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Travel Rankings & Advice

Best Places to Visit in Africa and The Middle East

Africa and the Middle East do not always register on the average traveler's radar. But those who visit have the chance to experience a duet of ancient and modern, of wild and urban, of East and West. To help you start your exploration, U.S. News' editors ranked the most popular places in Africa and the Middle East based on each destination's accessibility, affordability and variety of things to do, as well as user votes and expert opinions. Help us discover next year's top spots by voting for your favorite destinations below. 

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Why go: With numerous hiking trails, miles of dramatic scenery and stunning beaches, Cape Town caters to both adventurous types and laid-back travelers. Getting here won't be cheap, but it is possible to find convenient, budget-friendly lodging. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Cape Town

#2
Dubai
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151 66

Why go: This playground of the Middle East beckons to those who prefer grand luxury. After all, the city hosts the world's tallest building, the world's largest shopping mall and a man-made set of islands shaped like a palm tree. You can hit the beach and the ski slopes without ever leaving the city. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Dubai

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105 53

Why go: If you're enamored with the prospect of coming face to face with elephants, giraffes and lions, then a safari through Serengeti National Park is the adventure for you. The price will be steep, but a journey here affords an unforgettable experience. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Serengeti National Park

#4
Cairo
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138 54

Why go: Cairo houses one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World — the Giza Pyramids. Take time to explore Cairo's other historic structures, including the pyramids of Dahshur and Saqqara. But stay vigilant: The atmosphere has remained tense since the 2011 political uprisings. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Cairo

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147 75

Why go: Jerusalem's wonders are steeped in biblical history. This city houses some incredible pilgrimage spots: Jews visit to pray at the Western Wall; Christians flock to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and Muslims pay homage to Muhammad at the Dome of the Rock. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Jerusalem

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109 56

Why go: This city buzzes with life: Performers vie for your attention in the Djemaa el Fna marketplace, while vendors hawk aromatic spices along the alleyways. For a little peace and quiet, spend an evening at a hookah bar listening to the striking tones of the mosques' call to prayer. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Marrakech

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105 47

Why go: Golden sands protect these verdant islands from the lapping waves of the Indian Ocean, but more importantly, they provide idyllic sunbathing spots. This collection of 115 islands also boasts lush rainforests and giant tortoises. Read More»

Read On: Top Things to Do in Seychelles

#8
Luxor
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159 44

Why go: Cairo's pyramids may steal most of the spotlight, but ancient Egypt aficionados know not to overlook Luxor. Perhaps the most pressing reason to visit Luxor is to tour the Valley of the Kings, where 62 ancient pharaohs — including King Tut — are entombed.

#9
Kruger National Park
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162 50

Why go: Lions, tigers, bears… OK, no tigers or bears, but you'll certainly see lions in South Africa's massive game preserve, not to mention rhinos, elephants and giraffes. Plus, the park's network of paved roads make it easier to navigate than Serengeti, but its popularity means you're more likely to rub elbows with other visitors.

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