Northern Africa has been going through some turmoil recently, but for adventure travellers there are still some great options in Morocco, Egypt and even parts of Tunisia. Of course you should always check up-to-date travel warnings, but if it’s safe to go you should discover the gems in all of these countries, at least once in your lifetime!
Photo By: Caroline Granycome
There is so much to see and do in Morocco that it’s hard to know where to start. The city of Marrakech is a must with its bustling souks and squares. You should book a room in a stunningly designed Moroccan-style riad. From here you can organise side-trips to the Saharan desert and Todra Gorges. It’s worth spending at least one night camping in the Sahara – the stars are incredible. Sometimes you’ll get caught in a sand-storm but that’s part of the adventure. Say ‘Yes!’ to the obligatory camel ride as well. On the coast, for surfers, Agadir is the surfing and wind surfing mecca. While just north is the port town of Essaouira – the walled old town is busy and great. Meknes and Fes are both must-sees in the Middle Atlas Mountains. You will see Moroccan architecture and history in full display here. You can easily get buses and trains between each. Head north to the blue city of Chefchaouen. You can skip Rabat, Casablanca and Tangier.
Tunisia has typically been a very popular place to which particularly European holiday-makers went to enjoy the Mediterranean Sea, from Africa’s perspective. The mountainous northern region and the beach resorts you can do via independent travel, however, if you want to head south to the Sahara a tour guide is recommended. In terms of cities we recommend Tunis, buy some rugs in Kairouan, see Byzantine and Ottoman architecture in El Kef and of course the world heritage listed Sousse. For a side trip visit Djerba island is in the south coast.
Egypt has gotten plenty of bad press lately, and that means that tourist numbers have dropped considerably. This means that for adventure travellers it’s a great time to go as you won’t be sharing the most famous sights with throngs of other tourists. Unfortunately many tourist bookers have had to close because of the drop in tourist numbers – but those that remain will be all the more eager to see you! Egypt can essentially be split into 3 vertical sections. On the west is the Sahara desert and White Desert part of Egypt. This region is called the Western Desert because it’s to Egypt’s west, although in terms of the Sahara which sweeps across north Africa, it’s actually the far eastern part of the Sahara. Make sense? We recommend camping out in the Western Desert with Bedouins and bathing in an oasis. Then in the middle of Egypt the Nile divides the country with Alexandria in the north, Cairo (and the Pyramids of Giza), the Luxor and all the other ancient-Egyptian sights along the might Nile. We recommend taking a multi-day cruise with Nubians on the Nile. Of course, stop by all the ancient Egyptian temples, and visit the Valley of the Kings. Finally, in Egypt’s east is the Sinai Peninsula. Here the Red Sea offers some of the world’s best scuba diving from Dahab or Sharm el Sheik. The view over Sinai from a sunrise walk up Mount Sinai is also mandatory!