Northern Africa

Northern Africa is located between the Sahara desert to the south (which covers more than 75 percent of the region) and the Mediterranean Sea to the north.

The distinction between North Africa and much of Sub-Saharan Africa is historically and ecologically significant because of the effective barrier created by the Sahara Desert for much of modern history. The Islamic influence in the area is also significant, and North Africa is a major part of the Muslim world. The official language in most of the region is Arabic.

As the seafaring civilizations of the Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Muslims and others facilitated communication and migration across the Mediterranean Sea, resulting in the North Africa cultures becoming much more closely tied to the Middle East and Europe than to Sub-Saharan Africa.

Sheltered valleys in the Atlas Mountains, the Nile Valley and Delta, and the Mediterranean coast are the main sources of fertile farming land. The Nile Valley is particularly fertile, and most of the population in Egypt and Sudan live close to the river. Elsewhere, irrigation is essential to improve crop yields on the desert margins.

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Africa (Northern) (photo by Wikimedia Commons)

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Countries in this region:

Combination Atmosphere destinations combine elements of both cultural and natural destinations, where this combination is itself essential to the travel experience. Common examples are Archaeological Sites (where culture is usually experienced outdoors), Scenic Local Markets (where indigenous cultures interact outdoors), Hotsprings and Vineyard Areas (where nature provides the raw materials but humans create the surroundings), and Unique Cultural Landscapes (where humans and nature interact in innovative ways, as in the elaborate rice terracing systems of Asia).

Combination Interests typically fall somewhere in the middle of the three types of primary interests in terms of
(a) how climate-dependent they are
(b) how accessible and physically demanding they are.

Algeria

Atmosphere: Combination    
Best Weather: January, February, March, April, November, December

 AlgeriaAlgeria, located on Mediterranean Sea, is the largest country in both Africa and the Arab world by land area. It was once home of many prehistoric cultures, including Aterian and Capsian and the Proto-Berber, as well as early empires and dynasties including Numidians, Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Vandals, Byzantines, and others. While 90% of the country is desert, there can be substantial variation in terrain, from sand dunes to mountainous areas filled with rock art.
 
Combination Atmosphere destinations combine elements of both cultural and natural destinations, where this combination is itself essential to the travel experience. Common examples are Archaeological Sites (where culture is usually experienced outdoors), Scenic Local Markets (where indigenous cultures interact outdoors), Hotsprings and Vineyard Areas (where nature provides the raw materials but humans create the surroundings), and Unique Cultural Landscapes (where humans and nature interact in innovative ways, as in the elaborate rice terracing systems of Asia).

Combination Interests typically fall somewhere in the middle of the three types of primary interests in terms of
(a) how climate-dependent they are
(b) how accessible and physically demanding they are.

Egypt

Atmosphere: Combination    
Best Weather: January, February, March, November, December

 EgyptEgypt is the most populous country in the Arab world, with over 89 million inhabitants, and has long been a major influence on Arab culture. Egypt’s ancient Egyptian civilization is the single most important reason for travel interest, with its pyramids, temples, hieroglyphs, mummies, and other artifacts. Egypt is geographically dominated both by the Nile River and its fertile well-watered valley – the home to the vast majority of its population and the center of commercial and cultural life. In either direction are the much mores sparsely populated Eastern and Western deserts.
 
 
Combination Atmosphere destinations combine elements of both cultural and natural destinations, where this combination is itself essential to the travel experience. Common examples are Archaeological Sites (where culture is usually experienced outdoors), Scenic Local Markets (where indigenous cultures interact outdoors), Hotsprings and Vineyard Areas (where nature provides the raw materials but humans create the surroundings), and Unique Cultural Landscapes (where humans and nature interact in innovative ways, as in the elaborate rice terracing systems of Asia).

Combination Interests typically fall somewhere in the middle of the three types of primary interests in terms of
(a) how climate-dependent they are
(b) how accessible and physically demanding they are.

Morocco

Atmosphere: Combination    
Best Weather: March, April, May, September, October, November

 MoroccoMorocco is a North African country that has a history of independence not shared by its neighbors. Its distinct culture is a blend of Berber, Arab, Sub-Saharan African, and European influences. Geographically, Morocco is characterized by a rugged mountainous interior and large portions of desert. The Atlas Mountains are located mainly in the center and the south of the country. Most of the southeast portion of the country is in the Sahara Desert and sparsely populated. Its political capital is Rabat, although the largest city is Casablanca.
 
Combination Atmosphere destinations combine elements of both cultural and natural destinations, where this combination is itself essential to the travel experience. Common examples are Archaeological Sites (where culture is usually experienced outdoors), Scenic Local Markets (where indigenous cultures interact outdoors), Hotsprings and Vineyard Areas (where nature provides the raw materials but humans create the surroundings), and Unique Cultural Landscapes (where humans and nature interact in innovative ways, as in the elaborate rice terracing systems of Asia).

Combination Interests typically fall somewhere in the middle of the three types of primary interests in terms of
(a) how climate-dependent they are
(b) how accessible and physically demanding they are.

Tunisia

Atmosphere: Combination    
Best Weather: March, April, May, September, October, November

 TunisiaTunisia is located in the center of Mediterranean Africa. Inhabited by Berbers in ancient times, Phoenician immigration starting in the 12th century BC founded Carthage. Carthage was eventually defeated by its Roman rivals, who brought architecture that remain among the landmarks that make the country an important archeological travel destination. Tunisia also has an extensive coastline with beaches, popular with European travelers. The northern interior is made up of hills and plains, much of the south is semi-arid and desert.