AccommodationStyles of accommodation vary greatly, althoughstandards are generally high. Morocco has themost interesting accommodation options, with itswide array of riads. These are intimate convertedtownhouses, which display the best of traditionalarchitecture and design and are usually located at the heart of the medinas (old walled part ofthe towns). In Egypt and Jordan, properties tend to becomfortable international chain hotels with plentyof facilities. Nods are made towards traditionalarchitecture although they are not always imbuedwith local character. There are some notableexceptions such as the heritage hotels in Egyptand Feynan Ecolodge in Jordan. Syria and Tunisiaoffer modern hotels as well as converted familyhomes in the old towns. Oman has a wide arrayof luxury hotels in the capital, Muscat. Most arequite grand, but one or two have more style andcharacter. Outside Muscat, accommodation isfairly basic, although always clean andcomfortable. In much of Libya and Iran, basicstandards are the best you can hope for: thefocus for any trip to these countries should bethe excursions and not the accommodation.CuisineCuisine in the Arab world is interesting andflavoursome, using fresh produce as well as awide range of spices such as cardamom, cumin,coriander and sumac (the latter being typical ofthe Levant). Lebanese influence is found across the region and the formula of a selection of starters, knownas mezze, followed by a main course, usuallyincluding red meat or chicken and served withrice, is common in Syria, Egypt and Jordan.Morocco has superb food, with the localspecialities of tajine and couscous now popularworldwide. Such is the interest in Moroccancuisine that there are now opportunities to takecookery courses during your stay in Marrakesh. Tunisian food is similar to Moroccan, although it is a bit spicier owing to the liberal use of harissa(a chilli paste). Seafood, taken directly from theMediterranean, is also a highlight. There isn't really a recognisable Omani cuisine and dishestend to incorporate influences from neighbouringareas, such as India, Iran and the Arab world.Further east, Persian food is influenced by theSubcontinent, with saffron infused dishes.Experience North Africa and the Middle East6Tagines, MoroccoYoung Moroccan man in Ait BenhaddouTypical riad, MoroccoPalmyra in the evening, Syria
Responsible travelWe are passionate about travel but also deeplyaware of the responsibility we have to the peopleand places we visit. We believe that a visit froman Audley traveller should have a positive impacton the destination and, wherever possible, bringreal benefits. We always endeavour to use locallyowned hotels, work with local guides andoperators, and promote community and wildlifeprojects. Our Traveller's Code offers tips andadvice you can use to ensure your trip does notthreaten the sustainability of the places you visit.We carbon offset all our staff flights and you canchoose to do the same, please speak to yourspecialist about this or follow the link on ourwebsite www.audleytravel.com/offset. Our commitment to responsible travel has beenaudited by AITO (Association of IndependentTour Operators) and we have been awarded five stars, the maximum achievable. We alsosupport a variety of social and environmentalcharities and projects around the world.In the past, the North Africa and Middle Eastteam has raised money to support The HannanSchool in Morocco, which works to providebetter education and welfare for a small Berbercommunity in the Middle Atlas mountains. We continue to organise fundraising events tosupport similar projects.Travelling aroundWe use the most convenient means of transportfor each sector of your journey and it is likely thatyour Audley specialist has travelled along thesame route themself. In general road journeys areundertaken in modern, air-conditioned vehicles,while 4x4 vehicles are used for expeditions intothe deserts. Rail journeys are possible in Morocco and Egypt, but the overnight journeys are notalways the most comfortable way to get around.In Egypt, cruises on the Nile and Lake Nasser are often the most convenient way to visit manyof the archaeological sites in a short time, as wellas offering opportunities to see modern Egyptianlife along the river and to spend time relaxing on board.01993 838 400 ?Introduction7Al-Azhar Mosque, EgyptTraditional felucca boat on the Nile, EgyptTrader at Nizwa cattle market, OmanPolitical change in the regionMomentous change has taken place in the region,with old certainties falling away.In the long term these changes should offer thehope of a better and brighter future for thepeoples of these lands. Such is the enormity ofthem though, that the ripples will no doubt be feltfor many years to come. On occasion, this cancreate uncertainty as to whether to travel or not. For all the countries in which Audley operates,the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office acts asan arbiter of whether countries are safe to visit,and we will always be guided by their expertadvice. Our specialists are always very happy todiscuss any concerns you may have.