After reading tales from a thousand and one nights, images immediately spring to mind of vibrant colours and exotic flavours, vast deserts and bustling town squares, towering minarets with echoing calls to prayer, and above all, a deep-seated mystery that’s just waiting to be solved. Although Marrakesh is in North Africa and not the Middle East, its Arab influence over the years gives it an undeniably Arabian atmosphere, and this is the city that reeks of magic more than any other. It is the gateway to the Sahara, home to the incomparable Djemaa El Fna Square, and a city that everyone should visit at some point in their lives.
If you’re into history and old-world charm, Fez is the place for you. The old city or Medina, is the oldest, intact, medieval town in the world, and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Most of the things we enjoyed were in the medina itself, but see below for our list of experiences and sights to enjoy when you visit.
Casablanca is a bustling port city in Morocco, and the most cosmopolitan as well. Often mistakenly believed to be the country’s capital, it’s actually only the economic centre. While it doesn’t have the historic landmarks and vibe of other imperial cities, and doesn’t have many tourist attractions, it is not without value. See below for the top things to do when you visit.
Famous for its eponymous diamond, the historic town of Cullinan is a delight to explore. Just 30km out of Pretoria, it is easily accessible from Pretoria or Johannesburg. While it makes a great day out, there is enough to do in town to turn your visit into a weekend getaway.
While transportation technology has come a long way since the inception of steam trains in the 1800s, there’s something romantic about stepping on board that transports you to another era. Reefsteamers and Friends of the Rail, host frequent train trips to various destinations, such as Magaliesburg, Cullinan, Heidelburg, and Irene. Check their websites for more information regarding routes, timetables, and prices.
We opted to join Friends of the Rail on a daytrip to Cullinan,
Cozumel was the port we were most excited about visiting, after reading tons of articles, blogs, and reviews, about how amazing the underwater scenery is. It was the whole reason we did our Open Water Diver Qualifications in the first place! But unfortunately, rough seas resulted in all the water based activities being cancelled on our port day, so it’s still a mystery to us. We do hope to return someday to explore what lies beneath. Read on to find out what we did instead!
Gumbalimba Park is one of the best places to get in touch with the natural wonders of Roatan. Home to capuchin monkeys and a myriad of iguanas, colourful macaws and cheery hummingbirds, it gives you the opportunity to get close to all these creatures, before venturing out to explore the wonders that lie below. They offer an exciting zipline, in addition to the water-based activities which include snuba, kayaking, snorkelling, and sea-treks.
As with Mexico, Honduras also hosts a significant portion of the Meso-American Reef and you can’t go wrong with a scuba diving or snorkelling excursion. For people who aren’t certified, there’s also a snuba, which gives you the freedom to explore deeper than snorkelling without the hassle of dragging around an oxygen tank.
There are tons of adventurous activities on offer from the Belize port, and we chose the cave tubing since we had never done anything like it before. It wasn’t as adventurous as we had hoped it would be, and the only strenuous part of the day was walking with our tubes from the start to the actual caves. It was still a nice day out, and if you’re travelling with a fun group of people, you’ll have a blast.