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Things to Do & Must-See Attractions in Middle East & Africa

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Burj Khalifa
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422 Tours and Activities

The Burj Khalifa is the tallest building in the world, soaring 2,717 feet (828 meters) high with more than 160 stepped floors that narrow as it climbs syringe-like to the sky. Designed to pay homage to the complex geometry of Islamic art, the Burj Khalifa brings a new meaning to the term skyscraper and is a highlight of the massive downtown Dubai complex.

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Burj Al-Arab Jumeirah
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377 Tours and Activities

The sail-like silhouette of the Burj Al-Arab Jumeirah has become a symbol of Dubai's opulence and affluence, standing at 1,053 feet (321 meters) as the third-tallest hotel and one of the most luxurious hotels in the United Arab Emirates. Opened in 1999, the landmark boasts plenty of superlatives, including its five-star status.

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Dubai Marina
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265 Tours and Activities

Carved along the Gulf shoreline south of Dubai’s The Palm island, Dubai Marina is a skyscraper-packed waterfront community that’s one of the city’s swishest residential and leisure hotspots. At its heart is a 2-mile (3-kilometer) waterway framed by residential blocks, hotels, shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues.

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Giza Pyramids
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4,312 Tours and Activities

One of the most mysterious Seven Wonders of the Ancient World (and the only one still standing), the Pyramids of Giza—the Great Pyramid of Khufu, Pyramid of Khafre, and Pyramid of Menkaure—still live up to more than 4,000 years of hype. Seeing these 4th-dynasty pyramids and their guardian Great Sphinx rising from the Giza Plateau is a must on any trip to Cairo (and the reason many travelers find themselves in Egypt).

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Palm Jumeirah
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137 Tours and Activities

Jutting into the Persian Gulf from southern Dubai, the Palm Jumeirah is an artificial island in the shape of a palm tree and ringed by a crescent-shaped breakwater. The world’s biggest artificial island, it draws visitors to its palatial hotels, theme parks, and shopping malls.

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Dubai Miracle Garden
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52 Tours and Activities

A floral wonderland of 50 million flowers, the Dubai Miracle Garden is one of the UAE's most original attractions. Branded as the world's largest natural flower garden, it boasts hundreds of flower-formed displays spread over 18 acres (7.3 hectares), all of which create an extravaganza of color and scent on the outskirts of Dubai.

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Valley of the Kings
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2,730 Tours and Activities

Valley of the Kings is a treasure trove of archaeological wonders, containing dozens of tombs filled with art and hieroglyphics. See King Tutankhamun’s tomb—the most famous sight in the valley—then tour the temples of the sons of Ramses II and of Amenhotep III and others to marvel at the centuries’ old art and artifacts.

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Abu Simbel Temples
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1,083 Tours and Activities

Built as royal tombs, the Great Temple of Ramses II and the Temple of Hathor are some of Egypt’s best known archeological sites. Step past the enormous sandstone statues carved into the temple facades, and explore the interiors, which are decorated with art and hieroglyphics.

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Global Village
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34 Tours and Activities

Global Village is one of Dubai’s most popular evening entertainment destinations. A combination of festival and theme park staged on the edges of Dubai, it opens yearly between November and April and takes visitors on a virtual world tour with replica international architecture, cultural zones, food pavilions, shows, rides, and markets.

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Table Mountain and Cableway
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14 Tours and Activities

Table Mountain is a must-see for all Cape Town visitors. The panoramic views from the top of its 3,563-foot (1,086-meter) peak are well worth the climb—though you won’t have to break a sweat thanks to the mountain’s two cableways, each with a revolving car ferrying passengers to the summit. Once at the top, a series of hiking trails show off Table Mountain National Park’s geographic features, while daredevils can test their mettle by rappelling from the upper cable station.

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More Things to Do in Middle East & Africa

Knysna

Knysna

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89 Tours and Activities

Surrounded by warm-water lagoons, sandstone cliffs, and dense forests, Knysna is one of the most popular towns along South Africa’s renowned Garden Route. The coastal town welcomes tourists with a blend of natural beauty, quaint accommodations, seafood restaurants, and outdoor adventures. Plus, the estuary’s oyster farms provide the chance to indulge in fresh oysters while cruising the lagoon.

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The Dubai Mall

The Dubai Mall

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191 Tours and Activities

The world’s largest shopping mall by area, The Dubai Mall boasts a huge range of attractions—making it a full-blown UAE entertainment destination. At the heart of Downtown Dubai, this 4-level colossus houses around 1,300 stores, plus restaurants, cinemas, Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo, and the Burj Khalifa.

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Kruger National Park

Kruger National Park

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64 Tours and Activities

One of South Africa’s premier attractions, Kruger National Park is famous for the extent and diversity of its wildlife. The “Big Five” of game are all there—lion, elephant, buffalo, rhino, and leopard—and a world-class conservation program means you’ll also encounter wildebeest, giraffes, zebra, big cats of all stripes, and diverse bird species.

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Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

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341 Tours and Activities

The massive, white Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is the central place of worship for citizens of the United Arab Emirates, accommodating roughly 40,000 people. Highlights inside include white marble columns with mother-of-pearl engravings, expansive Iranian carpets, and intricate crystal chandeliers.

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Mall of the Emirates

Mall of the Emirates

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38 Tours and Activities

Smack dab in the heart of modern Dubai, the Mall of the Emirates is more than the city’s second-largest mall. The multilevel center, one of Dubai’s most popular destinations, draws visitors with a huge array of international stores and leisure attractions, from fashion outlets and restaurants to theaters and an indoor ski resort.

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Ferrari World Abu Dhabi

Ferrari World Abu Dhabi

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261 Tours and Activities

The race car–themed Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi features 20 rides and attractions—everything from the toddler-friendly carousel of Ferrari prototype cars to cutting-edge racing simulators that will please older kids and teens. The largest indoor theme park in the world is also home to the world’s fastest roller coaster, the Formula Rossa, a hydraulic-powered thrill ride that sees visitors strapped into a Ferrari Formula One-like coaster car and launched at speeds of up to 150 miles (240 kilometers) per hour.

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Sphinx (Great Sphinx of Giza)

Sphinx (Great Sphinx of Giza)

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1,098 Tours and Activities

The 66-foot-tall (20-meter-tall) Sphinx of Giza is an icon of ancient Egypt, and the subject of continued debate regarding its meaning, age, and original builder. With the head of a human and the body of a lion, the Sphinx—one of the world’s largest and oldest statues—is said to symbolize strength, power, and wisdom.

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Nile River

Nile River

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445 Tours and Activities

Measuring a mighty 4,150 miles (6,680 kilometers) from end to end, the Nile is the world’s longest river. It’s also the lifeblood of Egypt, flowing through the heart of the Sahara desert, and passing through cities, including Khartoum, Aswan, Luxor, and Cairo, before emptying into the Mediterranean Sea at Alexandria.

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Tsitsikamma National Park

Tsitsikamma National Park

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64 Tours and Activities

Trails, waterfalls, and wildlife draw visitors to lush Tsitsikamma National Park. Set along South Africa’s scenic Garden Route and spanning 50 miles (80 kilometers) of coastline, the park stretches from the mouth of the Storms River to Nature’s Valley. Embark on various adventures here, from a multi-day hike along the Otter Trail to one of the world’s highest bungee jumps.

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Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve (DDCR)

Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve (DDCR)

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196 Tours and Activities

The first national park in the United Arab Emirates, the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve (DDCR) offers visitors a stunning landscape of sand dunes and desert fauna. The reserve is a must-visit for adventure travelers and outdoor enthusiasts, with its rolling dunes setting the scene for fat bike riding, dune buggy trips, camel trekking, sandboarding, and falcon demonstrations.

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Dubai Museum

Dubai Museum

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250 Tours and Activities

Set inside Al Fahidi Fort, the Dubai Museum recounts the Emirates’ history up until the oil boom, which forever altered its skyline. Dioramas and artifacts convey what daily life was like for Dubai’s earliest communities, while life-sized re-creations of the city’s early souks and wharfs bring the past to life.

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Petra

Petra

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323 Tours and Activities

The stone city of Petra was carved into Jordan’s red rock cliffs more than 2,000 years ago. Once a Roman trading stop and stronghold of the Nabataean Arab kingdom, Petra is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the world’s most iconic archaeological destinations.

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Karnak Temple

Karnak Temple

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2,302 Tours and Activities

Ancient architecture goes monumental at this landmark in Luxor, which houses magnificent statues, columns, and the largest place of worship ever constructed—just a stone’s throw from downtown traffic. Construction of Karnak Temple spanned more than 1,000 years, and it shows in the diverse art and architecture of this Egyptian site.

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Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo

Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo

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50 Tours and Activities

Within the Dubai Mall, the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo is no stranger to superlatives, including the world’s largest collection of sand sharks and one of the world’s largest acrylic panel viewing platforms. Numerous marine habitats, including an underwater tunnel, house 33,000 marine animals, from crocodiles to tropical fish.

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