The Red City: Visiting Marrakech, Morocco

Marrakech is like a woman behind a veil – mysterious, removed, enigmatic. It can be difficult to get beneath the skin of this city, visiting Marrakech just for a short time, I found it a challenge to really understand the Marrakshis, and by extension, Marrakech. The Red City has moments of deep beauty but they…

Top 5 Gardens in the World: Places of Paradise

A fresh breath of air in any environment, gardens are an essential part of the local landscape. Whether left to run riot and wild, or landscaped to perfection, gardens around the world serve the same function – to return us, if only for a moment, to a place of paradise. Here are my top five…

Pyramids & Pharaohs: Cairo, Egypt

We spend a day in Cairo before we head into the Sinai Peninsula. We pass by the great Al Azhar mosque, one of the oldest centres of learning in the world, dropping in for a quick look. Women visitors must not be wearing trousers and must keep their head covered. No shoes are allowed inside…

Grand temples in Luxor, Egypt

By a riverside cafe in Luxor, Liyana and I watch the feluccas drift on the dark blue water. There are reddish-yellow sand and rock dunes on the West Bank of Luxor, verdant green palm trees and tiny dark figures of farmers and their donkeys working the land. I could never tire of this view. At…

Cruising down the Great River: The Nile, Egypt

We are back in Aswan by noon and head out to the docks, where our cruise ship awaits. We will spend the next two days sailing up the river Nile, towards Luxor. Hightailing it up to the sundeck, I watch the light change and the sand dunes of Aswan pass by. There are verdant farms…

Cairo to Aswan, Egypt by overnight sleeper

It is an early plane that takes me into Cairo, Egypt, Land of the Pharaohs. As we circle the landing strip, the view out my window is all dusty browns, as far as the eye can see. Cairo is a dirty, polluted city, and my sinuses seize up as soon as we get in. Known…