A trip to Egypt typically looks a certain way. Most modern travellers will look for accommodations in Cairo and from there easily explore Giza and its legendary monuments to ancient history. There’s really no sense travelling to Egypt without seeing the pyramids of the Sphinx, all of which are in Giza just across the Nile River from Cairo, so it’s perfectly logical that this is where a lot of people’s minds go. However, there’s more to do in Egypt than just this priority tourism, so we’re going to take a look at a few more unusual excursions for your time there.
Dive The Red Sea
There’s an image of Egypt as an arid, hot land, and it’s easy to see why. For one thing, most of our somewhat fictionalised accounts of Egyptian history show it as such: dusty landscapes, expansive deserts, citizens bronzed by the sun, and even royalty dressing in little more than loincloths. Additionally, it just so happens that most of Egypt’s most famous sights – the things we all look at when we consider Egypt today – happen to be in the desert or desert-like climates. However, while there’s some legitimate foundation to these perceptions of Egypt, they also ignore the fact that there are beautiful seaside areas in the country.
That brings us to the Red Sea. Numerous Egyptian towns border the sea, and while some are essentially old fishing villages, others have become popular tourist destinations – largely for scuba diving. In fact, at this point, few locations crop up in conversations about scuba diving the way the Red Sea does, with healthy reefs, wreck diving, caverns, and drifts being among the highlights. It’s a very pretty area, suitable for beginners and experts alike, and capable of giving you a wholly different Egyptian excursion than what you may have in your mind.
Sail Down The Nile
The idea that the Nile is merely a river that runs through Egypt misses the point of tourism in the area. Indeed, once you start looking into things the Nile is incredible. Its history is that it enabled and supported one of the truly great civilisations in human history. It’s larger even than people realise, stretching south even into Uganda (where rafting on it is a popular attraction). It even has its own games, just like the rest of Egyptian history and the pyramids. “A While On The Nile,” as one Ireland-based gaming site says, brings the famous sights of Egypt into gameplay, and revolves largely around the river. What we’re getting at here is that it’s every bit as significant as the pyramids.
And truth be told there are numerous ways to enjoy it. Some look into paid cruises that drift down the deeper portions of the river. Others will look into staying at Aswan, a gorgeous riverside town that’s become something of a luxury hotspot for tourists. But maybe the best way to truly get in touch with this ancient land while on vacation is to charter or rent a sailboat to take you out on the water. There’s nothing quite like it.
Hike Mount Sinai
Mount Sinai is a famous part of Egyptian lore, to be sure, but it’s not something many people consider to be a modern attraction. Indeed, when a location appears in the Bible, we almost seem to attach it entirely to a different era of human history altogether, and forget its attachment to the physical world! But rest assured Mount Sinai is still there, and it’s actually accessible to travellers.
Tour groups hiking Mount Sinai leave from the town of St. Catherine, though you can also access them from Sharm El Sheikh, which happens to be a known resort city. The hike itself can take four or five hours and makes for an excellent highlight to a more relaxing trip staying in one of the towns. And as with a sailing expedition down the Nile, you ought to feel an incredible connection to ancient history.
Stay In Luxor
Luxor isn’t exactly a hidden gem. In fact, it’s quite a popular destination for travellers. That said, because it’s well south of Cairo and Giza, it may not be on everyone’s radar, and can certainly provide a different kind of experience. The highlights of a trip to Luxor include seeing plenty of ancient sights (the Luxor Temple, the Karnak Temple, the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens among them, and some even enjoy the chance to take a hot air balloon ride over the area. In other words, Luxor isn’t a particularly unique suggestion, but it’s still somewhat in the shadow of Cairo and Giza, and in many respects, it’s every bit as interesting and enjoyable.