"Sunrise over Lake Malawi" by Neville Nel via Flickr Creative Commons

With some of the most astounding ancient and religious sites anywhere, the Middle East and Africa are big draws to round the world travelers. Although trips here will increase your budget significantly because of pricey airfare and the cost to stay in the Big Game Reserves, most feel it is well worth the price and effort. The corners of the continent tend to draw the most RTW travelers, but a more and more are opting to spend significant amounts of their trip here exploring the lesser known regions and countries.

  1. Cape Town, South Africa Few people that visit Cape Town are not left enchanted. Wide white sand beaches, table top mountains, nearby vineyards and game reserves, a lively English speaking culture with loads of nightlife and budget accommodations.
  2. Marrakech, Morocco The bustling square of Djema al’Fna just outside the medina is one of the most vibrant cultural centers in the world and numerous backpacker haunts and posh resorts sit within a mile. When not haggling in the souks or dining at the food stalls, have your fortune told, watch a snake charmer, or even get your teeth worked on.
  3. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania Two world heritage sites and a biosphere reserve are found within this system of parks that hold the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Maswa Game Reserve, and the Loliondo, Grumeti and Ikorongo Controlled Areas. One of the oldest ecosystems on earth where more than a million wildebeests and 200,000 zebras migrate each year.
  4. Cairo, Egypt The Pyramids, perhaps the greatest man made structures on earth, can be reached from the bustling city in northeastern Africa. This is Egyptian culture at its best with ancient sites, good museums, fine restaurants, and festivals.
  5. Jerusalem, Israel The old walled city of Jerusalem, a holy site of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, is fominated by historic sites such as the Dome of the Rock, Wailing Wall, and church of the Holy Sepulchre.
  6. Nairobi, Kenya Attracted by cheap rooms, easy air access, and easy tours to the Big Game Reserves. Not a pretty place in itself, but a good place to start your African adventure.
  7. Lake Malawi, Malawi The cool waters of Africa’s third largest lake are a soothing stop for long distance trips across the African continent. Beautiful beaches, wildlife, posh lodges and budget hostels, and let’s not forget the Lake of stars Music Festival.
  8. Barra, Mozambique Affordable accommodations and cheap diving make this little known beach town a favorite amongst backpackers, locals, and Mozambique’s elite.
  9. Petra, Jordan The “rose-red city half as old as time” is a rock carved city of the Nabataean culture tucked away in a narrow gorge. Not just an Indian Jones movie.
  10. Dubai, United Arab Emirates Although tourism here has grown rapidly, much of it is outside the budget of most shoestring travelers and RTW trippers. For connecting flights between Asia and Europe, it’s your best bet though, so why not spend juts a couple of days to look around, ski indoors, or lay at the beach.

Click here for Top 10 Around the World Vacations in Asia and the Far East