Egypt beyond the pyramids: 10 things to see and do 

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 When people think of Egypt, the Giza Pyramids automatically come to mind. As remarkable and unique as these ancient burial complexes are, the pyramids are only a fraction of what Egypt has to offer. Our Egypt tours cross everything off this list and make sure that you look past the pyramids and experience the other noteworthy splendors too.

Cairo 

 This capital city is where our Egypt tours start and end – allowing you to explore its sights thoroughly. The metropolitan area is one of the largest in Africa and the largest in the Middle East. To many first-time visitors, this megacity can be rather daunting, but your local guide will make sure that you feel at ease. Informative walking tours take to the twisting backstreets, the bazaars, Coptic Cairo and the Citadel. After a day of ambling, the tour will break for lunch at a local café. You can rest your feet while tasting the popular dish, kushari (a blend of rice, lentils, macaroni, tomato sauce and crispy fried onions) and smoke a shisha pipe. Many of our tours conclude with an Al Guri Sufi show in Cairo, filled with local dance and music.

The Sphinx  

Sitting adjacent to the pyramids, the Sphinx is just as impressive. With the head of a human and the body of a lion, this statue was inspired by a mythical creature. It is still a mystery as to why the Sphinx was built, but evidence indicates that it was constructed for the Egyptian Pharaoh Khafre during his reign. This single-stone structure was carved from the bedrock of the Giza Plateau and is unlike many other ancient constructions in Egypt, as it does not have any hieroglyphics on its surface. When travelling with our Egypt tour, the Giza Plateau, home to the pyramids and the Sphinx, is the first stop on the itinerary.

Egyptian Museum  

To learn more about the history of Egypt and to take a break from the heat, this gallery of antiquities is the place. Displaying a large assortment of Egyptian artefacts, this vast edifice is a striking sight. Your expert guide on your Egypt tour will lead you through the different floors, pointing out the highlights amongst the 120, 000 items. You will also be able to see the exhibit of Tutankhamen – an Egyptian pharaoh of the 18th dynasty. His coffin along with valuable grave goods and his golden death mask (which is on show) was discovered in the Valley of the Kings in 1922.  

The Nile River 

This Egyptian lifeline and the longest river in Africa is best experienced via felucca – a traditional wooden sailboat. Our Egypt tours include this distinctive experience as part of our trips as a way to watch rural Egyptian life. Floating down the river is an ideal way to see sights of Egypt that you might have missed, especially the many riverside temples. We choose to travel on a wooden craft with two large sales. Although this is a slower means of transport, you can enjoy a much-needed break from all the sightseeing and meandering around. Onboard, a Nubian crew will welcome you and in the evenings provide entertainment and delicious meals. You can even sleep on the deck of the boat for the night (mattresses, blankets and mosquito nets are provided).

Aswan 

One of the many stops on our Egypt tours is the scenic city of Aswan, overlooking the Nile River. Lush islands, palm trees and waterfalls surround this ancient frontier. Given that the city is also part of the Nubian region, many descendants of the Nubian people still reside here. During your time in the city, our Egypt tour will visit a local Nubian village where you can feast on a lunch of traditional delicacies. There are also many charming markets and souks to explore and you can discover the banks of the Nile with a camel ride to St. Simoen’s Monastery. The other archaeological sites worth checking out in the city include the Temple Khum, from the Third Dynasty and the Temple of Isis dating back to the 4th century B.C.

Philae Temple Complex 

Your trip to Aswan would not be complete without an excursion to the Philae Temple on Agilkia Island. Positioned in the reservoir of the Aswan Dam, this shrine and former ancient pilgrimage centre, was dedicated to the goodness of Isis. This momentous monument features tall structures with a ring of luscious foliage. As a result of rising water, this complex was relocated with a UNESCO project from its original spot on Philae Island to the safety of Agilkia Island. This temple complex is only accessible by boat and our Egypt tours will also take you to see more of the Aswan Dam.

Abu Simbel 

As part of our Egypt tour, you have the option to visit the temples of Abu Simbel. This excursion takes place early in the morning so that you can witness the sun rising over the temples and illuminating the internal chambers. Built by the Pharaoh Ramses II in 13th century BC, this UNESCO World Heritage Site rests on the western bank of Lake Nasser. The two colossal temples are carved into the solid rock face and are guarded by four enormous statues. In 1968, the complex was relocated to an artificial hill by a team of international engineers, saving it from being submerged by water.

Check out this tour where you can experience the Abu Simbel Sun Festival that takes place twice a year.

Luxor

Located on the east bank of the Nile, this city is another stopover on many of our Egypt tours. In Ancient Egypt, this site was the pharaohs’ capital during the 16th-11th centuries B.C. Today, this location is said to have the greatest concentration of ancient ruins in the Nile Valley and even the world. One of the most important landmarks is the Karnak Temple, to the east of the Nile.

This former religious centre of Thebes and Upper Egypt is an immense complex, connected to Luxor by an avenue lined with sphinxes. To the west of the Nile lies the City of the Dead – an Islamic necropolis and cemetery. After the sun has set the tour will take a walk to the smaller Luxor Temple, which sits in the middle of the town and looks extraordinary at night.

Valley of the Kings 

This basin on the west bank of the Nile is the burial site of almost all of the pharaohs from the 18th, 19th and 20th dynasties. There are 62 known tombs that differ in design and decoration. In 1979, UNESCO declared this valley part of the World Heritage Site of ancient Thebes. On our Egypt tours, your guide will escort you through some of the royal burial chambers. You can also view the stone statues of Colossi of Memnon and the temples of Queen Hatshepsut and Medinat Habu on this tour. If you want to look at this historical site from above, our tours offer the option of a hot air balloon ride.

The Red Sea – Hurghada 

Some people might be surprised that Egypt is also a seaside destination with a stretch of coastline along the Red Sea. The final stop on many of our Egypt tours is Hurghada. What used to be a small fishing village is now a lively beach resort town and a popular place for aquatic activities. This seawater inlet of the Indian Ocean attracts divers from all over the world to seek out its coral reefs and marine life. You will have plenty of time on the tour to try windsurfing, snorkelling and fishing. On land, you can go on camel rides and quad bikes in the nearby desert. If you want to extend your stay in Hurghada, this can be arranged.

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