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muguetteJourney into History at Kagga Kamma
by Muguette Goufrani

After a rugged 3 hour motor trip from Cape Town with Daniel Dunn, our group of five was little prepared for the amazing 'moonscape' of this spectacular hideout in the rugged Cedarburg Mountains. It was a place that could easily be the movie set for a "Jurassic Park" or "Planet of the Apes." As twilight approached, many of the odd rock shapes near the camp cast weird shadows, taking the form of wild animals or strange spirit creatures. Continued

Express Train to Casablanca
by Jerry W. Bird

As originator of a travel series called Railways of the World, going to Casablanca, Morocco's largest city, by rail was a wonderful way to start off the week and celebrate the new year. We enjoyed the journey so completely that the route from Marrakech (3 hours in total) seemed far too short. However, as we soon learned from the staff on board, visitors can travel between many of Morocco's principal cities by rail. That includes the Northern port of Tangier, a few miles from Spain with its famous Talgo Trains. Rail travel is still one of the most practical, inexpensive and relaxing of all modes on transportation, and this route to Casablanca was no exception. We traveled in a first class coach enjoying the privacy of having a 6-seat compartment all to ourselves, with ample overhead storage for luggage and carry-ons. The one way tickets purchased at the counter without reservations were less than $15 in U.S. currency. Continued

You're in the Driver's Seat! Adventure Roads and Great Drives is a series our editors have been producing for years, in print and video. Our next challenge is a feature on Cross Africa Drives in several directions. Watch for it.


Majestic Mountains, Romantic Kasbahs and Deserts
by Habeeb Salloum

For two days we had explored Fez, Morocco's historic city, glorifying in its ancient section which remains enclosed within its ancient ramparts. Inside no auto is allowed. Only donkeys contest with humans the few feet wide medieval streets. Seemingly, we had traveled back a thousand years in time. It was a fabulous beginning for the trip we intended to take across the Atlas Mountains to the land of kasbahs (mud castles) and deserts. Fez, with its air of the Arabian Nights, was still on my mind as our tour group of five, along with Abdelatif, our guide, traveled through the foothills of the Atlas Mountains towards the desert frontier town of Erfoud, some 480 km ( 298 mi) away. Continued

Blue Train with White Glove Service
by Muguette M. Goufrani

 For years I had read that South Africa held many pleasures for those of an adventurous spirit or romantic nature. So one summer, taking a month's vacation from my job as a travel agent in Ivory Coast, West Africa, I headed south. Here at last was my chance to spend some leisurely, laid back weeks getting to know that fascinating country surrounding the Cape. While the sights and delights were many and varied, the epitome was my experience aboard the famous Blue Train. It was like the finest luxury cruise. continued
From the Paris of Africa to
its Roman Cathedral
by Jerry W. Bird

Having heard our Associate Editor Muguette Goufrani sing the praises of her life and times in Cote d'Ivoire and other West African countries, I was full of anticipation as we boarded the Air Afrique jet at the Cotonou, Benin Airport, bound for the legendary Ivory Coast. As serendipity plays a big part in many of my African journeys, the first Ivorian we chanced to meet en route was a Mr. Gakpo, "The Lobster Man of Abidjan" (a possible song title), who kindly invited us to stay at his seaside inn the following week. Continued


Moroccan Coastal Drive
to Agadir,
by Jerry W. Bird

favorite topic of mine is writing about great drives for our popular series "Roads to Adventure," which began in the early 90s and has appeared in travel magazines, newspapers and video accross North America. Now we're challenged to do the same series for Africa. While the overland route along Morocco's Atlantic Coast from Essaouira to Agadir is relatively short in distance, taking two and a half hours, the scenery we encountered during the trip by land rover, was unforgettable. We were in good company, traveling at the invitation of Ms. Elena Hall, partner in the escorted tour operation "Blue Men of Morocco" who participated with us earlier at the ATA Symposium in Fès. The trip was leisurely, and along the way we made a one hour detour inland to a rugged area that reminded me a lot of parts of Northern Arizona. Continued

In the Queen of Sheba's Footsteps
by Jerry W. Bird

Everything that I had read about Ethiopia in Wilbur Smith's novels, the River God and Secret Scroll, was as he described. As we learned later from Hon. Yusuf Abdullahi Sukkar, Ethiopia's Tourism Commissioner, airport construction enjoys a high priority, and on the high plain south of Lalibela, a new terminal building is in the final stages of completion. Our temporary waiting area was a baggage shack, where we basked in the morning sun, awaiting the commuter bus. A Storybook Land: I've never been to Tibet, but the spiritual presence and views we saw during our corkscrew journey up the hillside would easily fit that image. Small wonder this storybook land has such a spiritual presence, a proud tradition and a way of life that has survived three millennia, despite an outside world of hate, conquest, treachery, trial and turmoil. Continued

Motoring in the Switzerland of Africa
by Muguette Goufrani

Some call Guinea the "Switzerland of Africa" and one of your first pleasant surprises when visiting the Republic of Guinea is that it is uncrowded. Big in size, yet small in population. A nation of 7.5 million, Guinea is also described as the land of contrasts. Those apt comparisons became evident to me a few days into our journey. Continued

Africa in One Country
by Jerry W. Bird

Mount Cameroon, West Africa's highest peak, stands like a giant sentinel, gazing out over the Gulf of Guinea on Africa's Atlantic Coast. Among it's legendary names is "Throne of Thunder," a fitting tribute to the powerful gods that are said to inhabit the mountain's inner core. Our group of ATA members and journalists approached the 'throne' shortly after one of its frequent volcanic eruptions, and the ribbons of cooled lava resembled grey frosting oozing from an enormous layer cake. The lava beds are evident from the main highway to Kribi and a hiking trail winds up and over them. The warning signs advised us to pay respect and to tread gently in this eco- sensitive area. Mount Cameroon's rugged peak is the crown jewel of a chain of volcanic mountains that are strung like a giant pearl necklace along the Cameroon Nigeria border. The range stretches from here all the way to the northern plains of Maroua, gateway to Waza National Park. Continued