Thrilling journey to antique North Africa
Planning a trip to North Africa is an exciting and infinitely rewarding experience. However, there is so much to see and do that deciding on an itinerary can be tricky. Lovers of thrill should consider a trip to the ski slopes of Morocco or to Egypt’s underwater reefs. Those with a passion for breathtaking scenery should plan a tour of the Sahara Desert, while history buffs will love Egypt’s treasure trove of ancient sights. Wherever your adventures take you, try to visit at least one of the following iconic North African destinations.
The city of Luxor was built on and around the ancient site of Thebes, once the wealthiest city in ancient Egypt. The modern city has its own spectacular temple, as well as a series of excellent museums. Close to Luxor is the ancient site of Karnak, which was the most important place of worship for ancient Egyptians. Here you’ll find a spectacular complex of sanctuaries, kiosks, pylons and obelisks, all dedicated to the Theban gods. Across the Nile from Luxor lie the royal burial grounds known as The Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens. This is where you’ll find the tomb of Tutankhamun.
Pyramids of Giza, Egypt
Perhaps the most iconic of Egypt’s ancient sights, the Pyramids of Giza are located just outside Cairo. Comprising three different pyramid complexes, the site is one of the original Seven Wonders of the World. Of these, it is both the oldest and the only one that still survives today. The three main pyramids serve as the tombs of the pharaohs Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure. Khufu’s pyramid (also known as the Great Pyramid of Giza) is the largest and dates back some 4,500 years. In front of the pyramids lies the Great Sphinx, a vast cat-like statue carved out of a single block of stone.
Nestled at the foot of the Atlas Mountains, Marrakesh is one of Morocco’s four imperial cities. Not for the faint-hearted, it is a bustling metropolis filled with narrow streets, insistent hawkers and a myriad of sounds and smells. It’s also one of the most interesting cities in North Africa. Visitors come to Marrakesh to browse for treasures in the souks of the ancient medina, or to sample authentic Moroccan cuisine in the central square, Djemma El-Fna. Beautiful riads and serene hammams add to the experience, while the city’s historic sights are well worth seeing. Start at the Saadian Tombs or El Badi Palace.
The most complete medieval city of the Arab world, Fes is a strange and appealing mix of Middle Ages meets the modern world. Fes was Morocco’s capital for more than 400 years and is still considered the religious and cultural center of the country today. The extraordinary medina city of Fes El Bali is worth a few days walking in itself, and the city tanneries make for a fascinating visit. Other highlights include the Merenid Tombs, the Royal Palace and the Mellah, or Jewish Quarter. Many visitors find that the city is less touristy and therefore more authentic than Marrakesh.