the state capital.