Whilst Egypt has been experiencing turbulent times in recent memory this has had one advantage for the more adventurous traveller – a huge reduction in cost for going to Egypt. Now if you want to wait to travel there we can understand but things are looking like they are cooling down and prices for flights ad package holidays are at an all-time low. Either way at some point in your life you are going to have to visit Egypt – yes we really are that emphatic. You’ll need your passport, a visa and some travel insurance but not too much money though as Egypt is still incredibly great value.
Pic: let2 /Flickr
First stop on many journeys is the capital Cairo. Whilst some cruises miss out this city we’d recommend you go even if it means adding a few days to your trip. The obvious reason is or the Pyramids at Giza and the Sphinx. The Great Pyramid of Cheops is the last remaining wonder of the ancient world and is without a doubt the most impressive thing I have personally seen. It looms on the outskirts of Cairo set against the desert and is just gigantic. If you are lucky enough to be one of the few allowed inside you will be treated to a winding descent which curves into a huge antechamber that rises up to the great sarcophagus itself. Outside the pyramid itself you can visit the incredible temples and the sphinx with its ever famous broken nose. However his is by no means all Cairo has to offer and you absolutely must visit the Egyptian museum to see Tutankhamen’s sarcophagus and burial mask, the creepy mummies and the finest collection of ancient artefacts in the world. The museum is a full day’s excursion and worth lingering over. Finally you should visit the markets which have a great mix of local culture and an incredible array of shops. If you fancy it try the local very strong coffee and a Shisha pipe with tobacco or just fruit.
Ok so outside of Cairo it’s time for a Nile cruise. The best advice we can give you for a Nile Cruise is don’t start in Abu Simbel. If you start in Abu Simbel then many of the other highlights will pale into insignificance in comparison. Ok, so with that in mind we’ll work our way down starting with Carnac which is a beautiful temple complex with some magnificent statues set in a well preserved plaza like complex. From here you head down to the Valley of the Kings and queens. This is where Tutankhamen’s burial chambers were discovered and whilst not as grand as the pyramids themselves are still impressive in their own right. From here Luxor is an incredibly impressive temple sitting on a lake and is one of the most well preserved of all the temples remaining.
Pic: boomjuan /Flickr
Finally however we get onto the second best highlight of Egypt – Abu Simbel. Abu Simbel is a pair of temples carved straight into the rock face. What makes them so impressive though are the 4 ten plus metres high statues guarding the temple entrances that loom over the surroundings. These are just incredible but what is also equally impressive is that none of this is in its original location. When the previous Egyptian government built the Aswan dam the whole thing was moved section by section to its current location.
Egypt is a country steeped in history with the finest examples of ancient civilisation anywhere still existing in the world today. A visit is so rewarding you’ll undoubtedly want to return again and again.
Copyright © 2011 Mike Jones