If you are braving the heat in Morocco, Egypt, Tunisia, Senegal, the Gambia, Mali, Zanzibar and other predominantly Muslim countries/regions, you will no doubt be aware that Ramadan is around the corner. Muslims throughout Africa will begin their month long fast, from sun up to sundown, on July 20 this year (2012).
Non-Muslim tourists are not expected to fast and in most tourist areas you'll still be able to eat and drink in restaurants during the day. Since Ramadan starts during the heat of summer this year, be prepared for some frayed tempers near the end of the day as thirst and fatigue sets in.
I traveled in Morocco during Ramadan a few years ago and found it to have both its pros and cons. I missed out on the buzzing cafes filled with people sipping tea and enjoying a smoke during the day. But instead I was treated to a very festive atmosphere every night once the fast was broken and bellies were full. Families go out and enjoy the evening dressed in their best and the last week of Ramadan is filled with interesting customs and festivals.
Image of the Grande Mosque, Djenne, Mali -- Getty Images/Gavin Hellier