North Africa and the Middle East have been ignored by travelers who feel cautious because of the recent negative press. We think it would be unfair to paint the whole region in a negative light when there are so many cultural gems waiting to be explored. The fact is, safe travel to the Middle East and North Africa is within easy reach with Ker & Downey. These are just four countries that we feel you should visit while the crowds are light.
Oman isn’t really on many people’s travel radars in comparison to some of its neighbors in the Middle East, but there are still plenty of reasons to visit. For one, it is completely authentic and virtually untouched by mainstream tourism; that means you can immerse yourself into its culture without having to fight your way through selfie sticks. Old-school Bedouin traditions thrive in a country that has stayed largely untouched by the extravagant, over-the-top affluence that seems to be on show elsewhere in the Middle East. And if you do seek luxury, new brands are making their mark. Consider the Al Baleed Resort Salalah: despite its modernity, it is surrounded by Arab history. Visit the ruins of a fortified town, an old frankincense trading port, and the souk where you can buy the resin in its natural form stacked in large sacks. Oman’s beaches are also worthy of any tropical postcard. Turtles love them too; five species crawl onto the shores yearly to lay their eggs.
Despite its location, Jordan is safe to visit. Feel like a sheikh in the W Amman, or sleep under the desert sky in Wadi Rum’s Sun City Camp, taking the luxury up a notch in what was once a pretty rustic area. You will also be welcomed like royalty in Jordan. Local hospitality finds its roots in the Bedouin culture so you will find yourself being invited by complete strangers to come share a cup of tea together. The Jordanian landscape is also a star; its stark deserts and the ancient city of Petra have been featured in Hollywood films. Dig into deep-rooted history in Jerash, a preserved Greco-Roman town, and visit the UNESCO-listed Quseir Amra, an eighth-century desert castle.
When it comes to North Africa travel, Morocco isn’t the only place that should be drawing visitors. Tunisia is equally as charming and rich in history and culture. Awaken your senses with fragrant jasmine oil in the souks and cups of steaming tea with pine nuts and sprigs of mint. Lively French and Arabic conversations are heard in the fascinating mosaic museum in the capital Tunis; the less-frequented Roman archaeological ruins offer more peace and quiet. White domed homes stamped with turquoise-studded doors and winding kasbahs enchant the coast. When you tire of exploring, take a dip in the clear Mediterranean.
Believe it or not, Sudan has more pyramids than Egypt. For mainstream tourists they have been forgotten, left lonely in the sand dunes. Every year only a few adventurous travelers make it out to the sites of Meroe and Karima to see the pinnacles jutting from the apricot-colored expanse, built thousands of years ago by Nubian pharaohs. This is one place that’s worth the trek; we suggest getting there before the crowds discover its deep historical appeal. Imagine descending into the shadowy interior of a pyramid lined with ancient hieroglyphic, the only explorer alongside your Ker & Downey guide. For the intrepid traveler willing to go way out, this is paradise. Sudan can easily be paired with a journey to Egypt, or a safari farther south to Kenya.
Ready to explore some uncharted territory? Contact your Ker & Downey luxury travel consultant to plan your journey to the Middle East.