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Short Fly-Away Getaways

You may feel you are just getting back into the swing of life back in the sandpit after a long two month vacation but believe it or not it’s time to start planning for the next holiday – Eid Al Adha.

This festival will be falling in the second week of November with many schools closing from 5th to 10th November so the team at Expat Echo Dubai have come up with a few ideas for short getaways.

Sri Lanka

Known as the Pearl of the Indian Ocean and just over 4 hours flying time from Dubai, Sri Lanka offers stunning landscapes with green mountains draped in tea plantations, 1,330 km of coastline, 15 national parks, 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and 250 acres of botanical gardens.

The whole family will love a visit to Pinnawela which is home to orphaned elephants. You can accompany the elephants to the river & see them enjoying their daily bath. For the adventurous  try your hand at white water river rafting at Kitulgala on the Kelani River (Bridge over the River Kwai was filmed here). Tours can be arranged for anything from 1 hour to half a day including lunch. After lunch take a stroll through the tea plantations set high above the river. Head down to the south of the island for laid back beach life. If you and the children are still feeling adventurous grab a surf board and hit the waves at Hikkaduwa. Or if you are looking for a more restful beach holiday head further on round the south coast to Unawatuna where you will find golden sandy beaches to relax on. When you can pull yourself off the sun lounger take the children  turtle watching at Rekawa Beach home to the most important sea turtle nesting sites in Sri Lanka.

Jordan

Stretching from the Gulf of Aqaba to the deserts of Iraq and Syria, Jordan is just a 3 hour flight from Dubai. After a night in the capital Amman, visit the ancient city of Jerash one of the best preserved Roman Provincial towns in the world. Not far from Amman is Mount Nebo over looking the Holy Land and is believed to be the burial place of Moses. A visit to Petra is a must and I urge visitors to stay at least 2 nights. Petra is a UNESCO world heritage site and is truly enchanting. Enter Petra by day or by candle light at night.

Walk through the long chasm with 200 meter high walls towering above you and at the end of this you will be rewarded with the spectacular site of the Treasury. Ahead are various walks, climbs and hundreds of buildings, tombs and museums. It is truly breathtaking for the adult and full of excitement and adventure for the children (think of Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade!). After your stay in Petra head south to Wadi Rum the desert infamous with Lawrence of Arabia. This vast pinkish desert is beautiful by day but even more stunning at sunset so I recommend to camp there overnight.

After a memorable stay in the desert head northwards towards the airport spending a night at the Dead Sea relaxing in the gentle lapping waters where it is impossible to sink. Treat yourself to a soothing massage from the mud of the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea is only 45 minutes from the airport.

Kenya

With a short 5 hour flight from Dubai, only a one hour time difference, 26 National parks, game reserves filled with all types of animals, early morning starts and and early evening finishes Safaris make the ideal family holiday. Start your holiday in Nairobi visiting the Langata Giraffe Centre a not-for-profit sanctuary set up to save the dwindling population of Rothschild giraffes. Set against the back-drop of the city Nairobi’s National Park is only 10km from the the city centre but is home to black rhino, giraffe, lions and leopards.

Also within the park is the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage which looks after orphaned elephants before releasing them back into the wild. But for the real “Out of Africa” experience, visit the nearby Maasai Mara.  Here you will have a good chance of spotting Africa’s Big Five – lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhino and meet the semi-nomadic Maasai tribesmen to learn about their culture and maybe take a lesson in spear throwing.

Expat Echo Dubai hopes this gives you some ideas of what to do this Eid. Eid Mubarak!



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