Best Things to do in North Africa
North Africa oozes history, offering some of the world’s best-preserved sites, from the ancient city of Carthage to the Roman ruins of Dougga. It’s also home to some of the world’s most dramatic scenery in the combination of Sahara Desert and ruin-littered coast, and a rich history and culture. Here we list five of the best experiences in North Africa.
Explore the pyramids of Meroe
Did you know that Sudan has more pyramids than the whole of Egypt? What’s more you can explore them in relative isolation compared to the pyramids of its northern neighbour. Located in Meroe in eastern Sudan, there are around 200 pyramids, many of them the tombs of kings and queens of the Meroetic kingdom which date back around 2,500 years. They are strikingly distinct from Egyptian pyramids, with smaller bases but steeper sides. The shape even features on the back of a US one-dollar bill. Discover Meroe on our Beneath the Sands of Sudan tour
Discover wonderfully-preserved Roman ruins
It’s hard to know where to start with North Africa’s best Roman ruins. Leptis Magna in Libya used to be one of our favourites, and we can’t wait to return one day, but there are a number of sites in north Africa which are almost as impressive. Djemila, close to Algeria’s Mediterranean coast, covers a huge area and is great to wander around with its well-preserved buildings and fantastic mosaics. Meanwhile Dougga in Tunisia offers a splendid amphitheatre, temples, streets, houses and public baths.
Sail down the Nile
One of the best ways to explore Egypt is by chartering a private dahabiya, which is exactly what we do on our Slow Boat to Aswan tour. Visit small islands and meet local farmers, look out for kingfishers and marsh harriers and visit Egyptian temples including Kom Ombo, Horemheb and Edfu. Find out more about life aboard a dahabiya here
Explore lively cities
Tunis was once a Berber settlement, and has since come under the influence of the Carthaginians, Romans and the conquering armies of the Muslim Arabs. Discover the medina, a UNESCO site made up of over 700 monuments, including palaces, mosques, mausoleums, madrasas and fountains dating from the Almohad and the Hafsid periods. In Sudan, the capital Khartoum surprises with its modern architecture and laid-back vibe, and delights with its wonderful National Museum. Algiers meanwhile wears its history on its sleeve, from its beginnings as a Phoenician trading post through its heyday as a key Berber city and onto its rule by the Almohades, Ottomans and French. Explore its wide, French-built boulevards, hillside Casbah, winding streets and the beautiful setting of the Bay of Algiers.
Discover hidden gems in the Sahara
The Sahara is one of the most evocative places on earth and few people interested in travel will have grown up without wondering about that great ocean of sand. Seeing it in the flesh doesn’t disappoint. Venture into the Sahara desert on our Algerian Colours tour and explore the Grand Erg Occidental, the ‘red city’ of Timimoun and the abandoned village of Tindjillet, as well as the 'white oasis' town of Beni Abbes. Cap it all off by watching the sun set from one of the desert’s great sand dunes.