Egypt Travel Guide

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Egypt is famously the land of the pharaohs. There’s Tutankhamun, the young boy who became a pharaoh of the 18th dynasty, and whose solid gold death mask is of the most famous ancient artefacts ever found. Or Nefertiti, the spouse of Pharaoh Akhenaton, who is believed to have ruled in her own right and whose beauty is the stuff of legend. Both have given unparalleled romance to the country’s history.

From iconic pyramids that rise from ancient sands and bustling medieval bazaars filled with colour, to the limitless desert dotted with oases of palm trees, busy cities and modern coastal holiday resorts offering a number of the best diving in the world, Egypt is a living museum as well as a land filled with wonderful attractions.

Further south along the Nile, past Aswan, are the temples of Abu Simbel. Built to honour the pharaoh Ramses II and his spouse Nefertari, the temples are adorned with statues some 20m (66ft) high carved with unbelievable detail in to the sheer rock face and gaze out over a huge stretch of water, the Nasser Lake. The temples are an brilliant sight. Here, visitors can enjoy of the spectacular sound-and-light shows that are staged at lots of of Egypt’s treasures nightly.

Most of the country’s astonishing monuments that can be visited today were built in the work of the time of the pharaohs. The Pyramids of Giza (the sole survivors of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World), the mighty Sphinx with its body of a lion as well as a human head, the lotus-columned temples of Luxor and Karnak, the nearby Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens, and Hatshepsut’s temple, the Deir el Bahri, have thrilled visitors to Egypt for hundreds of years.

Egypt is a land of contrasts, ancient and modern, green and barren. Beneath the surface throbs a pulsing Arab state that celebrates its heritage while embracing contemporary life, but recent turmoils, namely the Arab Spring, and another military coup have galvanised a spirit of revolution throughout the nation. Whether the country will ultimately flourish or fade under this ongoing struggle for power remains to be seen. The country is best understood not a lot for its great monuments, splendid though they are, but through its people. Observing the call to prayer at sundown or bartering for a bargain in Cairo’s ancient Khan al-Khalili bazaar, taking tea and speaking with of its garrulous residents in a random coffeehouse or basically stopping awhile in a rural village, silent but for the chatter of hooves on tarmac, will give a glimpse of a country filled with character, colour and fortitude.

Egypt’s natural assets are equally as potent. The Nile Delta, with its intricate network of rivers that fan out north of Cairo to reach its rocky Mediterranean shoreline around Alexandria, is lush and green. In stark contrast is the sparsely populated desert with wind-polished rock formations and oases. Splitting the desert in from the Nile Delta to Egypt’s southernmost border is the spine-like Nile River, which has provided water for the country’s population and its agriculture for millennia. The iron-clad mountains of the Sinai and the gleaming underwater landscapes of the Red Sea, complete the country’s diverse landscape.

Holiday Highlights

Safaris & Wildlife – Kenya has 54 National Parks and reserves, covering thousands of square km of area and boasting an abundance of game. From semi-arid desert to alkaline and fresh-water lakes, this diversity of habitat ensures a wide range of flora and fauna, including the so called “Big 5”- Lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo.

With a huge range of lodges and camps to choose from, as well as safari by plane, balloon, foot and vehicle, there is something to suit everybody.

Walking & Trekking – The most famous destination for a trekking adventure is Mt. Kenya, reaching 5,199 meters in height and covered in snow for part of the year. Set in the middle of its own National Park, much of the mountain can be climbed by any reasonably fit walker. Only the last twenty meters or so involves actual climbing. It is also possible to organise guided (and guarded) walks around the National Parks.

When to Go

The best months to enjoy a Kenya getaway are from January to March and late June through September.

The long rainy season lasts from April to June. During these months it can be so wet that roads may be treacherous, or even closed, as the muddy surface becomes impassable. It is also difficult to see animals on safari in the rain. The shorter rainy season, which has less rainfall, is from October through December.

Top Tips

– Book your bike, trekking, rafting and wildlife tours through a knowledgeable local tour operator who know how to handle situations.

– Be sure to ask people before you take pictures. Many people here do not like to have their picture taken. Some, however, may let you—for small fee.

– Egypt is a land welcoming to visitors. However, be sure to read up on the cultural traditions that may give you heat on the street. Learn to eat appropriately and wear the correct clothing. Often, however, those engaging in sport are allowed more revealing clothes. Once off the bike or raft or trail, be sure to dress humbly and secrete.

Popular Itineraries

– Masai Mara safari.
– Best of Kenya Safari: Masai Mara, Nakuru, Naivasha, Mount Kenya, Samburu.
– Amboseli and Tsavo safari & Beach holiday.
– Climb Mt. Kenya.

UNESCO World Heritage Sites

There are 6 World Heritage Sites in Kenya

Natural sites
– Lake Turkana National Parks
– Mount Kenya National Park/Natural Forest
– Kenya Lake System in the Great Rift Valley

Cultural sites
– Lamu Old Town
– Sacred Mijikenda Kaya Forests
– Fort Jesus, Mombasa