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North Africa & The Middle East

Explore Roman cities, Egyptian temples and pyramids, the ancient cities of Petra and Jerusalem, and the lively medinas of Tunis and Fez. Float in the Dead Sea, snorkel in the Red Sea or ride the waves on Morocco’s Atlantic Coast. Trek by camel (or 4WD!) into the world’s largest desert the Sahara, or possibly its most beautiful desert - Wadi Rum to camp in a traditional berber tent sipping tea under a clear desert sky.

The cuisine is a tasty combination of Mediterranean and North African, with restaurants serving delicious pastries, mezze salads and slow cooked lamb. This part of the world makes for a fantastic winter escape with flights from the UK ranging between 3-5 hours. Once on the ground travel between the major sights is easy, and Jordan and Morocco in particular are ideal destinations for a self-drive holiday.

MOROCCO

NorthAfricaMoroccoAitB300Magical Morocco is so close to Europe, yet it seems a world and several centuries away. The colourful bazaars of the imperial cities, where craftsmen work in a warren of souks, the deserts of the Sahara and the lush palm-filled oases all provide a tantalizing taste of North Africa. Framed by the Atlas Mountains Marrakech is a wonderful city and an evening spent amongst storytellers and snake charmers on the Djem-el-fna Square is an unforgettable experience. The Atlas Mountains offer excellent walking and trekking options, and some great mountain bike trails. On the Atlantic Coast the lovely walled coastal town of Essaouira is the perfect place to relax or go surfing. Berber villages and crumbling Kasbahs (citadels) perch precariously amongst the mountains as you drive the dizzying hairpin roads. Head south to the spectacular gorges of Todra and Dades until the plains and palmeries eventually melt into the Sahara and the gateway to Africa.

TUNISIA

Middle East Tunisia El ChottThere is so much more to Tunisia than its beaches. The temperate Mediterranean climate and rich archaeological sites make it the perfect introduction to North Africa. The relaxed capital Tunis boasts a 9th Century medina, whilst Carthage ranks as one of the greatest cities of antiquity. Heading north the green forests and the foothills of the Kroumirie Mountains offer excellent walking. The holy city of Kairouan is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the oldest places of worship in the world.

Heading south the ancient amphitheatre of El Jem is one of the most impressive Roman monuments in Africa. The Chott El Jerid is a 150 mile long salt lake, and the area around Matmata, made famous by Star Wars, is home to hundreds of troglodyte (cave) dwellings. Keep heading south to the Sahara to explore the sand dunes of the world’s largest desert.

EGYPT

47The classic sights of Egypt need no introduction. Ancient Thebes, The Great Pyramids of Giza and the magnificent temples of Abu Simbel are perhaps the most famous remains of one the greatest civilizations of antiquity. Cairo is a fascinating city and a visit to the fabulous Cairo Museum is a must before you head south following the course of the Nile towards Aswan. Nothing can prepare you for the sight of the mighty Temple of Amun at Karnak or the Colossi of Memnon. A guided tour of arguably the world’s greatest open-air museum The Valley of the Kings, the final resting place of Pharaohs, and Queen Hatshepshut’s Temple will transport you to a lost world of hieroglyphics, ancient gods and daily life along the Nile Valley. A Nile cruise is the perfect way to travel between Luxor and Aswan. From Aswan journey to Abu Simbel where the Sun Temple of Ramasis II and Nefertari’s Temple of Hathor were re-located in the 60’s to avoid the rising waters of Lake Nasser. Extend your time in Egypt with a stay on the Red Sea beaches, where the diving and snorkeling is excellent.

ISRAEL

Israel is a thoroughly modern country with a very ancient history. This is where many of the biblical stories and historical sites of the Holy Land come to life. Walk along the shores of the Sea of Galilee, and explore the Crusader castle at Akko (Acre). During its tumultuous history Jerusalem has been fought over by countless armies, and its surprisingly well-preserved architecture reflects its history as one of the most holy cities of the world by three major religions. Visit The Wailing Wall, Dome of the Rock and Church of the Holy Sepulchre, then wander through the narrow streets and bazaars soaking up thousands of years of history. Descend from Jerusalem through the Judean Mountains to float in the Dead Sea and take a cable car up to Masada, Herod’s mountaintop palace and scene of a Jewish revolt against the Romans. End you holiday relaxing on the beaches of the Gulf of Eilat on the shores of the Red Sea, looking across to the Gulf of Aqaba in Jordan.

JORDAN

Middle East Jordan Camel LandscapeJordan’s friendly people, delicious cuisine and easy travel options all combine to make this lovely country one of the best holiday destinations in the region. As rich in history as its more famous neighbours you can visit Biblical and Roman sights. The Dana Reserve is a great base for walking and trekking, and of course who can resist floating in the Dead Sea? The highlight is of course the beautiful Red Rose city of Petra carved into the sheer rock face by the Nabataean’s over 2,000 years ago. The existence and location of this ancient city was a closely guarded secret by the local Bedouin until it’s re-discovery in the 19th Century.Equally as impressive is the spectacular desert of Wadi Rum. Known as ‘The Valley of the Moon’ the dramatic granite cliffs of Wadi Rum can be reached as part of a desert safari organised by the local Bedouin, who’s ancestors fought with T. E. Lawrence. At Jordan’s southern tip the Gulf of Aqaba on the Red Sea is a great place to snorkel over coral reefs.

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