7 local Instagrammers to follow if you’re travelling in the Middle East

Instagram is the perfect place to go for travel inspiration, but we often tend to follow fellow travellers from our own country or region as opposed to local people, who usually have much greater insight into the best places to go and show a more nuanced view of the local culture. Follow these 7 Instagrammers who share beautiful photographs and local perspectives on the countries where they live and document their adventures.

Top 7 Arabic music playlists on Spotify

When most people in the ‘West’ think of Arabic music, we tend to imagine the deep twanging sounds of the oud and the cliché oriental music of Hollywood films romanticising the ‘East’. Most people outside the Middle East and North Africa have no idea how varied Arabic really music is. It ranges from the old classics like Fairuz to the upbeat dance music out of the clubs of Beirut, and the more relaxed, hipster sounds of up-and-coming young artists bringing reggae, funk, blues and R&B vibes into the mix.

If you’re interested in exploring Arabic music, these 7 Spotify playlists will get you well on your way with music for every occasion, from chilled out coffee hour tunes and upbeat workout songs to the perfect dinner and dance party soundtracks.

4 Things that may surprise you on a first trip to Egypt

Egypt is one of the most thoroughly mythologised countries in the world. In a way this is perhaps only natural given that its history extends back to one of the most impressive and awe-inspiring early civilisations of the human age. Nevertheless, particularly in some western cultures, the idea of what Egypt is, or even what it looks like, has been twisted somewhat by everything from conspiratorial TV shows to animated online video games.

Revolution for Dummies: The Egyptian heart surgeon exiled for making jokes

Bassem Youssef, a heart surgeon living with his wife and baby daughter in Cairo, was one of millions of Egyptians whose lives were changed forever by the Arab Spring. His story, however, is unique. Nicknamed ‘the Jon Stewart of Egypt’, Bassem shot to fame for uploading political satire videos to YouTube from his laundry room, … Continue reading Revolution for Dummies: The Egyptian heart surgeon exiled for making jokes

6 photos showcasing the stunning natural beauty of the Middle East & North Africa

Happy World Environment Day! To celebrate, today we’re sharing these 6 photos that showcase the incredible natural beauty and geographical diversity of the Middle East & North Africa. 1. The Sahara desert, Morocco The Sahara Desert is the largest hot desert in the world with an area of 9.2 million square kilometres - comparable to … Continue reading 6 photos showcasing the stunning natural beauty of the Middle East & North Africa

The painful truth about FGM in the Middle East

One of the greatest obstacles standing in the way of the pursuit of gender equality in the Middle East is the continued practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) in many regional countries. The World Health Organisation estimates that more than 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone FGM across 30 countries, and that … Continue reading The painful truth about FGM in the Middle East

Cairo’s Ballerinas are redefining Egyptian society

In 2015, Egyptian filmmaker Mohamed Taher had an idea. Inspired by New York City’s Ballerina Project, Taher wanted to show a different side to the Egyptian capital, which has in recent years played host to headline grabbing protests, instances of sexual abuse and terrorist attacks. He discussed his idea with photographer Ahmed Fathy and dancer … Continue reading Cairo’s Ballerinas are redefining Egyptian society