"Egyptomania" refers to post-pharaonic fascination with ancient Egypt and its myriad manifestations. This includes obvious visual expressions of Egyptian themes. No country on earth boasts a longer recorded history than does Egypt, the Eternal 'Gift of the Nile' as described by the Historian Herodotus. For long years, Egypt has remained traditionally the hub of tourists interested in the history and the valuable heritage of ancient Egyptian monuments spread all over the country.Visiting Egypt is like traveling through time, with stops at some of the most remarkable milestones of history. One of the oldest civilizations on the planet, this self-proclaimed "mother of the world" was first unified under one king more than 6,000 years ago.
Despite ranking in the top 30 largest countries with its 1 million square kilometers of land, Egypt is a country that is notorious for its geographic ‘distribution.’ 99% of Egypt’s population utilizes only 5% of the total land area but nearly 100% of its aquatic resources as a result of the predominantly barren ecosystem. The lifeline of some 90 million human beings, the river Nile is the focal point of urban planning, an incredible 6,695 km gift of sustenance for Egypt and three other countries, making it the longest, and arguably most vital, river in the world.Despite ranking in the top 30 largest countries with its 1 million square kilometers of land, Egypt is a country that is notorious for its geographic ‘distribution.’ 99% of Egypt’s population utilizes only 5% of the total land area but nearly 100% of its aquatic resources as a result of the predominantly barren ecosystem. The lifeline of some 90 million human beings, the river Nile is the focal point of urban planning, an incredible 6,695 km gift of sustenance for Egypt and three other countries, making it the longest, and arguably most vital, river in the world.
The Nile enters Egypt a few kilometers north of a Sudanese town called Wadi Halfa through a narrow canyon that traverses sandstone and granite cliffs. The northward flowing direction of the river has thus earned Egypt’s southern border the name “Upper Egypt.” Within this stretch of the Nile is the world’s most intensive concentration of temples, tombs and palaces constructed over the span of 4,000 years. This includes the temples of Abydos, Dendara, Karnak, Esna, Edfu, Kom Ombo, Philae and Abu Simbel, each conceived for their respective deities, further to the tombs in the Theban Necropolis within the Valley of the Kings across the river from Luxor. Absorbing the river-scape from the comfort of a felucca (small sail boat) is the epitome of pleasure, relished by locals and non-locals alike. This is easily arranged in Aswan, and larger Nile cruise boats can provide an even more luxurious experience. As this river continues to flow upwards past major cities and temples, it begins to branch out into a flower-shaped formation known as the Nile delta, covering 240 km of the Mediterranean coastline. Home to 39 million people, this is Egypt’s most agriculturally rich land with some of the most beautiful, soul-rejuvenating nature Egypt has to offer.
Much like the Nile, the Red Sea coast, a once microcosm of the world that hosted sailors from far away lands, has also become a pivotal part of the country. Turquoise waves break against rocky capes and windswept beaches in the foreground of an endless mountain range, a much needed escape for the people of Cairo. The real lure here, especially for the non-locals, are the fabulous island reefs near the resort of Hurghada and the smaller settlements of Port Safaga, El-Quseir and Marsa Alam to the south. This entire region saw a rapid transformation in the past two decades, catalyzed by surges of annual tourists, with the most notable development being the future construction of Egypt’s new capital city near this coastline. These destinations pack a powerful punch when it comes to travel-seeking vacationers. Shark-diving, snorkeling, and kite-surfing are complemented by the revitalizing effects of 18-hole golf courses, private beaches, open-air cinemas, and unrivaled night life scenes. A tribute to its elusive splendor, the Egyptian landscape is quite remarkable, especially considering it’s a country composed mostly of sand and dust.
Egypt is the 29th biggest country in the world, covering a total area of 1,002,450 sq. km. It is located in the northeast corner of the African continent, on the Mediterranean Sea, at a crossroad between Africa, Asia and Europe. It is bordered to the east by the Red Sea, Palestine and Israel to the north-east, Libya to the west, and Sudan to the south. The country is divided into 4 main geological areas:
Nile Valley and Delta: this region extends on both sides of the Nile from the southern limit of the river going through Aswan, Luxor, to reach Cairo, then ramifying to the north and encompassing the destinations of Damietta and Rosetta. These ramifications, north of Cairo form the Nile Delta, Egypt’s most fertile agricultural land.
Western Desert: Extending from the Nile Valley in the east to the Egypt-Libyan border in the west and from the Mediterranean coast in the north to the southern Egyptian border, it is one of Egypt’s most arid regions. Sparsely inhabited yet charming oases – Siwa, Bahariya, Farafra, Kharga and Dakhla – dot this region that covers 2/3 of the country’s total land area.
Eastern Desert: this region lies between the Nile Valley to the west, the Red Sea and Gulf of Suez to the east, Lake Manzala to the north and the Sudanese border to the south. This arid region embraces the Red Sea Mountains chain, reaching an altitude of over 900 metres above sea level at some points. The region is Egypt’s richest in natural resources. Its underground treasures include gems.
Sinai Peninsula: a triangularly shaped plateau linked from its north-western corner to Egypt’s mainland, at the Gulf of Suez. The peninsula is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north and the Gulf of Aqaba to the east. This area is divided into a southern section (encompassing Mount Catherine, the highest mountain in Egypt rising about 2640 m above sea level), the middle section and the northern section.
Weather in Egypt
The Egyptian summer is hot and dry in most of the country, and humid in the Delta and along the Mediterranean Coast. In recent years the humidity has spread to Cairo, and the city swelters in August! Winter is mild with some rain, but usually it is bright, sunny days with cold nights. During the summertime, sun protection is the most important single consideration for an Egypt trip, especially for the fair-skinned. Wearing a sunhat is essential. Cheap, and pure cotton, sunhats are made locally and available everywhere. Travel clothing should be light and comfortable, 100% cotton clothing is the best and robust shoes are a must! The climate of Egypt is characterized by a hot season from May to October and a cool season from October to May. Extreme temperatures during both seasons are moderated by the prevailing northern winds. The Egyptian summer is hot and dry in most of the country, and humid in the Delta and along the Mediterranean Coast. In recent years the humidity has spread to Cairo, and the city swelters in August! Winter is mild with some rain, but usually it is bright, sunny days with cold nights. During the summertime, sun protection is the most important single consideration for an Egypt trip, especially for the fair-skinned. Wearing a sunhat is essential. Cheap, and pure cotton, sunhats are made locally and available everywhere. Travel clothing should be light and comfortable, 100% cotton clothing is the best and robust shoes are a must! The climate of Egypt is characterized by a hot season from May to October and a cool season from October to May. Extreme temperatures during both seasons are moderated by the prevailing northern winds.
In the coastal region average annual temperatures range from a maximum of 37° C (99° F) to a minimum of 14° C (57° F). Wide variations of temperature occur in the deserts, ranging from a maximum of 46° C (114° F), during daylight hours, to a minimum of 6° C (42° F) after sunset. During the winter season desert temperatures often drop to 0° C (32° F). The most humid area is along the Mediterranean coast, where the average annual rainfall is about 200mm. Precipitation decreases rapidly to the south; Cairo receives on average only about 29mm of rain each year, and in many desert locations it may rain only once in several years!
Winter (between October and May) weather is colder than most people anticipate, and cold winds blow over the desert at sunrise and sunset. Even when it is warm outside, it can be surprisingly cold inside the massive stone Temples. In winter, showers can fall everywhere, so bring a few items of light but warm clothing, so that you can cope with the cold early mornings and the occasional, and unseasonable, cold snap.
Where do you want to go?
Cairo, the city that has never known how to sleep, isn’t only Egypt’s capital, but it’s the budding heart and the exuberant side of the serene land of the Nile. When you visit Cairo, you will never run out of things to do and see, as this city never fails to surprise its visitors. It is the ultimate blend of the grandeur of one of the world’s oldest civilizations and the modern day’s activities. As soon as you get there, the first thing you will be doing is joining the bee-lines that are formed around the Pyramids ; but don’t waste the whole time there, as this city has much more beyond these remarkable edifices.
Alexandria, Egypt’s second capital, is a true Mediterranean jewel that hovers between illusion and reality, between substance and poetic images, it’s the city developed from a mere anchorage to “The Pearl of the Mediterranean”. Alexandria has first come to existence when the young Macedonian leader, Alexander the Great, chose it to become the capital of Graeco- Roman Egypt in 332 B.C. It wasn’t only an ancient Egyptian center for learning, but it was also a historical setting that witnessed the stormy relationship between Mark Antony and Cleopatra.
Aswan, the third largest city in Egypt is home to some of Egypt’s most historic sites, with some of the most beautiful surroundings. Come visit Aswan and please your eyes with one of the most enchanting natural sceneries in the world. Tranquility and superb natural landscapes aren’t only what Aswan has to offer. This city invites you to trace back Egypt’s ancient mysteries through its legendary temples . Aswan is also home to plenty of attractions that need to be seen when visiting this historic city. Aswan enjoys a distinctive African atmosphere. Nubian Dancers perform live in several hotels, and are surely a sight not to be missed as you will get a real taste of this ancient culture. Nubian villages must be visited, as they have an enchanting taste of Egypt in addition to the warm hospitality and fascinating culture.
Luxor, imagine a very large and natural outdoor museum, and Luxor will more than measure up to the vision. Built on the 4,000-year old site of ancient Thebes, once ruled by great pharaohs such as Ramses II, this fascinating city stands on the east bank of the Nile and quite literally, resonates with history. As well as incredible backdrops against its busy centre, the flat plains around it offer endless treasures. Yet for all these ancient relics, Luxor remains a lively modern city, pulsing with colorful life, bazaars and 4 and 5 star hotels which provide visitors with placid retreats from their action-packed itineraries.
Sharm El-Sheikh, the city of peace, is your ticket to a world of unlimited rewards. It has what satisfies all tastes and inclinations. If you are a nature lover, relaxation seeker, or an adventure enthusiast, then Sharm El Sheikh is your ideal holiday destination. Sharm El Sheikh is a memorable retreat at the Red Sea, standing as one of the world’s premier destinations. It enjoys year around sunshine and boasts an array of attractions catering to different travelers.
Hurghada, is the ideal relaxed and laid back destination that is more than suitable for those who love to take part in exploring aquatic recreation. The city is eminent for its magnificent underwater garden offshore and mesmerizing coral reefs that are considered one of the best in the world. Hurghada’s warm crystal waters provide a gateway to ultimate diving or snorkeling experiences through which an extensive variety of underwater species and reefs can be witnessed. With its abundant prime diving sites , Hurghada is the destination that will introduce you to new ways of enjoying undersea views. You can take a glass-bottom boat ride that cruises over some beautiful coral reefs, where you can see a variety of brightly colored fish and maybe even sharks, or you could head underwater and take a ride aboard one of the small submarines.
Marsa Alam, a tropical paradise boasting rich blue sea with coral reef barriers, paradisiacal beaches and palm trees. It’s among the fastest growing holiday resorts on the Red Sea Riviera, and is popular with windsurfers, scuba divers, snorkelers and sun worshipers fortunate enough to have already discovered the resort’s remote tranquility. If history is what you’re after, then this is the right city. It is believed that the Pharaohs mined brilliant green emeralds in the mountainous areas of the Eastern Desert southwest of Marsa Alam. The Cleopatra Mines or Mons Smaragdus became the most famous mining complex in the ancient world, and at various times the mines at Wadi Gemal , Wadi Nuqrus and Gebel Zabara were in use during the Ptolemaic and Roman periods. If you are interested in tracing back the Roman glory, the Roman Settlement of Myos Hormos is not far from Marsa Alam.
Dahab, the pearl of the gulf, is situated between Sinai’s mountainous landscape and the Red Sea’s prestigious shoreline. Dahab, which means “Gold”, is named for the town’s spectacular beaches, sandy coastline, and its peaceful atmosphere. Dahab is globally recognized as a splendid setting for windsurfing, owing to its natural atmosphere of reliable winds and flat water conditions in its sand spit. With its magnificent dive sites , Dahab is the city which will bring you closer to the thrilling diving experience of your dreams. Predominantly a Bedouin enclave at its heart, visiting Dahab will be taking you on a journey to discover the Bedouin’s fascinating traditions and lifestyle, in addition to a Bedouin dinner. This also makes it a preferred base for desert excursions into the interior deserts, as well as to the lofty heights of the nearby Mount Sinai. You can also discover the beauty of land and sea by visiting Abu Gallum National Park.
Taba, its magnificent tranquil atmosphere makes it the perfect sanctuary of your dreams; and its splendid surroundings are complemented by a diversity of lavish hotels to provide an unrivalled experience combining comfort and leisure. Taba is abundant with water sports that include windsurfing, water skiing, parasailing, sailing, and canoeing. Its extravagant location makes it the perfect place for snorkelers and divers who seek a sensational adventure in exploring the prosperous natural marine life. It’s also home to one of the world’s most colorful diving sites.
Siwa Oasis, historically known as Palm Land, is the home to a diversity of relics and untouched culture due to its remoteness and isolation from modern day community. Though relaxing and certainly now a part of the tourist community in Egypt, it is very traditional, and visitors should keep this in mind when traveling to the area. It celebrates the prosperity and diversity of its culture during the annual Tourist Festivals that are held annually. Bahariya Oasis, an unspoilt refugee, isn’t only the place where you can sense adventures through desert safaris and excursions, but it is also the place that will take you on a journey through the mysterious life of the Pharaohs. It is home to most antiquities and relics that belong to the 26th dynasty that is also known as the Saite Period. One of the major archeological sites to visit is Alexander the Great Temple . Another interesting monument is the largest Ptolemaic necropolis dedicated to the Ibis bird, an object of religious veneration in ancient Egypt. The Valley of the Golden Mummies is a must see site too. Dakhla Oasis, one of Egypt’s mot remote oases, is a splendid refugee that is surrounded by a wall of colorful rock formations and fertile cultivated areas scattered between sand dunes within the area, offering natural magnificent scenery. If you are interested in ancient history, then visiting Mut , Dakhla’s largest city, is a must. Another attractive site to visit is Al Qasr , the Oasis’s second main city. Dakhla is also the home to many ancient remains including the amazing Deir El Haggar and the memorable Muzawaka Tombs. El Kharga Oasis, is one of Egypt most modern and bustling oases that still retains the allure of the desert. As soon as you arrive there, the tang of dates will assault your nose and the sight of the date palms will capture your eyes marking the typical oasis mirage. Farafra Oasis, has a distinctive charm of its own. It is the nearest oasis to the white desert , marking the perfect sanctuary for a tranquil holiday among the white creamy desert and its gigantic rock formations. In Pharaonic times, Farafra was known as Taiht, the Land of the Cow. The oldest part of the oasis lies on a hillside in a serene context next to palm orchards near the hot sulphur springs . If you want to be introduced to the nomadic culture, Qasr Farafra is waiting to be discovered.
Yours dreams come true!
Egypt where it all bigns...