Despite high poverty levels and an overreliance on copper prices to keep cash flowing through the governmental coffers, Zambia has weathered the upheavals of post-colonial Africa better than most all of its near neighbors. This is not a country of coups and counter coups, but rather of democracy and capital investment. It’s a place where great engineering feats (just look to the Kariba Dam to see what we mean) sit side-by-side with natural wonders of the world: the winding Zambezi River; the gushing Victoria Falls.
Cities like Lusaka buzz with development, while old Copperbelt towns still churn out ores from their dusty hills. And all the while there’s Zambia’s wild side. This indifferently carries on all over the place. Antelopes hop and scurry through the miombo woods of the south, while elephants dodge leopards on the banks of Lake Tanganyika, and safari goers flock by their thousands to catch a glimpse of it all.
Lets explore the best places to visit in Zambia:
Cascading down to the banks of Lake Kariba in a patchwork of acacia trees, palms, rosewoods and forest figs, the verdant town of Siavonga has established itself as one of the premier holidaying spots in all of Zambia.
It’s peppered with excellent hotels that boast sunning terraces and cafes overlooking the water, while boats bob along the shoreline and the hills of the Zambezi Valley erupt all across the horizon.
On this – the largest reservoir in the world – it’s possible to enjoy oodles of watersports and recreational activities, while Siavonga itself is fringed by pretty beaches and walking trails.
Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park
The legendary ‘Smoke which Thunders’, Mosi-oa-Tunya is home to some of the most striking and unforgettable sections of the Victoria Falls. As the second-largest single cataract on the globe, it’s easy to see why that part of Zambia’s mighty river has garnered itself a UNESCO heritage tag.
And when you add in the populations of white rhinos, Angolan giraffes, zebras and the occasional elephant that also tread this way, it’s even easier to see why quite so many visitors flock to this corner of the country every year.
You’ll need good walking boots and a daring disposition at hand, ready for the narrow platforms of the so-called Knife-Edge Bridge that arches over the falls themselves!
Kasanka National Park
A pint-sized place close to the straight-line border with the DRC in the middle of Zambia, Kasanka offers up a curious cross-section of Central African fauna.
Pangolins and mongoose stalk the countryside, while sable antelopes and hartebeest coalesce on the grassy meadows.
Granted, there are few – if any – of the so-called Big Five game here, but there are other, more niche opportunities, to encounter the continental ecology – think meandering boat journeys and fishing outings on the Luwombwa River, sitatunga antelope stalking amidst the swamps, and some of the most amazing bat migrations known to man!
Kitwe has risen and risen in the last century to become one of Zambia’s most populous towns. Today, more than half a million folk call this one their home; most of whom sweat and toil away in the copper mines that first brought money to this corner of Central Africa.
When you arrive, you’ll be able to see the consequences of the booming mining industries here. They loom in the form of metal rigs above the dusty ground, and pop up amidst the stalls of the city’s Obote Ave Market – look for the curious handmade copper trinkets. Kitwe is also perfectly placed for further explorations among the towns of the greater Copperbelt.
The onetime capital of Zambia now bears the honorific moniker of perhaps the most famous explorer of the African continent who ever lived: David Livingstone.
In fact, the place is a fitting memorial to the Scottish expeditionary and anti-slavery campaigner, not least of all because it’s the gateway to the roaring cataracts of the Victoria Falls (Livingstone is said to have been the first explorer to have set eyes on the wonder!).
It’s also one of the best-loved places for safari goers and adventure travelers heading to Central Africa, famed for its ease-of-access to the legendary Zambezi National Park (in Zimbabwe), and the whitewater rapids of the Zambezi River to boot!
Nsumbu National Park
Ranging from the sandy shores of Lake Tanganyika to the scrub-clad hills of the country’s Northern Province, the Nsumbu National Park is a diverse and enthralling experience of the Central African hinterland.
It’s also something of a wildcard safari choice, only opening to mainstream visitors in the last couple of decades with the inauguration of gravel road connections to Kawambwa.
Highlights of the park include the gorgeous reaches of Kasaba Bay, where elephants can be seen wandering the swamps, and the meanders of the Lufubu River, which host everything from snapping crocs to water buffalo.
South Luangwa National Park
One of the homes of the celebrated walking safari, the South Luangwa National Park spreads out between the rising mountains of eastern Zambia.
It’s trodden by elephant herds and hippos, countless buffalos and long-necked giraffes, straddling miombo woods and swaying savannah plains.
The biodiversity makes it something of a picture of quintessential Africa, and the addition of lion prides does well to add to the rep.
You’ll be able to stroll the hinterland in the company of pastoralist guides, learning all about animal tracking, anti-poaching and conservation.
Kafue National Park
The oldest national park in all of Zambia is a real treat for those in search of a bona fide African safari experience.
Covering over 20,000 square kilometers, it remains one of the largest protected game areas on the continent, and boy does the biodiversity speak for itself! You’ll spot rare antelopes on the plains, and the elusive cheetah (hardly seen in these parts at all) stalking the riverine woods.
You’ll get the chance to encounter African wild dogs on the grasses, and see them prowling their territories in the company of elephants (there are an estimated 4,000 individuals here) and monitor lizards alike.
It’s all pretty bucket-list-busting stuff…
Lower Zambezi National Park
One of Zambia’s more off-the-beaten-track wildernesses lies between the borders of the Lower Zambezi National Park; a place yet untouched by the onslaught of mass safari going and ecotourism.
A patchwork of muddy banks and miombo gallery woods, the 4,000-square-kilometer area is known for its vast floodplain.
This seasonal wetland magnetizes groups of lions and elephants, buffalo and leopard, which all congregate here to water and feed.
Lower Zambezi can’t be reached by paved road, so a 4X4 or a chartered flight connection (a great way to survey the wilds of southern Zambia) is entirely necessary.
Blue Lagoon National Park
Just 100 kilometers outside of Lusaka is where visitors will find the otherworldly delights of the Blue Lagoon National Park.
Nestled atop the Kafue Flats, this vast floodplain of a reserve oscillates between cracked and sunbaked desert in the dry season and verdant watering hole when the rains come.
It’s when the pearly waters begin to swell that most visitors will arrive.
They go eager to spot rare birds in the canopies of acacias that line the little oxbow lakes and lagoons.
Or, they go to wonder at the prancing lechwe antelopes as they dance around the forests.
As the largest country in East Africa, Tanzania has a lot to offer visitors. It is best known for its expansive areas of wilderness and amazing wildlife, making it the ideal place to go on a safari. Some spots like Mount Kilimanjaro and the Serengeti National Park are world famous. However, some of the lesser known destinations including conservation areas, lakes and mountains are certainly still worth a visit. Here’s a look at the best places to visit in Tanzania:
Serengeti National Park
On the border with Kenya is the Serengeti National Park. On the Kenyan side, the park is known as the Masai Mara. This enormous East African conservation area is one of the world’s most popular places to go on a safari. It is known for being home to mass animal migration, including over one million wildebeest that migrate through the park depending on the rainy season. The park is also home to more than 2,500 lions, making it one of the best spots in the world to see them in person. Guided safaris and overnight stays in lodges and cabins are the ideal way to explore the park.
Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Another amazing spot to view wildlife in Tanzania is at the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Its dominant feature is the geological marvel known as the Ngorongoro Crater – the world’s largest intact volcanic caldera. Within the crater, you’ll find the highest density of lions in the entire world. The area is also known for having lots of black rhino. Leopards, hyena and cheetah are also commonly spotted within the conservation area. Once again, it is best to set off on a guided safari through the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.
Near the border with Kenya, the inactive strato-volcano of Mount Kilimanjaro looms above the surroundings. As the highest free-standing mountain in the world, and the tallest peak in Tanzania, Mount Kilimanjaro is a popular place to visit in Tanzania for adrenaline junkies and world-class climbers. Surrounding the peak is the Kilimanjaro National Park. This includes forest, highlands, plateaus and a few smaller peaks as well. There are seven sanctioned routes to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, and they range in busyness and difficulty. Keep in mind that many visitors only climb part of the way up the mountain. Even a few hours of hiking can result in spectacular views over the park below.
Off the coast of Tanzania is the island of Zanzibar, whose main city is known as Stone Town. In Stone Town, you’ll experience a completely different side to Tanzania. Stone Town is a melting pot of Swahili, Arab and Persian cultures. Many of the town’s buildings were constructed during the 19th century, when Zanzibar was a major trading centre and at the height of its power. The trade created wealth which in turn led to the construction of palaces, mosques and many fine houses. On your visit, you can check out the 17th century fortress as well as the many architectural gems hidden along the maze of narrow streets that wind through Stone Town.
Ruaha National Park
The largest national park in Tanzania, Ruaha is home to a staggering number of elephants and giraffes. In fact, Ruaha National Park is often called Giraffe Park. If you’re most interested in these graceful animals, but you wouldn’t mind spotting the rare lion as well, then a safari in Ruaha National Park can be a great choice. Many visitors appreciate that Ruaha National Park, located right in the center of Tanzania, doesn’t have big crowds. That means you can have a more authentic experience exploring Tanzania.
Lake Manyara National Park
When many people picture the national parks of Tanzania, they think of vast savannas. However, the Lake Manyara National Park offers a very different picture altogether. As the name suggests, the lake itself is a highlight. Lake Manyara makes up more than one third of the park, although it fluctuates in size during the dry season. Because it is a major source of water, the lake is a prime spot for watching animals. During the dry season, which stretches from June to September, countless animals flock to the lake for water. That means you’ll be able to spot these magnificent creatures easily on a day safari.
Arusha National Park
If you’re planning a visit to Mount Meru, don’t miss the park where it is located: Arusha National Park. Although the mountain is certainly a major attraction, there is lots more to see and explore in the park. While many national parks in Tanzania are really only for safaris, Arusha is a prime spot for outdoor recreation. You can go hiking or climbing, and you can even set off on a canoe trip to explore the scenery with a new perspective. If you want to combine exercise and wildlife, Arusha National Park is one of the best places to go on a walking safari.
Lake Natron is one of the most incredible attractions in the world. Because of its high pH levels, chemical makeup and heavy evaporation, the waters of Lake Natron look dark red in color. Since it is made up of very saline water, and the water temperature is hot, there aren’t a lot of animals in or around Lake Natron. When birds accidentally crash or land in the lake, they can die and their corpses calcify rather than decompose. But one species actually makes life among all that death—lesser flamingos. Once every three or four years, when conditions are right, the lake is covered with the pink birds as they stop here to breed.
Mikumi National Park
Mikumi National Park is part of the so-called Southern Circuit, a collection of famed attractions in the southern part of Tanzania. Most of the park features flat grassland, which makes it easy to spot approaching animals in the distance. This is primarily a safari destination, and you’ll need to be in an approved vehicle in order to explore the park. One of the most interesting animals you’ll spot at Mikumi National Park is the midget elephants, which have very thin and short tusks. This makes them less desirable to poachers, and there is some debate over whether their smaller tusks are an evolutionary advantage.
The tallest peak in Tanzania – Mount Kilimanjaro – gets plenty of attention, but very few people even recognize the second tallest mountain in the country: Mount Meru. In the northern part of Tanzania, close to the Kenyan border, you’ll find Mount Meru. As part of Arusha National Park, it is an area teeming with wildlife. If climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is perhaps too challenging, then trekking up Mount Meru can be an alternative. It will still be a serious challenge, but it is an incredible experience. You’ll hike along craters and be treated to breathtaking views from the top of the mountain.
Senegal is one of the easiest countries to visit in west Africa and is most tourist’s first taste of the region. And while many of these people will be heading for cultural immersion in cities like Dakar and Saint Louis, the country is also blessed with plenty of natural attractions worth discovering.
Niokolo Koba National Park
While Senegal isn’t known as a safari destination on the level of, say, Tanzania, you can still spot some beautiful wild creatures while in the country. Niokolo Koba National Park is one of those places and is filled with a variety of landscapes, crossed by the Gambia River. Inside the park, you’ll be able to spot hippo, antelope, crocodile and even a lion if you’re lucky.
This splendid stretch of beach is one of the most popular places in the country to visit. Tradewinds keep the dazzling white beaches cooler than spots farther inland, and the peaceful surrounds make a great side trip from Dakar. The area stretches for nearly 100 miles (160 kilometers) south from Dakar and is dotted with fishing villages, nature preserves, and pristine beaches.
If you head inland from the Petite-Côte, you’ll find the Bandia Reserve, a natural park with over 3,500 hectares of savannah. The reserve was established in 1990 and is the first working and enclosed breeding site for large animals in the country. Inside, you’ll be able to spot ostrich, monkeys, warthog, zebra, hippo and crocodile.
Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary
Located about 60km north of Saint-Louis, this park is the third largest ornithological park in the world. The site is also on the UNESCO World Heritage list and is a sanctuary for 1.5 million birds (including 400 species). The park’s most famous birds are the pelicans and flamingos, both of which are easy to spot.
Separated from Senegal by Gambia, this large tropical region has experienced a low-level civil war for the past three decades, so it’s best to check travel advisories before you go. Despite the sporadic flare-ups, it’s still worth seeing for the uninhabited beaches, wildlife, and giant mangrove lagoons. The area is definitely improving, and was featured in a 2015 article in the New York Times because of its resurgence.
Senegal isn’t all about mangroves and lagoons. If you venture south of St. Louis, you’ll eventually run into the Lompoul Desert. The orange-tinted dunes in the area are similar to what you’d fine in the Sahara. While there, you can take a hike over the dunes on foot or take it easy with the help of a camel.
The water in this salt lake often appears bright pink due to the presence of Dunaliella salina algae, making it a great opportunity to whip out the camera for spectacular photos. It’s also a popular spot for swimming or boating (in a pirogue, above) through the other-worldly waters. The lake is currently under consideration to become a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The Sine Saloum Delta is a UNESCO World Heritage site located a few hours south of Dakar and is without a doubt one of the best parks in Senegal. Covering 180,000 hectares, the delta contains hundreds of tributaries, islands, mangrove forests, and dry forest. Dozens of bird species inhabit these wetlands and close to 30 burial grounds have been excavated showing the rich history of human habitation as well.
Guembeul Natural Reserve
If you’re traveling to St. Louis, you’ll probably want to stop by the Guembel Natural Reserve (Réserve de Faune de Guembeul.) While it’s rather small, it’s still worth a stop and contains a mixture of lagoons, dry woodlands and marsh areas. Inside the area you’ll be able to see monkeys, tortoises and gazelles. The area is also a bird lover’s paradise and over 190 species have been spotted in the area.
Kenya is a country in Eastern Africa bordering the Indian Ocean and Lake Victoria. Neighboring countriesinclude Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda. Unique Kenyan physiography, from highlands to glaciers, supports abundant and varied wildlife of scientific and economic value.
In this beautiful country there are some things that will stay with you forever – little treasures, both tangible and intangible. You will occasionally remember the faces, the journeys, the tastes and sounds and you will smile to yourself because you got to experience something magical. Here are the unique reasons to visit Kenya.
Adopt An Elephant and Visit Conservancies
Each conservancy in Kenya is unique and provides you with unforgettable experiences. You get to see and even bond with incredible animals. But nothing will touch your heart more than adopting a baby elephant at The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust or by swiping right and visiting the only remaining Northern White Rhino in the world.
Visit Pristine Beaches, Eat Seafood and Sail in the Kenyan Coast
A visit to Kenya is incomplete before going to the beautiful beaches in Mombasa, Malindi, Diani and Lamu. Stay in a Swahili Beach house and take long beach walks in the evenings. Try some seafood and delicious Swahili food.
Watch the Wildebeest Migration in the Mara and See the Big Five
The migration is a spectacular sight where two million wildebeest migrate in search of water and greener pastures. You can also go on a safari and see the ‘Big Five’ (lion, buffalo, elephant, leopard and rhino) in different national parks in the country.
Meet Some Cool Kenyan People
Attend an event in Kenya and meet some locals. Laugh, smile and listen to great stories. You will meet some of the most genial hearts in Kenya, and they will help you create lifetime memories. Kenyans are proud of their country and culture, and they welcome visitors.
Delight your Taste Buds with Kenyan Food
Sample an array of great local dishes from Kenya. From the bizarre, traditional and everyday dishes, you will try it all. The capital, Nairobi is full of restaurants boasting diverse menus from all corners of the globe. You can also try some exciting dining experiences; including dining at Ali Barbour’s Cave Restaurant and the Moorings Floating Restaurant.
Learn a bit of History at UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Kenya has six unique world heritage sites. They are Lamu Old Town, Fort Jesus, Kenya Lake Systems, Mijikenda Kaya Forests, Mt Kenya National Parks and Lake Turkana National Parks. There is something new to learn at each of these sites.
Visit the Scenic Countryside
Feed or Have Breakfast with a Giraffe
Giraffe Manor is a boutique hotel in Langata, Nairobi. It is a beautiful place and the interior décor is spectacular. Every morning, the Rothschild giraffes visit the area and poke their heads into the windows hoping for food.
Shop for exceptional art, jewelry, crafts and home décor pieces
Visit curio stores and buy perfect pieces to wear. When it comes to jewelry, you can always buy beautiful items in Maasai Marketand other flea markets. You can also buy fabric to make clothes, décor items and furniture. Places to visit are Kitengela Glass Art, Kazuri beads and curio shops.
South Africa, the southernmost country on the African continent, renowned for its varied topography, great natural beauty, and cultural diversity, all of which have made the country a favoured destination for travelers since the legal ending of apartheid (Afrikaans: “apartness,” or racial separation) in 1994.
What you’ll find here: life-changing scenery, powerful ocean sunsets, and a dynamic blend of culture and history. Travel itself is more straightforward than in many other countries. English will get you around, as will Uber, and the American dollar goes far right now. If you’re not convinced, just consider these spectacular views. We’ve rounded up some of the grandest in South Africa.
After decades of decay, Jo’burg’s exterior is rapidly changing; think chic lofts and hipstery pockets of urban rejuvenation, à la other raw, edgy cities like Krakow and Berlin. The Nelson Mandela Bridge, perhaps the city’s biggest symbol of South Africa’s struggle for unity, embodies that dueling glitter and grime. Completed in 2003, it’s a colossal beacon of light by night, using LEDs to alternate colors for a spectacular show.
Don’t let Pretoria’s affluence and authority in South Africa lull you — this is not your typical government city. Jacarandas (that Dr. Seuss-worthy tree above) blow up the city around October and November, contrasting whimsical purple onto statuesque state buildings and ‘burbs. It’s a thoroughly Afrikaner city with high-energy locals. One sunset session steeped in local wine and South African accents, and you’re hooked.
Chapman’s Peak Drive
This curve-hug in Cape Town is one of the world’s most beautiful coastal highways, offering an unforgettable green slice on the Atlantic. Follow it out of Downtown to a daytime buzz at Cape Point Vineyards or to Noordhoek, a scenic area with boutique shopping and rustic eateries. Eat, drink, and gape off winding edges Ubering back.
Climbing into the tiny cable car up Table Mountain elicits fears of another overstated tourist attraction, but this is anything but. The rotating ride sets up stomach-churning views reaching the top for impressive precipices and wacky cloud waves, which local legend says is from a smoking contest between the devil and a pirate. If you’re feeling sporty, skip the cable car and hike down.
This sandy beach lies in an enclave of rugged paradise, shielded from the wind by craggy mountains. Kogel Bay is smack dab on the Whale Route, a winding, gloriously undeveloped coastal drive known for humpback sightings and peppered with charming towns.
Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
You just can’t miss Kirstenbosch, especially after the park ranger at your recent wildlife reserve adventure refuses to stop raving about it. Diverse and exotic flora converges here across striking, fragrant fields. On Sundays during summer it stirs all the senses, with regular open-air concerts amid the greenery.
This dreamy region on Cape Town’s outskirts is a bucolic spread of vineyards and little village escapes like Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, former Dutch and French settlements with the architecture to match. Spend days barreling between tasting rooms and feasting at some of South Africa’s best restaurants before witnessing perfect sundowns.
Camps Bay, known for its white sands and dolphin sightings, is considered Cape Town’s most beauteous living. Trendy restaurants and cafes, cozy accommodation — it’s all a skip from the beach. Because you haven’t lived until you’ve stayed in an oceanfront villa or boutique resort, drinking bubbly and mountain gazing from a private pool.
Addo Elephant National Park
This national park on the Eastern Cape is a melting pot of African wildlife: lions, zebras, black rhinos, all the deluxe critters. The jewel is the 600 elephants in varying constellations of herds. Watching African pachyderms will awe you — for their sheer size, and for the glimpse into their personalities and tight family bonds.
South Africa’s most remote national park is the closest thing you’ll find to Mars. Crafted by millions of years of harsh elements, steps reveal bursts of red dust in a desertscape defined by lava rocks and warped trees. Despite all this it’s home to so much wildlife that UNESCO has classified it as the planet’s only biodiversity hotspot that’s entirely arid.
Tsitsikamma National Park
South Africa’s famous Garden Route has abundant stops for no-holds-barred adventure. The Bloukrans Bridge caps them all. The highway arch is the world’s highest commercial bungee jumping site, at a height of 700 feet. Plunge into depths of verdant green, or just drive across — that might be enough of a rush.
Fez cultural and spiritual history
The city of Fez was founded in 789 by Idris I, the founder of the Idrisid dynasty. He was chased by the Abbasids in the Middle East. Idriss I was a descendant of the Prophet. The city of Fez is an imperial and religious city, it has both a modern identity with a rich historical heritage. Fez has been growing because of its own potentialities and thanks to relationships forged with the cities and surrounding areas.
The streets of the medina, the most beautiful, the oldest and the most authentic ones of Morocco, stand to be a true labyrinth unchanged from the eighth century.
Fez has always been a magnet for immigrants and travelers, a destination for students and scholars, a lucrative market for traders and craftsmen. It still remains today a meeting place of ideas, experiences and cultural events of all backgrounds.
Called the “Zaouia” by the Sufis (the sanctuary), Fez is one of the imperial cities of Morocco. Once, the capital of the country (intellectually and politically) and crossroads of trade, the city is now a spiritual, cultural capital which has always been known for its hospitality.
Fez houses exhibit one of the first universities and library in the world, and cultural events such as the Sacred Music Festival held annually. Its mosques and synagogues, its souks, its walls, palaces and riads do attract visitors, about 1 million annually.
Fez during dynasties ruled Morocco
The city of Fez became during the Idrissids’ rule a religious, cultural capital as new residents bring their expertise. During the Almoravids’ dynasty, Fez lost its role as a capital because of the foundation of Marrakesh in the eleventh century.
In the twelfth century, the Almohad Sultan Abd el Moumem made the city a commercial hub. The exchanges were between the Maghreb, Spain, the Sahara, the East and the West.
On the thirteenth century, Fez became the capital thanks to the Merinids’ dynasty, a real boom in the city, especially in the fourteenth century. The city had been growing by adding walls and palaces. Administrations were installed there. It was the creation of Fez el Jadid (the New Fes). The city was at its peak. During the time Jews settled down in their own neighbourhood (Mellah).
In 1471, Fez was led by a new dynasty, the Blessed Wattas that created the Kingdom of Fez and a new population emerged: the Portuguese. In 1522, an earthquake destroyed a part of the city. But reconstruction was getting faster.
During the Saadians’ dynasty rule in 1549, it‘s the Saadians that governed the city and chose Marrakesh as the new capital of the country. In the seventeenth century, the city did not escape the civil wars and misery that resulted in plague and famine.
When the Alawites took the rule, the city became the capital in 1666, by Moulay Rachid (Alawite dynasty). It was booming in the eighteenth century not only economically but also religiously and intellectually.
At the time of the Protectorate, in March 1912, Moulay Hafid signed in Fez the Convention Treaty establishing the French protectorate over the country. Thus, a new city appeared more modern, more urban cohabiting with the old medina.
Rabat is now the definitive capital, but Fez remains the spiritual capital for all, the culture and craft of the country.
Gnawa culture, a centuries-old Moroccan practice rooted in music, African rituals, and Sufi traditions, was added to UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Gnawa refers to a “set of musical productions, fraternal practices and therapeutic rituals where the secular mixes with the sacred”, according to the nomination submitted by Morocco.
Often dressed in colorful outfits, Gnawa musicians play the guenbri, a type of lute with three strings, accompanied by steel castanets called krakebs.
They practice “a therapeutic ritual of possession… which takes the form of all-night ceremonies of rhythms and trance combining ancestral African practices, Arab-Muslim influences, and native Berber cultural performances,” the nomination document reads.
The tradition, which includes the veneration of Islamic holy men, dates back to at least the 16th century.
“Originally practiced and transmitted by groups and individuals from slavery and the slave trade”, today it is one of the many facets of Moroccan culture and identity.
Gnawa was popularized by a festival that started in 1997 in the southern port city of Essaouira.
Until then, Gnawa brotherhoods had been little known, even marginalized.Now, they attract waves of fans each year from across the globe to the Gnawa and World Music Festival in Essaouira that highlights a unique mix of musical styles.
Essaouira has seen greats such as Pat Metheny, Didier Lockwood, and Marcus Miller perform with the most famous masters of Gnawa music, fusing the genre with other styles such as blues and jazz.
The number of brotherhoods and master musicians “is constantly growing in Morocco’s villages and major cities,” according to the nomination.
Gnawa groups “form associations and organize festivals” year-round, which enable the younger generation “to have knowledge of both the lyrics and musical instruments as well as practices and rituals” linked to Gnawa culture.
The presence of Moroccan Jews dates back two thousand years. If there are only a few thousand at present, there are still today evidence of this millennial presence, from Casablanca to Essaouira.
Morocco had nearly 250,000 Jews in the mid-twentieth century. Today there are only three thousand left. Many of them migrated to Israel after the Second World War, especially after the Six Day War in 1967. The small Jewish community in Morocco remains the largest in the Arab world, however.
In Casablanca, the Judaism museum
The “Museum of Moroccan Judaism” is the first museum in the Arab world dedicated to Jewish history. It traces the history of the Jews in Morocco, from their settlement to the present day, highlighting the links and exchanges between Jews and Muslims and the contributions of the community to the Cherifian Kingdom. You can visit the El Jadida High Synagogue and the Jewish quarter of Casablanca with its cultural center and Bet El synagogue, then go and eat in one of the Kosher restaurants in the neighborhood.
In Rabat, tribute to Mohammed V
Of the Jewish presence in the capital of the Kingdom of Morocco, there remains only the cemetery or almost. The mausoleum of sovereign Mohammed V is however a high place of this trip in the footsteps of Moroccan Jews. The reason is as follows: he opposed the anti-Semitic laws of the Vichy government during the Second World War.
In Fez, a well-preserved heritage
It is undoubtedly in the city of Fez that the cultural heritage of Moroccan Jews is best preserved. Visit the “Mellah”, the Jewish quarter of Fez to admire its synagogue, the cemetery, but above all handicrafts such as goldsmithing.
In Marrakech, the Alzama synagogue
With its many menorahs (candlesticks) and its golden doors, this synagogue is original and stands out among the other synagogues in the country.
In Essaouira, the “Sultan’s merchants”
Thousands of Diaspora Jews meet each year in Essaouira. The small community that stayed behind is dynamic. Many buildings have Hebrew inscriptions and Stars of David