Kate Thomas

  • Dar Hotels, The Hip Young Thing In Tunisia’s Tourism Industry

    dar hotels By Kate Thomas, 8:01 am

    Larger than guesthouses but smaller and more personal than boutique hotels, dar hotels are Tunisia’s version of the Moroccan riad. They are converted traditional family homes, palaces, or buildings centered around a communal courtyard. Belgian-Tunisian designer Sabri Oueslati launched what became the dar hotel movement six years ago when he transformed a former home and pottery factory into a sleek, stylish hotel with a rooftop pool. Since then, dar hotels have been popping up all over Tunisia – tucked inside medinas, perched on clifftops, or next to desert oases.

  • Guide To Kairouan, Tunisia: ‘If It Looks Like You’re Staying At A Nice Resort, You’ll Pay Higher Prices Here’

    Guide To Kairouan, Tunisia By Kate Thomas, 8:01 am

    The road is short from Sousse, Tunisia, to the Islamic city of Kairouan. Just 32 miles separate the two, lined with dusty olive groves baking in the Tunisian sun. And yet Kairouan’s Mosque of Uqba, the world’s fourth holiest site according to Muslim scholars, feels a world away from the clubs and 24-hour bars of Sousse. As my taxi driver pulled up in front of the mosque, he recited a line from the Koran and urged me to remove my wristband from the hotel in Sousse. “If it looks like you’re staying at a nice resort, you’ll pay higher prices here,” he confided.

  • Guide To Mozambique’s Bazaruto Archipelago

    Bazaruto Archipelago By Kate Thomas, 8:03 am

    Forty kilometers off the coast of Vilankulo, you’ll find luxury island eco-retreats like Azura. Its 16 villas — $550 per person per night — each have a private infinity pool, curved tub and outdoor monsoon shower. For your money, you get your own private butler, usually a Benguerra islander who will greet you with champagne from the owner’s French vineyard and organize every detail of your trip. At dusk, tables are laid on the sand beneath the stars, and the chef serves fine food made with simple, fresh ingredients.

  • The Secrets And Stories Of The Tunis Medina

    tunis medina By Kate Thomas, 10:04 am

    The medina of Tunis, a labyrinthine ancient city of tiny pathways, cobbled alleys and glorious mosques, dates back to the 13th century. On sunny days, light bounces off the stone white walls, highlighting the bushes of bougainvillea nearby. The souk that’s hidden within the medina’s walls is enormous, brimming with stalls that sell everything from traditional orange blossom perfume to leather bags. There’s so much history here, so many stories.

  • Guide to Getting Around Dakar, Senegal

    getting around dakar By Kate Thomas, 7:00 pm

    Welcome to Dakar — a relatively compact urban area whose sandy streets and plethora of markets are a pleasure to stroll despite the general bustle. The city has a long list of fantastic places to check out, but even frequent travelers might not know all the ins-and-outs. Here are some helpful tips to getting around Dakar on foot, by bus, by taxi, and by “car rapide.”

  • Luxury in Liberia? 5 Places In Monrovia To Sleep, Eat And Drink

    places in monrovia By Kate Thomas, 7:00 pm

    Back in the 1960s and 1970s, Monrovia was practically dripping with luxury hangout spots, like the now-defunct Ducor Hotel. Then the 14-year civil war swept through, and many businesses shuttered their doors. But after the conflict and the recently ended Ebola outbreak, luxury is back — and it’s supremely affordable, by European or North American standards. Here are five places in Monrovia to eat, sleep, and drink that might just convince the comfort-minded traveler to take the plunge and head to Liberia.

  • After Ebola, 10 Reasons To Visit Liberia And Sierra Leone

    sierra leone By Kate Thomas, 6:00 pm

    West Africa’s Ebola outbreak didn’t just steal lives; it also decimated economies and forced tourism to a halt. But now, as the region celebrates an end to active transmission of Ebola, visitors are coming back. Curfews have been lifted, sports events are scheduled and beaches await. From beautiful white sands to music and mountains, here are ten reasons to visit Liberia and Sierra Leone.

  • #InLoveWithAfrica: Tunis Is Hard To Define, But Easy To Love

    tunis medina By Kate Thomas, 6:00 am

    In this installment of the #InLoveWithAfrica series, Kate Thomas can’t quite put her finger on why she is so in love with Tunis. “There’s just something about this city — its state of flux, its mix of old and new — that fascinates me. I’ve sipped mint tea on corners, chatted to traditional craftsmen, and been out exploring the nightlife with artists and writers. And I’ve loved every minute of it.”

  • #InLoveWithAfrica: Why Dakar Is Too Good To Be True

    senegal By Kate Thomas, 3:43 pm

    There is much to love about Dakar. The breezy ferry to Ile de Goree, with its disputed slave-trading history and colorful colonial houses draped in bougainvillea. The French boulangeries and patisseries that still bake cakes popular in the 1970s. The men dressed in spectacular, silky boubous kneeling for peaceful prayer at the side of the road.

  • Discovering Tunisian Cuisine

    By Kate Thomas, 7:57 am

    After centuries of influence from the Romans, the Byzantines, the Turks, the Spanish and the rest of the Arab world, Tunisian cuisine is having its moment in the sun. It mixes sweet and savory, it’s easy on the spice factor, and it’s rich, subtle and filling — often all at once. So from the clatter of Tunis medina and its promise of warm lamb couscous, to the fishermen’s dreams of Sousse and La Goulette, we set out to explore the very best in homegrown Tunisian cuisine.