Are you planning a trip to North Africa? It can be quite overwhelming and tricky to pick out which spots to go to and visit with a lot of choices and options.
Whether you’re interested in skiing, touring sand dunes, scuba diving, or just walking around a stunning city, North Africa will surely have something and someplace for you to enjoy!
Read on and discover some of the best destinations to visit in North Africa. Check out which places to add to your travel bucket list the next you go out for an adventure!
Sahara Desert, Tunisia
While the Sahara Desert runs through every country in North Africa, the section in Tunisia is one of the most picturesque, offering many accessible and interesting sights. If you’re a Star Wars fan, you must not miss the unique troglodyte dwellings around the Matmata area, which doubles as the planet Tatooine.
Other sights to see in the Sahara are the century-old fortified granaries and stone forts which were built into the desert mountains, with the fort of Ksar Ouled as one of the most impressive sceneries of all.
Salt lakes, magnificent dunes, coupled with the ability to camp out under the starry night, make the Tunisian Sahara a must-go-to destination in all of North Africa.
Ras Mohammed National Park, Egypt
This enchanting place under the sea offers some of the best scuba diving spots not just in North Africa but in the entire world. Professional and certified divers can freely explore the famous Second World War shipwrecks and dive alongside dolphins, sharks, and other marine animals. Moreover, they can also explore pristine coral reefs in clear waters.
Located off the tip of the Sinai Peninsula and is known as Egypt’s oldest national park, the Ras Mohammed National Park is one of the most popular dive destinations in the Red Sea. Renowned for its diverse marine life and healthy corals, the spot is home to almost 1,000 recorded fish species.
Top dive sites in the Ras Mohammed National Park include the Yolanda Reef and Shark Reef, where gray reef sharks and Napoleon wrasse are most often spotted.
Atlas Mountains, Morocco
A prime destination for trekking because of routes that suit a wide range of trekking skills and abilities, the Atlas Mountains in Morocco is a cult favorite for both beginners and experienced trekkers. The Atlas Mountains is also where North Africa’s highest peak, the Jebel Toubkal, is located, at 13,667 feet.
While the trek is challenging and exhausting, everything is worth the hike once you reach the top because of the spectacular view that’s waiting at the summit. It is recommended that you take at least three days to acclimatize and enjoy the landscape, but some hikers prefer to climb the summit and get back to the town of Imlil in a day.
In the winter, skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts should head to the nearby Oukaïmeden ski resort.
Abu Simbel, Egypt
Built for Pharaoh Ramesses II, these two temples at Abu Simbel have been an important historical landmark in Egypt and in the world. These temples have been attracting visitors since the Victorian era.
When the temples were restored in the 1960s, they had to be dismantled and physically moved 185 feet up a cliff. They were then positioned in the exact same relation to each other and to the sun, which was an important factor to retain as the temple majestically lights up when hit with natural sunlight.
The best time to visit Abu Simbel is in February and October during the Abu Simbel Festival. However, if you cannot visit during these times, there is always a daily light and sound show which you can witness and enjoy when you visit any time of the year.
Tunis, Tunisia’s capital, is a place that you must visit because of its ancient medinas, which are at par with the more famous Moroccan medinas in Fes and Marrakech.
Tunis is also home to the Bardo National Museum, one of the best museums in North Africa. Bardo National Museum sits inside a stunning palace and is filled with treasures and artifacts found in numerous ancient sites all over Tunisia.
To get the best experience, try heading to the coastal village of Sidi Bou Said; here, you can find many unique accommodation options. To head there, take the light rail system, which can take you to Sidi Bou Said within 20 minutes.
Siwa Oasis, Egypt
Located close to Egypt’s Western Desert close to the Libyan border, Siwa Oasis is Egypt’s most remote oasis town. Its residents have developed their own culture due to remoteness and isolation. Despite this remoteness, the town is a great place to visit, with its abundant olive and palm groves.
The oasis town can also be accessed via a decent road and small airport. However, it remains hidden under the radar, so if you want a unique place to visit without the crowds, Siwa Oasis is the place to go.
Known for its geographic beauty and hot springs, this place is also of historical significance as much as it is geographically because Alexander the Great traveled to the town to visit the Oracle of Amun. While you’re in Siwa, check out Fatnas Island and take a desert safari, too!
The city of Fes, Morocco, probably sits on top of most people’s bucket lists. This medieval city in the Arab world is a strange yet compelling mix of the Middle Ages and the modern era, being Morocco’s capital for more than 400 years. Until now, it is still considered the seat of religion and culture in Morocco.
The medina city of Fes El Bali is worth exploring for a few days and city tanneries and other famous sights such as the Merenid Tombs, the Mellah, and the Royal Palace.
Compared to Marrakech, Fes attracts fewer tourists and visitors, thus having smaller crowds. Most people enjoy visiting Fes rather than Marrakech for a more authentic experience and stay.
Built around what was once the wealthiest city in Ancient Egypt, Thebes, the modern city of Luxor, has a series of excellent museums, as well as its own temple. Nearby Luxor is the ancient site of Karnak, the most important place of worship for the ancient Egyptians.
Karnak contains a complex of kiosks, obelisks, pylons, and sanctuaries dedicated to Theban gods. Another interesting site in Luxor is the royal burial grounds known as The Valley of Kings and the Valley of Queens, where the tomb of Tutankhamun is located.
Marrakesh is one of the four imperial cities of Morocco. This metropolis is somewhat seen to be bustling with crowds and sounds so that you won’t fall in love with the city at first sight. Filled with narrow streets, a plethora of sounds, smells, sights, and persistent hawkers, this city at the foot of Atlas Mountains is not for the faint-hearted.
One of the most interesting and diverse cities in all of North Africa, Marrakesh remains to be a tourist hotspot area, with visitors and tourists flocking to the city to browse the souks of the ancient medina for treasures and to indulge in authentic Moroccan cuisine in the Djemaa El-Fna, the city’s central square.
Other notable sights that are worth visiting include the Saadian Tombs and the El Badi Palace.
Pyramids Of Giza, Egypt
This iconic landmark, which is one of the original Seven Wonders of the World, tops the list of most people wanting to go to Egypt or North Africa.
Located just outside Cairo, the Pyramid of Giza has three different pyramid complexes that serve as the tombs of Khufu, Menkaure, and Khafre.
The Great Pyramid of Giza (Khufu’s pyramid) is the largest of the three and dates back 4,500 years ago. Another great sight to experience is the Great Sphinx, which is located in front of the Giza pyramids.
If you hate the crowds and you have only two days to spare, head to Casablanca in Morocco. Immerse yourself in the Mosque Hassan II, one of the few mosques in North Africa that non-Muslims can visit.
The mosque is the third-largest globally, beaming with marble floors, an immense minaret, and impressive architecture. You can join a daily guided tour to explore the mosque, except for Fridays.
You can also take a guided tour of the city to discover and get in touch with the gritty side of the city. After which, head to the Art Deco Quarter and then to the souks for your souvenir and memorabilia shopping.
North Africa is truly a wonderful place to visit, filled with stunning landscapes and scenery. These are just some of the places to visit when traveling to North Africa, which boasts unparalleled architecture, historical landmarks, and unique places.
Decided on where to go and to enjoy that next vacation? Be sure to travel responsibly and safely when heading to any of these great spots in North Africa.