For a combination of exciting culture, relatively untouched natural beauty, and the off-beaten-path allure, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better region to explore than the Middle East and North Africa.
What to do once you’re there? Oh, plenty. See the historical ruins, visit cultural heritage sites, sample exotic food, hike, swim, dive, and have fun.
True, the countries in MENA are often overlooked due to wild misconceptions, but the Middle East and North Africa together is a travel treasure box filled with lush locales and thrilling experiences. There’s a reason why some popular adventure movies are filmed here as they highlight the gems of the region.
Think Indiana Jones, The Mummy, and others.
So, pick a destination (or two) with Wego, the top travel search website in the Middle East, and when the temperature rises to crazy high, beat the heat with this list of adventures that’ll keep you energized during your trip. Surprisingly, there is a good number of water-based adventures to enjoy in this region so sit back, relax, and start getting excited about the many activities that you can enjoy.
Diving in Blue Hole, Egypt
Blue Hole in the Red Sea is a submarine cavern located few kilometers north of Dahab, a quirky little town popular amongst hippies and backpackers. 120-meter deep and intensely blue, the blue hole is a mesmerizing abyss that is frequented by casual and professional divers. Daredevils are intrigued by the horizontal tunnel at depth of 52 meter that leads to open sea, called The Arch.
The Blue Hole in Dahab is a great spot for diving and is known for its beauty and the thrill it promises. Although a lot of beginners frequent this spot, it’s always a good idea to exercise caution and enter the water only with certified guides.
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Leaping into Bimmah Sinkhole, Oman
When you hear that something has the word “sinkhole” in its name, you don’t typically associate it with a stunning natural wonder. Yet, that is exactly what Bimmah Sinkhole in Northern Oman is.
Filled with water the shade of emerald, Bimmah Sinkhole is popular with locals and tourists who come to swim in it or just dip their feet for an impromptu fish pedicure.
The cavernous hole is a result of groundwater chipping away at the limestone until it dissolves and collapses. Meanwhile, locals supposedly believe that Bimmah Sinkhole emerged due to an impact when a meteorite hit the earth. That’s how it got its other name: Hawaiyat Najm or The Falling Star. This theory is considered more of a local legend, but I think we can all agree that it’s a beautiful name befitting the natural phenomena.
Chilling at Dead Sea, Jordan
One of the world’s most visited natural curiosities is popular for many reasons. For one, floating in this saltwater lake is an experience to add to your bucket list. Because of the high mineral salts content, you can’t swim or dive. There really is nothing much to do other than relaxing, which is not a bad idea at all.
Upon entering the water, you’ll find that it’s pretty hard to even try to steady yourself on two feet since your body will immediately be buoyed. But it’s fun to try! The deeper you trudge into it, the lighter your body will feel.
As you enjoy lazing out in the sun, create a little spa moment by scooping up the mud from the sea bottom and slathering your face and body with it; it’s also purported to have healing and beautifying properties so it’s definitely worth going!
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Canyoning in Wadi Mujib, Jordan
Jordan is fast emerging as a new darling in Middle East travel. It houses the magnificent Petra, Wadi Rum, and a portion of Dead Sea for us to marvel at.
But for an action-packed chapter, head over to Wadi Mujib. To find this hidden gem, you’ll take an uphill trek, follow the river downstream, and enter a deep gorge to find Wadi Mujib, world’s lowest natural reserves at 400 meters below sea level.
Inside the canyon, it feels like an isolated world, where the rock formations and rapids create a natural playground for you to clamber and swim through. Further hike and climbs will lead you to the waterfall which you can climb and abseil over. For those looking for an adrenaline rush, Jordan is definitely where to go!
Diving with Sharks, Dubai
Most of us now know that sharks are not the mindless killing machines often depicted in popular culture. Still, being in close proximity to the marine predator is still a heart-pounding experience, and this exhilarating dive is exactly what you can find at Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo.
As you enter the 10-million liter tank, you will be guided by certified divers to explore the vibrant marine ecosystem and swim alongside the largest collection of Sand Tiger Sharks in the world. Alternatively, you can opt to snorkel and watch underwater creatures swish by from inside a secure cage.
Surfing at Taghazout, Morocco
The small village of Taghazout in Morocco is well known as a haven for surfers, its pleasant weather and Atlantic waves beckon beginner enthusiasts and professionals from all over the world. Hash Point and Anchor Point are particularly popular spots to hop on a surfboard. Meanwhile, the surf hotels dotting the beachfront will be your perfect hosts offering affordable accommodation, meals, surf equipment for hire, as well as surfing lessons.
But sure, you can also take it easy in this laidback enclave. Take leisurely day trips to the aptly-named Paradise Valley, practice your downward dog at sunset yoga sessions, or simply soak up the sun by the sea.
So, what are you waiting for? The next time you head to MENA, don’t forget to get your toes wet in the many adventure-filled activities that this place has to offer. What about you? What adventurous activity are you itching to do in the Middle East and North Africa?