There could hardly be two more exotic destinations than Africa and the Middle East. While Africa has its big-game safaris, sweeping savannahs and the diverse destinations of the Maghreb, the Middle East is likewise a repository of historic sites, picturesque villages and breathtaking architectural marvels.
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As expansive as it is diverse, Africa is made up of 54 countries and is the world’s second-largest continent. Spanning more than 30 million sq km, this sprawling region is home to more than 1.1 billion inhabitants, making it the second most populous continent in the world.
Dissected by the equator, Africa’s vast expanses encompass a multitude of cultures and climates. Dense jungles, open savannahs and vibrant coastal cities are all hallmarks of a trip to this vibrant natural wonderland.
Stretching from the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt's sandy deserts to the sweeping plains of southern Africa and Tanzania's towering Mount Kilimanjaro, there's no shortage of spectacular sights to satisfy the senses on a trip to Africa.
Straddling the juncture between Africa and Western Asia, the Middle East is likewise one of the world's most exotic destinations. From the mosques and minarets of the Gulf States to the cosmopolitan streets of Lebanon and a Bosphorus Strait in Turkey which truly encompasses the division between east and west, there could be few more exciting places to explore.
Who goes there?
P&O Cruises International, Cunard Cruise Line and Princess Cruises also offer passengers the opportunity to visit Africa on their repositioning and world cruise voyages, with general transit through the Suez Canal. Luxury lines such as Seabourn, Silverseas, Oceania, Crystal Cruises, Azamara and Regent Seven Seas Cruises offer options to ports in both the Middle East and Africa.
Best time to go?
The main cruising season for the region falls between October and April, when the winter weather is both cool and dry. Days are generally warm to hot and nights are cool, with temperatures ranging from 14 degrees to 30 degrees Celsius throughout winter.
Things to See and Do
From religious sites of global significance to the architectural remnants of ancient civilisations, there are countless highlights to take in on an African and Middle East cruise.
- Wander the maze-like streets of Morocco's many souks and indulge in a spot of local bargain hunting
- Enjoy a dizzying stop at the tallest building in the world in Dubai – the striking Burj Khalifa. At a spectacular 828 metres tall, it's the symbol of Dubai's glittering skyline
- The world’s first Ferrari World theme park in Abu Dhabi is home to the world's fastest roller coaster, as well as numerous Ferrari-related exhibitions
- The penguin colony at Boulders Beach is one of Cape Town's must-see attractions, with this cute colony of African Penguins sharing the clear beach waters with sun-tanned swimmers.