15th November 2019
No matter what corner of the world you come from, you’ve surely heard a lot about Egypt. From one of the earliest human civilizations dating back roughly 5,000 years to the recent Arab Spring, it has been front and center on the world stage through much of history. It houses museums full of priceless artifacts, historic sites that truly transport you to another time, amazing food and drink, and scenery provided by the legendary Nile River.
One of the biggest challenges of visiting Egypt is navigating all of that history. Unless you have unlimited time, it’s very difficult to arrange an itinerary that will put you at all of the must-visit sites. They’re spread all around a country that’s not the easiest for those without local knowledge, and until you arrive, how do you decide what’s worth your time and what’s a tourist trap?
It’s likely a country that you’ll want to visit again and again, but there are a few main areas where you can get a feel for Egypt’s history and culture. Continue reading as get a better idea for an expansive Egypt Travel Itinerary.
An obvious first stop is to see some of the many pyramids. Not only are the Great Pyramids of Giza the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, but they’re also the best surviving of that list. To put their size and scale in perspective, just think about the fact that the Pyramid of Cheops was the tallest structure in the world for almost 4,000 years.
Sitting in close proximity to the capital of Cairo, you can visit Giza for some photo opportunities on a scenic viewpoint, and even take a tour inside if you’re not afraid of ancient curses. While there, also pay a visit to the Sphinx and go to Saqqara – home to the oldest pyramids on Earth.
Despite their best attempts to secure them, determined treasure hunters and archaeologists couldn’t be kept out of the Pharaohs’ tombs throughout the centuries. The good news for curious modern minds is that the largest collection of these amazing ancient treasures is on display in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
This unique building which opened in 1901 has exactly what you would hope to see. With over 120,000 objects on display, you’ll get to view many burial masks (including the spectacular Gold Mask of Tutankhamun), see preserved mummies, and look at all kinds of other wonders meant to accompany their owners into the afterlife.
In a country with so much history, it’s slightly ironic that one of the greatest places to visit only dates back to the 1960s. Lake Nasser is a manmade reservoir that crosses from southern Egypt into Sudan (although, the name technically changes to Lake Nubia as it crosses over).
Lake Nasser covers more than 7,800 kilometres making it one of the largest stretches of water in the world. But it owes its impressiveness to more than just its massive size. It runs through a harsh stretch of desert providing impressive scenery, as well as views of wildlife such as Nile crocodiles and tons of different birds.
A major perk of visiting Lake Nasser is that it’s size and location severely lower the number of tourists able to pay it a visit. Taking a ride on a traditional boat to an ancient Pharaonic temple with no one else around is an experience that will stay with you for life.
The Nile River has always been the lifeblood of Egypt, so taking to the waters is a necessity to understand how the region has sustained life for thousands of years. But why settle for a modern, motorized boat when you can opt for something a little more traditional.
There are two types of boats you should look out for: a sandal and a dahabiya. The dahabiya is the larger of the two types of houseboats, and it is essentially a shallow-bottomed boat with two sails. They’ve been used for thousands of years to transport people and goods on the river, and there are even drawings of them on the walls of ancient tombs.
Many of these boats have had modern upgrades to offer a lot of comfort, but they allow for you to slowly take in the scenery of the Nile as it was meant to. A popular destination to start or end one of these voyages is the beautiful city of Aswan. Take advantage of the peaceful downtime to reflect on your trip and learn some unique tidbits of language or culture from the crew.
Luxor, also known by its former Greek name of Thebes, has a modern city built around some massive ruins of the Karnak and Luxor temple complexes. It was the capital of Upper Egypt during the time of the New Kingdom, so it is drenched in history.
Just as impressive are the valleys that you’ll find across the river. The Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens were popular burial sites for centuries, and elaborate tombs were created as resting places for the rich and powerful. Arguably the most famous find was the tomb of Tutankhamun, but the whole area is a giant playground for archaeologists.
Do You Need a Visa?
Here is a list of countries that don’t currently need a visa to visit:
Many countries, including the EU, US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, are eligible to obtain a visa upon arrival. Also, many countries can apply online for an eVisa, which can save some frustration at the border
If you’re eager to explore Egypt and immerse yourself in all of this history, check out some of these Wild Frontiers tours:
Contact Wild Frontiers to learn more about our tours for your world destination trips.