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Africa/Middle East Travel Guide

Travel in Africa and The Middle East blends East and West, history and modernity and chaotic cities with vast wilderness. The rich, cultural heritage, evident no matter where you choose to go, is exciting, challenging and inspiring. From stunning desert landscapes, to wildlife-filled jungles and cosmopolitan cities, a holiday to the region is an adventure not to be missed.

Travel Tips For Africa And The Middle East

If you've never been to Africa or The Middle East before, you may be in for a culture shock, but don't let that deter you. With a small amount of research, some common sense and acceptance of the vast differences in culture, travel in the region is easy and safe, though not always as comfortable as you may be used to.

Things to be aware of include:

  • Poverty and begging. You'll notice extremes of poverty in many areas of the region. If you'd like to contribute, make a donation to hospitals or aid agencies.
  • Unwanted attention. It's likely you'll be stared at in many African and Middle Eastern countries. This is likely because of cultural differences and no cause for concern, however if you feel threatened, simply ignore it and move on.
  • Scams. It's possible, as a 'wealthy' foreigner, to be a target for scams, in terms of touts trying to sell you services in an underhand way. Always seek the advice of official guides, services or the staff at your hotel if you're uncertain.
  • Money exchange. Always exchange money through reputable organisations, to avoid black market scams.
  • Health and Safety. Check with your doctor with regard to any medical precautions you need to take before entering the region and consult travel and government forums with regard to safety threats in certain districts, before you choose a destination.
  • Transport, food and accommodation. Be aware, that though many destinations have dedicated facilities for tourists, comforts such as air- conditioning on public transport, toilet paper/cleanliness in public restrooms and service may not be what you're accustomed to. Only drink bottled water and avoid eating food rinsed in the local water, such as salads, ice and peeled fruits.

Where Do You Want To Go?

With such a vast array of travel options in Africa and the Middle East, the hardest part of your journey is choosing where to go! We've compiled the most popular travel destinations into groups to help you decide, based on your interests.

History and Architecture

For history and architecture buffs, Cairo, Egypt makes the top of the list for explorations of the pyramids of ancient Egypt. The holy city of Jerusalem, Israel, is home to religious relics, sacred buildings and dramatic history. Visit Petra, Jordan for the spectacular Nabataean City, or Fez, in Morocco, to explore the winding alleys of the medieval Medina.

Adventure and Scenery

The Masai Mara, Kenya, is the place to go to spot lions, leopards, elephants and zebra. Visit Zimbabwe for the mighty Victoria Falls. Tanzania is home to Serengeti National Park and Africa's tallest mountain, Kilimanjaro. Swim in the Devil's Pool in Zambia, go on a camel trek across the Sahara Desert in Morocco or visit Madagascar for incredibly diverse landscapes and unique plants and animals.

Beaches and Relaxation

For families and sun worshippers, Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt, is a sparkling destination full of resorts, activities and adventures. The Seychelles, off the coast of East Africa, are paradise personified with white-sand beaches, stunning dive spots, nature reserves and rare wildlife. Go to Mauritius, a volcanic island in the Indian Ocean, for reefs, lagoons and secluded beaches, or Essaouira, in Morocco, for surfing and kite boarding.

Food and Nightlife

Marrakech, Morocco is a colourful, vibrant haven for delicious local cuisine, street food stalls, live entertainment and classy lounge bars. Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, is a hub for rooftop terrace bars, discos, international cuisine and elite nightclubs. Base yourself in Cape Town, South Africa, for numerous nightclub districts, beachfront bars, grungy pubs, stylish restaurants and wine from the local produce region.