Egypt is considered the cradle of civilization, the beacon of religion and the gateway to Africa. Cairo is the foremost capital on the African continent and lies at the centre of all routes leading to and from the capital of the three continents; Asia, Africa and Europe.
- The history of Egypt stretches back 5,000 years.
- The last monarchs of this dynasty: Ceops, Chepren and Mycerinus built their three pyramids at Giza: each of them showing mathematical precision, organisational control and enhanced skills unmatched for the period.
- The Great Pyramid at Giza is 146.9m high, worn down by 9m over the centuries; for this 2.5 million blocks of limestone were used weighing 6 million tons. The Kings chamber at the top covers a modest area of 5m by 10m, but the roof above it weighs 400 tons.
- Alexander the Great followed and won Egypt without much trouble. Proud of his success and adulation, he took a dessert trip to the Temple of Amun at Siwa, to hear what the Oracle had to say about his future. From that point he wanted to conquer the known world. He established himself in the fishing village of Rakotis, on the Mediterranean Coast of Egypt, which was later to become Alexandria.
- Cleopatra is one of the few women in Ancient history to be remembered for her formidable courage. She confronted Julius Caesar with stealth like entry, as she was brought into the Roman’s chamber rolled in a carpet meant to be a present. She met Mark Anthony on neutral ground and then returned to Egypt with him. Their affair was assiduous and lasted ten years yet ended after a confrontation with his wife Octavia. Tragically Anthony stabbed himself and Cleopatra giving her hand to the poison of an Asp.
- The Rosetta Stone was carved in 196BC in three scripts. Found in 1799 by French soldiers of Napoleon while building a fort in the town of Rosetta (Rashid). After many years of studying the stone Jean Francois Champollion, who could read both Greek and Coptic, deciphered hieroglyphics in 1822.
- The Alexandria Library was also the brain centre where east met west. It was when Julius Caesar, endangered by the revolt, had to swim for his life to the island of pharaohs. He retaliated by firing at the warehouse and palace which affected the books in the library as it caught fire; this lead to the end of the library which vanished over time.
- The revenues of the Suez Canal were used to build the High Dam – some temples were allowed to disappear beneath the water. However 10 temples including Abu Simbel were dismantled and moved piece by piece.
- The Ancient Egyptians also have the distinct honour of having invented not only the modern 365 day calendar but the leap year system as well.
- The Egyptians invented an early system of writing known as hieroglyphics. They also invented paper on which to place it, made from the fibres of the papyrus plant.
- The Giza Pyramids & Sphinx
- Egyptian Museum
- Khan el Khalili Bazaar
- Bibliotheca Alexandria
- The Temple of oracle – Siwa Oasis
- Valley of the Kings & Luxor colossal Karnak
- Island of Philae
- Abu Simbel
- Diving or Snorkelling in the Red Sea
- St Catherine’s Monastery and Mount Sinai
- For everyday Egyptian food, get a local lunch of foul (fava beans cooked with chickpeas) and falafels.
- Haggle when buying anything. Offer half the asking price to start. If you are being hassled on the streets by vendors, a polite but firm “la shukran” (“no thank you”) goes a long way!
- Remember when booking your diving that you need to leave at least 24hrs between last dive and flying. Climbing Mount Sinai is also not a good idea soon after finishing a dive.
- Exchange rates for Egyptian pounds can be much better in Egypt than here than in UK.
- Most excursions and trips are charged in hard currency (U$ Dollars, Sterling or Euros).
- Always have smaller denomination notes and coins as usually you will find shops and taxis say they have no change!
- Alexandria - coffee and pastries at the century old Athineos Café.
- Cairo - if you want to go inside the The Great Pyramid, they sell only 150 tickets on a first come first serve basis at both 07.30hrs and 13.00hrs.
- Cairo - crossing roads in Cairo can be a challenge; safer to join a group of locals when they cross.
- Aswan - a Lake Nasser cruise is a wonderful experience. See the crocodiles from a safe vantage point.
- Luxor - Karnak Temple is at its quietest early afternoon; this avoids the busses in the morning and cruise traffic in the late afternoon.
- Dahab - El Masbat the walking promenade along the sea side with wide variety of restaurants and shops.
- Sharm el sheikh - sunrise at Mount Sinai, where Moses is said to have received the 10 commandments amazing opportunity to see the sunrise and take in the amazing scenery.
- El gouna - go shopping at Kafr El Gouna - also known as ‘Down-Town’ and visit the promenade of the Abu Tig Marina.
- El quseir - is not completed without visiting El Quseir fishermen village where you can visit the Ottoman Fortress from 17th century.
The climate in Egypt is generally hot all year. Travel is possible throughout the year though winter and spring are the most popular times to travel. Cairo and Lower Egypt has cool temperatures however it can sometimes rain lightly but not often, Upper Egypt around Luxor is slightly warmer. The summer can get quite hot and dry with temperatures reaching as high as the mid 40sDeg C. into 50s; fewer visitors during this season may make it ideal for a less crowded visit in Upper Egypt.
Language: Arabic, but English is widely spoken
Currency: Egyptian Pounds (US$, Euros, £GB & Credit cards are widely accepted)
Time Difference: +2 hrs GMT
Tourist Board: 020 7493 5283 www.egypt.travel
Visa Requirements: UK passport holders require a visa to enter Egypt, this can be obtained on arrival. Non-UK passport holders should check with the Egyptian consulate for advice on the following number: Tel: 020 7235 9777 or visit www.egyptianconsulate.co.uk / Email: email@example.com
Passport: A valid 10 year passport is required with a minimum 6 months remaining on your passport from the date of return to the UK and an available empty page.
Security: For the latest information visit the foreign office website at www.fco.gov.uk and select ‘Country Advice’.
Health: Recommended EC inoculations: Hepatitis A, Tetanus, Typhoid, Polio, Malaria in infected areas, Tuberculosis (children only). Check with your Doctor for latest information.
Ramadan: A period of fasting when the consumption of food and drink is only permitted between sunset and sunrise. During this period disruption to tourist hotels and resorts is limited. Ramadan is for one month. Eid al-Fitr: A three day feast marking the end of Ramadan. Eid al-Adhah: Religious festival where many make a pilgrimage to Mecca. Modern Egyptians use this period for holiday travel.
Please contact our Travel Consultants for further information.