SLEEP IN THE TREETOPS
You didn't realize Ghana has rainforests? Surprise! Explore Ghana’s most accessible animal haven, Kakum National Park. Scale the treetops on Ghana’s only canopy tour and keep your eyes peeled for monkeys and birds. For an extra dose of adventure, and perhaps even a super-rare glimpse of an elephant, camp out in one of the tree houses scattered throughout the park.
SEE THE CHEFCHAOUEN FALLS
Hike the waterfalls and enjoy the beautiful blue-washed walls of Chefchaouen. This small city winds its way up the mountains of the Rif range and is rich with Berber culture and famous for its stunning blue-washed architecture; a definite must-see. Snap some photos as you weave your way through the azure architecture and around the local waterfall. Take a hike around the Rif mountains and end your day back in the medina - city center - with a warm cup of mint tea.
SAFARI IN SERENGETI
If you're not yet familiar with Africa's "Big Five," study up. Soon you'll be reciting this list of the five most sought after animal encounters on command, and after a visit to Serengeti, you'll have your own stories to share. Watch as water buffalo graze along a river's edge, herds of elephants walk out of the African night and into view, leopards zip across grassy flats, rhinos wander between shady oases, and lions sun themselves on rocky outcrops.
VISIT THE BEACH
The beach is just short walk from the Home-Base, so you'll want to make sure to bring a beach blanket. Better yet, buy some batik fabric at the local market and set up shop on the warm sand for a front row seat to the ultimate scenery. Imagine waking up to the sights and sounds of the local fisherman heading out to sea as the sun rises over the Indian Ocean. In Bagamoyo, it's all just a part of your daily routine.
SKI IN THE SWITZERLAND OF MOROCCO
Snow might not be the first image that comes to mind when you think of north Africa, but the "Switzerland of Morocco" in Ifran is located within a half hour from our Azrou Home-Base. Complete with ski resorts, challenging hikes, and of course beautiful cabins and landscapes, this is the perfect nearby weekend escape.
MEET THE SACRED MONKEYS OF TAFI ATOME
According to legend, when the residents of Tafi Atome moved almost 200 years ago, monkeys were seen in the nearby sacred forests that they believe had followed them on their journey. Considered 'representatives of gods', the people of this region protected the monkeys and the heritage of their sacred grove. Today, you can visit these friendly inhabitants and try your hand at feeding them a banana!
TAKE A HIKE IN CEDAR FORESTS
The cedar forests surrounding Azrou not only provide breathtaking landscapes, but also are an important source of fuel for the community and materials for local artisans. Take a hike through these forests, and catch a glimpse of Morocco's barbary apes in the tree tops.
HANG TEN IN ESSAOUIRA
Save a day or two to visit this low-key coastal town, and you’ll immediately appreciate its charm — and forget why shoes are a “thing.” In Essaouira, you’ll encounter barefoot travelers enjoying the sand between their toes, local woodworkers, and surfers chasing the break as you wander the strand along the shore. If you’re lucky enough to find yourself in Essaouira during June, you may just catch the annual Gnaoua Festival, featuring world music and drawing crowds by the hundred thousand.
VISIT NGORONGORO CRATER
Ngorongoro Crater is not only a prime safari destination, it’s also an incredible natural and historical wonder as the site of the oldest known human fossils. Start with a day trip to Lake Manyara and rent a canoe for an afternoon paddle. Next, head to Ngorongoro Crater and camp out under the star-filled sky in the birthplace of mankind. Drift to sleep to the distant sounds of roaming lions.
FISH AMONG THE PALM TREES
Along the palm tree lined shores of the Volta Region, local fishermen launch their boats at dawn to make a living on their daily catch. As you wait for the boats to return for the evening, there's plenty of opportunities to enjoy water sports, stroll through the sacred woods, or even visit a crocodile farm!
DISCOVER GHANA'S WILDLIFE
Have you ever met a genet? What about a western kob, grey duiker, bushbuck, serval, or civet? These unique animals, as well as baboons and monkeys, make their home at the Volta Region's Shai Hills Game Reserve and Quarry, along with 175 species of birds. So take a trip and discover your new favorite animal!
ENJOY LIFE IN ACCRA
If you find yourself missing the niceties of urban life, Accra is the place! Ghana’s capital city provides a striking contrast to Hohoe’s small-town feel. Slip into the air conditioned mall for a movie or a snack from the food court, and find yourself surrounded by hip young urbanites clad in leather pants and high heels. For a bit of culture, explore Accra's museums or wander through one of the outdoor weekend markets.
Marrakech — known as the Pink City — will be sure to captivate. As you navigate the old city’s narrow streets, you may choose to barter with local merchants peddling from handcarts, visit the artisan quarter, or ogle the snake charmers in the main square. Come nightfall, the air over the city fills with smoke and sound, as it transforms into the world’s largest open-air eatery, with vendors touting an impressive selection of meat, and vegetables, as they cook on the roaring barbecues.
WANDER THE KARIAKOO MARKET
The largest market in east Africa, Kariakoo is an essential part of daily live in Dar Es Salaam. Wander through the seemingly endless stalls of spices, fruits, vegetables, and handicrafts as you embrace your own piece of Tanzanian life.
BOAT ACROSS LAKE VOLTA
Lake Volta, one of the world's largest man-made lakes, dominates the landscape of eastern Ghana at over 3,000 square miles. Boat across Lake Volta and watch as fishermen tow in the day's catch. Check out some of the recreational facilities lining Volta's shores, and even go for a refreshing swim in the lake!
VISIT THE CITY OF FEZ
As you wander the 8,000 ancient, serpentine streets of Fez, you’ll be transported to another time. In Fez, a city that is literally thousands of years old, the colors and smells of the spice markets will flood your senses as local people vending leather goods and rugs call out to you, and five times a day, the Adhan — Muslim call to prayer — fills the arid sky. Around every corner in Fes lies a reminder that you are, in the best way possible, far from home.
DINE IN HO
In a small town like Ho, every day brings a new opportunity to engage with local people. Practice your Ewe language skills by greeting new neighbors, and don’t be afraid to accept a friendly dinner invitation from a new friend. After dinner, hail down a Fan Ice bicyclist to buy some ice cream treats, or get a coffee from a man vending from his cart. Next, make your way to a local watering hole to sip a cold drink and huddle around a televised soccer game with new friends.
If you're looking to pack some extra international experiences into your time abroad, you've got great options. Volunteering in Morocco makes Spain and Gibraltar, not to mention Egypt, super accessible. So be sure to save some pages in your passport!
Spend a day among the Maasai, a people who have sustained their traditional practices and semi-nomadic lifestyle for centuries. Maasai elders guide you through their village and explain their rich culture and way of life. Sit spellbound as you watch a powerful drumming and dance performance, and don't pass up a chance to join in.
DESIGN A GHANAIAN BEAD
Beading is taken to new levels at the Cedi Bead Factory, where artisans use recycled glass bottles to create unique beads sold across the world. If you're looking to up your own bead craftsmanship, stay overnight and create your own bead designs.
VENTURE INTO TOGO
The present day Volta Region of Ghana, along with neighboring Togo, was once part of a large German protectorate called "Togoland." While the area was divided by post-WWI arbitration, eastern Ghanaians and Togolese still share the same heritage, culture, and language, and many local people travel across borders to visit friends and relatives. Once you've found your way around Ghana's Volta Region, cross the border to Togo for an international experience with a familiar feel.
SPA DAY AT A HAMMAM
A visit to the hammam is not your typical day at the spa. Trade in your usual mani/pedi for a Moroccan steam, scrub, and shower, and you won’t be sorry. These traditional bathhouses are not just a great place to unearth that youthful glow, — you’ll be shocked when you see what a little elbow grease and exfoliation can do — they also serve as a very interesting window into Moroccan culture and will likely debunk any preconceptions that you may harbor about the role of women in Morocco.
LIVE LIKE A LOCAL
Hit the markets to pick up some beautiful kangas -- brightly colored fabric with popular sayings or morals printed on them -- and take them to the local seamstress and you’ll be decked out in a custom-made outfit in no time! Join your new friends from Kili at a downtown café, where you can share some fresh Tanzanian coffee and socialize in Swahili, or just jam to some East African reggae.
CAMEL RIDE IN THE SAHARA
Cross one more item off your bucket list when you climb atop a camel for a ride into the desert expanse. Once you reach the Berber campsite, you'll enjoy a traditional dinner of tagine -- all sorts of delicious things made even more delicious when cooked together in a clay pot -- and sip tea as the sun sets behind the dunes. Whether you choose to spend the night in a tent or under the Saharan stars, the most important part is waking up in time to catch the sunrise; trust us.
A semi-autonomous island off the coast of Tanzania, Zanzibar is a destination not to be missed. Enjoy the fusion of Muslim and traditional influences in historic Stone Town, or take a spice tour just outside of the capital's perimeter. Haggle over a local fisherman's fresh catch on the island's white sand beaches, or slip into one of many hammocks strung along the beach and get lost in the ebb of flow of the vivid blue ocean that stretches on forever.