Zimbabwe is a curious beast. Ravaged by wars and civil strife, it had a particularly tumultuous exit from the age of European colonialism in Africa. And while there are still lingering human rights complaints and authoritarian tendencies in the government here, the general consensus is that those dangers are slowly but surely subsiding. That means Zimbabwe is once again entering the safari fold, and beginning to re-magnetize intrepid travelers with the promise of its inselberg-studded backcountry, its teak forests and cypress-spattered hills; with its rugged Eastern Highlands where curious monkeys huddle against the cold breezes and its deep caves and underground riverways.
Of course, there are some mainstream attractions, not least of all the roaring wonder of Victoria Falls, and the up-and-coming metropolis of Harare – certainly one to watch! So, if you’re feeling adventurous and ready to throw caution to the wind, it’s worth considering this lost jewel of the African south for sure…
Lets explore the best places to visit in Zimbabwe:
There’s a clear reason why tersely-named Victoria Falls is one of Zimbabwe’s must-see places.
Like the eponymous towns of Niagara in the US and Canada, the settlement is just a stone’s throw from the roaring waterfalls that gave it its moniker.
Thousands of people flock here to see the awesome sight every year too.
They join the baboons in the jungles and delve into the Victoria Falls National Park just to the south of the center, gawping and gasping as the great curtain of water comes into view, cascading dramatically off its black-rock cliffs in plumes of steam and mist.
Nearly three million people call the metropolis of Harare their home, making it not only the capital but also the largest city of the nation.
Sat up on plateaus of Zimbabwe’s central highlands, it certainly looks the part.
Endless steel-clad skyscrapers shoot up from its CBD – the economic kingpin of the country – and First Street and the downtown buzz with purring traffic and shoppers from morning until night.
And there’s history too, poking out with the great preservation of the National Gallery, in the national archives, and the Queen Victoria Museum, not to mention the wealth of old colonial builds.
Apart from that, visitors here can wallow in the pretty parks and wander between the jacarandas that famously pepper the roadways.
Bulawayo belies a sort of New Orleans vibe.
It’s got age-stained colonial frontispieces that ooze art deco and Victorian regal styles.
It’s got swaying trees dotting its old avenues, and the occasional Anglo-esque public house occupying the arcades.
But this second city is more than just a historical relic.
It’s also an industrial and economic hub, once known for its smoke-belching factories, and still crisscrossed by more railway lines than you can shake a Ndebele tribal trinket at.
The town is indelibly green and flowery, with bougainvillea cascading over the rooftops and palms peppering the roundabouts.
Between it all you can see elegant governmental buildings, go shopping for trinkets, or plan your next safari out to the south-western parks.
Matobo National Park
The legendary Matobo National Park is a cross-shaped reserve found just south out of aforementioned Bulawayo.
Famed since time immemorial for its curious array of inselbergs and hoodoo rock formations, it’s a land of sculpted granite peaks and anthropomorphic bluffs.
These have been a shelter for man for millennia, and today it’s possible to spy out remnants of southern Africa’s pre-history carved into the stone at spots like the Nswatugi Cave.
Meanwhile, others come to stalk ungulates in the Hove Wild Area – the dedicated game park here; a land of sable antelope and wildebeest, baboon packs and leopards.
Nyanga National Park
The home of the Highveld is a wild and wonderful place.
Perched on the very roof of Zimbabwe, more than 1,800 meters above sea level, it’s formed by hulking hills of dolomite rock, and suspended boulders that creak in the cool breezes.
Dressed in groves of msasa trees and cypresses that are rare to these regions, the habitats here can host a truly otherworldly array of creatures.
Many are endemic, like the Old World Samango monkeys, with their white-brushed throats that can only be found in these parts.
You’ll also find a smattering of leopards and lions, just in case you wanted a taste of the quintessential African safari!
Hwange National Park
Bringing up the forefront of Zimbabwe’s ecotourism offering with its nigh on 15,000 square kilometers of protected landscape, the Hwange National Park rarely fails to impress safari goers making their way through this section of southern Africa.
Inside its boundaries is a mosaic of Kalahari woods and teak groves, grass plains and flood flats, all of which are peppered with bulbous termite mounds and the occasional pan – a watering hole that makes this one a perfect destination for lion stalkers.
And apart from the kings of the plains, it’s also possible to see hyenas and wild dogs, leopard and cheetah, all lurking amidst the fossil-spotted river banks and bubbling hot springs.
Welcoming travelers to the deeper reaches of Zimbabwe, Masvingo is one of the prime drop off points for VIP buses heading through to the southern edge of the country.
And what a welcome it is! Sat neatly on the edge of the Mutirikwi National Park, the place has plenty in the way of outdoors exploration up its sleeve.
However, the real treat has to be the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Great Zimbabwe, which lurks between the bush some 20 kilometers away.
These 700-year-old ruins crumble and crack under the sun, revealing tales of the nation’s old Shona-speaking folk.
The so-called Hill Complex and Great Enclosure there are hailed as perhaps the most awesome example of drystone architecture on the globe!
Mana Pools National Park
The Mana Pools National Park is fed by the lifeblood of the Zambezi River, which spills over onto the plains and grasses here when the rains fall to create a patchwork of watering holes and pans during the wet season.
Of these, it’s the largest four that gave the area its name (mana means ‘four’ in the local vernacular), but there are actually countless little puddles to see.
The main upshot is that animals gather at the sites to drink, making Mana Pools a game viewing destination of the top order.
Despite being underdeveloped, there are more crocodiles and hippos here than you can rattle a baobab tree at, and visitors during the monsoon are virtually guaranteed a sighting!
Matusadona National Park
Clinging to the southern banks of Lake Kariba, on the Zimbabwean side of the great water body, Matusadona National Park is a relic of the former state of Rhodesia.
After becoming subsumed by Zimbabwe following the upheavals, the area retained its protected status.
And it’s easy to see why! First off, the whole region is beautifully untouched and untrodden, with Cape buffalo and elephants by far the most common mammalian inhabitants.
Secondly, there’s the waters of Kariba itself, which have created ample grazing lands since the creation of the Kariba Dam, allowing ungulates and predators alike to thrive along its fringes.
Gonarezhou National Park
You could be forgiven for thinking that you were strolling through Colorado or Arizona as you move between the rock-ribbed, rust-colored escarpments that dominate the vistas in the North Gonarezhou National Park.
This wild land covers a whopping 5,000 square kilometers, which is just a portion of the colossal Limpopo conservancy, set to sprawl out across the frontier into Mozambique when its fully established.
Elephants and giraffe are common sightings, while you’ll also be able to spot wild dog packs and zebra between the mopane woods.
The kingpin of the Kariba Lake region and the Zambezi Valley, this little lakeside town draws thousands of visitors a year to the extreme northern reaches of the country.
Set just on the edge of Zambia, it offers access to the breathtaking Kariba Dam – one of the most awesome engineering feats in these parts.
It’s also the place to come for hiking and outdoor explorations around the edges of the water, or to watch the red-pink African sunsets in the company of locals, as the evening hues descend over Antelope Island in the distance.
ZIMBABWE is a beautiful distination to explore the mother nature and meeting nice people…for more information about traveling to zimbabwe check our website :https://www.sarahtours.com/zimbabwe-tours
Ghana is proof that amazing things come in small packages.
Considered to be one of Africa’s true success stories, this country is enjoying a stable democracy and incredible development.
The combination creates a joyful energy across the country.
With Ghana you get beautiful hinterland, sunny beaches, rich culture, lively cities, welcoming locals, tons of wildlife, and easy access to all parts of the country.
There’s a big difference between northern and southern Ghana – including different religion, geography, and culture.
But you’ll still feel like the country is one harmonious unit. If you’ve never been to Africa, Ghana is known as ‘Africa for beginners,’ making it a perfect destination for those who want to get their feet wet.
At just over two million inhabitants Accra is the largest city in Ghana.
This capital city is full of character and radiates friendliness.
Whether you’re there as a solo traveller or with a family, on your big annual holiday or there for business, Accra has something to make you feel comfortable.
What tourists really love are the many beaches surrounding the city – particularly Labadi Beach. Accra is home to the National Museum where you’ll find many of the countries historical treasures.
You can also visit the National Theatre, International Trade Fair, the Kwame Nkrumah memorial, Independence Square, and W.E.B. Dubois Centre.
At every turn you’ll find markets, incredible food, wonderful music, and lots of traffic! Top it all off with a trip to one of the many coffin shops in Teshie.
Artists Alliance Gallery
This gallery will blow you away with its contemporary and fine art collections.
Created by respected Ghanaian artist, Ablade Glover, the three story gallery is a treasure chest of Kente clothe, furniture, Asafo flags, masks, and unique metal sculptures.
You can see almost every prominent Ghanaian artist represented and most of the pieces are for sale.
Arguably Accra’s most popular beach, Labadi is the perfect city beach.
Great food and cocktails are available, as well as local entertainment and people watching.
The beach itself is maintained by the surrounding hotels so be forewarned that there is a small entrance fee for those not staying there.
If you happen to be there on the weekend you’ll for sure catch some native drumming, local reggae bands, and plenty of spots for dancing to hiplife – a unique music style that blends hip hop with Ghanaian culture.
Kakum National Park
There you’ll find 40 mammal species, 300 bird species, and over 600 butterfly species.
A visit to Kakum National Park makes a great day trip from Cape Coast.
The most popular part of the park is the canopy walk.
It’s a string of viewing platforms that are linked by safe and bouncy suspension bridges roughly 30 metres above the park floor.
For a deeper look into the park, make arrangements ahead of time for a park ranger or guide to take you further in.
National Museum of Ghana
History buffs will love the National Museum of Ghana.
There are a number of exhibits dedicated to the Atlantic slave-trade and the African lives that where irreparably changed because of it.
If you’re looking for a good explanation of the ethnographic diversity of modern-day Ghana, this is the place to go.
Get insights into the past and present people, see traditional household objects, art, the royal Ashanti tools, and learn how to weave Kente cloth.
The first European slave trading post in Africa was Elmina Castle.
Over the centuries it’s been controlled by the Dutch and the British and primarily served the Caribbean and Brazil slave routes.
Built in the 15th century by the Portuguese, it is located in what is now present day Ghana.
You can see the luxury accommodations up top, where the Europeans stayed and then visit the dungeons below where one cell held up to 200 people.
It’s a very eye opening look at a difficult aspect of African and European history.
The castle is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Monument and is part of the national museum system.
Perhaps the most chill beach in Ghana is Busua.
It’s a magnet for the backpacker and volunteer crowds who love to come to unwind on the beach for a few days at a time.
Roughly 30k from the city of Takoradi and situated right between Dixcove and Butre, the village of Busua has potential for great excursions, making it an ideal base camp.
Many beaches in Ghana have a strong surf, making swimming a little precarious, but Busua waters are as relaxed as its vibe.
Because it’s primarily a tourist town, you’ll find great hotels and restaurants, shopping, and renting surfboards and bicycles.
Mole National Park
This is the place for family safari’s in Ghana.
Mole National Park covers a large savannah filled with African elephants, buffalos, baboons, warthogs, and kob antelopes.
You’ll find almost 100 mammal species and at least 300 bird species here.
The park allows walking and driving safaris and you can rent a park vehicle if you don’t have your own.
Going between December and April is the best time for elephant sightings, though you’re guaranteed to see plenty of mammals’ year round.
Akwidaa & Cape Three Points
For discerning beachcombers, Ghana offers Akwidaa – with a long and pristine white sand beach, you’ll find it’s one of the best that the country has to offer.
Explore the nearby cocoa plantations and forests and get a night-time guided tour of the turtle nesting spots along the beach.
If you like, you can take a canoe ride to Cape Three Points, the southernmost tip of Ghana.
There’s a great bar scene, good food, and plenty of local attractions to provide a good combination of lazing about and seeing new things.
Just 32km from Kumasi is Lake Bosumtwe.
This crater lake is almost 90 metres deep and created when a large meteorite collided with Earth.
The lake is surrounded by fantastic trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding.
In addition, you’ll find that many locals visit here as the lake is a sacred sight for the Ashanti people.
Folklore holds that the people’s spirits come to Lake Bosumtwe after death in order to say goodbye to the god Twi.
If you’re looking for a relaxed place for water spots, this is an excellent weekend destination.
The largest man-made lake on Earth is Lake Volta in Ghana.
Stay in the neighbouring towns of Ho or Ewe as you explore this lush and beautiful area.
Enjoy Aburi botanical gardens, music cruises on the lake, canoeing, monkey sanctuaries, fishing, waterfalls, and a Kente weaving village.
If you’re up for it, you can hike to the top of Mount Afadjato, Ghana’s tallest peak.
Be sure to check out Shai Hills, a wildlife preserve, and Xavi, a bird watching sanctuary, while you’re there.
This is truly one of the most beautiful parts of Ghana and not to be missed.
for more information concerning travel to ghana check our websitewww.sarahtours.com
Mauritania, country on the Atlantic coast of Africa. Mauritania forms a geographic and cultural bridge between the North African Maghrib (a region that also includes Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia) and the westernmost portion of Sub-Saharan Africa. Culturally it forms a transitional zone between the Arab-Amazigh (Berber) populations of North Africa and the African peoples in the region to the south of the Tropic of Cancer known as the Sudan (a name derived from the Arabic bilād al-sūdān, “land of the blacks”). Much of Mauritania encompasses part of the Sahara desert, and, until the drought conditions that affected most of that zone of Africa in the 1970s, a large proportion of the population was nomadic. The country’s mineral wealth includes large reserves of iron ore, copper, and gypsum, all of which are now being exploited, as well as some oil resources.
Lets explore the best places to visit in Mauritania:
Chinguetti literally emerges from the shifting sand dunes of the mighty Sahara (the hills of dust that surround this one have been encroaching and encroaching for decades, and have even claimed some of the residential areas on the edge of the settlement). A place of eerily empty streets that have been chiselled and chipped by the winds, it was once an important trading stopover between the Med in the north and sub-Sahara in the south.
Today, it draws some of the country’s biggest crowds, who flock to wonder at the brick-built towers and the old fortresses of the Berber tribes and Almoravids dating all the way back to the Middle Ages.
The spot is also part of a larger UNESCO World Heritage Site; one that also encompasses a number of other historic desert towns in the Adrar region and beyond.
A sprawling, dusty haze of a capital city that’s packed with tooting traffic and crumbling low-rise homes, Nouakchott is a curiously endearing place.
That might be because it’s heavenly comfortable compared to the sun-baked Berber caravan settlements of the great Sahara (where most travelers are either heading or have been), but it could also be something to do with the city’s earthy vibes and unpretentious character too.
Built for just 15,000 people, the greater metro area here is estimated at around over two million now! That brings a frenetic life to the shanty districts and the nomad barrios, while the Nouakchott Fish Market is unquestionably the place to be.
Here, salt-washed pirogues clamber in from the Atlantic Ocean packed with fish and seafood each morning, sellers haggle, and the locals go about their daily business.
Taking us just a short drive south on the main road out of Atar, the oasis town of Terjit remains one of the most interesting backcountry draws in all of Mauritania.
It springs up from the dry-cracked desert lands on the edges of the Sahara in a medley of verdant date palms and babbling streams; a speck of tropical greenery surrounded by a sea of sand.
It’s set between a series of steep-sided gorges, which rise to meet the escarpments of the Adrar Plateau in dramatic fashion.
There are on-site camping spots below the palm boughs, a petting zoo with camels, and even a history of regal coronations to unravel!
Parc National du Banc d’Arguin
Parc National du Banc d’Arguin is the national park of Mauritania and is popular among bird enthusiasts. Serving as a breeding ground, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site boasting of one of the world’s largest concentration of migratory birds, which include pelicans, terns, flamingos, and broad-billed sand pipers.
Shorebirds from Europe, Greenland, and Siberia fly over to Mauritania because of the numerous mudflats located at the park. Most of the breeding grounds are found in Niroumi, Nair, Kijji, Arguim, and Nair.
Found between Nouakchott and Nouadhibou, Parc National du Banc d’Arguin is composed mainly of sand dunes and provides a perfect contrast between the dry desert and the Atlantic sea, which presents rich biodiversity.
The waters around are an abundant food source for both the birds and the people living around the area. But birds are not the only animals spotted at the park. You can find different species of fox, gazelle, killer whales, dolphins, monk seals, and turtles here as well.
Ouadane is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Mauritania. The first things you will see here are piles of stone and rubble – remnants of the once glorious Ouadane.
Around the 1480s, a Portuguese trading post was established here, serving as the last stop of slave and gold caravans from Morocco and Ghana. Presently, a small population still inhabits the old town.
When visiting Ouadane, it’s nice to stroll around and see the wadi and the fort, which clearly represents Mauritania during its glory days.
Bring a 4×4 truck if you decide to go around the town on your own, since you will be driving around a lot of sand. Also, you should always have a tour guide with you, especially if it is your first time in Ouadane.
The town isn’t an urban area, so most of the locals speak the local language. Communicating, therefore, may be difficult if you don’t have someone to do the translation.
Care to trek along one of the beautiful towns in Mauritania? Then get on your 4×4 and drive off to Tidjikja. This small town has a population of only 6,000 inhabitants, so you won’t find crowded areas and chaotic markets here.
It’s quite peaceful most of the day, and coming here is like getting lost in a rural town. There are no big hotels or fancy accommodations for tourists. Staying overnight, therefore, is not recommended. There are no museums or old ruins here either but Tidjikja is quite popular for its palm trees – lots of palm trees.
Tidjikja is a caravan town, which is why most of its people are nomads, who carry along their caravans and travel around the country. The traditional Mauritanian way of living is very apparent here as well. Here you will see cattle breeders and farmers, so this place allows you to appreciate the simple life.
Mauritania has long stretches of beaches, majority of which is still undiscovered by many. There are no large resorts, loud music, or street food at the beaches; all you will see is plain sun, sand, and the glimmering ocean.
The beauty of the coasts of Mauritania lies in their simplicity and how simple everything around them is. Like most of the other tourist destinations in Mauritania, the coasts offer the chance to see Mother Nature at its finest.
Tourists visit the coasts of Mauritania to see the uniqueness in every beach. For instance, tourists can witness how a certain tribe living between Nouackhott and Noaudhibou shares a very special relationship with the wild dolphins in the area.
Every time the fishermen come to fish, the dolphins help drive the fish into the fishermen’s nets. And both man and dolphin share the catch.
Bring your sunglasses out and get ready for a wild ride into the Mauritanian sand dunes. The Adrar region has been one of the historic sites in the country ever since it was inhabited as far back as the Neolithic era.
Many tourists hop on tour buses and catch the day tours to the mountain pass of Adrar, which runs from Homogjar to Chingguetti. They can also visit the medieval mosque and the library that houses ancient manuscripts.
Although majority of the Adrar region is covered in sand, it also has oases and date trees, which keep the temperature bearable.
Before going to Adrar, make sure to check from the local government if you still need government permission pass to enter the region. But if you hire a tour guide to plan your holiday to Adrar, he can secure one for you.
Visit Nouadhibou, Mauritania’s second largest city and one of the most populous. Compared to the smaller UNESCO World Heritage Sites, this city has roughly 90,000 inhabitants.
Nouadhibou is the fishing center of the country, where you will find the country’s largest fish port and a ton of shipwrecks. The largest shipwreck is found at the tip of the peninsula.
Despite the large number of people living in the place, the city can be walked around in less than 20 to 30 minutes. Tourists usually stroll around the area and check out some of the local hangout spots. The little town of La Guera is a favorite tourist hangout area, where you will see old Spanish houses.
The city of Nouadhibou is generally a good mix of modern and rural Mauritania, and tourists are surely going to love this place.
We all know that they largest monolith (single solid upright block of stone) in the world is the Ayers Rock in Australia.
Do you know what the second largest monolith is, and can you guess where you’ll find it?
It’s the 400-meter-tall black granite Ben Amera, or Ben Amira, and of course, you will find it in the deserts of Mauritania, near the border of the Western Sahara.
But the monolith itself is not the place’s sole attraction. What really makes your visit to the Ben Amera more interesting is that this massive piece of stone is surrounded by similar other black outcroppings – albeit not quite as huge as the Ben Amera – making an eerie, surreal scene that you will remember for a long, long time.
Nearby, too, you can visit Ben Amera’s “wife,” the monolith Aisha. Although this monolith is not as big as Ben Amera, the site contains stone sculptures created by international sculptors for a millennium commemoration in 1999.
Ayoun el Atrous
The Ayoun el Atrous terrain is quite popular among car and sand dune adventure enthusiasts. When visiting, just make sure that the weather is clear and sunny and there are no signs of a sandstorm.
While here, you could try zooming through the main road of Ayoun el Atrous, which was also the exact place where cars and motorcycles sped to reach the finish line during the 2007 “Legend of Heroes” car rally.
Here we have finished submitting this beautiful country. for more information concerning travel to mauritania check our websitehttps://www.sarahtours.com/
Often seen as simply a beach destination, Tunisia has a bucketful of surprising tourist attractions and things to do for those that venture off the sandy shores. This is North Africa wrapped up into one bite-sized package, with vast Sahara dunes, mammoth ancient ruins, and exotic cities that are home to a sprawling tangle of souks. Tunisia was Rome’s breadbasket, and the cultural riches the Romans left behind are more than enough reason to visit. But the history of Arab Empires has also bestowed the country with some of the region’s most beautiful examples of Islamic architecture.
When you’ve craned your neck at Kairouan’s minarets and played gladiator at El Djem, it’s time to head into the Sahara to sample the raw, empty beauty of the desert. The sun-soaked beaches of the Mediterranean coastline, fringed by palms and lapped by gentle waves, will still be waiting for you when you get back.
El Djem Amphitheater
The walls of the mighty Roman amphitheater of El Djem dwarf the surrounding modern town. This incredibly well preserved Roman relic is Tunisia’s big sightseeing highlight and one of the best examples of amphitheater architecture left standing in the world, reminding of Rome’s once grand grip across North Africa. You can still walk the corridors under the arena, just like the gladiators did. Or, climb up to the top seating tiers and sit staring across the arena, imagining the battles that took place below.Accommodation: Where to Stay in Tunisia
If you’re looking for the picture-perfect beach escape, then the island of Djerba checks all the right boxes. The island town of Houmt Souk is the main point of interest off the beach, with an old town district that is a muddle of whitewashed houses. Houmt Souk’s shopping is an attraction in itself, with plenty of handicraft vendors for browsing and haggling opportunities off the beach. But it’s those sandy strips of shoreline out of town that are the island’s most popular highlight. Pristine and trimmed by date palms, the beaches are relaxing, get-away-from-it-all settings where summer daydreams are made.Accommodation: Where to Stay on Djerba island
Once Rome’s major rival, Carthage was the city of the seafaring Phoenicians forever memorialized in the Punic Wars. The atmospheric ruins of this ancient town now sit beside the sea amid the suburbs of Tunis, a warning that even the greatest cities can be reduced to rubble. The ruins are extensive but spread out, and if you’ve been lucky enough to visit ancient city sites such as Ephesus in Turkey or Volubilis in Morocco, which are well-preserved, Carthage can seem quite underwhelming at first. But these UNESCO World-Heritage-listed remnants are hugely important historically, and any tourist interested in North Africa’s ancient past shouldn’t miss a visit here.
The National Bardo Museum
Even non-museum fans can’t fail to be impressed at the massive haul of beautiful mosaics exhibited inside the Bardo. This is one of North Africa’s top museums, and it houses one of the world’s most important mosaic collections, all curated beautifully. It’s a showcase of the dazzling, intricate artistry of the Roman and Byzantine eras, with pieces cherry-picked from every major archaeological site in Tunisia. If you only have one day in Tunisia’s capital, Tunis, this museum should be high up on your to-do list.Accommodation: Where to Stay in Tunis
Sidi Bou Said
Impossibly cute, and amazingly photogenic, Sidi Bou Said is a clifftop village of petite dimensions that seem to have fallen off an artist’s canvas. Unsurprisingly, artists have feted this little hamlet for decades. The whitewashed alleyways, wrought-iron window frames, and colorful blue doors are Tunisian village architecture at their finest, while the Mediterranean backdrop is the cherry on top. This is a place to while away a lazy afternoon, simply soaking up the laid-back atmosphere and maybe indulging in a spot of shopping at one of the many local artisan and handicraft stalls.
Grand Erg Oriental
Tunisia’s vast Sahara covers much of the country’s interior, and the most beautiful corner of the desert is the field of sand dunes known as the Grand Erg Oriental. These poetically beautiful dunes are a surreal and gorgeous landscape of huge waves, shaped by the ever-shifting desert sands. For many visitors, this is an adventure playground for riding dune buggies and camel treks, but nothing tops the simple pleasure of sitting atop one of these mammoth sand mountains and watching the sun set over the Sahara.
Tunisia has no shortage of Roman ruins, but Bulla Regia near Tabarka is the country’s most interesting and intriguing site. Here, the Roman inhabitants coped with the harsh summer climate by ingeniously building their villas underground, which has left the city houses incredibly well preserved today. For history lovers, this is a unique opportunity to walk through actual Roman houses, with their walls still intact. It’s a glimpse of the residential life of the ancient world that you often don’t see.
With mosques, madrassas, and tombs aplenty, Kairouan has more than its fair share of monuments as the fourth most important city for those of the Muslim faith. The Arabic architecture here is truly inspiring, and the skyline is full of skinny minarets and bulky domes. But it’s probably the back alleys of the city’s medina that steal the show. With narrow, maze-like lanes lined with crumbling colorful houses, Kairouan’s old town has an enchanting, lost-in-time atmosphere that is a true highlight of a visit here.
Overlooked by the mighty fortifications of the Ribat and Kasbah, the medina in Sousse just begs to be explored. This lovely old town district is a warren of looping lanes, rimmed by whitewashed houses, and a shopping paradise with a tempting selection of ceramics, leatherwork, and metalwork on display. Away from the stalls along the bustling souk streets, the quiet and rambling back alleys, dusted in white and blue, are a charming place to dive in and sample local life.Accommodation: Where to Stay in Sousse
Chott el Djerid
The moonscape surroundings of the Chott el Djerid are a storybook panorama brought to life; filled with shimmering mirages on the horizon and jigsaw puzzle pieces of blindingly white cracked land under foot. This sprawling salt pan (most easily reached on a day trip from the desert town of Tozeur) is a desolate and otherworldly scene that wows all who visit with its stark and brutal beauty. A sightseeing trip here proves that nature produces much weirder landscapes than you could ever imagine.
Hammamet is all about the beach. This is Tunisia’s top sun-and-sea resort; a dreamy place dotted with pristine white buildings set beside a bright blue sea. The relaxing charms of this town woo all who come to sunbathe on the soft, white sand, with off-the-beach pursuits usually being nothing more strenuous than gentle strolls and a spot of shopping in the restored old town souks. It’s a no stress kind of place that sums up the pleasures of Tunisia in one pretty package.
One of Tunisia’s most photographed buildings and a film star to boot, the Ribat in Monastir is a bulky walled and exceptionally well-preserved fort. Looming over the harbor, the Ribat was originally part of a string of forts that protected the coastline, but today is one of the few still standing. Its defensive purposes may have long since faded, but this golden-stoned relic is now one of Tunisia’s most recognizable landmarks (thanks to it featuring in a few famous movies), and today, tourists scramble up into its bastion tower, rather than soldiers.
Home of the ancient Pharaohs, Egypt is a dazzling destination of temples and tombs that wow all who visit. It’s not all historic treasures, though. With vast tracts of desert, superb scuba diving, and the famed Nile River, there’s something for everyone here.
Beach lovers head to the Sinai to soak up the sun, while archaeology fans will have a field day in Luxor. Cairo is the megalopolis that can’t be beaten for city slickers, while Siwa oasis and the southern town of Aswan offer a slice of the slow pace of the countryside.
Egypt has so much for travelers to see and do, it’s the perfect country for a mix of activities combining culture, adventure, and relaxation. Find the best places to visit with our list of the top tourist attractions in Egypt
Pyramids of Giza
The last surviving of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Pyramids of Giza are one of the world’s most recognizable landmarks. Built as tombs for the mighty Pharaohs and guarded by the enigmatic Sphinx, Giza’s pyramid complex has awed travelers down through the ages and had archaeologists (and a fair few conspiracy theorists) scratching their heads over how they were built for centuries.
Today, these megalithic memorials to dead kings are still as wondrous a sight as they ever were. An undeniable highlight of any Egypt trip, Giza’s pyramids should not be missed.
Luxor’s Karnak Temple and the Valley of the Kings
Famed for the Valley of the Kings, Karnak Temple, and the Memorial Temple of Hatshepsut, the Nile-side town of Luxor in Upper Egypt has a glut of tourist attractions. This is ancient Thebes, power base of the New Kingdom pharaohs, and home to more sights than most can see on one visit.
While the East Bank brims with vibrant souk action, the quieter West Bank is home to a bundle of tombs and temples that has been called the biggest open-air museum in the world. Spend a few days here exploring the colorful wall art of the tombs and gazing in awe at the colossal columns in the temples, and you’ll see why Luxor continues to fascinate historians and archaeologists.
The atmospheric, narrow lanes of the capital’s Islamic Cairo district are crammed full of mosques, madrassas (Islamic schools of learning), and monuments dating from the Fatimid through to the Mameluke eras. This is where you’ll find the labyrinth shopping souk of Khan el-Khalili, where coppersmiths and artisans still have their tiny workshops, and stalls are laden with ceramics, textiles, spice, and perfume.
Surrounding the market is a muddle of roads, home to some of the most beautiful preserved architecture of the old Islamic empires. There is a wealth of history here to explore. Visit Al-Azhar Mosque and the dazzling Sultan Hassan Mosque, and make sure you climb to the roof of the ancient medieval gate of Bab Zuweila for the best minaret-speckled panoramas across the district.
Egypt’s most tranquil town is Aswan, set upon the winding curves of the Nile. Backed by orange-hued dunes, this is the perfect place to stop and unwind for a few days and soak up the chilled-out atmosphere. Take the river ferry across to Elephantine Island and stroll the colorful streets of the Nubian villages. Ride a camel to the desert monastery of St. Simeon on the East Bank. Or just drink endless cups of tea on one of the riverboat restaurants, while watching the lateen-sailed feluccas drift past.
There are plenty of historic sites here and numerous temples nearby, but one of Aswan’s most popular things to do is simply kicking back and watching the river life go by.
Even in a country festooned with temples, Abu Simbel is something special. This is Ramses II’s great temple, adorned with colossal statuary standing guard outside, and with an interior sumptuously decorated with wall paintings. Justly famous for its megalithic proportions, Abu Simbel is also known for the incredible feat, which saw the entire temple moved from its original setting — set to disappear under the water because of the Aswan dam — during the 1960s in a massive UNESCO operation that took four years.
A treasure trove of the Pharaonic world, Cairo’s Egyptian Museum is one of the world’s great museum collections. The faded pink mansion is home to a dazzling amount of exhibits. It’s a higgledy-piggledy place with little labeling on offer and not much chronological order, but that’s half of its old-school charm.
Upstairs is the golden glory of King Tutankhamen and the fascinating royal mummies exhibits, but really every corner you turn here is home to some wonderful piece of ancient art or statuary that would form a highlight of any other museum.
Egypt’s kookiest natural wonder is the White Desert, where surreally shaped chalk mountains have created what looks like a snowy wonderland in the middle of the arid sand. The landscapes here look like something out of a science fiction movie, with blindingly white boulders and iceberg-like pinnacles. For desert fans and adventurers, this is the ultimate weird playground, while anybody who’s had their fill of temples and tombs will enjoy this spectacular natural scenery
Way out west, Siwa is the tranquil tonic to the hustle of Egypt’s cities. This gorgeous little oasis, surrounded by date palm plantations and numerous fresh water springs, is one of the Western Desert’s most picturesque spots. The town is centered around the ruins of a vast mud-brick citadel that dominates the view. This is a top spot to wind down and go slow for a few days, as well as being an excellent base from which to plan adventures into the surrounding desert.
The most European of Egypt’s cities, Alexandria has a history that not many others can match. Founded by Alexander the Great, home of Cleopatra, and razzmatazz renegade city of the Mediterranean for much of its life, this seaside city has an appealing days-gone-by atmosphere that can’t be beaten. Although today, there are few historic remnants of its illustrious past — feted in songs and books — this is a place made for aimless strolling along the seashore Corniche, café-hopping, and souk shopping.
Egypt’s center for beach fun is the South Sinai region on the Sinai Peninsula. Sharm el-Sheikh is a European-style resort full of luxury hotels, international restaurants, and bags of entertainment options. Dahab is a low-key beach town with a budget-traveler heart, which is just as much about desert excursions and adventures as the sea.
Up the coast, between the port town of Nuweiba and the border town of Taba, are the bamboo hut retreats that offer complete get-away-from-it-all respites from life. Wherever you choose, the South Sinai is all about diving. The Red Sea is one of the top diving destinations in the world, and the South Sinai region is home to most of the best dive sites.
Dusty Abydos town wouldn’t make much of a rating on the tourism radar if it wasn’t for the incredible temple on its doorstep. Abydos’ Temple of Osiris is one of ancient Egypt’s most fascinating artistic treasures. Its chunky columns and walls, covered in beautiful hieroglyphics and intricate paintings, are spellbinding sights, and even better, you can admire them without the crowds as despite its dazzling beauty, it receives few visitors compared to the temples in nearby Luxor.
Egypt is defined by the Nile. For many visitors a multi-day cruise upon this famed waterway that saw the rise of the Pharaonic era is a highlight of their Egypt trip. Cruising the Nile is also the most relaxing way to see the temples that stud the banks of the river on the route between Luxor and Aswan, plus sunrise and sunset over the date-palm-studded river banks, backed by sand dunes, is one of Egypt’s most tranquil vistas.
The two famous sights on a Nile Cruise are the Temple of Kom Ombo and Edfu’s Temple of Horus, where all the big cruise boats stop. If you’d prefer a less crowded and slower experience though, and don’t mind “roughing it” a bit, you can also cruise the Nile by felucca (Egypt’s traditional lateen-sailed wooden boats), which also allows you to create your own itinerary. Cruise boats depart from both Luxor and Aswan, but feluccas can only be chartered for multi-day trips from Aswan.
Pyramid and ruins at Saqqara
Everyone’s heard of Giza’s Pyramids, but they’re not the only pyramids Egypt has up its sleeve. Day-tripping from Cairo, Saqqara is the vast necropolis of the Old Kingdom pharaohs and showcases how the Ancient Egyptians advanced their architectural knowledge to finally create a true pyramid with the Step Pyramid, Bent Pyramid, and Red Pyramid being among the highlights here. The various tombs of court administrators, with interior walls covered with friezes describing daily scenes, scattered throughout the archaeological site are just as much a reason to visit as the pyramids themselves.