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.
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.
We embarked on a week-long cruise from New Orleans on the Carnival Dream, bound for the Caribbean during the December holidays. The itinerary included two days at sea, along with a day each at Costa Maya, Mahogany Bay, Belize City, and Cozumel. We were three couples travelling together on a family trip, and overall, we all loved the experience.
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!
About two and a half hours out of Johannesberg lies the delightful Pilanesberg National Park, named so after a Tswana chief. It is a lovely place for a weekend getaway, with the option of guided game drives and hot air balloon trips, alongside a variety of on-site accommodation, it’s the perfect place to get close to nature.
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.
Below the surface of the earth’s oceans lies another whole world, just waiting to be discovered. From blooming coral reefs and jewel toned fish, to forgotten wrecks and swirling plants, the floors of the sea are full of surprises for anyone willing to venture just a little bit out of their comfort zone. The ticket to these vistas is an open water scuba diver certification, something that is offered all over the world, in cities both coastal and inland.