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52 days in the Middle East/N Africa?

dayyanum

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  • Added on: May 22nd, 2013
Hey all!

Been using BnA for a while but finally needed to ask a question or two.

I'm hoping to visit the Middle East in August and September (first time over there), and am trying to get an idea of what I can/will do. I really hate making one of 'those' posts full of itinerary questions, but I would love to get some thoughts and ideas from people who have been there.


My focus was originally historical/biblical locations, but I'd love to just get as much cultural/architectural/natural variety as I can.

And I know this is a bit of a jump (and maybe too 'touristy' of a move and not 'backpacker' enough), but I'd really REALLY like to squeeze a visit to Morocco. I don't see myself in the middle east or the Mediterranean area again in a while, so if there is a way to make it work, that would be great.

I'm not planning on visiting a ton of cities and locations in each country, just a few key spots to keep from traveling every other day.

I know it would be ideal to spend 6 months in each country, but I just don't have that flexibility and really do enjoy visiting several countries in a trip. My rough plan:


Fly from US to Amman, Jordan (8 days in Jordan)
Fly from Amman to Tel Aviv (18 days in Israel)
Fly from Tel Aviv to Cairo (14 days in Egypt)
Fly from Cairo to Casablanca (12 days in Morocco)
Fly from Casablanca or Marrakech to US

Israel, Egypt, and Morocco are my main draws, but Jordan is such an easy (and relevant) jump that I knew I wanted to include it.

Price isn't a huge problem, so I'm okay with spending extra to fly instead of taking buses.

Any thoughts or ideas are quite welcome! Thanks!


CLIFF NOTES:

- I have 52 days (or less)
- I want to visit Israel+Jordan, Egypt, and Morocco
- What is the best way to arrange the days?

jeffV

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  • Added on: May 23rd, 2013
some quick thoughts that pop up in my mind,
the israeli stamping your passport thingy is a thing to think of / keep in mind, it might cause you some issues entering some country's in that area.(denial into a country)
also i think 18 days in israel is a bit on the long side for the purposes you describe of seeing there, close friends of mine went there recently and for them a week and a half was long enough for them to visit the hotspots (they wanted to see).
personally i would spend a bit more time in Egypt and Morocco as they are the bigger country's

but all and all it seems like a great trip!

Denisejohn

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  • Added on: June 11th, 2013
The countries you have mentioned are beautiful. The one I loved more was Morocco in which have spent the best Holiday ever. It was well orgnized. In the other countries I prefered backpacking though it was not the best choice because I have missed visiting some must see places. I would say Morocco is a unique special place to visit. Our trip was a true experience and adventure. The people, culture, and landscapes were amazing. We did a lot of research for our trip and decided to get a private tour. I was hanging around forums and came across a tour company called www.tickettomorocco.com. It was highly recommended by a Canadian couple who had a wonderful experience. Since I started contacting tickettomorocco.com, I found that I was stepping on the right path. This was obvious mainly from the first pesonal contact with our guide who met us in Casablanca airport. From the outset, I felt in safe hands and comfortable. He speaks English fluentlty in addition to several languages namely French, Arabic and Berber. we had a great learning experience, saw magnificent sights and had a lot of fun. It was such a great vacation. We had the chance to meet some members of their staff in the desert . They are good English speakers whith high level of education. I had a chance to talk to some of their clients in a camp in the desert. They were excited and happy. Accordingly, I recommend this company.
Our itinerary was as follows:
Day1:Casablanca–Meknes.
Day2:Meknes-Volubilis-
Day3:Exploring-Chefchaouen
Day4:Chefchaouen–Fez
Day5:Exploring-Fez.
Day6:Fez–Desert-MiddleAtlas
Day7:Desert.
Day8:Sahara-TodghaGorges
Day9:AitBenhaddou–Ouarzazate-Marrakesh.
Day10:Marrakesh.
Day11:Essaouira.
Day12:Transfer/airport.
I hope it will be of any help!!!

2wanderers

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  • Added on: June 14th, 2013
I haven't been to Morocco, though given a time restriction, I would probably not include it on this trip, as it's comparitively easy to get to, and makes for an easy add-on to a trip to Spain.

I have been to Jordan and Egypt. You will not have any "Israeli stamp" problems with them, as they both have peace treaties and open borders with Israel. I'm not sure about Morocco, something to check.

Anyway, Jordan is Fantastic. Everywhere we went there pretty much blew me away. The big historic/tourist sites like Petra, Kerak, and Jerash are definitely worth a visit. Madaba's a neat town regardless of your biblical interests, though probably more so if you are interested in Biblical sites. But my favourite stop was Dana, which was an amazing little town on the edge of a nature reserve. Despite electrification and satellite dishes, it gives the impression of being little changed from 1000 years ago, and also has some hiking trails in the area that are worth doing. Wadi Rum is also worth a stop.

Egypt is, well, Egypt. You'll see what you expect to see - mummies, monuments, museums, and quite a bit of sand, but not much else. I don't know how much has changed in the years since I was there, at the time, travel was quite restricted, and going anywhere other than a famous tourist site was a challenge. Despite a promising start, it doesn't sound like the revolution has improved things there, and given the extra instability it's caused, may have actually made tourism even more tightly controlled. There is an election in October, and given that the campaign will probably spark some violence, I'd probably move Egypt to the beginning of your itinerary, even if it does mean dealing with oppressive heat.

Egypt is home to some of the most aggressive touts I've encountered, and they congregate around the major tourist sites, taking a lot away from the experience.

The thing I enjoyed most in Egypt was doing an excursion out into the White Desert near Bahariya Oasis, where we slept overnight amongst some unique rock formations. A couple we met in Jordan had rave reviews of Siwa. Dahab, on the Sinai, was also a beautiful place to visit, if you can manage it.

Israel, I don't know. It looks to be one of those countries that jams a lot of fascinating things into a small area, so definitely don't short change yourself.

So my rough suggested itinerary would be:
Jordan - 2 weeks (Amman, Jerash, Madaba, Kerak, Dana, Petra, Wadi Rum)
Israel - 3 weeks
Egypt - 2.5 weeks (4-5 days in Dahab, 10 days to visit the Nile tourist attractions, and a few left over to visit at least one of the western oases.

Leave Morocco for another time.



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