Tour like an Egyptian! Here are 10 extraordinary things you can only do in the land of the Pharoahs.
1.Exotic breakfast foods
Say goodbye to boring cereal and hello to foul medame, one of the most delicious breakfast foods on earth. Made from cooked broad beans, this traditional dish is usually served alongside boiled eggs, fresh pita bread, falafel, a side salad of tomatoes and cucumbers, and a feta-like cheese called mish. The beauty of this meal is that it’s low-GI and packed with nutrients so it will give you loads of energy for the day ahead.
Egypt is home to Raqs Sharqi, otherwise known as traditional Arabic folk dancing. While many people are familiar with the glitzier performance style popular in restaurants in Cairo, there is also a strong culture of what’s called a baladi; a group dance that is central to Arabic celebrations such as weddings.
3. Swimming, snorkelling and diving
The warm waters of the Mediterranean and the Red Sea are home to teeming marine life, making them among the top scuba diving sites in the world. It doesn’t matter if you’re not a diver – there’s plenty to see with a snorkel. The Red Sea is renowned for its high salt concentration (approximately 35 per cent saltier than most seas) which makes it extremely easy to float. Many people claim the mineral content in the water is good for rheumatism and arthritis – bonus!
4. Cruise the Nile
The Nile is the longest river in the world, with the northernmost section flowing through Egypt and into the Mediterranean. Cruise through the fertile delta of the Nile Valley and witness the birthplace of Egyptian civilisation. The rich alluvial soils and plentiful water in this area allowed people to grow crops and settle in one place, signalling a critical shift from a nomadic lifestyle to an agricultural society.
Egypt has a temple for everything. In true Indiana Jones fashion, you can tiptoe through some seriously ancient architecture. Make sure you head to the temple complex of Karnak, the Temple of Edfu – devoted to Horus, the falcon-headed god of war – and the Greco-Roman Temple of Kom Ombo.
6. Haggle at the markets
Head to a market and test out your haggling skills. In amongst souvenirs, the real gems are jalabeyas, traditional dress-like garments worn by both men and women. The women’s versions come in a range of colours with embroidery and beading. Stock up on comfy leather slippers, woven Bedouin blankets, boxes inlaid with geometric patterns and silver jewellery.
7. Visit the Pyramids of Giza
The last remaining wonder of the ancient world, the three pyramids at Giza were built by three Pharaohs approximately 4500 years ago. Scientists still can’t be sure how they built them (and alien conspiracists think that there was intergalactic intervention) but one thing you can be sure of is that they are big. The largest pyramid is147 metres high and is made from 2.3 million stone blocks, each weighing between 2.5 and 15 tonnes.
8. Visit the Valley of the Kings, Luxor
Home to the tomb of Tutankhamun, this archaeological site contains 63 known tombs and chambers. While many of the treasures were looted in the 18th Century, the hieroglyphics depicting Egyptian funeral rites remain.
9. Check out the Egyptian Museum, Cairo
You’ve seen the temples and tombs; now get a good look at the items that were found in them. Enjoyed an air-conditioned stroll past some serious antiques including gold jewellery, eating bowls, mummies, toys and Tutankhamun’s treasures.
10. Visit White Desert National Park
If you prefer your monuments nature-made, White Desert National Park’s chalk columns and quartz and fossil-littered valleys are sure to inspire awe. Home to the famous Crystal Mountain – a monolith made from quartz – this desert is unlike any other with its ghostly chalk outcrops.
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