The fabled land of the pharaohs - Egypt is one of the most historically rich regions in the world. Fascinating landmarks, magnificent temples, countless tombs, museums bursting with ancient treasures, the storied and sacred River Nile...
There are certainly a myriad reasons why an Egypt tour should be on your list of destinations to visit in 2020. Here are 10.
Unsurprisingly, the world-famous Pyramids of Giza are top of the list of reasons to visit Egypt. These awe-inspiring structures need no introduction, and are an entire destination in themselves. Constructed thousands of years ago without the aid of modern technology, they have fascinated mankind for generations. Simply standing in front of them is a bucket-list experience for many. When you visit on one of our Egypt tours, you have the option of going inside to explore, taking a camel ride around the Giza plains, and even booking the entertaining and informative sound and light show in the evening.
Cairo is one of the biggest cities in the world. Home to almost 20 million people, this sprawling megalopolis is a heaving centre of activity. The bustle continues into the small hours; like many other great cities of the world, Cairo never seems to fully go to sleep. Nowhere is this more evident that in the part of the city known as the "Old City", also called "Islamic Cairo" or "Historic Cairo".
The Old City features many important historical buildings and mosques, as well as many Coptic churches and ruins. Here you will also find the famous Khan el Khalili bazaar. You can practically feel the history enveloping you as walk through the narrow streets and explore the many alleyways. Exploring the Old City is a delight for the senses, as you are hear the calls of traders, are jostled by shoppers and people going about their chores, and breathe in the smells of street fare and shisha pipes. The call to prayer reverberates through the region 5 times a day, adding to the mystical atmosphere.
One of Egypt's biggest drawcards is certainly its people. The people of Egypt are warm, friendly, and welcoming, and will invite you into their land with open arms. While you are their guest, they will treat you like family, and you will leave having gained lifelong friends. An overwhelming majority of travellers to Egypt return from their visit with the assertion that their trip was made undoubtedly more memorable by the efforts of their guides and the cordiality of the local people.
Egypt, of course, is renowned for its staggering wealth of history. It has been the site of centuries of wars, conquests, and significant events in human history. The region has housed numerous civilisations and nations, and been home to countless religions, cultures, and languages throughout its history. Kings, queens, princes, pharaohs, prophets... all have walked Egypt's hallowed lands. When you visit, you will have the chance to catch a glimpse into this eventful past. You will be able to visit the temples, tombs, palaces, and museums, and walk in the footsteps of the ancient people. You will be able to see the mummies of ancient royals, commoners, and even animals.
The Nile River is synonymous with Egypt. It is not exclusive to the country, of course. At 6650km, it is the longest river in the world, and flows through 10 other countries before arriving in Egypt and making its way to its mouth in the north of the country. But the river has played a major role in Egypt's history. It was pivotal in the creation of ancient settlements, which appeared along its banks in prehistoric times, and led to the creation of the first recognizable national state in the world. The Nile was of immense importance to the ancient Egyptians, who believed it to be the source of life. It also plays a role in many of the myths and legends of the ancient people, as well as famous and important religious events, such as carrying Moses in the basket to the Pharaoh.
The Nile continues to form an integral part of life for Egyptians. An old belief, which is still held today, claims that if a visitor beholds the beauty of the river, they are guaranteed to return to Egypt. What better motivation could you have for visiting it?
With our tours, you will have the chance to not only see the Nile, but float down it, relax on its banks, and even take a dip in it.
Of all the fascinating kings and queens of ancient Egypt, perhaps the most well-known and intriguing is King Tutankhamun. The famous Boy King's tomb was discovered, intact, in 1992. The story of his life, as well as the mystery of his death, has enthralled the world ever since. When you visit Egypt, you can visit the tomb itself, located in the incredible Valley of the Kings in Luxor. The wonder is increased tenfold when you are given the chance to observe the mummy of King Tut itself, a truly unforgettable experience.
When you visit the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, you will also be able to marvel at the incredible contents that were found inside King Tut's tomb: countless treasures consisting of weapons, jewels, clothes, personal artifacts, and more. It is mind-blowing knowing that you are looking at objects that are approximately 3000 years old. His coffins and iconic golden mask are also on display.
Luxor is situated in southern Egypt. It was one of the most important cities of ancient Egypt: known as Thebes, it was the capital of the pharaohs when they were at the height of their power. It therefore contains fascinating surviving monuments today, and is home to numerous tombs of the ancient kings and queens. When you visit Egypt with us, you have the chance to see Luxor from a unique perspective: above. A hot-air balloon journey over the city allows you to experience the splendour of the landscape in its entirety: from Luxor Temple nestled among houses and buildings in the inner city, to the majesty of Karnak Temple and the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, to the hilly plains of the Valley of the Kings; with the mighty Nile dividing the city in half. The balloon trip starts before dawn; after floating peacefully above the still-sleeping city, you are able to enjoy a sunrise in a way you never have done before.
Egypt is simply bursting with temples: from the grand and imposing to the small and intimate, the ancient temples of Egypt stand as reminders of the devotion of the past civilisations that occupied the land.
Perhaps the most famous of these is the breathtaking complex at Abu Simbel. It features two temples, the Great Temple and the Small Temple, both overlooking Lake Nasser. The enormous Great Temple is almost as well-known and iconic as the Pyramids. Its façade is legendary: four colossal statues of King Ramesses II, one of ancient Egypt's most fabled kings. The statues each depict the king seated on a throne, wearing the double crown of both Upper and Lower Egypt.
The entrance of the Great Temple was famously built in such a way so that when the sun rises on two days of the year, October 22 and February 22, it shines into the inner sanctuary and illuminates 3 of the 4 statues that are there. The fourth, a statue of Ptah, the god of the underworld, remains in darkness. These two dates are thought to be that of Ramesses's ascension to the throne, and his birthday.
The Small Temple is situated close by the Great Temple, and is thought to have been built for Ramesses's wife, Queen Nefertari.
A trip to Egypt would not be complete without taking the time to sample the local cuisine. The Middle East offers some of the most unique and delicious culinary options that continue to delight the palates of visitors from all over the world.
One local dish which in unmissable is koshary, a main course that consists of rice, macaroni, chickpeas, lentils, and fried onions. Koshary is accompanied by a tomato-based sauce, as well as a garlic and chilli sauce, both of which can be added as you prefer. Wash it down with a cold soft drink or a refreshing glass of pomegranate or hibiscus juice (both commonly found in Egypt).
Other local dishes to try include fetir, a type of fried bread enjoyed with molasses or honey, ideal for breakfast. You will also find many middle Eastern and Mediterranean dishes that are characteristic of this part of the world: breads, dips, oils, salads, vegetables, fruits, and yoghurt are common. Middle Eastern desserts are also a must-try, with tantalizing treats including baklava, kanafeh, basbousa, and more.
In Egypt, you will very often find people ordering a shisha pipe after a meal. Shisha is a popular social activity, enjoyed both after meals and in special shisha lounges.
Visit Egypt, just so that you can say that you did! The country is a very common bucket list destination, and as we've shown, it's easy to see why. Make 2020 the year that you check the box next to "Egypt" on your list!
This special Egypt tour features the amazing Sun Festival at the Abu Simbel temple to Ramses II on the 22nd Feb and 22nd Oct each year. We combine this with time in Cairo, Aswan and Luxor, discovering more of ancient Egypt.
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