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An Africa & Middle East Overview

By Haider Ali

Posted: 4th January 2013 14:45

Africa and the Middle East as separate regions are full of life in their own right.  Africa is more in line with nature and the greatness it has to offer in terms of its wildlife and unfettered national park reserves.  The Middle East in contrast illustrates the ever evolving face of modernity thanks largely to the influx of petro-dollars.  Here you will find endless deserts surroundings energetic cities buzzing with skyscrapers and shopping malls.

Bastions of Nature

Ghana has a variety of national parks, including one that stands out the Kakum National Park.  It is in actual fact a rainforest and home to the rarest of wildlife.  it also has a lovely canopy for tourists wishing to take long walks and enjoy the greenery on display.

To witness one of nature’s most phenomenal spectacles you have to follow from the beginning of the migration, which starts in the Southern Serengeti plains of Tanzania ending in the Maasai Mara, Kenya.  413 miles separate both Tanzania and Kenya so it is a lengthy trek. 

The Wildebeest migration usually takes place between May and December. It is an arduous journey dependent on the Wildebeest’s need for food. Roughly during the latter end of April, the Wildebeest are still occupying the plains of the Serengeti in Tanzania.

Lebanon is perhaps the most miscellaneous of all states within the Middle East region because of all the cultures and religions it has.  It offers a year complete with things to do.   Spring is the best time of season to visit Lebanon with a flurry of activities to pursue to help pass the time. 

One can take a hike through the Cedar tree reserves in Al-Shouf or Horsh Ehden.  Alternatively you can take a trek through the Qadisha Valleys, home to glorious mountain peaks.  After a day of absorbing sites, you and your family may decide to spend a cool evening in one of many of Beirut’s open cafes sampling authentic Lebanese cuisine. 

One can then catch a plane from the capital Beirut and travel westwards to any of Iran’s 98 airports and plan their trip for the vast country.  Iran too has natural beauty in abundance.  Winters can be extremely cold with temperature levels plummeting into the minuses and summers blazing with heat with it rising to the high 40’s.  When you do go you will find a country with cultural depth and diverse scenery from the Alborz Mountains in the north to the serene Caspian coast, which has a 143, 200 sq mi surface area. 

Feeling at Home

Maybe students looking to party prefer a resort, and few will rival Agadir on the west coast of Morocco.  A large contingent of western Europeans travel their between spring and summer so you will feel right at home.  There are many bars and clubs where you can enjoy an entertaining evening and dance the night away.  One can liken Agadir to Greece and Italy. 

The Kingdom of Bahrain is an archipelago located in the Persian Gulf made up of 32 islands tucked in between Saudi Arabia and Qatar.  It is connected to Saudi Arabia by the King Fahd Causeway and bridges the two lands together which are separated by 25km. 

By far the most relaxed of the Middle Eastern states in regards to liberalism as law allows alcohol to be permitted for minorities, appealing to western travellers.  The capital city Manama (pictured) is very cosmopolitan and practically a social and shopping Mecca. 

In April the Formula One race season embraces Bahrain with one of its infamous Grand Prix’s.  If that’s not enough, the football world cup is coming to Qatar in 2022, though it is some time away the sport will be growing in the country appealing to westerners that love the sport and may look to catch a local game in Doha. 

Great Empires of the Past

Whilst in the Middle Eastern region you may wish to visit Saudi Arabia and witness the Hajj pilgrimage which dates back 1400 years when millions of Muslims descend upon spiritual journey around the House of God.  You will also find remnants of the origins of the Islamic empire in Mecca.

Of course parts of Africa will rival the Middle East in this regard.  The capital city of Senegal, Dakar in Africa is prized with World Heritage Sites recognised by UNESCO especially Goree Island that is draped with the history of the West African slave trade.  Ghana too is adorned   with historical artefacts and archaeological sites.  Evidence has been found that humans resided in the country around 1500 B.C.

The land was also apart of Ashanti’s infamous empire and has gained notoriety for it as she was a fierce individual.  Museums have been made in homage to the first settlers the Dagombas and can be visited to gain an insight into their respected ways of life prior to colonialism.

Round up

Africa and the Middle East are very contrasting.  Whereas much of Africa is famed for its natural beauty and wildlife the Middle East is very much as modern as the west with its cosmopolitan way of life.  Where Kenya and Tanzania has glorious plains decorated with lions and zebras the likes of Saudi Arabia and Iran have modern cafes and skyscrapers in bustling town centres. 

Both regions are blessed with a rich historical past.  Wanting to study the birth of Islam and one of the world’s largest empires you start with Saudi Arabia in the heart of the country by travelling to Mecca.  Back across to the African continent you can learn about empire of Ashanti which stretched across modern day Ghana in East Africa.  There is just so much tourists can do when they travel to these two great regions. 

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