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Snake charmers sit outside refined palaces, riotous marketplaces sell all kinds of wares, and the mysterious Medina (old town) contains nearly two miles of secret passages. Mopeds, mules and Mercedes dart around, yet time seems to have slowed. The Atlas Mountains make a thrilling day trip, while city sights include tombs, souks, palaces, mosques and baths. Marrakech has a sunny, Mediterranean climate. Spring and autumn are the ideal times to visit, with pleasant temperatures and little rain.
Bask in glorious sunsets and channel your inner sheik while you ride a meandering camel across the windblown dunes of Erg Chebbi. Merzouga, a small village in southeast Morocco, gives visitors a taste of desert life, and treks to nearby villages will reward you with African revelry, including music and dance. Ask your hotel to arrange a guided tour.
Cape Town glistens at the southern toe of the African continent. Amazing sites, from Robben Island, Nelson Mandela's former prison, to tourist-brochure views at Blaauwberg Beach and Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, are within easy driving distance of "The Mother City". Sun worshippers, surfers and divers flock to nearby white sand beaches and azure waters under Table Mountain. The Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve provides sweeping sea vistas, hiking trails and wildlife encounters.
The atmospheric old city of Fes - and its vast Karouine mosque - date back to the 9th century. New Fes is a spring chicken in comparison, dating back only to the 1500s. Hired cars don't do well in the city's narrow streets, so to explore the culture of this great city, or rather two cities, brave the daredevil taxi drivers or walk from one major sight to another, from the maze-like quarters of the ancient Medina to Fes el-Bali and the four imposing Gates of Fes, with their distinctive Moroccan tilework.
About an hour south of Mombasa, the sparkling white sands and lush greenery of Diani invite you to relax under a beach umbrella with a refreshing drink. Try a camel ride for the tourist experience or book a bike tour inland for a glimpse of life in local villages. Diani is also a base for several safari companies.
Rainbows are cool. But what trumps rainbows? Moonbows. If you visit Victoria Falls during a full moon, the light of the moon through the the waterfall spray produces a lunar rainbow, or moonbow. More of a daredevil? Then try what’s been called the world’s best white-water rafting.
The Zanzibar Archipelago, located in the Indian Ocean 15 miles off the coast of Tanzania, is a breathtaking spot to escape from the world. You’ll enjoy clear, turquoise-blue water; shallow sandbars perfect for wading; and many small, nearly deserted islands virtually unvisited by tourists. Explore the World Heritage Site of Stone Town, Zanzibar City’s old quarter. Or just go beach to beach between tiny fishing villages—each one's better than the next.
“Nosy Be?” Is that a typo for “Noisy Bee?” Nope. It means “big island” and it is just that; a large island off the northwest coast of Madagascar. Here you’ll find volcanic lakes, lazy lemurs, rum distilleries, Ylang Ylang plantations and intricate coral reefs that are practically begging to be explored. Flora and fauna lovers will be in seventh heaven at the beautiful Lokobe Nature Special Reserve. Audiophiles should visit in May, to experience the four-day Donia Music Festival.