Egypt is one of the world’s most spectacular destinations. Some women may be put off by the idea of traveling through Egypt alone, but the reality is that the country is safe, hospitable and fascinating for savvy travellers who take the time to learn about the culture.
Flights to Egypt are frequent and affordable, and combined with a modest wardrobe, a good itinerary and a polite and informed disposition, visitors have all the requisite elements for a successful Egyptian adventure; one full of history, culture, and spectacular scenery.
Here are some of Egypt’s very best additions to any itinerary:
Cairo and the Pyramids
It’s near impossible to venture all the way to Egypt without visiting the capital city and the country’s most iconic monuments. The world-famous pyramids lie in the Giza plateau and are truly a sight to behold. The Great Pyramid of Giza – the piece de resistance of this particular collection of pyramids is both the oldest, and largest of the pyramids, as well as being the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World; and the only one that remains intact.
A testament to Egyptian innovation, man power and ambition, the Pyramids are best appreciated up-close. Visitors can reach them by 4×4, bus tour, camel or car and it is indeed a rather busy attraction, but well worth the trip. If possible, take a peek inside the pyramids for a truly magical experience.
While not necessarily an itinerary mainstay like Cairo, Alexandria is a smaller and less touristy port city to the north of the capital city on the shores of the Mediterranean. Named after Alexander the Great, the city is part of a larger region that was once conquered by the legendary hero, serving as an important trade centre.
In a more modern context the city was home to Greek and Jewish populations up to the 1950s and their presence is still felt in certain parts of town. There are gorgeous mosaics documenting the city’s history and a host of accessible smaller towns nearby like Rosetta, or Sallum which make for great day trips.
The Sinai peninsula has become something of a sun-chasing mecca in recent years, with hordes of European’s flocking to these storied shores for nothing more than an inexpensive resort holiday. The real treasure of Sinai lays further inland, in the remote and stunning mountains around Mount Sinai. Regardless of your religious beliefs, Sinai is indeed a mystical and powerful place; believed by all three major religions to be the place where Moses received the 10 commandments.
There is a mosque and a Greek Orthodox chapel on site, and views from this historical powerhouse are nothing short of majestic. For adventurous visitors, there is a Bedouin eco-lodge nearby that serves as a fantastic base for exploring the stark mountains and lush valleys of the surrounding area. Before departing, be sure to stop in at St. Catherine’s Christian monastery, the oldest working monastery in the world.
Visiting a desert oasis in Egypt is one of the most surreal experiences a tourist can have, but for sure a must. Dahkla is one of seven oases in the Western Desert and 350km from the Nile Valley. It’s a gruelling journey to get there and takes visitors through sandy dunes and real live mirages, ultimately delivering them to a spectacular oasis surrounded by medieval mud brick villages which were important outposts during Pharaonic, Roman and Islamic periods in Egyptian history.
The best way to experience the oasis is to simply wander the narrow alleyways, taking in the monuments that remain from each historical period. The villages are a unique glimpse into authentic desert life and a truly remote Egyptian experience.
Egypt is a truly magical country; from its ancient history to its modern metropolises. The country has stood the test of time, and is a living monument that is still remarkably relevant in a modern context. Well worth a visit, Egypt is full of surprises and truly special places.