Umm ar-Rasas, JORDAN

A slender tower looms on the horizon, accentuating a sense of isolation and loneliness that seems embedded in the wide-open expanse of the semi-arid pastoral countryside surrounding it. The tower is believed to have formed part of a… Continue reading

Places to Eat: Arabian Tea House Café – Dubai

Name:  Arabian Tea House Café Ambience:  The fragrant smell of burning oud perfumes the air at the entrance, enticing passersby to step through the decorative entrance way, past a well, and into the… Continue reading

Are You Kidding Me?

I exit from the Al Ras Metro Station, and plunge myself into the sweltering heat of a mid-summer’s day in Old Dubai. I hug the outside of the neighbourhood, in which the Gold… Continue reading

Places to Eat: Comptoir 102 – Dubai

Name:  Comptoir 102 Description:  A combination of café with a small grocery corner, and shop stocking designer jewelery, bags, shoes, clothing, and a variety of décor items and furniture pieces. Ambience:  Casual chic is perhaps the best… Continue reading

Sharjah Heritage Area

The older gentleman, who steps through the gate with me, smiles and returns my greeting. Instead of hurrying off, he beckons me to follow him. I am intrigued, and soon we step through… Continue reading

Sharjah Archaeology Museum

Archaeology, that painstaking science of digging in dirt, patiently brushing sand to one side to uncover unknown treasures long forgotten and deeply buried, is a quest to know where people lived, how they lived, what… Continue reading

Slumbering Days

It is just after 4 am. The first call to prayer for the day invades my dreams. It is the first day of Ramadan. The first day of fasting for millions of Muslims around the world.… Continue reading

Places to Stay: Al Sahel Resort – Sir Bani Yas Island, UAE

Name:  Al Sahel Villa Resort by Anantara Location:  Sir Bani Yas Island – United Arab Emirates Description:  Al Sahel mimics the best Africa has to offer with its thatched-roofed villas, and décor elements that… Continue reading

Matjiesfontein: Where the Air is Like Dry Champagne

The R318 from Montagu to Matjiesfontein gently flows through Die Keisie, Burgerspass, and the fertile Koo valley, where fruit and protea flowers are grown, before spilling out onto the barren landscape of the Great Karoo, and joining the N1 that connects Cape… Continue reading

Places to Stay: Ruby Cottage – Montagu, South Africa

Name:  Ruby Cottage Location:  On the farm Badensfontein, 5 km outside Montagu on the R318, Western Cape, South Africa. Description:  Ruby cottage is a one bedroom cottage that is decorated in a way that is stylish,… Continue reading

McGregor Magic

In the dusty street leading past the green façade of McGregor Backpackers, three dogs scampered towards me. Two of them with only three legs. Before I could decide how to react a woman unfolded herself from… Continue reading

Places to Stay: Lentelus Guest House – Barrydale, South Africa

Name:  Lentelus Guest House Location:  11 kilometres outside of Barrydale on the road to Montagu on Route 62, which is said to be one of the longest wine routes in the world, Western Cape, South Africa Description: … Continue reading

Barrydale Gossip

I follow the bright blue signs of the The Blue Cow that proudly announces its location “at the Barrydale Waterfront”. I wonder what kind of waterfront pin-sized Barrydale can possibly have, yet I feel intrigued as… Continue reading

Prince Albert’s Architectural Gems

One of the best ways to appreciate Prince Albert’s wide open spaces is to walk its streets. Some tarred, others dusty. Here one can still marvel at yesteryear’s ingenious technology, where leiwater, along a clever… Continue reading

Places To Stay: The French Cottage – Prince Albert, South Africa

Name: The French Cottage Location: Prince Albert, South Africa Description: A spacious self-catering cottage decorated with French flair. It is a comfortable, arty space where one immediately feels at home. The kitchen is… Continue reading

Early Morning Joys in Prince Albert

The owl has noticed my approach long before I’ve seen it perched high on the electricity pole. I stop and stare at my good fortune. I love owls, and sightings are so rare. As I… Continue reading

Prince Albert: A Hip and Happening Little Karoo Town

Many people, disillusioned by the demands of city life, have moved to smaller South African towns like Prince Albert in search of a more meaningful existence. The result is an eclectic mix of old… Continue reading

Places to Stay: Serendipity Guest House – Wilderness, South Africa

Name:  Serendipity Guest House and Restaurant Location:  Freesia Avenue, Wilderness, South Africa. Description:  The word serendipity can be defined as a happy, unexpected discovery, which is exactly how I feel about stumbling upon this intimate guest house and restaurant.… Continue reading

Christianity in the Pre-Islamic UAE

Collapsed and hidden under layers of soft creamy sand, the remains of a Nestorian church, monastery, and various courtyard houses patiently lay hidden for centuries on the eastern shore of Sir Bani Yas island, 170 km west of… Continue reading

Places to Stay: Lamu House Hotel – Lamu Island, Kenya

Name:  Lamu House Hotel Location:  Lamu Town, Lamu Island, KENYA Description:  The hotel is an excellent example of Swahili architecture. It consists of two traditional houses that were restored and adapted to house… Continue reading