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Trip Planner: Marrakech, Mauritius, Masai Mara ... must-see places across the African continent

Skipping Europe to see Africa as the wait for visas in the former gets unbearably long? Consider these 6 locations. Plus, the best safaris in Africa.

August 28, 2022 / 05:21 PM IST
The wildebeest migration, which occurs between the month of August to October, can be witnessed in Masai Mara on hot-air balloons and on safari vehicles. (Photo courtesy: Kenya Tourism Board)

The wildebeest migration, which occurs between the month of August to October, can be witnessed in Masai Mara on hot-air balloons and on safari vehicles. (Photo courtesy: Kenya Tourism Board)

Masai Mara (Kenya)

Kenya Airways now has regular direct flights to Nairobi from Mumbai.

Must see/do: Masai Mara, home to the Big Five – buffalo, leopard, lion, elephant and rhinoceros – is one the most wish-listed wildlife destination in the world. The wildebeest migration, which occurs between the month of August to October, can be witnessed in Masai Mara on hot-air balloons and on safari vehicles. Bush breakfasts and sundowners are very popular; indulge in Swahili culture by visiting the local Masai villages.

Other regions to visit in Kenya are – Nairobi, the safari capital; Mombasa and Watamu, the coastal and cultural cities, and other famous national parks in Tsavo, Nakuru and Naivasha.

Must eat: Swahili food from the Coastal region with influences from both Arab and Indian cuisine; Mursik, a fermented drink from the Kalenjin people in Rift Valley, a bite of the street food, and Mutura, which can be found in street corners across the country or the national dish Ugali, a maize meal that can be enjoyed accompanied by a variety of sauces.

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(Photo courtesy: Kenya Tourism Board) (Photo courtesy: Kenya Tourism Board)

Cape Town (South Africa)

Must see/do: Blue flag beaches such as Camps Bay, Clifton and Muizenberg, walk through history at Robben Island museum, Bo-Kaap walking tour, Penguin sighting at Boulders Beach, Table Mountain Aerial Cableway, shopping at V&A waterfront, Cape of Good Hope, Abseiling off Lion’s Head, Seal cruise at Hout Bay, Sidecar drive through at Chapman’s Peak drive, Sunset at Lion’s Head, nature walks at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens and wine trail through Stellenbosch.

Must eat at: Old Biscuit Mill, African Culinary Adventure at Gold Restaurant, Groot Constantia: A Wine lover’s paradise, Hotel Verde Cape Town Airport - NUOVO Restaurant, 4Roomed Ekasi Culture, Africa Café, Benguela Cove Lagoon Wine Estate, Bertha’s Restaurant, Blacksmith’s Kitchen, Bloedlemoen Gin, Café Extrablaitt, Cattle Baron Steak Ranch and Cavalli Wine & Co.

(Photo courtesy: South Africa Tourism Board) (Photo courtesy: South Africa Tourism Board)

Seychelles

All tourists, including children, must apply for a Travel Authorization through https://seychelles.govtas.com

Must see/do: Sailing within the Inner Islands; visit to L’Union Estate on La Digue Island; visit the beaches of Anse Source d’Argent on La Digue or Anse Lazio on Praslin; trek through the UNESCO World Heritage Site - Vallée de Mai on Praslin; get up close and personal with giant tortoises on Curieuse Island.

Must eat: Octopus curry; fresh grilled fish; ladob (a popular dessert of banana in coconut milk); Salade de palmiste - delicacy that features heart of palms; breadfruit chips; Caris Masala (a Creole version of Indian vegetarian curry); fruit bat, for the adventurous.

(Photo via Wikimedia Commons) (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

Mauritius

Must see/do: Apravasi Ghat, Sugar Museum, Le Caudan Waterfront, Casela Adventure Park, La Vallee des Couleurs Reserve, La Vanille Nature Park, Mauritius Aquarium at Pointe aux Piments, Skydiving, Swimming with Dolphins and watching Whales, Enjoy diving underwater.

Must eat: Dholl Puri (Wheat Pancake Stuffed with Ground Pea), Palm Heart Salad, Mauritian Biryani , Vindaye poisson (fish) and other seafood based dishe, Alouda - (Almond-flavoured Falooda)

The Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Garden, Pamplemousses, Mauritius. The Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Garden, Pamplemousses, Mauritius.

Cairo (Egypt)

Must see/do: The Pyramids of Giza, The Sphinx, The Egyptian Museum of Antiquities, Old Cairo, The Hanging Church of Mother Mary, The Khan el Khalili Bazaar, Al Azhar Mosque, The Coptic Museum, Cairo Tower.

Must eat: Molokhia, Ful medames, Mahshi, Koshary, Mesakaa, Kishk, Feteer meshaltet, Ringa.

Image: Reuters (Photo: Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters)

Marrakesh (Morocco)

Must see/do: Bahia Palace, Soul Semmarine, Mison de la Photographie, Jardin Majorelle, Musee Yves Saint Laurent, El Badi Palace, Riad Yim Tea Room, Aterliers d’ Ailleurs, The Mellah, Souk Cuisine, Hammam de la Rose.

Must eat at: Amal Women’s Training Centre and restaurant, Nomad, Cafe Clock, Dar Moha, Bazar Cafe, Henna Art Cafe. Tip: Say no ice cubes in your drinks, avoid using straws (they might be re-used), don’t buy biscuits from carts.

Rue Yves St Laurent, Marrakech. (Photo: Mehmet Ugur Turkyilmaz via Unsplash) Rue Yves St Laurent, Marrakech. (Photo: Mehmet Ugur Turkyilmaz via Unsplash)

Best Safaris in Africa

Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

Lower Zambezi National Park, Zambia

Okavango Delta, Botswana

Sabi Sand Game Reserve, South Africa

Kruger National Park, South Africa

Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania

Etosha National Park, Namibia

Samburu National Reserve, Kenya

Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda
Preeti Verma Lal is a Goa-based freelance writer/photographer.
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