Africa

Egypt: Eternal and Essential

written by | Posted on March 1st, 2009

africaexperts by goway Moira Smith, general manager, AfricaExperts by Goway, reports that “among our longer Egypt tours, our best-seller is the 2-country tour to Egypt & Jordan.

“It’s easy to combine these neighboring nations, offering a comprehensive journey that embraces the best of Egypt, the Sinai, the Red Sea and Jordan.”

Travelers on this 14-night tour spend the first two nights in Cairo, with a full day of city sightseeing and Pyramid visits, before flying to Luxor to begin a 4-night Nile cruise to Aswan. From Cairo, travelers head out over the Red Sea to the Sinai Peninsula and St. Catherine’s Monastery, spending two nights along the shores of the Gulf of Aqaba in Nuweiba before ferrying over to Jordan. In Jordan, highlights are the haunting desert wilderness of Wadi Rum, the spectacular Nabataean city of Petra, the drive from the Dead Sea to Amman, and visits to the Roman ruins and Crusader castle sites. The tour price starts at $2,758 pp dbl.

While in Egypt, Smith recommends, “making time to return for a second visit to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo—once is just not enough. Then consider staying a couple of nights at the Oberoi Mena House, where you wake up to the spectacle of sunrise (and later sunset) just in front of the hotel. It’s very special.”

nile cruise—a must Central to travel planning for every first-time traveler’s visit to Egypt is a cruise along the Nile, offered for different time periods, with the 4-night sailings between Luxor and Aswan the most popular. And while Egypt’s great temples and pyramids awe the mind, a Nile cruise soothes the soul. Since cruise boats sail along at about 12 miles an hour, you hardly feel the movement as you recline on deck, viewing a sun-drenched diorama of fields and sandstone hills, date-palm groves and mud-brick homes, and white-sailed feluccas. This stretch of the Nile has the greatest concentration of ancient monuments in the country, and days are spent visiting the sites, relaxing by the onboard pool, sampling the restaurant offerings, watching a whole new world go by. By night, there are usually cocktails, dancing, and a costume party where passengers are encouraged to dress Egyptian-style.

Nile cruises generally visit the lovely Temple of Isis at Philae in Aswan; the Greco-Roman Temple at Kom Ombo; the Temple of Horus at Edfu; the Temple of the ram-headed god Khnum at Esna; the magnificent temples of Luxor and Karnak; and the Valley of the Kings, where among other marvels, lies the tomb of King Tut.