5 experiences you can only have in Egypt

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Just holidaying in Egypt is an experience in itself – one that will remain with you for the rest of your life. This country is unlike any other with such a fascinating history. Its enthralling past can still be seen in the ancient ruins and relics scattered across the landscape, inside the striking temples spiraling into the sky and down the narrow backstreets leading to preserved marketplaces and courtyards.

With our Egypt tours you will get countless chances to partake in unique activities – and at times even step out of your comfort zone.

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Ride a camel at the Pyramids of Giza

A trip to Egypt isn’t complete without a visit to the Pyramids of Giza. Spread throughout the country, there are up to eighty pyramids – but the three largest and best preserved can be found just outside of Cairo. The most-famous structure of the three is the Great Pyramid, built for the powerful pharaoh Khufu. This landmark is the only remaining one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

The pyramids were designed to represent the primordial mound, as Egyptians believed that the earth was created from this stone. The shape of the pyramids is thought to be symbolic of descending rays of sunlight. When many of the pyramids were originally constructed, they were covered in a reflective limestone to make them sparkle in the sun. Over time, the limestone has worn away to expose the inner block structure.

To truly get into the spirit of things, you can enjoy a camel ride around these majestic monuments. The camel is the national animal of Egypt and referred to as the ‘creature of the desert’. Ambling around the Giza Plateau on the back of a camel is an excellent option for taking in the ancient sites. Our Egypt tours can help you arrange this activity and your expert guide will be on hand to take all of the photographs you desire.

If you want to see the interior of one of the pyramids, you can book a ticket to climb down and walk around the burial chambers. Inside the Pyramid of Khufu, there are three known chambers – connected by tunnels and lined with hieroglyphs. A limited number of tickets are available for the Great Pyramid.

In the city of Memphis lie the earliest known Egyptian pyramids. You can also visit these on one of our Egypt tours. Dating back to 2611 BC, the Pyramid of Djoser was assembled during the third dynasty. The nearby complex and this pyramid are considered to be the world’s oldest monumental structures of dressed masonry.

Our Egypt tours promise to give you enough time to marvel at the magic of the pyramids and learn about their intriguing history from your local guide.

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Float down the Nile on a felucca 

To view Egypt from a different angle, we highly recommend taking to the longest river in Africa. After many days of sightseeing, driving on the winding, dusty roads and rambling through the busy cities – the Nile offers a much-needed tranquil break. Known as the ‘Mother of All Men’ and the ‘Father of Life’ – the Nile resulted in the rise of power and wealth of the Ancient Egyptians.

Since ancient times in Egypt, the Nile has been a life source for the people. 22% of the river’s course runs through the country and continues to create fertile land for farming and harvesting crops. The banks of the Nile tell stories from the past – as it was here that one of the oldest civilizations in the world was started. Given the country’s continuous warm and dry climate, rainfall is not a common occurrence. As a result, the locals rely on the flooding of the Nile to help keep their agriculture fertile.

Every year in Egypt there is a festival to celebrate the Nile called Leylet en Nuktah. This event dates back to ancient times when the waters of the Nile would rise. If it appeared that the flooding was delayed, the locals would sacrifice a beautiful woman to appease the gods. Today, instead of cruel sacrifices, people gather by the banks for picnics with their friends and family before partying in the streets.

With our Egypt tours, you can experience the Nile from the comfort of a felucca – a traditional wooden sailboat. With most of the feluccas setting off from Aswan, you will float down the Nile and stay on board for a night. A crew will be on hand to cook meals and provide entertainment during your stay. As the sun sets, you can sleep on the open deck under the stars (mattresses, blankets and mosquito nets are provided).

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See the sunrise at Abu Simbel

Of all of the temple sites in Egypt, Abu Simbel is one of the most impressive.  Home to two massive temples, this complex was built by the Egyptian king, Ramses II to reflect his authority. It was fully completed in 1244 BCE and remains an ancient wonder, overlooking the glistening waters of Lake Nasser.

Four giant statues of Ramses sit in front of the main temple and are exceptional examples of ancient Egyptian art.

These towering temples are also thought to have been created to impress Egypt’s neighbours in the south as well as to reinforce the ideals of Egyptian religion. During the reign of Ramses II, six rock temples were erected in the Nubian region – but the Abu Simbel temples are the favoured by visitors for their overwhelming height and magnificent design.

This UNESCO World Heritage Site, which was cut into a solid rock cliff, is also lined with detailed hieroglyphics and artwork. In the 1960s, a team of international engineers had to carefully move these temples from their original location to save them from the rising waters of the Nile. This was as a result of the construction of the nearby Aswan High Dam.

One of our Egypt tours is specifically timed for the Abu Simbel festival. This festival takes place twice a year, on the 22nd of  February (the anniversary of Ramses’ accession to the throne) and the 22nd of October (his birthday). As the sun rises on these selected days, the internal chamber of the temple is illuminated. The light begins to spread across three of the four statues – apart from the statue of Ptah, the god of darkness.

On our special 9-day tour, you will the chance to witness this event – and even enter the chamber to see the well-lit statues. After the sun has risen, the festival continues outside with a lively market, local music, traditional Nubian dancing and food. We recommend that you sample koshari – Egypt’s national dish made of lentils, rice and macaroni with spicy tomato sauce and onions.

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Discover the Egyptian Museum 

For those wanting to learn more about Egypt’s past, the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities is the perfect place to begin. This vast edifice houses up to 120, 0000 items and is one of the largest museums in the region. The museum was originally located near the Ezbekeyah Garden in 1835 and then was later moved to the Cairo Citadel.

There are two main floors within the building and on our Egypt tours your guide will walk you through the displays, pointing out the highlights. The ground floors features an immense assortment of coins and papyrus used in the ancient world. As you walk to the next floor, you will find artifacts from the final dynasties of Egypt and artifacts from the Valley of the Kings.

Your guide will also take you to view the nearly intact coffin of Tutankhamen – an Egyptian pharaoh of the 19th dynasty.  In 1922, it was the British archeologist Howard Carter who discovered the tomb along with Tutankhamen’s golden death mask – now a symbol of Egypt. This mask is regarded as a masterpiece of Egyptian art and engraved with spells to protect the body as it moved into the underworld. The tomb was filled with opulent treasures, some of which are on show.

Outside the museum is a charming garden dedicated to the famous Egyptologists from around the world. After soaking in all of those historical facts, we recommend that you take a breather and wander around the manicured lawn, dotted with palm trees. You will also find a monument to Auguste Mariette – a French archeologist and the founder of the museum.

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Flying on a hot air balloon above Luxor 

What better way to see the ancient sites of Egypt than from above? Many of our Egypt tours pay a visit to Luxor – where you will get the opportunity to ride on a hot air balloon. Set on the east bank of the Nile River and on the site of ancient Thebes, significant monuments and temples encircle this city. The Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens are located on the river’s west bank.

On your Egypt tour, you will get to venture into the Valley of the Kings to see the pharaonic tombs as well as the temples of Queen Hatshepsut and Medinat Habu, and the huge Colossi of Memnon. In the evening, a guided walking tour also goes to view the Luxor Temple, lit up at night.

With so many historical wonders to tick off, it can be overwhelming at times. This is where the hot air balloon comes in, as it is an ideal mode of transport to relax and glide through the air – while marveling at the landmarks from a different perspective. You definitely won’t miss Karnak Temple – the largest religious building ever constructed.

This optional excursion on our Egypt tour takes place early in the morning so as you fly higher the sun begins to rise. It sets off from the west bank of the Nile allowing you to hover over the Valley of the Kings, the array of temple complexes and ruins below. On our Egypt tours, the company that we use is highly reputable with a brilliant track record to ensure your safety. This matchless opportunity is not to be missed, so put your fears aside and soar.

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