The great ancient Egyptian culture that left the incredible legacy began around 3200 BCE. Over the next 3000 years, the Pharaoh’s constructed astonishing monuments celebrating victory, power and the afterlife. Owing to its strategic location on the Mediterranean, the land of Egypt appealed to many imperialistic nations with the Persians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Ottomans, French and the English all attempting and many succeeding to secure their piece of Egyptian sand. Today Egypt basks in the glory of its proud history, while endeavouring to navigate its way through the complexities of the modern world.
Most travellers appreciate visiting Egypt in the cooler, winter months when the mercury averages around 18 degrees during the day. At night, the temperatures drop to eight degrees in winter, so it’s a good idea to bring a jumper. In summer temperatures reach a rather sticky 36 degrees. Rain is virtually negligible year round.
The Cairo International Film Festival is a highlight on the Egyptian calendar. With such a proud history, there are festivals celebrating ancient traditions including Pharaonic Wedding, where couples use the occasions to marry near the Karnak Temple complex, Wafaa Al Nil, a festival honouring the Nile River, and Shem al Nessim which marks the arrival of spring.
There are no direct flights from Australia to Cairo. Flights which transit via a third city generally take around 20 hours in total travelling time, but may be longer depending on transit times. Airlines that fly from Australia to Cairo include:
Cairo offers many luxury five star accommodation options that rival their European counterparts including the Marriott, InterContinental, Hilton and the Sofitel. Similarly Sharm El Sheikh is widely regarded as Egypt’s luxury seaside resort town with many hotels commanding spectacular positions overlooking the Red Sea.
To find out more about the range of holiday accommodation available with Travel Associates call 1800 017 849 or enquire online.
Sights to See
In Cairo, check out the ancient artefacts displayed in the Cairo Museum including the iconic mask of King Tutankhamen, explore the fourteenth century Mosque-Madrassa of Sultan Hassan and appreciate the city views from the Citadel Al-Qalaa. Take the obligatory trip to the Giza Plateau and stare directly into the eyes of the Sphinx before climbing into the inner chambers of the Pyramids.
Journey up the Nile to Luxor to admire the columns in the Karnak Temple Complex and the astonishing artistry painted onto the walls of the tombs in the Valley of the Kings. A popular journey is from Luxor to Aswan, which is the jumping off point for the day trip to Abu Simbel, massive statues featuring Pharaoh Ramesses II.
Once you’ve reached your cultural saturation point, head over to the Sinai Peninsula to relax on the beach in Sharm El Sheik or the more relaxed Dahab. Consider snorkelling or diving in the Red Sea, which boasts more than 1200 deepwater fish.
Don’t Leave Without…
Sunscreen and insect repellent, while available, can be expensive if purchased in Egypt. Mosquitoes are active throughout the country, especially around dusk and near waterways, so be prepared to use your preferred repellent liberally.
Egypt is an Islamic nation and follows the accompanying cultures and traditions. You’ll quite often hear the call to prayer from the many minarets, five times a day. A significant Islamic event is Ramadan, held in the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. During this month, Muslims abstain from eating and drinking between dawn and dusk. Non-muslims visiting the nation are not expected to follow this tradition, however sensitivity is generally advised. Some restaurants may remain closed during this period, so it’s advisable to plan ahead.
When entering a mosque, always remove your shoes, however you can keep your socks.
Things to be careful of…
Many workers in the hospitality industry rely on tips to subsidise their income. It’s important to be aware that many people may request a tip for performing roles that you wouldn’t traditionally consider necessary to require a tip.
Most travellers at some point will encounter a local who attempts to persuade the visitor to see their souvenir store. Most of the time a simple, no thanks, is enough. Just be firm and the situation should resolve itself.
Petty crime does exist. There’s no need to be paranoid, just aware. Don’t keep your wallet in your back pocket and don’t wear flashy jewellery.
Never photograph locals without their permission.