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Morocco is the gateway to Africa and serves as a great introduction to the continent. Mountains loom in the country’s north, the vast Sahara Desert stretches across the south, and the Atlantic and Mediterranean coastline runs along the nation’s western and northern flank. There are several spots in the country where your clients could spend the majority of a trip, but to enjoy the essential Moroccan experience, they ought to try for a combination of historical capitals, mountains, deserts, and beaches.
There are many historical cities in Morocco, but none command as much attention as Marrakech, which was one of the imperial capitals of the Islamic Empire. Parts of the city seem like they exist in a time warp that transports travellers back to the Middle Ages. The central square, Djemaa el-Fna, is the best spot to get acquainted with the old city and start to explore its winding corridors. At the city’s medina, travellers can see where the medieval lifestyle is still very much alive; the labyrinthine streets and overflowing souks selling spices, carpets, and trinkets are like something out of a North African fever dream. Your clients should also check out Bahia Palace and El Badi Palace for excellent examples of Islamic architecture.
Fez is the other major historical capital within Morocco. Its medina is even more impressive (and overwhelming) than Marrakech’s; around 70,000 people live within its tangled web of medieval streets. Fez is also a great spot to indulge in some Moroccan cuisine like mouthwatering lamb tagine, which is cooked with lemon and olives for a savoury, sour flavor that’s incredible over couscous. Outside of the cities, one of the best historical sites is Volubilis, an ancient Roman city that remains in enviable condition compared to other archaeological sites in North Africa.
The nation’s other cities deserve attention as well. Casablanca has the French colonial and Moorish architecture that harkens back to visions of exotic Morocco, while the beachside suburbs Ain Diab are a great spot for your clients to enjoy some sun and sand while on a Morocco vacation. Apart from Casablanca, Morocco is also home to Rabat and Meknes.
Outside of the cities, your clients can explore the Atlas Mountains and Rif Mountains. The Rif Mountains are a forest-covered range in the north of the country, while the High Atlas Mountains are to the south and comprise the nation’s highest peaks. Best of all the sites in the mountains is Ouarzazate, an incredible UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its incredible historical streets. The Sahara Desert sits to the south of the Atlas Mountains, where your clients can go on 4×4 tours through the sand dunes or ride camels like an ancient Berber trader.
Tunisia has seen a downturn in tourism from the nineties, but things have finally turned a corner and the country is once again one of the best spots to head to on a North African vacation. History is one of Tunisia’s top draws. Few spots get more attention on a Tunisia vacation than Carthage, the historical city that was home to the famous conqueror, Hannibal, and the capital of the Carthaginian Empire. Sadly, the ruins of Carthage are not in a state befitting of the city’s historical importance. However, travellers can still find remnants of its old streets and basilicas as well as the Carthage Museum, which shows off the best findings of the archaeological site, including the entirety of the Byrsa Quarter, one of the oldest parts of the ancient city. Aside from Carthage, your clients can head to El Djem to find the massive Roman amphitheatre that was built in 238AD. It remains the third-largest ancient amphitheatre in the world.
The capital, Tunis, demands some attention when on a Tunisia vacation. Tunis delicately balances between the old Islamic medina and the new colonial city built by the French during the 19th century. As such, it’s a good introduction to the country, showcasing remarkable old Islamic palaces and markets, as well as the romantic charms of the colonial boulevards with their cafes and bakeries.
The holy city of Kairouan is one of the best cities in Tunisia in which to explore the country’s history, traditions, and enjoy a low-key, classical atmosphere without compromising the amenities and comforts of the modern world. The city’s most popular sites remain the Great Mosque of Sidi-Uqba, built in 670AD during the height of the Islamic Empire, and the Mausoleum of Sidi Sahab.
Aside from Carthage and Kairouan, probably the most appealing sites to travellers on a Tunisia vacation are Matmata and Hammamet. Matmata is a small town showcasing stunning and rather-bizarre Berber homes carved out of the earth in the midst of the unforgiving desert. One of the hotels was famously used as the Tatooine home of Luke Skywalker in Star Wars. Hammamet is the most popular vacation spot for Europeans on a Tunisia vacation. With some of the clearest waters in the Mediterranean and a gorgeous array of resorts that don’t overwhelm the traditional Islamic centres of the city, Hammamet is a great place to enjoy a beach vacation without sacrificing culture.
Both Morocco and Tunisia offer a lot of history and culture for your clients to explore on a North African vacation. They’re also beautiful countries with gorgeous beaches and enchanting stretches of desert to discover. With a North African vacation to Morocco or Tunisia, your clients can discover these nations’ beauty and diversity for themselves.
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