Africa & Middle East
Go off the beaten path to see the Big 5, have your mind blown by the pyramids in Egypt, or bask in the Madagascar sun.
Among Israel's main attractions are religious shrines, beaches, historical sites, archaeological digs, Dead Sea spas, souks (markets), nature reserves, fascinating cultures and great food. Known as one of the world's biggest inventors of IT software and systems, Israel is often referred to as the "Silicon Valley of the Middle East." The country is ranked with six micro-climates contained in deserts, valleys, mountains (with skiing) and pasture lands. In any given day trip, you may find yourself driving through at least three of them. Israel has four seas: the Mediterranean, the Dead, the Red and the Sea of Galilee (which is actually a lake). It's almost impossible not to learn a great deal—about the world and about yourself—during a visit to Israel. But don't go if you will be so preoccupied with safety that you won't be able to relax.
Kenya's chief attractions include wildlife, beaches, scuba diving, tribal culture, history, shopping, varied scenery and golf. Kenya's rolling hills, grassy plains and colorful tribesmen provide a classic image of Africa. Anyone who enjoys the thrill of viewing animals in the wild will love Kenya. But travelers should be prepared to get a bit dusty bumping along unpaved roads, and some may get bored looking for the animals—no one can guarantee sightings of the more rare species. (It helps if you take an interest in the spectacular birds and landscape.) Beach lovers will enjoy the beauty of the coast, and there are plenty of activities such as diving and snorkeling. Anyone interested in African culture will find the rural areas of Kenya more accessible than those of most countries on the continent.
The main attractions of Mauritius are excellent beaches, mountains, world-class deep-sea fishing, snorkeling and scuba diving, intermingled cultures, volcanoes, bird sanctuaries, the Black River Gorges, shopping, shell hunting and festivals and multicolored temples. The island will appeal to travelers who are already in that part of the world and who love beaches, the ocean and a relaxed atmosphere. Don't expect everything to be within an easy walk or drive from your hotel.
Morocco's attractions include colorful markets brimming with local handicrafts, Marrakesh, Fez, antiquities, beautiful architecture and design, shopping, beaches, diverse scenery, religious shrines, great food, water sports, Atlas Mountain scenery and Tuareg culture.
Morocco will appeal to the somewhat adventurous and experienced traveler who wants to see an exotic culture and lie on nice beaches. Don't travel there if you're offended by aggressive local vendors and their commission men, although it is possible to visit parts of Morocco where you will encounter none of this.
Namibia's foremost attractions are game reserves, deserts, canyons, beaches, ostriches, flamingos, Bushman culture and ecotourism adventures. Namibia will appeal to well-seasoned travelers who have already been to the more developed nations in eastern or southern Africa and who want to see more of what the continent has to offer.
Oman's foremost attractions are desert sand dunes, 400-year-old forts, ancient ruins, beaches, mountains, oases, traditional bazaars, scuba diving, camel treks and Arab culture. Oman will appeal to travelers who are willing to abide by laws and customs that may seem conservative and restrictive in order to see a relatively untouched country.
Among the foremost attractions of South Africa are game reserves, indigenous cultures, heritage sites, uncrowded beaches, surfing, wilderness trails, beautiful mountain scenery, shopping, gold and diamond mines, and a sunny climate year-round. South Africa is an exciting place to visit. Cape Town, with its vibrant nightlife, stylish young people and beautiful surroundings, has become one of the most desirable destinations in the world. And the country's natural attractions are as appealing as ever: the green vineyards and rocky coast of the Cape; the arid landscape of the Karoo; the rich farmlands of the Free State and Mpumalanga; the snow capped peaks of the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg range; and the verdant hills and wide beaches of KwaZulu-Natal.
The main attractions in the U.A.E. include beaches, Arab culture, desert scenery, water sports, sand sports, horse and camel racing, shopping, mosques and historical sites. The U.A.E. is a major hub for commerce in the Persian Gulf region and elsewhere. In the past, most travelers visited the U.A.E. on business, but its new beach resorts and other tourist facilities are world-class. The country is a good introduction to the Persian Gulf region and a pleasant place for a relaxing getaway. Don't go if you are looking primarily for spectacular scenery and exotic desert cultures.