I asked other travel bloggers what their favorite places in Africa are. This is a four-part series including Southern, Eastern, North, and West Africa. You can check out other parts here:
This time around, you can’t read my comments because I still haven’t been anywhere in North Africa. This will hopefully change soon as I’m planning to visit at least Sudan and Egypt during my overland trip from Cape Town to Cairo.
By Ian from Escaping Expectation
Since I was a little kid, I dreamed of one day visiting the Great Pyramids in Egypt. Fast forward 20+ years and that dream became a reality – and let me tell you, it didn’t disappoint. What I didn’t realize, though, is that there is so much more to Cairo than the last remaining wonder of the ancient world. Plan a stop at the Egyptian Museum, which is home to over 120,000 ancient antiquities – including the Gold Mask of King Tut! A felucca ride down the Nile is a must, and the local desserts are some of the best I’ve ever had! If you’re planning to spend more time in Egypt, I’d recommend looking into trips to nearby Alexandria or further south to Luxor.
Egypt hasn’t had the best rep lately, and we received a lot of, “is it safe?” questions. But the environment has improved significantly over the last few years. Tourism is on the rise once again, and there wasn’t one moment that I didn’t feel safe. The majority of locals we met were extremely kind and helpful; we would walk down the street and hear “welcome to Egypt!” (full disclosure though – a lot of people will try to sell you stuff!)
By Nathan from Foodie Flashbacker
Chefchaouen, Morocco is the perfect place to visit in Africa. Not only is Morocco safe but the people are friendly, the food is amazing and it’s very affordable. Chefchaouen, in particular, is great to visit as it is a bit off of the main route that most travelers visit. The small city is able to be explored on foot or, if you enjoy hiking, the nearby mountain has great views.
The city is famous for being awash in varying shades of blue. Chefchaouen is actually known as The Blue Pearl of Morocco. During your visit make sure to try you hand haggling for some of the custom leather goods that shop owners have for sell. Also, it seems as if the entire town can be found in the medina nightly as the sun sets. It’s the perfect place to sit, order some of the amazing local food and people watch. To learn more about the city including average prices and where to stay read here.
By Amanda from MarocMama
Marrakech is the most visited city by tourists in Morocco for a good reason. The city has long been a crossroads of trade and culture plus it boasts hundreds of days of sunshine a year. I call Marrakech home but think it’s really an ideal spot for visitors who want something very different and yet still has some of the similarities and comforts they are used to. When you come, you should stay in a riad, a traditional Moroccan home. Today these houses have become boutique hotels and bed and breakfasts with just a handful of rooms for guests. I would also encourage you to get lost, because you’re going to anyway! The medina of Marrakech is a maze, it’s best just to embrace that and accept you’ll get lost – but found eventually. Most of all come with a light heart and sense of adventure, and you’ll be rewarded with a touch of Marrakech’s magic.
MOROCCO: Sahara Desert
By Allison from Eternal Arrival
The Sahara Desert was the highlight of my time traveling mostly solo through Morocco. I went with a tour and it took us almost two full days to reach the desert from Marrakech, but it was well worth the long ride. We rode on camels into the sunset, dug into vegetable tagine and couscous prepared by Berber nomads, and slept under the most star-filled sky I’ve ever seen in my life. In the morning, I woke to see the sunrise over the dunes, changing color and casting new shadows with every minute. It was a beautiful experience and one I’ll never forget. It’s an absolute must when you visit Morocco!
SUDAN: Meroe Pyramids
By Nina from Safari Junkie
If there is only one place in all Sudan that you can visit, make it be the Royal Cemetery of Meroe. The Meroe pyramids are located near the “village” of Begrawiya, three hours out of Khartoum by private car and are by far the most known touristic site in Sudan. Meroe is a complex of dozens of Nubian pyramids made out of black, iron-rich stone in the red and yellow sand of the eastern Sahara. The pyramids themselves are impressive and otherworldly, even though most had their tips demolished by 19th-century grave robbers. In many of them, you can see reliefs and inscriptions in Meroitic hieroglyphs. In my experience, the best thing about the Meroe pyramids was, that I was absolutely alone while visiting them: no other tourists – just me, the wind, the sand and the silent pyramids. You can simply walk around the pyramids and almost feel like an intrepid explorer in the 18th century stumbling upon a remarkable find. Best time to visit is between November and December.
By Veronika from Veronika’s Adventure
Most visitors head to Tunisia to enjoy a holiday on the beach. With its sandy beaches and numerous resorts, Hammamet offers all the comfort and some of the best parts of more than thousand kilometers long Tunisia’s coastline. The area has a very quiet atmosphere, with many resorts featuring their own parks.
Hammamet once used to be a fishing town, and later it was rebuilt to be more convenient for the tourist. It’s always nice to have a walk in the center as there is a lot of greenery around. There are amazing gardens with citrus trees, lemons, and olive grove.
There are six various airports in Tunisia. The best way to get to Hammamet is to fly to Monastir or Tunis and then to get a private taxi. Both cities feature great historical sights, so you can combine your Hammamet visit with either of them.
TUNISIA: Sidi Bou Said
By Claudia from My Adventures Across the World
I visited Sidi Bou Said, in Tunisia, in May 2016. It was part of a larger trip to Djerba, where due to the flight schedule I had a free day in Tunis that I could use to go wherever I wanted. Since Sidi Bou Said is really close to Tunis, that’s where I decided to go. I knew nothing about it, my visit was completely improvised, and I found it to be a wonderful place, where I am keen to go again. I hopped on a taxi after negotiating the price, got off at the entrance of the city centre, and was taken away by the beautiful sights: blue doors and windows stood against the whitest walls, on narrow cobbled alleys where colorful bougainvillea flowers pour over the walls and peep into the streets. Beautiful coffee shops have balconies and rooftops to admire the sunset view of the Mediterranean Sea – right at that time, the temperatures finally go down, and the marine breeze starts blowing. It turns simply magic. I can’t wait to go again.
TUNISIA: Tozeur, Star Wars Set
By Chris from One Weird Globe
One of the Phantom Menace sets was left standing and open to the public – thanks to Indiegogo and a squadron of volunteers, it’s still here.
Say what you will about the film – so much movie-making wizardry happens behind closed doors or distant places that the average mere mortal never gets to see or touch a piece of history for themselves. While Tozeur, Tunisia definitely qualifies as ‘distant’, it’s doable by a train ride and a guided tour.
The standard tour takes you past a grand waterfall (with plentiful souvenirs for sale, naturally), and you’ll also stop at Ong Jemel, AKA the distinctive ‘camel’s neck’ also seen in English Patient. The drive to the Mos Espa set is some 50 kilometers worth of slippery salt flats, so settle in for a bumpy ride.
Once there, meander and enjoy! Aim to watch the movie before you arrive so you can re-enact some scenes. If you have a few days, several other Star Wars sites are around, but weather conditions and distance can make them difficult to access.
Starting from Tunis, Tunisia, take a train to Tozeur. This is an 8-9 hour ride on a second-world train systems, so bring snacks and drinks, and expect delays. Once in Tozeur, make your way to your hotel and inquire about tours that are available.