West Africa

IF YOU WANT EXOTIC, West Africa is the place to cruise! Shop for Kente cloth or incomparable African art in vast, open-air markets; tour the Slave Route in Ghana; attend a Voodoo ceremony in Togo (Voodun, the world's oldest healing religion, not the Hollywood version of sticking pins in dolls); explore the blood-red dunes in the Namibia desert; and try on a python at a sacred temple! The vitality and warmth of West Africa and its people will linger in your mind and heart long after returning home!

ABIDJAN - Known as "The Paris of West Africa." Visit the Hotel Ivoire, offering everything from a casino to an ice-skating rink. Or see the impressive stained-glass windows of St. Paul's Cathedral.

ACCRA (TEMA) - Along the Gold Coast is this capital of Ghana. Shop for local wares at the Makola market, a bustling open-air market. See Ghanaian art at the National Museum. Or visit the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum.

AGADIR - A mixture of Muslim culture and Western architecture, Agadir has become one of Morocco's most popular resort towns. Relax on the sprawling beach or visit the vivacious fish market.

ATHENS (PIRAEUS) - A visit to the Acropolis is a must, where you'll see the Propylaia, the Parthenon and the Erechtheion. You can also visit the Corinth Canal or travel to scenic Cape Sounion to see the Temple of Poseidon.

CAPE TOWN - Known as the "Mother City," Cape Town is nestled in a beautiful bay beneath Table Mountain. Visit the Robben Island Museum and the island prison that held Nelson Mandela, stroll the waterfront or take in the Castle of Good Hope.

CASABLANCA (MARRAKECH) - A mixture of French-designed boulevards and Muslim architecture, Casablanca is a bustling metropolitan center. Visit Rabat or take a tour to Marrakech, known for its lively outdoor markets.

DAKAR - The very French capital of Senegal is a charming city with tree-lined boulevards. See the fortress on Ile de Goree with its underground passage. Or visit the Soumbedioune handicraft village, a popular place for souvenirs.

GIBRALTAR - Once regarded as one of the Pillars of Hercules, Gibraltar is now known for its nature reserve and the famous Barbary apes. Visit Europa Point and St. Michael's Cave or wander the bustling shops.

LOME (TOGO) - The only capital in the world sitting on a border, this West African city is a mixutre of the traditional and the modern. Visit the traditional voodoo village of Togblekope and the Village Artisanal. Or shop for charms and potions at the fetish market.

LUDERITZ - The founding town of Namibia is a quaint fishing village with well-maintained Wilhelmian Art Deco architecture. Visit the Luderitz Museum or Kolmanskop, a former diamond-mining town now reclaimed by sand dunes.

MALTA (VALLETTA) - Visit the capital of Malta. Former home of the Knights of the Order of St. John and once the plaground for the Eastern bloc elite, Valletta is now home to lush gardens and fantastic museums.

TUNIS (LA GOULETTE) - The capital of Tunisia is famous for its vibrant and atmospheric Medina with souks (market) in the bustling alleys offering traditional wares. The Bardo Museum and Zitouna Mosque are also popular attractions.

WALVIS BAY - Returned to Namibia by South Africa in 1994, Walvis Bay is best known for its huge natural lagoon that has become a sanctuary for hundreds of thousands of seabirds, flamingos and pelicans. just beyond the city, experience the sand dunes of the Namib Desert.

Cruises Unlimited, Lisa E Safran, President, MCC, 1800 2nd Street, Suite 808, Sarasota, FL 34236, (888) 841-7245, E-mail: CruzExpert@aol.com

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