Sahara of Morocco
Tomorrow afternoon, your airplane could be touching down at the desert town of Ouarzazate. Having collected your rental four-wheel drive vehicle, the big decision is to head east, west or south. Few will be able to resist the temptation to head directly south to the desert along the palm-choked Drâa Valley, or "Valley of a Thousand Kasbahs" as the tourist board likes it to be known.
In the Moroccan Sahara, it is not so much a string of highlights to tick off a list, but just being there and wandering. Sure, there are wonderful kasbahs and dunes, oases and villages, but wherever you go, spending a few days driving around and exploring as the fancy takes you is the best way to enjoy the desert. The region can be divided into the Anti Atlas and the more popular environs of the Drâa Valley and Erg Chebbi dunes to the east.
Just enjoy the desert majesty !
Bourke’s Luck Potholes in Blyde River Canyon, South Africa
The impressive rock features of Bourke’s Luck Potholes marks the start of the extraordinarily scenic Blyde River Canyon and is one of the tick-offs on the well-beaten path of the Panorama Route.
The giant potholes have been carved over centuries by pebbles swirling around in poolswhere the Treur River plunges into the Blyde River. Bourke’s Luck had nothing to do with the potholes but rather a lucky strike in this gold-rich area.
Not far off is the main tourist viewpoint, God’s Window. Graskop is the closest town to the canyon if you are planning to stop over and spend quality time rather than grabbing fleeting glimpses through a tour bus window of this stunning region.
Set on the Gulf of Gabes, the island is known for an eclectic population of residents and tourists, splendid beaches and picturesque villages that feature distinctive, square, whitewashed houses. Houmt Souq is the one large town, with bustling markets and lively outdoor cafes. Djerba, which offers a pirate's castle and fortress-like mosques, is believed to have been the inspiration for Homer's Odyssey. Accessible from the south of Tunisia, a road originally built by the Romans connects the island to the mainland. An unforgettable feeling when you see desert meets and hugs the sea !
There's no better way to feel the spirit of adventure than to experience the desert safari specially in Egypt. When you hear the word safari; scenes from old movies might flash through your head. Those people who carry equipment and supplies in the desert and the wildlife is full of adventure with a natural exotic scenery.
The continent of Africa features two giant belts of savannah, running east and west, where the occasional tree dots grassland in a region of transition from jungle to desert. If you envision a line running from the top of Senegal to Ethiopia, and another across the middle of Namibia and South Africa, and subtract from this area the tropical rainforests of Zaire, Congo, Cameroon and Gabon, you have delineated the tropical savanna of Africa. Within this giant swath of territory, you can find plenty to do.
Go on a Wildlife Safari
Most tourists from Europe and North America head to East Africa for wildlife safaris, visiting classic examples of tropical savanna such as the Serengeti in Tanzania or Masai Mara in Kenya, two adjoining wildlife parks. Just after dawn and just before sunset, you can take a game drive in a pop-top vehicle designed for amateur photographers, which comes alive at these times. You see groups of warthogs, elephants walking single file, lions gazing across the horizon and herds of grazing antelopes, tails flicking in the dim light. You can click the shutter nonstop or just watch baboons bounding in a clearing or hippos bellowing in a river. The time not on game drives can be spent enjoying international cuisine at a luxury lodge or fine grub prepared by the safari chef around a campfire.
View Tribal Life
Bomas, the villages in the savanna where Masai people live, may admit your safari group for a fee to meet tribe members for part of the day. Children tend to take particular interest in your cameras and want to see photos of themselves. Full-scale cultural safaris arrange visits for you with natural healers and cooperatives that make clay pots or sign you up for a community volunteering project. The three leading tourist magnets for American tourists -- Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda -- provide opportunities for your party to get a glimpse of authentic nomadic life in the savanna or to visit culture centers outside the capital cities to enjoy a show, including dancers, singers and musicians.
You can combine cultural encounters with birding by hiring a trained guide from a rural village in the savanna to lead you on a nature walk. While you can figure out such giant specimens as the ubiquitous marabou stork or the bright pink flamingo on your own, there's no substitute for local knowledge when it comes to figuring out whether that pretty feathered creature is a hornbill or spoonbill. Uganda offers villagers as guides, while in Kenya, you can take a bird-watching safari that stays in top-class lodges.
You may associate whitewater rafting and bungee jumping with American thrill-seeking more than the African savanna, but Uganda is making a move into the adventure travel market with activities that focus on adventures on the Nile. Tour operators offer easy raft floats with a look at bird life near the Victorian source of the Nile as well as more extreme rafting that sends you plunging through rapids. If you want instead to get a look down at the savanna, you can join a trek to the top of Mount Kenya in Kenya or Mount Kilimanjaro, just across the border in Tanzania.
Drakensberg Mountain, South Africa
The Drakensberg Mountains of South Africa or uKhahlamba (the Barrier of Spears) is a 200-kilometre-long mountainous wonderland and world heritage site. The largest proportion of the Drakensberg area falls in the province of KwaZulu-Natal.
The Zulu people named it 'Ukhahlamba' and the Dutch Voortrekkers 'The Dragon Mountain'. The Drakensberg Mountains, with their awe-inspiring basalt cliffs, snowcapped in winter, tower over riverine bush, lush yellowwood forests and cascading waterfalls, form a massive barrier separating KwaZulu-Natal from the Kingdom of Lesotho. The only road access to the Drakensberg is via Sani Pass, which at the top, boasts the highest pub in Africa, 3 000 metres above sea level.Combining sheer natural beauty with a wealth of biological diversity, this 243 000 hectare mountainous region known as the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park has been preserved and venerated for eons since the San people or bushmen roamed these slopes. Tens of thousands of paintings depicting their daily life can be found on the rock faces, and in December 2000, the park received international recognition and was declared KwaZulu-Natal's second World Heritage Site.
And of course, there are the mountains, which must be conquered. The fearless may choose to try sheer rock or ice- climbing - or they may prefer the adrenaline rush provided by abseiling, white water rafting or taking a helicopter ride to view the Drakensberg mountains from above. If you prefer the gentler, more leisurely pace of walking the many hiking routes on both lower and upper slopes of the Drakensberg, you can watch out for the 290 species of birds, 48 species of mammals, or the rare varieties of plant life found in the park. The Drakensberg ... the soul of the Zulu Kingdom.