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Exploring North Africa – 5 Sights Not to Miss

For a continent that is vast, vibrant and teeming with wildlife, North Africa has stayed amazingly true to its origins – a place that hasn’t changed much for centuries on end!

Every country in North Africa has something interesting and inspiring on offer. Let’s look at 5  of the sights not to miss if you’re visiting any time soon.

Pyramids of Giza

Photo CC by Arch_Sam

No matter how much you have learnt about the pyramids or how many movies you have seen these massive structures in, nothing can prepare you for the moment when you lay your eyes on these impressive monuments of history.

The three pyramids – the Khufu, the Khafre and the Menkaure – were named after the kings for whom they were constructed. The oldest and most popular pyramid among these is the Khufu or Cheops – the single biggest structure ever built on Earth.

Although these structures were built with a lot of hidden treasures, they were plundered during the medieval times. There are a number of statues, massive hidden chambers, and hieroglyphic inscriptions inside the pyramids. Any trip to Egypt is incomplete without a stop here.

Sahara Desert

Photo CC by Celso Flores

Covering roughly 10% of the whole African continent, the Sahara Desert is the world’s largest non-polar desert in the world. If you want to explore the barrenness of the Sahara, then you need to go to the visit-friendly part of the desert from Morocco.

The sand dunes of the desert are testament to the ever-changing nature of the desert. The mountain ranges, the ever transforming landscape, the hyper arid central region of the desert, take the traveler to a different world altogether.

Siwa Oasis

Photo CC by Charlie Phillips

The Siwa Oasis is nearly 80kms in length and is one of the most isolated human settlements in Egypt. It is home to close to 23,000 people – predominantly Berbers. The Berbers have their own unique traditions, cultural nuances distinct from Egyptians and a distinct language called Siwi.

Among the many attractions of the Siwi Oasis, the Temple of the Oracle of Amun at Umm Ubeida is the most popular one according to Hugh Fraser from Corinthian Travel who specialise in tours of Egypt. The Siwa Oasis is actually located in a deep depression – close to 19m below the sea level.

The Siwa Oasis is certainly a must visit place in Africa – all thanks to its vast landscape, the distinct mud brick houses, desert dunes, great vegetation, the Ancient Temple and the Siwa Salt lake.

Atlas Mountains

Photo CC by melanie lazarow

The Atlas Mountain ranges runs across a huge stretch of Africa all the way through Tunisia, Morocco, and Algeria. It divides the Atlantic and Mediterranean coastlines from the arid Sahara Desert. There are about four sub ranges of the Atlas Mountains and each range is rich in natural resources.

Sun set on the range’s highest peak – the Toubkal – is a sight to watch. These mountain ranges boasted of a diverse plant and animal species, although most of them are now extinct or endangered.

The Sphinx

An African visit is incomplete without looking at the structure of the Sphinx of Giza and wondering what it is all about! The Sphinx is a humongous statue of a human head with a body of a lion carved expertly from natural rock! It stands proudly in the front of the pyramid of Khafra.

A sphinx is a mythical creature, and unlike the Greek Sphinx which is usually depicted as a woman, the Egyptian Sphinx is considered to be a man. The Sphinx actually looks like it is guarding the vast expanse of Africa with its unflinching gaze!

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