Choose from 633 Fun Things to Do in Middle East And Africa
Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Commissioned between 325-6 by Emperor Constantine I, and his mother, Saint Helena, the church was built on the former site of a temple dedicated to Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and war; initial excavations for this construction, according to Helena, revealed the Holy Sepulchre, or the tomb of Jesus.
During a Muslim uprising in 1009, the church was razed to the ground, an act that provoked Europe to begin the Crusades. It was eventually rebuilt via collaboration between the Muslims and Byzantines, and additions were later made by Crusaders, Franciscan monks, Greek Orthodox and Armenian Apostolic elders. Fire damaged the church’s dome and other features in 1808, and archeological excavations throughout the 1970s revealed that the church’s site had, even before the temple of Aphrodite, been a limestone quarry.
The main features of the church include a stairway that climbs to the Golgotha, or rumored site of Jesus’ crucifixion; a rotunda containing the Holy Sepulchre; and the Greek Orthodox catholicon, the church’s main altar.
Church of All Nations
Abu Simbel Temples
Addo Elephant National Park
Guided game drives, self-driven safaris, horseback riding and an extensive network of novice and advanced hiking trails make Addo a popular stop for travelers to the southern Cape. High-end lodges and rugged bush camps also offer plenty of accommodation options for visitors who want to enjoy the estuaries, savannahs and forests that surround the park.
Abu Dhabi Corniche
The Corniche’s crowning jewel is its public white sand beach. With numerous lifeguards on duty during swimming hours and floating fences keeping swimmers within 130 feet (40 meters), the Corniche Beach is great for families traveling with children. Come on a weekday, and you’ll usually find an umbrella.
Church of St George (Mari Girgis)
Abu Dhabi Heritage Village
Come in the morning before it gets too hot to explore the open-air museum. Enter a traditional goats’ hair tent and learn about the ancient falaj irrigation system that allowed desert dwellers to begin cultivating crops. Local craftsworkers conduct workshops in traditional metalwork, pottery, spinning and weaving. The traditional mosque is a far cry from the palatial white marble Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, demonstrating just how far the United Arab Emirates have come.
Be sure to stop by the gift shop during your visit. You’ll be able to pick up local herbs and spices as well as items made by the local artisans working in the village.
Aberdare National Park
Animals often observed in the park include the black rhino, leopard, baboon, black and white colobus monkey and Sykes' monkey (Cercopithecus albogularis). Rarer are lions and the bongo, an elusive forest antelope that lives in the bamboo forest. Animals like the eland (a type of antelope) and serval cat (a solitary, nocturnal feline) can be found higher up in the moorlands.
Birders will note that there are more than 250 species of birds in the park, including the Jackson's Francolin (Pternistis jacksoni), sparrowhawk, goshawk, eagle, sunbird and plover.
Church of St James
Afrikaans Language Monument
Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital
About 6,000 birds pass through each year, occupying the 200 air-conditioned treatment rooms. This might seem strange until you understand that the sport of falconry has deep roots in the city. The sport is so popular that falcons are even issued passports and the prized animals can cost tens of thousands of dollars. If a falcon loses even one strand of feather, they can experience balance issues in flight so their owners bring them to the hospital for checkups, treatments and feather substitutions regularly.
Guided tours of the facility provide insight into the history of the sport and the physiology of this graceful bird. You’ll be able to see the birds swoop through a free-flight aviary, witness a falcon pedicure and feel the weight of one as it perches on your arm.
Abdel Monaem Read Mosque (Big Mosque)
Frequently referred to as 'Akko,' Acre is situated in the Western Galilee region of northern Israel. Populated with beautiful ancient buildings, Old Akko, a subset of Acre, has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and its cultural vibrancy makes it a prime place for visitors. Hosting festivals and markets year-round, the port of Acre is lively and beautiful.
Steeped in history, you can visit the ancient walls and fortresses of the city that tell the complicated story of the area.
Further afield are the Baha'i Gardens, which are meticulously designed and gorgeously preserved. The gardens surround the Bahji mansion northeast of Acre where the Bahaullah is buried (not to be confused with the Bahai gardens on the slope of Mount Carmel in Haifa).
Be sure to visit the astounding Knights' Halls, which are comprised of 6 different joined halls that have been recently excavated from the time of the Knights Hospitallers.
The best way to access Acre is via bus, operated out of any major city in Israel. There are also inner-city buses that run frequently to many of the main destinations and tourist attractions.
Church of St Anne
Black River Gorges National Park
Abu Dhabi Cruise Port
How to Get to Abu Dhabi
These streets aren’t made for walking and public buses, though readily available and inexpensive, can be somewhat uncomfortable. Visitors can hire taxis for cheap, including pink cars that signal to tourists they are for females only. It’s also possible to rent a car in the cruise terminal. Signs in English and Arabic make roads easy to navigate, although parking can be a headache.
One Day in Abu Dhabi
Get a taste of Abu Dhabi’s unmatched wealth with a trip to some of its most impressive architectural wonders. Start with a visit to Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Grand Mosque—the largest of its kind in the U.A.E. Opened in 2007, this place of prayer can accommodate up to 40,000 people. Its interior is decorated with crystal chandeliers, Murano glass, polished marble and the world’s largest hand-woven carpet. Then continue on to the Emirates Palace—a five-story luxury hotel that cost approximately $3 billion to build. Enjoy afternoon tea before wandering the impressive halls lined with Persian carpets and more than one thousand chandeliers. The hotel even has an ATM that vends gold at the going rate.