Find yourself in awe at the Edge of the World. (Photo: Getty Images)


From Mighty Mountains to Secluded Beaches, Find Your Version of Zen in the Middle East and Africa

A walk in the woods offers more than just the opportunity to attain your daily step count — a growing body of research indicates that experiencing the great outdoors can help reduce levels of anxiety and stress, boosting your mood and improving your mental health in as little as one outing.

From sweeping views of mesmerizing Saudi Arabian sand dunes to sunset meditations on the secluded cove beaches of South Africa, tranquility abounds in the Middle East and Africa. Find your moment of Zen at these six incredible beach and mountain destinations on your next getaway.

As always, check for travel restrictions and closures before planning your trip.

Tuwaiq Cliffs/Edge of the World, Saudi Arabia

Escape the hustle of Riyadh for an epic hike to Jebel Fihrayn. Colloquially known as the Edge of the World, this unique collection of geological formations seems to magically emerge from the barren desert landscape.

Stare in awe at the sun setting over the wavy dunes and an ancient dried ocean bed from 1,000-feet above. The valley of Sha’ib Kharmah (Acacia Valley) is a popular overnight camping option among locals and dark sky enthusiasts looking for a longer break from the city — just be sure to leave no trace.

Mossel Bay, South Africa

Mossel Bay, South Africa (Photo: Getty Images)

Located along South Africa’s famed Garden Route, Mossel Bay offers weary road trip travelers several stretches of pristine shoreline, perfect for recharging those essential levels of vitamin D.

Bask in some much-needed sunshine at Santos Beach, a gorgeous Western Cape beach known for its white sand shores, warm waters and marine-rich rocky tide pools. Recenter yourself with a sunset meditation at Pinnacle Point Beach, a secluded cove beach surrounded by lush coastal vegetation.

Sousse, Tunisia

From the tropical waters of the Gulf of Hammamet to renowned stretches of golden sand beaches and year-round pleasant weather, the coastal Tunisian city of Sousse is a delightful destination in which to center yourself no matter the time of year.

Located just north of the flashy yachts docked at El Kantaoui Port is the area’s most popular sands, El Kantaoui Beach. Known for its idyllic white sand shores, it’s the perfect place to soak up some healing Tunisian sun.

Or escape the crowds of the medina, a UNESCO World Heritage site, for Chott Mariem Beach, a peaceful stretch 10 miles from the Sousse city center.

In need of some mountain air? Jebel Serj National Park, known for its caves and rare section of maple trees, is just a three-hour car ride away.

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

amani beach
Amani Beach, Tanzania (Photo: Getty Images)

After an adventurous trip spotting the Big Five across the vast Serengeti plains, head to Dar es Salaam for a couple of days of relaxing and de-stressing along its inviting shores.

Located along the Indian Ocean coast, the splendid beaches that dot the coastline of this major Tanzanian city rival those on nearby Zanzibar. Laze around on Amani Beach, a quiet stretch just 30 miles south of the hectic city center.

A quick boat ride to Mbudya Island Beach results in ultimate seclusion — this uninhabited island is known for its calm waters and thriving coral reefs, which are perfect for snorkeling at low tide.

Qurum Nature Reserve, Oman

Immerse yourself in Qurum Nature Reserve, an unlikely desert oasis in the heart of Muscat. Home to a dense mangrove forest — one of the largest in the Middle East — the hidden gem works to preserve the country’s natural mangrove forest areas, which once used to densely cover much of Oman’s coastline.

A tranquil sunrise or sunset kayak with Wave Summit gets you right in the thick of this biodiverse ecosystem that sustains a fascinating range of life; expect to spot more than 190 species of birds, 70 different types of crustaceans and 40 species of fish, like sea bream and mullet.

Tazekka National Park, Morocco

A two-hour drive east takes you away from the bustling souks and dizzying narrow alleyways of Fez and up into the mountains, where stunning natural landscapes and solitude await at Tazekka National Park.

A bird-watcher’s delight — it’s home to more than 80 different avian species — this area of the Middle Atlas mountains features everything from scenic hiking trails and cascading waterfalls to subterranean caves and tranquil swaths of cork oak and cedar tree forests.

Parts of Morocco were heavily damaged in a September 2023 earthquake. Please check local travel advisories before planning a trip to the region.