5 Must Visit Cities Across North Africa
By: Noah Chani/Arab America Contributing Writer
The region of North Africa is known for its desserts and peculiar landscape while also being home to some of the world’s most unique wildlife and vegetation. From the Atlantic coast of Morocco to the coast of the Red Sea, North Africa encompasses a vast area highlighted by many unique cities. Thus, the 5 selected cities are just 5 of many cities that we believe are “can’t miss” destinations of North Africa.
While the Great Pyramids of Cairo are a significant landmark that many people may only dream of visiting, there is much more to the city of Cairo to be discovered upon visiting. That being said, a visit to the last remaining wonder of the world is still a must. But this city has much more to offer to any ambitious traveler than just what appears on the surface. Aside from Giza, the Egyptian Museum also warrants a thorough visit. The museum was built in 1901 and is home to over 120,000 ancient Egyptian antiques. The city’s location on the Nile acts as a natural oasis from the hustle of city life and provides the exciting travel opportunity of traveling to your next Egyptian city by way of the river.
As you can tell, the city of Chefchaouen has plenty to offer in terms of ascetics, but this city is a cultural epicenter of Morocco that is often overlooked by the countries marquee tourist destinations like Fez and Marrakesh. The city was seized by the Spanish in 1920 but was granted back to Morocco upon their 1956 independence. It is believed that the cities aqua like blue appearance is an attempt to combat the mosquito population in the city, but there are other theories leaving the cause of the color scheme open to your imagination. The town has many hotels which house their summertime tourists along with museums and traditional Moroccan cuisines.
Carthage – Tunis, Tunisia
The Ancient Punic City of Carthage located just outside of what is now Tunis, Tunisia has been handed from empire to empire and resulted in a fascinating ruin that tourists are able to explore today. In the Third Punic War, the city of Carthage was taken over and destroyed by the Romans. After rebuilding the city, it was an important Roman city until the Muslim conquest around 698 AD. Because of the history of this site, ancient ruins of Punic, Roman and later Tunisian people can be found here making it a must see a spot on your North African tour.
Essaouira, Morocco is a city that removes you from the hecticness of the country’s typically tourism spots. This city is on the country’s west coast with the same picturesque views of the Atlantic enjoyed by many of the county’s west coast cities. Along with a beautiful beach, the city has a “Medina” meaning walled city that dates back to the cities inception where many locals live and sell their handcrafted textiles to tourists coming through the city. The city offers local cuisine along with colorful streets unique to itself. Essaouira is the hum of Morocco’s music scene holding their annual Gnaoua Festival of World Music every summer. Essaouira has long provided a stage for artists of blues, rock, and Gnawa to showcase their talent.
The town on the base of the mountains known as the Taka Mountains is a hidden gem on the North African Tourism scene. The oblong-shaped mountain range makes the town a picturesque site with a rich Beja and Rashida tribal history. Silver jewelry is the city’s main retail with their women being skilled jewelers, while they also sell fresh grapefruit, oranges, melon and here along with traditional tribal textiles. Although the current climate of Sudan isn’t the most welcoming to westerners at this time, upon resolve, this city is a beautiful, unique place to visit in your travels.