Places to visit in the MENA area

Contrary to popular belief, not the entire the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is an unsafe warzone where innocent travellers risk being taken by Jihadists as soon as they set foot outside the airport. I fell in love with the area when travelling to Morocco in 2009 and have returned many times since. These are my personal recommendations for those who would like to experience the beautiful culture and history of the Arabic world in a safe way:

Oman

Oman, the pearl of the Gulf, is still undiscovered by mass tourism. Beautiful deserts, breath-taking wadis and ancient castles, Oman’s diversity will enchant nature lovers and history buffs alike. The Omanis, widely considered as the friendliest Gulf Arabs, will amaze you with their hospitality. With the Arab Spring largely bypassing the Gulf, you can book your ticket to Oman without having second thoughts!

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Jordan

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan should be on any traveller’s to do list for two reasons: Wadi Rum, one of the most beautiful deserts in the world, and Petra, the rock-cut city and one of the seven new wonders of the world. Despite bordering Syria, Israel and Lebanon, Jordan is widely regarded as the safest country in the Middle East. A pro-Western beacon of stability in a tumultuous area.

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Morocco

The exotic wonders of Marrakech are well known, but did you know Marrakech is only one of six royal cities? The ancient Roman and Islamic sites and the diverse landscapes (beaches, mountains and deserts) attract millions of tourists every year. And with good reason: Morocco has something to offer for every type of tourist, including beach tourism, adventure and activity tourism and cultural and historical tourism. The only danger you might be facing here is having to communicate in sign language: Morocco’s second language is French instead of English!

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United Arab Emirates

The glitter and glamour of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is endlessly fascinating! Man-made islands in the shape of a palm tree, the highest tower in the world and the world’s only seven stars hotel: Dubai has it all. Should we also mention the fanciest limited edition cars and guys in dishdasha? Yes, I am a fan…

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