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The UK is close to some of the most amazing countries in the world. Here’s a checklist of the ones you need to see while here, or on your way home

If you’re based in the UK for at least the next two years, make the most of it. One of the attractions of the country is the fact there are tonnes of destinations just a short flight away. Here’s our guide to the must-visit destinations – with a few essential long-haul hotspots thrown in for good measure. 


Why: Witness the birth of a new democratic country. 2011 saw the Egyptian revolution and president Hosni Mubarak resigning, ending his 30-year reign. Although there was still unrest at the end of last year, the UK’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office had placed no restrictions on travel – but check at the time of your trip.

Highlights Don’t let last year’s Arab Spring put you off – Egypt is a stunning destination that deserves to be seen. The capital, Cairo, is located on the Nile river. It’s hectic and busy, yet beautiful. Visit the Egyptian Museum which is filled with more than 120,000 intriguing ancient artifacts, including King Tut’s Golden Mask. Luxor, gateway to the Valley of the Kings, is a mass of bustling metropolitan madness. Visit the touristy dive spot of Sharm el-Sheikh; or spend days lazing by the Red Sea in laid-back Dahab.

Giza: Nothing can prepare you for the exhilaration of standing beneath The Pyramids and the Sphinx. They are among the greatest archaeological sites you will ever encounter.

The Nile: The ultimate in lazy travel; spend a day floating along the longest river in the world on a traditional felucca. You’ll soon forget any problems.

Mt. Sinai: It will take you about three hours to reach the 2285m peak where it’s believed God himself spoke to Moses and passed down the Ten Commandments. 

The Red Sea: A waterbaby’s haven, the turquoise waters off the eastern coast of the Sinai Peninsula make for some of the best diving on the planet. Plunge into a world of colourful reefs and rich marine life and explore caves and wrecks, both long forgotten and rediscovered.

The Valley of the Kings: Witness the final resting place of more than 60 of Egypt’s most highly regarded ancient leaders, including Tutankhamen and Queen Hatshepsut.

When to go: Peak season is November until May. At other times, it’s cheaper, but also much hotter.
Getting there: Egypt is a five-hour flight from the UK with flights leaving from all London airports.
How much: A tour will set you back about £150 excluding flights. It can be advisable to book a tour guide so you can take advantage of the safety and knowledge that provides. Food and drink prices are fairly cheap: you can feed yourself for about £5 a day.
Visa: Aussies and Kiwis can buy a visa upon arrival  (about £10), but it’s less hassle to get one before you go. South Africans need to apply for a visa in advance.


Why: It can be an adventurer’s playground; a beachgoer’s paradise; an explorer’s unchartered territory. There are deserts, rainforests, savannah, mountains, lowlands, stunning beaches and tropical islands – not to mention some of the most amazing animals you’ll ever come close to. Go on safari at a national park to witness the Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino). 

Highlights: Visit Johannesburg, Cape Town, the Kruger National Park, Table Mountain and Victoria Falls while in South Africa. Go on a wildlife adventure in Kenya; trek volcanoes, climb Mt Kilimanjaro, and watch the annual migration in the Serengeti; or trek in search of mountain gorillas in Uganda.

When to go: April and June to see the wildlife migration in Tanzania and Kenya.
Getting there: To witness different parts of Africa, book an overland trip. If you want to go it alone, start in Tanzania by flying into Dar es Salaamin Tanzania and making your way to Arusha, where you’ll find loads of safari operators.
How much: Tours start at about £250 excluding flights.
Visas: Australians, New Zealanders and South Africans need a visa for Tanzania. All foreigners travelling to the country also need to show proof of a yellow fever inoculation.

The Antipodeans' guide to the world's best big trips
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