A’ashura celebration in Morocco

Ashura and the Ritual Emancipation of Women in Morocco
El Jadida – Anthropologically speaking, the popular Islamic ritual of Ashura has been approached as a pagan survival in Morocco. There is a traditional thesis on Ashura that it is an Islamic ceremony incorporated by the newly Islamized Berbers as early natives to substitute the ancient practice of burial and resurrection of the vegetation deity. Westermarck refutes the thesis of a primeval God burial on the basis that there were no left traces of sacrifice for the deity of vegetation before the coming of Islam though Westermarck remains faithful to the pagan survival theory and considers Ashura as the sequel substitute for l-‘ansera that the Berbers used to celebrate at the end of the agricultural harvest. In general, Ashura has been explored within the scope of both solar and purificatory theories presented by Frazer and Westermarck respectively but the whole anthropological debate now seems to be moribund and does not trespass the evolutionary theoretical models of the epoch.

Ashura from an interdisciplinary cultural perspective appears to be an act of survival; it offers ‘a ritual free space’ for subordinate female social agents to discharge their discontent and exert their power, a resource which they tap into to carve out a moment of becoming reversing male domination. The ritual of Ashura allows us to see how female agency emerges from and is continually reconstructed through their engagement by their practice of magic and ceremonial alfresco gatherings, chanting songs of a challenge to the male authority.

The ethnographic image of Ashura delineates how a cultural and religious ritual may play the role of establishing and sustaining cultural hegemony. It forwards into a position of prominence the carnival aspect of the ritual. The cultural authority of the male is transgressed, mocked, and crushed down by the joyful moment of female becoming in a ritual outlet that permits the male cultural authority to rejuvenate its yoke of domination over women in the normal existing social conditions. It is a carnival, a form of social control of the low by the high, and thus serves the interests of the official culture that it apparently opposes. As Shakespeare’s Olivia remarks “there is no slander in an allowed fool.” Thus, hegemony permits the ritual inversions of hierarchy and status degradation, a safety valve for, re-affirming the status quo, for renewing the system but women cannot change it.

In fact, Ashura seems to be double-edged. From bottom-up resources, it emerges as a form of cultural resistance but from a top-down perspective, it seems to be licensed in that it reflects the force of the establishment that contains it. In other words, it is a cultural resistance that spins in a vortex of authoritarian relations fixed up by the cultural establishment. The resistant female subject’s revolt bumps against the shields of the dominant cultural and political institutions and shrinks back to her initial subordinate position.

We list here three main findings our fieldwork research has discovered (for a full treatment of the ritual of Ashura see Maarouf 2009). First, there is a female emancipatory discourse articulated in the form of songs women chant outdoors on the night of Ashura. These songs may be termed “the female songs of emancipation”. Females chant collectively open-air songs challenging patriarchal authority and deriding male power. As an example, female emancipation is epitomized in the archetypal verse recited by women everywhere in Moroccan plains from ‘Abda, Doukkala to Shawiya: “Baba Aishur we are not under any rule! The Prophet’s birthday festival is under men’s rule” (Baba Ayshur ma ‘lina bi-hkam a lalla/ ‘id l-milad bi-hkam rijal a la lalla)! It is saying that religious festivals such as the Prophet’s birthday ceremony may be performed under male control but Ashura is the occasion for women to celebrate their femininity. In their outdoor collective songs, women also exult at their bravura in jihad (holy war) against the colonizer and sing of bearing arms and embarking on long journeys to rescue victims even if the call for help as their metaphor goes reaches them from a donkey agonizing in a remote land (a white donkey wailed in the desert, The town girls took up rifles /wa shka hmar byad f s-sahel / wa bnat l-mdina hezzu l-mkahhl).

These songs recall to mind the songs of Hate in Gluckman’s ethnographic example of ritually insulting the King in Swaziland (1985, 51-2). This ritual is intended to strengthen feelings of loyalty towards the king, especially among potential traitors. It is like a carnival where the license is permitted and strong resentments against authority are exteriorized. Potential traitors may evince strong feelings of guilt and un-trustworthiness while face-to-face with the loyal subjects of the king. In the same way, females in Ashura go outdoors in parades to subvert the gender-marked established roles, menace male prerogatives and blow up in obscenities thus draining their tensions and hostilities and consequently consolidating the hierarchical status quo.

Females’ songs of emancipation also aim at transferring feelings of aggression onto scapegoats, constructing an outsider enemy alien to the clan to strengthen the social sentiments of belonging to the same group; examples of such songs run as follows: (Play with us we play with you! You are arrogant and arrogance has undressed you! [la‘bu m‘ana nla‘bu m‘akum/ fikum shshiki u shshiki ‘arrakum] Blind the enemy’s eye! He who hates us! [ta‘mi ‘ayn la-‘du lima ibghina] Our clan is table and glass! Your clan but basket and hoe! [wa duwarna gha tabla u l-kas/wa duwarkum gha l-guffa u l-fas] Our tree is full of flowers oh lalla (honorific female title)! He who hates us, sickness be upon him oh lalla [shajeretna ‘amra ward ya lalla/ lima ibghina i‘tih l-mard ya lalla]! Our clan is a belt of silk! Your clan but donkey hooves! [ wa rifna ‘a majdul l-hrir/ wa rifkum ‘a fraqsh l-hmir])

Once a year then, Women see themselves as authorized to violate the patriarchal norms. By reversing the roles of domination and acting out the sexual conflict, the ritual of Ashura paradoxically adds force to the hierarchical social cohesion. Men and women obeying the established traditions submit to a ritual from which the community hopes to derive its prosperity and harmony.

The second finding is about purification rituals. There are many examples of purifying rituals collected from the field but I will cite one example because of space constraints. On Ashura holy day, girls in Doukkala region hollow dates and fill them with hairs, and then march in a collective procession chanting and playing on drums with the intent to bury Baba Aishur. They go to an abandoned deep well which they circumambulate while throwing the dates, hence disencumbering themselves from their old hair. The well is a symbol of sacred water. Waarab (2003) argues that people believe that, on the day of Ashura, all wells and springs are flowing from the Meccan well of Zemzem. Before dawn, women head towards wells to get water to splash over each other, a purifying ritual named after the sacred pit Zemzem—needless to mention in this respect ceremonial bathing in rivers and at sea on Ashura day (Westermarck, 1905).

In other villages, girls bury the dates underground in remote forsaken areas so that people do not step over them and may get harmed. Sometimes, girls take with them rags, pieces of underclothing, residue of molted hair (mshaga) or fingernails belonging to their mothers or other members of the family to throw in a pit (these are belongings of tab‘a, a female jinni pursuer keen on burdening the targeted person’s way with impediments); it is an act of contagious magic, a congruence which is supposed to exist for instance between someone and the severed portion of their hair so that what happens to the part happens to the whole. The burial of the hairs in dates is a symbolic gesture of growth and fertility. But the gesture also re-enacts the burial process of the old year with its residues; the girls bury the old hair with the old year and wish for a new hair with a new year.

This act of contagious magic may also be interpreted within the cultural frame of power relations of gender. The girls and their mothers are enacting a ceremonial ritual to preserve their feminine gender capital which they think may insure their importance to the male. The ritual shows that the male gaze is present in the female popular imagination. Though the ceremony is feminine and offers females a space of freedom and challenge to male authority, women seem to experience themselves in terms of their relationships with males. In a nutshell, the ritual seems to be androcentric with the male at the center of female attraction. By interring Baba Aishur, girls inter their mishaps and wish for more hair beauty, more male attraction to them, and more self-importance in a patriarchal world.

The third finding is about the practice of magic. Ashura is the ritual occasion for the feminine practice of witchcraft. To secure their position in the patriarchal household, women may consult diviners and sorcerers, looking for magical recipes to insure continual domestic power and male emotional attachment to them. There are women who consult sorcerers or work personally in brewing spells in order to burn them during Ashura bonfires. Other women who are worried about being harmed by malevolent doings buy incense (bkhur) to avert evil influence caused by malevolent spirits. Spells may be used to harm enemies or charm people dear to the heart. This renewed interest in magical practices during Ashura implies that the social actors are aware of the annual transition (end-beginning of the year) and its sacredness. They yearn to do or undo spells during the occasion because as most interviewees maintain “charms used or renewed during Ashura may last for the whole year from Aishur until the coming Aishur.”

Children Celebrating Ashura
Children Celebrating Ashura
Ashura bonfire (sha“ala) seems to be the most convenient time when the women who believe in magical emancipation decide to burn their spells. Bonfires are lighted by male youths in the streets in the presence of girls, grownups of both sexes, and little children. When it blazes, the boys commence to circumambulate and leap over the flames; girls standing by sing what Moroccans term “the Songs of Baba Aishur.” At this point, one may notice female spell doers neighing the fire and casting their spells and charms in it under children’s hurrahs. Those who do not like to expose themselves in the limelight may offer fire ingredients—for instance, an old stuff mattress—to children to burn in a fire. The latter run happily dragging the bits and pieces along into the bonfire unaware that the gift might have been filled with spells.

There are women who prefer to burn their spells indoors using small censors rather than cast them in outdoor fires. Their alibi is that they do not want boys and girls playing outside to step over the spell because in their belief it may harm them. In the countryside, some women may spin wool in front of the outdoor fire to produce a magic charm. It is believed that if women spin yarn from the wool fibers stored from the Great-Feast victim’s fleece in front of Ashura fire, fortune will guide the hand that grasps the spun thread. The woman equipped with her distaff and spindle forms a thread taller than her body height. The thread may be cut into small pieces and then given to nubile girls as well as to people who desire to sell their cattle in weekly markets. All are believed to find fortune on their side.

Ashura night in fact turns neighborhoods into different sorts of perfume from gam-ammoniac, alum to benzoin. Some believe that fumigation may fortify them against the evil influence and others think that their spells if burnt ceremonially in Ashura may incontestably bewitch the targeted individual.

Ashura, therefore, is the ideal occasion for women to exert their magical power. Living in a male-oriented social world where they believe that men’s authority and prerogatives are natural and inherent in their masculinity, married women, especially from the uneducated lower social strata, generally derive their power from their sexual capital—as long as they are sexually desirable and active. In fact, their sexuality, domestic skills and child-rearing skills form the capital of their importance in the household. Their access to other sources of power is almost denied. Therefore, they scheme and practice magic, in fact using whatever means available to them, in order to act effectively on their husbands. This measure of domestic influence or ‘unassigned power’ is ritually accentuated in socially accepted avenues such as marriage ceremonies, carnivals of Ashura, carnivals of the Great feast, jinn evictions, and other ritual practices. It seems that male authority allows itself to be ritually transgressed in order to tighten its grip over women in the course of normal social life.

The carnivals of Ashura are mainly performed by rural female social agents and those who belong to uneducated poor urban social classes. Educated women from modern-middle-class urban families—not to mention the rich and high bourgeoisie—,who are rising to power in the public and private sectors and gaining more freedom, challenge these cultural forms of traditional society. They will by no means descend in streets to be enrolled in ritual parades of Ashura playing on oblong drums to express their feminine liberty. Some Islamist female respondents condemn Ashura outdoor practices as heterodox; nevertheless, they do not seem to question the legitimacy of male authority over them because in their eyes it is decreed by the Islamic Tradition.

Here I do not want to end up my analysis on a pessimistic tone. As it is revealed, Ashura practices do not threaten the social reproduction and maintenance of female docile subjects in society. They do not menace the social inequality of gender relations, and historically shift identity with the vagaries of domination. However, if Ashura’s emancipatory discourse may be practiced outside its ritual process authorized by the popular tradition; if women grow aware of their empowerment, such as the case now in rising feminist activism, all this may pave the way for political female agency.

Now, counter-hegemonic seeds of resistance in rituals of Ashura, trance dancing and jinn possession still prevail and subordinate women who cannot escape their social position can leastwise escape the conventions that go with it—they may feel free somehow at a symbolic level; they may transgress, be outrageous and throw out the norms at least for a while. Of course, this can be seen as a `ruse of power` to license a blowing off of steam, but these anti-hegemonic alternative meanings and dispositions remain latent and available for future uses and can be raised with a more likelihood to subvert the social structure, especially with new cultural attachments under new favorable social, political and economic conditions.

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Women contribution to Islamic Heritage

Morocco’s history is full of figures who contributed to changing the course of humanity. Throughout time, Moroccans have influenced the fields of science, geography, philosophy, religion, education and more.

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The Marrakech Express Tour

Our New inventions are theme tours inspired from a special historic event, a best seller novel or simply a song that has made its mark in universal music. This trip is about a trip from Tangier to Marrakech by a well-known band of the 60s.

Follow the footprints of Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young on the Marrakech Express, dance to the Jajouka music like the Rolling Stones did in Chefchaouen, Enjoy the sacred music of Hmadcha in the holy city of like Peter Gabriel once fused in his repertoire. Explore the marvels of medieval time in the heartbeat of Morocco, Fes, the city of a unique spirit, intellect, and culture. This small group tour and expedition will cover the best of Morocco as it goes from Casablanca to Rabat then Volubilis, Moulay Idriss, and Fez to continue exploring the Atlas Mountains North to Chefchaouen, Tetouan and the legendary Tangier. The most exciting discovery in this tour besides the in-depth cultural encounters is to ride an overnight Marrakech Express Train like the good old time of Crosby, Stills, Nash whom were inspired by this ride to write one of their best songs namely the Marrakech Express. IN this Discovery tour of Morocco you will travel like a local experiencing the best private and public transportations between cities. This a Morocco experience not to miss with a small group touring. Come and join this adventure budget expedition to Morocco from North to south. This adventure tour is open for all ages who wish to discover the beauty of an exciting destination such as Morocco.

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DAKHLA

Voyage intéressant à Dakhla | Location voiture Dakhla Maroc

Dakhla, sometimes known as al-Dakhla, is built on a narrow peninsula that protudes into the Atlantic Ocean and runs parallel to the African coast. An Amazigh settlement since ancient times, these days it has a growing reputation as a leading global destination for watersports lovers.

To get to Dakhla you have a choice of flying from Casablanca airport, or making your way by land. This second option gives you the chance to see the Sahara – the single road to Dakhla winds through the desert along the coast, passing many traditional villages and campsites. When you finally arrive at Dakhla it’s like finding a secret oasis.

The town is a mix of Amazigh influence and Spanish architecture, a remnant from colonial times. You’ll quickly notice that the prevailing feel of Dakhla is laid back and relaxed, befitting its popularity as a haven for watersports enthusiasts. It’s a town where you can relax, absorb the culture, and enjoy stunning views across the Atlantic Ocean.

Morocco-Nature Break in Dakhla 4 Days-3 Nights Getaway - Galaxy Voyage

Thrusting out into the Atlantic Ocean on a spit of land, the area around Dakhla has long, sunbleached beaches that are warmed by the sub-tropical sunshine and, even better, are surprisingly quiet. The beaches are primarily used as launch points for people enjoying the fantastic water sports on offer in the huge, turquoise Dakhla lagoon. It’s one of the greatest spots in the world for both kite and windsurfing, with strong winds blowing consistently along the shoreline.

Of course, nowhere is truly empty and you can find all sorts of wildlife here – flamingos and crabs live in the area, and the occasional dolphin pops its head out of the surf to see what’s going on. Don’t forget to visit Dragon Island, an offshore dune shaped as a dragon when seen from the side, which is said to be magical, unspoiled and a perfect place to find peace. You can go by boat, swim or walk at low tide.

Things to Do in Ad Dakhla

FRESH SEA FOOD

DSC_0565 • BEWILDERED IN MOROCCO

Morocco has one of the most diverse cuisines in the world, influenced by Andalusian Spain, Arabia and France. Dakhla is famous for Oyster farming by hand which is a traditional practice in Dakhla. Oysters from Dakhla are sold not only around Morocco but are exported to high-end European restaurants and even Japan.
Restaurants in Dakhla has to offer a variety of grilled prawns and clams, calamari, fresh shrimps, spicy crabs, fish carpaccio and oysters with subtle spices and intriguing flavour combinations. Dakhla will spoil you with the sheer variety of its marine platter.

WILDLIFE

Dune blanche at Dakhla, Morocco | Dakhla, Flamand rose, Dunes blanches

Dakhla region is a home for a diversity of marine animals, birds, reptiles and mammals that are rare or threatened species. UNESCO has supported a project to create Dakhla National Park in order to preserve the natural biodiversity of the region.

All year round, you can see dolphins or even orcas swimming in Dakhla lagoon. But the most frequently, you can spot a flock of flamingos gathered in the lagoon which are the most representative birds of Dakhla region.

AUTHENTIC BUNGALOWS NEXT TO THE LAGOON

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Stay at authentic bungalows, built of natural materials and surrounded by mountain with amazing lagoon views. Located 30 km from the airport of Dakhla, it is a perfect getaway for authentic experience. Comfortable single, double or group size bungalows with private bathrooms are a very nice alternative to hotels.

FAR FROM THE CROWDS

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If you want to freshen your bucket list with unspoiled destination, make sure you add Dakhla to your list. Tranquillity and simplicity- these are the words that perfectly describe this place. Far from busy streets and crowded beaches, where you can enjoy the comforts of a relaxing beach holiday, explore local life and culture…

The desert is a natural extension of the inner silence of the body…CHECK OUR WEBSITE WWW.SARAHTOURS.COM.

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Welcome to Africa


Africa. There’s nowhere like it on the planet for wildlife, wild lands and rich traditions that endure. Prepare to fall in love

NGO Laws in Sub-Saharan Africa - ICNL

Natural Beauty

Whether you’re a wide-eyed first-timer or a frequent visitor, Africa cannot fail to get under your skin. The canvas upon which the continent’s epic story is written is itself astonishing, and reason enough to visit. From the tropical rainforests and glorious tropical coastline of Central Africa to the rippling dunes of the Namib Desert, from the signature savannah of the Serengeti to jagged mountains, green-tinged highlands and deep-gash canyons that mark the Great Rift Valley’s continental traverse – wherever you find yourself on this big, beautiful continent, Africa has few peers when it comes to natural beauty.

Snapshots of South Africa's Natural Beauty — Steemit

New Africa

The past retains its hold over the lives of many Africans, but just as many have embraced the future, bringing creativity and sophistication to the continent’s cities and urban centres. Sometimes this New Africa is expressed in a creative-conservation search for solutions to the continent’s environmental problems, or in an eagerness to break free of the restrictive chains of the past and transform the traveller experience. But just as often, modern Africans are taking all that is new and fusing it onto the best of the old.

BBC World Service | New Africa:

Ancient Africa

On this continent where human beings first came into existence, customs, traditions and ancient rites tie Africans to generations and ancestors past and to the collective memory of myriad people. In many rural areas it can feel as though the modern world might never have happened, and they are all the better for it, and old ways of doing things – with a certain grace and civility, hospitality and a community spirit – survive. There are time-honoured ceremonies, music that dates back to the days of Africa’s golden empires, and masks that tell stories of spirit worlds never lost. Welcome to Old Africa.

Old Africa, a photo from Centre, East | TrekEarth

Wildlife Bonanza

A Noah’s ark of wildlife brings Africa’s landscapes to life, with a tangible and sometimes profoundly mysterious presence that adds so much personality to the African wild. So many of the great beasts, including elephants, hippos and lions, call Africa home. Going on safari may be something of a travel cliché, but we’re yet to find a traveller who has watched the wildlife world in motion in the Masai Mara, watched the epic battles between predator and prey in the Okavango Delta, or communed with gorillas and surfing hippos in Gabon and has not been reduced to an ecstatic state of childlike wonder.

Banks and MNOs set for sub-Saharan African mobile money market fee ...

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Morocco During Ramadan

Morocco is an Islamic country and the overwhelming majority of Moroccans are Muslim (Sunni or non-denominational). Therefore Ramadan, the month of fasting, is a very important period in Morocco and visitors during that time should at least be aware of it and are likely to experience some effect from it.

Maroc et Ramadan : qu'est-ce que ça change pour le tourisme ?

Why is Ramadan Important?

Ramadan is important across the whole of the Muslim world as it is the month in which the Qur’an was revealed, and the month when the gates of Heaven are open and the gates of Hell are closed (and the devils are chained up).

Les dates du premier jour du Ramadan et de Aid Al Fitr au Maroc

Dates for Ramadan

Ramadan is an Islamic period, hence its dates are set on the Islamic calendar (Ramadan is the 9th month of that calendar), which is based on the lunar cycle (which does not quite equate to the Roman calendar).In effect the dates come forward by 11 days a year (or 12 days in a leap year) and in 2020 Ramadan will be 24th April – 24th/25th May 2020.

Casablanca, Sélectionner Catégorie, RAMADAN - Le Maroc au ralenti ...

What Happens in Ramadan

During Ramadan Muslims are required to abstain from consuming any food or drink between dawn and dusk (there are also some other things they are required to abstain from including gossiping and lying) and the fast is broken after sunset with a meal of sweets and dates.

The act of fasting is designed to focus the minds and hearts of those adhering away from the mundane world towards Allah, it is therefore an important time for Muslims for self-discipline, reflection and prayer (special night long (“Taraweeh”) prayers are recommended although not required).

How Ramadan May Affect Visitors to Morocco

Interpellation de 283 faux guides durant le mois de ramadan à ...

Any Muslim visitor to Morocco will be well aware of Ramadan and the effects that it has on Muslims, but those effects are likely to be felt by all visitors regardless of their religion.

It is important that all visitors to another country have respect for the local population, its beliefs and culture and accepts those at face value, even if that affects their visit. Non-Muslim visitors are not expected to observe the fast but it is suggested that you be discrete if consuming food or water during the day and avoid smoking in public places.

As the vast majority of Moroccans will fast during daylight hours they will suffer from a significant lack of energy; this includes those working in tourist facilities, hence “normal” service during this period. This is accentuated when Ramadan occurs in a hot month, which it does in at the moment.

In addition to lack of energy, those fasting in a hot month may be a little less communicative or short tempered, and may need to break from service duties to allow the full final meal before sunrise and for the break of the fast after sunset.

Non-tourist eating places tend to be closed until dusk during Ramadan, and restaurants for tourists may have restrictions on the sale of alcohol. Also sights, shops and museums may close earlier than normal, shops open later in the morning

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Sufism in Egypt

Sufism (tasawwuf)is an Islamic modality that emphasizes self-purification and the attainment of spiritually advanced states through the assumption of specific practices and disciplines, typically through affiliation with a particular brotherhood and its leader, a sheikh. Sufism has deep roots historical roots in Egypt, and the Egyptian landscape is marked with hundreds of sites significant to historical and contemporary Sufis. Today, roughly 15% of Egyptians are either members of Sufi brotherhoods or participate in Sufi practices, and there are 77 officially recognized Sufi orders (tariqat, sing. tariqa). Popular Sufi practices in Egypt include the recitation of litanies collectively and individually (zikr), the celebration of the birth of the Prophet Muhammad during mawlid ceremonies and other expressions of love for the Prophet and his family, and visitations to saintly figures’ tombs (ziyara).

Sufism in Egypt : Sufis, sheikhs and charlatans - Qantara.de

The Supreme Council of Sufi Orders, founded in 1903, is the government body responsible for the regulation of Sufi brotherhoods. The Council oversees the appointment of sheikhs (Sufi authorities), grants permits for mawlids, and performs a variety of other duties. The body is charged with ensuring that Sufi practices are consistent with Islamic norms and laws, and includes ten elected members representing sheikhs from different tariqas as well as five appointment members who represent al-Azhar University (where many of the upper faculty are respected Sufis), the Ministry of Religious Endowments, the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Culture, and Local Administration. Law no. 118 (1976) states that Sufi orders are barred from engaging in any activities not authorized by the Supreme Council.

In Search of Spiritual Ecstasy: Egypt Goes Whirling | Egyptian Streets

The creation of bureaucratic institutions intended to regulate Egyptian Sufism is consistent with changes to the state and the expansion of the state into religious affairs. Additionally, it points to a changing public discourse around Sufism over the course of the 20th century, during which criticism from Islamic reformists and the wider public—calling Sufism unorthodox, superstitious, and heretical—forced a response from Sufi leaders emphasizing its consistency with Islamic orthopraxy.

The development and rising popularity of the Muslim Brotherhood was one such challenge. Hassan al-Banna criticized modern Sufism (he himself was a member of a Sufi order prior to the Brotherhood’s creation) but praised the Sufi asceticism of the early Islamic period. The Muslim Brotherhood’s structure is noteworthy for its similarities to Sufi orders. Brotherhood members then and now tend to view Sufism as a corrupt form of Islamic practice, bordering on un-Islamic. Salafis condemn Sufism as heretical, and in recent years have been implicated in the destruction of Sufi sites in Egypt. However, disapproval of and hostilities towards Sufism may be colored by political in addition to religious views, particularly by the Sufi orders’ and prominent Sufis’ support for the government—including the current post-coup military government—and their opposition to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Sufis thrive in Egypt despite radicals

Sufism is rarely political; for this reason, they were largely tolerated under contemporary Egyptian presidents and were supportive of past regimes. However, a number of Sufi political parties formed in the wake of the Arab Spring. For example, the Rifa’iyyah formed Sawt al-Hureyya (The Voice of Freedom Party) and the ‘Azmeyyah announced Tahrir Masr (The Egyptian Liberation Party). Sufi leaders have been divided on these changes; Grand Sheikh of the Sufi Orders, Sheikh Abdul Hadi al-Qassabi, denounced the formation of political parties and suggested that it could lead to greater societal rifts. Proponents of the parties insisted that their formation was necessary to prevent the Muslim Brotherhood and/or Salafi political parties from eroding freedoms and protections granted to Sufi orders. With changes to the constitution banning political parties based on religion, these parties have secularized their rhetoric and have aligned with larger secular political coalitions.

Tannoura Dance'.. 7 centuries of Sufi Dance

The Rifa’iyyah

The Rifa’iyyah Order is among the largest orders in Egypt, and is especially popular among lower socioeconomic classes. It was founded in 12th century Iraq by Ahmad al-Rifa’i, and members were known for miraculous acts during heightened spiritual states including snake-charming, fire-swallowing, and piercing their cheeks. These practices inspire tremendous wonder in those who participate and observe, but are also frowned upon by members of other orders and non-Sufis who regard them as excessive and even heretical.

The Shadhiliyyah

The Shadhiliyyah Order is the largest Sufi brotherhood in Egypt, where it been popular since the 14th century, and is notable for its flexibility and lack of complex institutional structure, permitting it to adapt to a wide variety of contexts. It has over 70 branches globally, many of which are present in Egypt. The Order emphasizes Sunni Islamic piety grounded in the Qur’an and hadith, self-purification, and Sufi mysticism. Its founder, Abu’l-Hasan al-Shadhili (d. 1258) was born in Morocco, where the Shadhiliyyah first took hold, and followed al-Shadhili to Egypt, where he settled and is buried in Alexandria. Among the most celebrated Egyptian Sufis is Ibn Ata’ Allah al-Iskandari (d. 1309), the third sheikh of the Shadhiliyya, whose aphorisms and discourses remain an important contribution to the body of Egyptian Sufism, and Imam al-Busiri (d. 1294), author of “Poem of the Burda,” the most commonly recited poem in the Sunni Muslim world.

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Bob Marley – Zimbabwe

Could it happen in this age of greed? A leading international musician pays his own way to travel thousands of miles to celebrate the independence of an African nation. He spends a night in a rundown hotel; smokes marijuana with farmers; survives teargas and writes a song that goes down in history. This was Bob Marley 35 years ago at the birth of Zimbabwe – an African story told by those who were there.

Bob Marley And The Wailers Zimbabwe UK 45 7" single +Picture ...

It all started with the impossible dream in Harare. Two Zimbabwean businessmen, nightclub owner Job Kadengu and Gordon Muchanyuka, wanted a big name to serenade the new Zimbabwe at midnight on April 17, 1980. Kadengu and Muchanyuka agreed Bob Marley was their man. The two flew to Kingston, Jamaica, to invite Marley, just weeks before independence day.

“Chris Blackwell, his manager at the time, was against this tour, but Marley, who had been following events in Zimbabwe, decided he would go,” says Fred Zindi, now a professor at the University of Zimbabwe, then, one of the Marley dreamers. “He hired a PA system in London and paid for his freight to Zimbabwe at his own expense.”

Marley had inspired Zimbabwe.

During the years of Chimurenga (chiShona for uprising), Bob Marley’s music had been adopted by the guerrilla forces of the Patriotic Front; indeed, there were stories of ZANLA troops playing Marley cassettes in the bush,” says Zindi. “Certainly, Marley’s music has potency and a commitment which goes far beyond simple entertainment. He now enjoys a special place in Third World culture; an artist who directly identifies with the black African struggle. Thus, he was the only outside artist asked to participate in Zimbabwe’s independence celebrations.”

“His songs were the food that people in liberation movements, particularly the armed wings, were swallowing,” says Shadrack Gutto, a Unisa professor and constitutional law expert in South Africa, who was to teach law in Zimbabwe for 12 years. “From that point of view… to be able to see that music was an important aspect of the liberation of this continent. Bob Marley, like Amilcar Cabral (the first president of Angola), articulated so well the importance of the role of culture and music in the liberation struggle.”

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Botswana

Botswana has a huge advantage over the rest of the world when it comes to attracting tourists: the wildlife. The array of animals that reside in or pass through the country is phenomenal. Ranging from endangered animals such as wild dogs and rhinos to the numerous and thriving bird life that inhabits the area.

The natural landscapes are impressive too from the vast and imposing Kalahari Desert to the sublime serenity of the Okavango Delta. The terrain here can feel vast and empty in some areas or dense and teeming with life in others but it is always a thing of beauty. The landscape is at once recognizable as African and will live up to all of your pre-trip expectations.

All of these natural attractions come at a cost however and Botswana is currently one of the most pricey destinations for tourism in Africa. Some of the luxury accommodations here is priced so high that it is often the super-rich that travel here or once in a lifetime trips such as honeymoons. However, for the travel savvy, self drive tours are an affordable and often more rewarding way to explore the stunning country of Botswana. Let’s have a look at this beautiful country

Okavango Delta

Okavango Delta Zebra's

The Okavango Delta is one of the most inspiring and awe-inspiring wilderness locations in Africa, if not the entire planet. The Delta is a truely unspoiled wilderness with terrain ranging from dry grasslands to swamps. Safaris and game watching are the most popular activities in the park and possible animals to be sighted include cheetahs, zebra, giraffes, elephants, crocodiles and rhinos to name only a few. Trips should be properly planned because, although the terrain here is always stunning, the seasons can dramatically effect your chances of seeing certain animals.

Moremi Game Reserve

Leopard Cup at Moremi Game Reserve

Voted the best game reserve in the African continent in 2008, this park has a lot going for it. It is the first reserve that was solely founded by local residents who were growing ever more concerened about natural and man-made threats to the local enviroment and wildlife.  Situated on the east side of the Okavango Delta, the reserve offers some of the most stunning scenery in the country and boasts an equally impressive ecosystem. Many tourists choose to visit the park by self-drive campervan but the park also has a number of great campsites.

Gabane

Gabane, Botswana

This village is not far from Gaborone and is a great location for exploring the hills on foot. The village is surprisingly industrious and houses a number of small manufacturers such as glassworks, metal and pottery on the aptly named Pelegano Village Industry. The pottery factory in Gabane is particularly worth a visit due to its shop selling wares such as crockery, vases and other handcrafted decorative items. The most popular reason for visiting the village however is the great location for hiking.

Kasane

Elephant Family in Kasane, Botswana

Kasane is situated between the Four Corners of Africa; where Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Zamibia meet. It is a great spot to stay for visits to the Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe or Botswana’s own Chobe National Park. The town’s own attractions include a huge Baobab tree that was once used as a prison due to its trunk that is so large a human can enter. There is also a snake park that houses around 50 snakes from 17 different species. The town is also wonderfully situated for exploring the Chobe River.

Maun

Maun

Maun is often used by tourists as a stepping stone for the Okavango Delta but it has enough about it to merit a few nights stay. The hotels, restaurants and tourist amenities here are some of the best in the country, largely due to the fact that the city is the main tourist stop in the country. Whilst the town itself does not have much going for it, it still attracts a wide range of people from luxury safari travelers to volounteers. There are some great campsites that are located by the river, providing a great place to stay for a few nights.

Chobe National Park

Chobe National Park

This game reserve is the third largest in Botswana but it has one of the largest concentrations of rare game animals in the continent of Africa. The national park takes its name from the Chobe River which, at first glance is guaranteed to take your breathe away. As well as being a beautiful sight, the river supports an ecosystem of rare and exotic creatures including birds, elephants, lions, giraffes, baboons and buffalo. During the winter season it is possible to see a herd of hundreds of elephants at a time; a truely once in a lifetime experience.

 Francistown

Francistown

The oldest town in Botswana is the second largest in the country. Francistown was built on gold mining before Europeans came and looked to prosper from it themselves. In fact the town takes its name from a British man; Daniel Francis. The main sights in the town include the Supa Ngwao Museum which documents the life and culture of the Kalanga people through various exhibits. There is also a refuge for orphaned wild animals called Birds and Game Botswana. The town is currently experiencing an economic boom due to the recent resurgence of gold mining.

Central Kalahari Game Reserve

Central Kalahari Game Reserve

Wild, mysterious and amazingly vast, the Central Kalahari Game Reserve is a true wilderness that will give you the impression that you are exploring Africa alone. Incredible grasslands engulf you by day whilst the skies at night are as clear as the clearest in the world. The rain in summer brings about countless wild beasts of all shapes and sizes including massive herds of animals like wildebeast and springbok. Without so many animals in the harsher winter months, the main reason to visit the Central Kalahari Game Resrve is the unfathomable open terrain and true African wilderness.

Jwaneng

Blue waxbill (Uraeginthus angolensis) in Jwaneng

Built on the richest diamond mine in the world, the name Jwaneng literally means the place of small stones; these small stones are far more valuable than your average pebble however. In just one year the mine produced over 13 million carats from a whopping 10.5 million tons worth of ore. The town has amenities such as guest houses and restaurants. The mine here also supports the nearby Jwana Game Park which recently introduced two white rhinos.

Tsodilo Hills

Tsodilo Hills

The Tsodilo Hills appear almost suddenly out of the ground in the northwest Kalahari. These imposing rock formations of varying shapes and sizes are made to love even more impressive by the relative flatness of the surrounding land in the Kalahari. The Tsodillo Hills are a Unesco World Heritage site and are home to an amazing 4000 cave paintings spread out over 200 locations. The cave paintings, along with other evidence, suggests that the hills were first inhabited over 30,000 years ago. The best time to visit is in the winter months as summer can be blisteringly hot.

Makgadikgadi Pans National Park

Makgadikgadi Pans National Park

The name may be a mouthful but the reasons to visit Makgadikgadi Pans National Park are simple. The park stretches from the Boteti River and for this reason supports a vast and diverse ecosystem. The wildlife is particularly varied in the dry season when animals come from miles around to the river which is the only source of water for a long way.

Gweta

Baobab Tree in Gweta

Although mainly used as a stop off for tourists on the way to Muan or Kasane, Gweta is worth visiting for its namesake, the species of bullfrog that live in the area. The frogs hide themselves in the sand until it rains and they can emerge from their sandy slumber. Other than these amazing creatures, there is little to see in Gweta, although the fuel station here is handy for pass through and will probably see you call in at some point during your time here.

Savuti

Sunset in Savuti

Savuti is one of the most popular safari destinations in Botswana due to its prime location in the very corner of the Chobe National Park. Throughout the year, all of the most popular and impressive animals (with the exception of rhinos) visit the region due to the river here. The landscape here is large and somewhat barren but was once a superlake that filled a void in Northern Botswana. The area has a wealth of luxury lodges for travellers looking to spend money for the best of the best. There are also great campsites for drivers through the area.

For more information about travel to botswana check our website

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Zambia

Zambia the Land of a Thousand Rivers

Zambia portrays in its pallet a canvas of natural beauty of a landlocked destination in contrast with a superb geographical setting between Victoria Falls, Zambezi River, and the Muchinga Mountains.  Zambia is a spectrum of diverse landscapes and water abundance rare to compare to any other country in the region.  Not to forget the ethenic diversity and lifestyles that vary in each of its nine provinces. Zambia welcomes you to enjoy its high plateaus, hills, and mountains dissected by rivers and valleys, Victoria waterfalls and Zambezi River are some of the planet rare marvels.  Exploring a safari and wildlife viewing in Zambia is stepping on a piece of Africa that does not belong to our era. Our overland tours and expeditions to Zambia will ignite the adventure soul you always had.  Diversity of landscapes to take your breath away, nature at its best garment and hospitable people with the best world smile. Lusaka colorful markets are enticing and vibrant.  Discover Zambia’s National Parks replete with natural wonders from Fauna to flora to birds and insects for the nature enthusiasts. Zambia is a destination to satisfy the curious, active, and savvy traveler with all sorts of physical and intellectual activities, eco friendly in a responsible way of travel. It is indeed a complete package for adventurous travelers or nature-loving enthusiasts. Zambia’s safari and tours offer a spectrum of itineraries beyond the scope of other destinations. 

Zambia Moden History, Politics and Ethnicity

The natives of Zambia are the Khoisan peoples, the whole region, of course, was affected by the expansion of the Bantu tribes in the thirteenth century. Following European invasion as first “Explorers in the eighteenth century”, the British colonized the region into the British protectorates of Barotziland Northern Rhodesia towards the end of the nineteenth century. These settlements from the 1800s were merged in 1911 to form Northern Rhodesia. For most of the colonial period, Zambia was governed by an administration appointed from London with the advice of the British South African Company.

On 24 October 1964, Zambia became independent of the United Kingdom and prime minister Keneth Kaunda became the inaugural president. Kaunda’s socialist United National Independence Party (UNIP) maintained power from 1964 until 1991. Kaunda played a key role in regional diplomacy, cooperating closely with the United States in search of solutions to conflicts in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), Angola, and Namibia. From 1972 to 1991 Zambia was a one-party state with the UNIP as the sole legal political party under the motto “One Zambia, One Nation”. Kaunda was succeeded by Frederick Chiluba from the newly established opposition to the social-democratic Movement for Multi-Party Democracy in 1991, initiating a period of social-economic growth and government decentralization. Levy Mwanawasa became the chosen by the people of Zambia as a successor over Chiluba. He presided over Zambia from January 2002 until his death in August 2008 to be a reform leader credited with campaigns to reduce corruption and increase the standard of living. After Mwanawasa’s death, Rupiah Banda succeeded him as Acting President before being elected President in 2008. Holding the office for only three years, Banda stepped down after his defeat in the 2011 elections by the Patriotic Front Party leader Michael Sata who in his turn died in office as the second President to die in office.   Guy Scott served briefly as interim president until new elections were held on 20 January 2015, in which Edgar Lungu was elected as the sixth President of the Republic of Zambia.  The progressive regime democratically elected earned Zambia the recognition In 2010 by the World Bank as one of the world’s fastest economically reformed countries. Another emblem of progress is to have The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) headquartered in Lusaka

Reasons why you should visit Zambia:

Zambia is an endowed destination by nature. It is hands down one of the most beautiful and sophisticated places in Africa. Today, Zambia is by excellence the destination for active travelers to explore the beauty of nature and wildlife habitat millions of years old. Taking a safari in Africa is no longer an exotic discovery or a Richard Burton adventure. It is just as responsible as it is an exploratory approach to natural life and eco-system of fauna and flora that makes Africa the cradle of humanity and natural life exuberance continent by virtue.

Traveling to Zambia on a wildlife viewing Safari is indeed accessible to all kinds of adventuresome explorers and nature lovers from all webs of life.  Zambia has natural assets fit for the savvy the expedition oriented or the independent traveler who wishes to discover it privately as a customized adventure.  We at Sarah Discoveries, have it all figured out for you in our Zambia overland tours and Safari handpicked itineraries, nature-friendly, totally green with all the norms required for responsible travel.

Invariably, this stunning destination of Zambia mesmerizes visitors from around the world with its endowed diverse natural beauty. A landlock destination formerly called Rhodesia after Cecil Rhodes fro almost a century, with high plateaus,  stark mountains running vertically from south to north laced by lush farmland and savannas where elephant herds meander in an abundant pasture and lions roar far in the distance in a surreal sundowner from another planet. Beautiful setting beyond the imaginable but could be the reality of a dream that has captured your thoughts since your childhood, an overland trip or Safari to Zambia that is waiting to happen. We can not speak of this magic land without mentioning the Zambians, a culture that is unique in its own that offers a celebration of individuality, diverse in every sense with 11 official languages and many ethnic groups but all unified around a boundless resilience and laughter that rubs off you. Such irrepressible enthusiasm and Joie de vie are what you encounter while experiencing Zambia Safari, just as much as you will encounter the wildlife of diverse herds of fauna roaming on these plateaus and flocks of birds filling up the Zambian skies. We also offer adventure tours to Zimbabwe, Botswana, Tanzania, and South Africa among other destinations in Africa for small overland group tours and private customized expeditions 2020 and 2021

Zambia is respectfully a vibrant young country wealthy of its natural resources.  Apart from its iconic Victoria Falls, the country has a lot of natural water resources compared to other southern African nations. Other attractions include the famed Zambezi River, numerous national parks, vast species of wildlife and birds, as well as the vibrant culture of the country.  It is home for divers and various wildlife including the emblem of Africa, Big 5 (Lions, Rhino, Buffalo, Elephant, and Cheetahs). When you reach Zambia national parks you will feel what is Africa wilderness is all about.  You will find out for yourself that you have put your foot in the world’s largest game reserves.  Zambia is most famous for its rivers and dissected land in between that shelters herds out of this world, not just the Big 5 Game Attractions. Taking an overland expedition to Zambia with a Safari encounter is unlike anything you have ever imagined in your wildest travel dreams.

<p>Here is a challenge Zambia offers for adventuresome world travelers, a cruise along the Zambezi River, hiking the Muchinga Mountains, or witness the southern exposure of Victoria falls. If you love to explore overland adventure travel, do not miss our tour packages and one of a kind expeditions to Zambia. Just as a reminder, a Zambia Safari is a wealth of discoveries, historically, naturally, and unsurpassed reserves of wildlife.  Browse through our group expeditions or inquire for our private customized tours activities 2020 and 2021.

Our active tours to Zambia are replete with encounters and adventure challenges.  We are happy to take you on one of our expeditions around Zambia, a destination of a thousand rivers. Join our adventure trips, wildlife activities and safaris, or simply take a leisure trip enjoying our lakes, valleys and natural parks from a luxury lodge in Lusaka with excursions to Kafu National Park east or Lower Zambesi National Park south. Zambia holds a superb mild climate around the year. The best price is guaranteed for 2020 and 2021. Please note that all our overland tours to Zambia can be customized to a private Safari.

By Dr. Hamid Mernissi

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Zimbabwe: Land of Wonders

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ZIMBABWE

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:

Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls

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.

Harare

Harare

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

Bulawayo

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

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

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

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.

Masvingo

Masvingo

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

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

Matusadona National Park

Zimbabwe Overland Expedition
Z

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

Gonarezhou National Park

Zimbabwe Cultural Experience

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.

Kariba

Kariba Lake

Zimbabwe Express Tour and Safari

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 :

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THE BEAUTY OF GHANA & GHANAIAN PEOPLE


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GHANA

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.

Accra

Accra, Ghana

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

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.

Labadi Beach

Labadi Beach

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

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

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.

Elmina Castle

Elmina Castle

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.

Busua

Busua Beach

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

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

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.

 Lake Bosumtwe

Lake Bosumtwe

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.

Volta Region

Lake Volta

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 website

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MAURITANIA

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

Chinguetti
ADVENTURE TOURS TO 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.

Nouakchott

ACTIVE EXPEDITION TO MAURITANIA

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.

Terjit

Terjit
CAMEL TREKKING TOURS TO MAURITANIA

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
TRANS SAHARA TOURS FROM MOROCCO TO MAURITANIA

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.

Tidjikja

OVERLAND TOURS TO MAURITANIA

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.

The Coast

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.

Adrar

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.

Nouadhibou

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.

Ben Amera

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 website

https://www.sarahtours.com/


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TUNISIA: like you’ve never seen before

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TUNISIA

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

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 

Djerba

Djerba

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 

Carthage

Carthage

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

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

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

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.

Bulla Regia

Bulla Regia

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.

Kairouan

Kairouan

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.

Sousse Medina

Sousse Medina

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

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

Hammamet

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.

Monastir Ribat

Monastir Ribat

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.

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