Hardly in the world does the name of a country evoke such visions of grandeur and intrigue the same way that Egypt does. A country of mythological proportion and one whose ancient civilization dates back as far as any that the world has seen, Egypt is a land of mystical beauty and incomparable legacy.
The country is found on the land which links Africa to Asia, resting between the Mediterranean to the north and the Red Sea to the east and south. The endless sandy desert that spreads from beyond the banks of the Nile River makes up most of the countryâ??s terrain. A few oases are found within the sand dunes that were once referred to as the Red Land in ancient times.
Travellers revel in the fact that Egypt has one of the driest and sunniest climates in the world. Since ancient times, human activity and city centres have been found along the Nile River, which is often considered the longest river in the world at 6670 km (4145 miles). The river is the main reason civilizations in Egypt were able to prosper.
Along the banks of the Nile are many worthwhile visits. Egypt tours include the world-famous historic highlights, such as Kom Ombo, Abu Simbel, the Great Pyramids and the Sphinx, which are now symbols of the country's mystery and glory. Impressive in their grandeur, the pyramids are estimated to have been constructed over a period of 20 years using more than 100,000 labourers each year. The Great Pyramid of Cheops, was constructed from over two million stone blocks and is 135m (443 feet) high.
South of Cairo in Luxor, the Valleys of the Kings and Queens allows incredible opportunities for close-up exploration inside pyramid tombs. Used as a burial site for the royal women of the 18th, 19th and 20th Dynasties, the Valley of the Queens holds far more than graves of queens. On the west bank of the Nile, the Valley of the Kings was the burial ground for kings throughout the New Kingdom and is home to a wealth of antiquity items.
Elsewhere in Luxor is the colossal, 1,500-year-old Karnak Temple, with its tremendous pylon gateway near the Avenue of 1,000 Sphinxes that originally ran all the way to Luxor Temple.
By using a Nile cruise vessel for part of our journey, our Egypt tours sail the Nile and take in bewitching desertscapes and lush oases that serve as the backdrops to some of the most memorable sceneries on the planet.
Evidence of inhabitants in Egypt date back to the 10th millennium BC, and the age of the Pharaohs lasted for three millennia until 343 BC when the Persians conquered Egypt. After the Persians, came the Greeks followed by the Romans. North in the country is the Graeco-Roman colonial city of Alexandria with relics like death masks, mummified crocodiles and statues, as well as integrated art in Roman Catacombs.
Egypt tours offer the trip of a lifetime, a timeless adventure that should be on everyone's to do list.
The fact that Egypt is home to the sole surviving monument of the Seven Wonders of the World - the breathtaking Pyramids of Giza - seems appropriate; few other cultures have had so much influence on and bequeathed so much to the development and evolution of man, than has that of the Egyptians. From their hieroglyphic art as a basis for contemporary written language, to their remarkable feats in architectural and engineering spheres, and not to mention their impact on modern-day systems of governance, the ancient civilization's deeds of yore yet permeate every aspect of modern life. Just as other civilizations have risen and fallen without managing to leave as indelible a mark on the world, their structures crumbling into decay and their influence coming to an end, Egypt's Pyramids of Giza have remained standing tall through the test of time and can now be seen as a symbol of the enduring nature of a great and ancient nation and of its people. A tour to Egypt is to experience a mysterious and fascinating ancient society in an evolved and contemporary setting.
The second most populous country in Africa, second only to Nigeria, and bordered by Libya, Sudan, Israel and the Gaza Strip, Egypt is a country dominated by desert and its habituated regions are for the most part centred on the banks of the longest river on earth: the mighty Nile. Perhaps no other country lends itself to a more ideal tour destination in this respect, as travellers can follow the snaking route of the Nile through Egypt, making various stops to take in the splendorous landscape and sights along the way. Tours on Feluccas - wooden sail boats of ancient design - are available for just this purpose, either to cast off for a short trip under the red and setting sun, or for longer, more comprehensive cruises.
Aside from the Giza Pyramids, the most popular sites in Egypt include the two majestic temples at Abu Simbel - which were reconstructed close to the original site in the 1960s and were rebuilt brick-by-brick in exactly the same relation to each other and to the sun - the Valley of the Kings - the ancient Pharaoh burial ground which is home to, among others, the tomb of the famous King Tutankhamun - and the regal Great Sphinx of Giza, whose imposing 66 foot stature silently guards over the tombs of the exalted kings of old. A tour to explore the ancient face of Egypt would not be complete without a visit to the Egyptian Antiquities Museum in Cairo, where more than 120,000 artifacts are on display.
But a tour to Egypt is not solely for those curious about ancient civilizations. The country's man-made magnificence and beauty is only equalled by the natural environment, with white, glittering sand cascading over the dunes, stunning purple mountain landscapes and the turquoise waters that are unique to the Red Sea. Adventurous travellers can participate in camel tours, scuba diving on the world-renowned reefs, trekking in the desert or even golfing or fishing.