Things to do in Africa + Middle East
Marrakesh is alluring. Founded in 1062 by the Almoravid dynasty, the mosques and medersas became a cultural and intellectual center of North Africa. Marrakech became a trading and resting place on the ancient caravan routes from Timbuktu and has been a bustling epicenter ever since. Although the Almohads destroyed much of the city, they rebuilt it using Andalusian artisans who imparted a Spanish flavor to the city. Today, Marrakech is busy marketplace of scents and sounds, mysticism and modernity.
Since its established independence in 1966, Botswana has enjoyed economic and political stability. Though Africa is landlocked, two big rivers penetrate the country. This makes Botswana an ideal safari destination. Lions, elephants, buffalo, rhinoceros, zebras and other mammals dominate the landscape. Botswana’s landscape is the ideal setting for Alexander McCall Smith’s books about Precious Ramotswe. The Atlantic islands of Cape Verde emanate soulful music that sways the landscape to life. Though impoverished like the majority of the continent, European influences that impact the architecture, language and religion breathe a richness into the atmosphere of Cape Verde. The dialects reflect Portuguese, German, French, Dutch and Italian cultural influences. The warm climate and diverse landscapes also serve as a perfect backdrop to the diverse wildlife which populates the country. Cairo’s city streets and grand 19th-century boulevards unveil ancient mosques, Coptic churches, and Arab settlements. The 10th-century palace-city, Saladin's imposing Citadel, and the minarets of Sultan Hassan's 13th-century gem of a mosque also fill the city. Visit the desert on the outskirts of Cairo to catch a glimpse of the legendary pyramids and the mystical sunset over the Nile.