Give the Littles a Family Vacation to Remember in the Middle East and AfricaBy Chaitali Patel
The bonds built on the shared adventures and exploration of a family vacation are unlike any other. And though designing a family vacation takes considerable planning and work, it’s entirely worth the effort. On these vacations, your crew will come away with unmatched experiences and precious memories to last a lifetime.
As always, check for travel restrictions and closures before planning your trip.
Make Vacation Dreams Come True in Seychelles
Sun, sea and surf always work well for a multigenerational family vacation. Long sunny days, powdery white sand beaches, bendy palms, dense forests, oceans teeming with marine life and an easygoing lifestyle all add to the Seychelles’s allure.
On an island getaway, it’s easy to oscillate between being a beach bum and an adrenaline junkie. Go scuba diving, snorkeling, kayaking or fishing.
The granitic islands offer plenty of opportunities for rock climbing and hiking. The rewards are spectacular views of the shimmering aquamarine waters and neighboring islands.
Go island hopping to Praslin and find out more about the curious coco de mer, the world’s largest nut, endemic to the Seychelles. Or on La Digue, get on bicycles and explore the automobile-free small island.
Discover the Many Treasures of Cairo, Egypt
Egypt’s capital city is a heady mix of history, culture and chaos. The magnificent pyramids seem to rise out of the low-lying ramshackle buildings of Cairo’s outskirts when you least expect them. But they will take your breath away no matter what.
Eager to dig into the country’s history? Explore the unimaginable treasures at the 120-year-old Egyptian Museum, which houses the largest collection of Pharaonic antiquities in the world. Crumbling mummies and invaluable treasures found in tombs will enthrall both children and adults alike.
At Koshary Abou Tarek, a well-loved Cairo eatery, tuck into a wholesome bowl of koshary, which is a mix of rice, pasta and lentils topped with crisp fried onions, chickpeas and a luscious tomato sauce.
There are plenty of opportunities to walk off those calories. Amble down the promenade skirting the Nile. To get away from the crowds, get on a boat to cruise down its gently flowing waters.
Get a Taste of Kenya’s Wild Side in Nairobi
Get a feel for Kenya’s incredible wildlife riches right in its capital city. Watch baby elephants interact with rangers at the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, an organization that rescues and rehabilitates orphaned elephants.
Watch the gentle giants at their playful best, and what’s more, you can adopt one and follow its journey into adulthood.
Interact with the hardy Maasai, an Indigenous tribe known for their unique customs and extraordinary courage, at the weekly Maasai market. Buy colorful bead, leather and wood handicrafts from the Maasai craftspeople. Be ready to put those bargaining skills to test.
Earthy farm-to-table restaurant Shamba does delicious wood-fired pizzas and offers weekly specials featuring fresh and seasonal produce. Located in a verdant patch of land, there’s ample space for kids to play or try their hand at farming or crafts.
Unravel Istanbul’s Many Charms
Relive the glory days of the Ottoman empire in Istanbul’s sprawling Topkapı Palace. Walk through narrow corridors that open into beautiful rooms and quiet courtyards as you immerse yourself in stories of deceit, love and valor.
Explore the mazelike streets crisscrossing the Grand Bazaar, crammed with stores selling handmade carpets, evil-eye trinkets, ceramics, ikat fabrics and jewelry. Shopkeepers will woo you with fragrant cay (a tea preparation) and nutty Turkish delight at every corner.
Fancy posing like a Turkish sultan? There are stores where you can dress up and take a fun family photo.
It’s always a good time to stand on the shores of the swiftly flowing Bosphorus. Head to it at every opportunity you get. View it from afar, walk down its well-kept promenades or jump on a cruise and sail down its impossibly blue waters — you will never tire of it.
Live It Up in Dubai
There’s something for everyone in ever-changing and always exciting Dubai. The tougher ask might be choosing what your family wants to do from the endless options out there.
From Ain Dubai, the tallest and largest Ferris wheel in the world, watch the sun go down and the city sparkle as the lights come on.
Always wondered what the Palm Jumeirah looks like from above? Sharing space with The St. Regis Dubai, The Palm, the newly opened View at the Palm observation deck offers breathtaking views of the “palm fronds” from the 52nd floor.
Get a feel for how life was in the emirate before the discovery of oil at the Al Bastakiya historical district. Ochre-colored buildings built from coral, palm wood and mud once belonged to families of pearl and textile merchants and today house charming cafés and interesting museums.
Catch you breath and enjoy a cup of cardamom-scented Arabic coffee and dates at the Arabian Tea House. Children will love tucking into warm tanoor bread with silken hummus.