10 Best Christmas and New Year trips in Africa and the Middle East

Larger-than-life trips await you this festive season in Africa and the Middle East. Explore Petra, one of the most famous UNESCO sites in Jorda... Read more
10 Best Christmas and New Year trips in Africa and the Middle East

Larger-than-life trips await you this festive season in Africa and the Middle East. Explore Petra, one of the most famous UNESCO sites in Jordan, discover Oman's Al Hajar range of mountains, safari from Cape Town to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, climb to the summit of Mount Toubkal, the highest peak in Morocco, or spot the Big 5 with the family and see orphaned baby elephants in Kenya.

The difficulty is choosing where to go. 

We've picked out 10 of our best trips that have places still available to book so there is still time for you to celebrate this Christmas and New Year somewhere awesome. Take a look below for inspiration;


Celebrate Christmas or New Year with a Bucket List trek from the Dana Reserve southwards to the ancient 'Rose-Red City' of Petra following the most famous section of the Jordan Trail. Follow in the footsteps of many explorers and enjoy a magical week of discovery, walking and above all, Jordanian hospitality.

Where will I be on Christmas day? Looking out for the elusive ibex while following a Bedouin trail that traverses a rocky valley side, before gently climbing into the pale-coloured sandstone mountains of the Petra region where you will camp and celebrate at the col of Shkaret Msei'd. 

Where will I be at New Year? Leaving behind the stony 'Hamada' desert to join a twisting goat herder's track on a challenging section towards the Wadi Araba Desert. You can be guaranteed in camp that night at Ras el Feid, the Jordanians warm and welcoming hospitality will bring in the New Year like no other.

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The magnificent Sahara with its Lawrence of Arabia desert beauty, offers an unforgettable Moroccan region which is perfect for a very unique trekking holiday. Home to snaking wadis, dramatic plateaus, tamarisk bushes, acacia trees, hidden villages and beautiful sweeping dunes, the Sahara Desert offers that rare off the beaten track adventure.

Where will I be on Christmas day?  Trekking across a wide bed of the Draa, dotted with acacia and Tamarisk trees which can grow up to 18m in height before settling down for another night of stargazing in your desert camp.

Where will I be at New Year? After celebrating New Year's eve watching the sunset in the magnificent dunes of Zahar, you'll have another day of desert trekking before enjoying another wonderful desert camp with excellent Moroccan food.

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Oman is the Middle East's best kept secret. This exceptional trekking journey explores the most dramatic sections of the Al Hajar range of mountains which run the length of Oman's northern coastline, rising above the blue waters of the Gulf to a height of 3000 metres. You'll follow rugged trails between picturesque mountain villages, camp out on the high Sharaf al Alamayn and Sayq Plateau's, visit the high point of Oman at Jebel Shams and enjoy far-reaching views across the landscape. A truly authentic journey.

Where will I be on Christmas day? Exploring Nizwa, the former capital city of Oman. A fertile sea of green with an oasis of date plantations stretching out 8 km from the town.

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Lying south of Morocco's High Atlas Mountains, this timeless area offers that rare opportunity to observe an ancient nomadic lifestyle whilst trekking through a region which sees very few visitors. Snake through the heart of the region, and camp beside nomadic settlements. Plus stand on the summit of Kouaouch, a remote peak with spectacular views across to Mgoun and the impressive High Atlas Mountains.

Where will I be on Christmas day?  Having summited one of the most prominent peaks in the region yesterday (21 Dec departure), Kouaouch (2600m), you can enjoy a day of contrasts on the high plateaus of the Tadaout 'n Tablah, including the famous rock formation Bab n'Ali known as Ali's gate. Tonight you will camp close to this monolith. 

Where will I be at New Year?  Admiring all the rock formations on the plateau and high grazing areas of the Ait Atta Berbers (28 Dec departure). This once leading Berber tribe has been in Morocco longer than the Arabs and the arrival of Islam in the 7th century. Walking through this incredible landscape we are sure to meet them whilst surrounded by remarkable formations including the Organ Pipe, Elephants Head and Camels Head. 

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Mount Toubkal (4167m) in the High Atlas Mountains, is not only Morocco's highest peak, but the highest summit in North Africa and this incredible range provides some of the most spectacular winter trekking on earth. With its traditional villages, friendly Berbers, awesome trails and jaw-dropping mountains, this dramatic and beautiful area takes on a magical appearance in winter.

Where will I be on Christmas day?  Weather permitting you will be trekking to the summit (21 Dec departure). The effort to get there is worthwhile as there are fantastic views of the snow-covered peaks of the High Atlas away to the north-east, whilst the Anti Atlas and Sahara lie to the south. 

Where will I be at New Year? After seeing the New Year in at the Neltner Refuge (28 Dec departure), the closest refuge to the Toubkal summit, it'll be an early start to begin the challenging climb to the summit before descending and celebrating the New Year in true Moroccan style.

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This family holiday in East Africa is a journey of adventures and experiences from the Kenyan capital of Nairobi, through some of the best African wildlife parks before a relaxing finale on the paradise island of Zanzibar. It is designed to give the complete experience of African wildlife safari, show the colour and character of the local Maasai people and reveal the wild landscape of off-the-beaten track mountains.

Where will I be on Christmas day?  Having breakfast with the Maasai before heading off to Chyulu Hills National Park for a 2 day exciting wild camp.

Where will I be at New Year? Relaxing on the Spice Island of Zanzibar on a white sandy beach surrounded by turqoise waters.

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This is a superb cycling holiday and a thrilling ride, full of geographical and cultural splendor encountering many of the 'must see' locations including riding down to the Dead Sea for a dip in the lowest point on Earth.  You'll spend a full guided day exploring the 'Rose Red City' of Petra before riding into the desert landscape of Wadi Rum for a night of Bedouin camping before cycling onwards to the Red Sea for a swim and well earned cold drink.

Where will I be on Christmas day?  Setting off towards Shobak Castle, another great chain of Crusader fortresses, you'll enjoy a climb up to the Eastern Plateau which will provide you with magnificent views down to the desert of Wadi Araba before cruising down to the 'Valley of the Moses' the gateway to Petra.

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This fabulous overland journey starts in the Rainbow Nation of South Africa and finishes at the 'Smoke that thunders', Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. This is a pretty unique experience as you'll cross four countries, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe, wildlife spotting, canoeing, hiking and spending time with the Kalahari Bushmen.  

Where will I be on Christmas day?  Waking up in Cape Town, you'll head off to the Cape of good hope and explore the Cape Peninsula where there is nothing but the ocean between you and Antarctica. En-route back to Cape Town a stop off to watch the African penguins waddling around is a must.

Where will I be at New Year? You'll spend the day at leisure in a wild and whacky port-town called Swakopmund, Namibia's premier holiday resort. There are lots of activities that can be arranged locally, such as boat trips, dune-boarding and even scenic flights over the Namib and along the Skeleton Coast.

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With the snow-covered peaks of the High Atlas to the north and the Sahara to the south, the climate of the Jebel Sahro in southern Morocco is the perfect place for cycling at Christmas and New Year. Riding on tarmac and hard-packed jeep roads, you'll cycle through remote mountain areas with nomadic Berber shephers and views of the Atlas Mountains. It's the perfect winter cycling adventure.

Where will I be on Christmas day? Riding into the starkly beautiful Jebel Sahro range ascending to the crest of the Tizi n'Tazazart (2270m) before enjoying a long and winding descent which takes you close to the famous rock formations of Bab n'Ali, a major landmark. 

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"Vast, echoing and God-like". Come and experience the true wonder of the desert and discover what brought Lawrence of Arabia to write this famous description of Wadi Rum. More recently the film location of Ridley Scott's The Martian, featuring Matt Damon, camping under the stars in this other-worldly landscape is an experience that will truly stay with you forever.

Where will I be on Christmas day? Savouring the views which extend on all sides of the desert landscape from your highpoint at 1700m in the Jebel Khasch massif. There are some great rock colours, reds. oranges, blues and purples, as you walk through the valley to reach an impressive sandy wadi and ancient Bedouin cemetary. That night, celebrate Christmas with an incredible sunset.

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