The shark attacks in the diving mecca of Sharm el Sheikh certainly didn't help Egypt tourism but there are many other reasons to holidaying in Egypt. From ancient monuments, the world’s longest river, the largest hot desert on earth and the only surviving ancient monument from the Seven Wonders of the World, there's plenty to see and do in Egypt aside from diving.
Cairo and the pyramids
Whilst many holidays to Egypt that are diving orientated fly direct into Sharm el Sheikh, those who don't wish to dive can fly into Cairo airport. As the capital of Egypt and one of the densest populated cities in the world, Cairo has a vibrant history and culture that hits the traveler on arrival. A blend of modern, ancient and everything in between alongside vast Islamic architecture, the world famous pyramids at Giza and remnants of the 10th Century city, Cairo is a city break not be be missed!
Mount Sinai and St Catherine's Monastery
An important pilgrimage site for people of all faiths, Mount Sinai is believed to be the spot where Moses received the Ten Commandments - towering at 2285m, Mount Sinai has become a popular destination for tourists as well as pilgrims with daily treks to watch the sunset or sunrise over the expansive, rocky vista. The Monastery of St. Catherine nestles at the foot at Mount Sinai - with UNESCO World Heritage status, the site is claimed to be the oldest working Christian monastery in the world.
Cruising the Nile
The north flowing Nile snakes its way through Africa from Rwanda and Tanzania, through Uganda, Sudan and Egypt before emptying into the Mediterranean. As the northern part of the river passes through desert landscape it’s presence has played an important role in civilization throughout the ages, and in Egypt all the major monuments and settlements are found on or near the banks of the Nile. Cruising on a felucca, an ancient sail boat, can be the ultimate way to travel through the heart of the country. Aswan and Luxor are the hub of the river trade with tours and excursions well catered for.
Luxor and Aswan
Created around the 4,000 year old city of Thebes, the birthplace of Dionysos and Hercules, Luxor itself is stacked with antiquity, whilst the Valley of the Kings, resting place of King Tutankhamun, lies on the west bank. Cruises follow the well worn Luxor to Aswan water route, Egypt’s most southerly city – a sleepy settlement hugging the river, it’s one of the driest inhabited places on earth. Tourist highlights include Elephantine Island, home of the Nilometers and Temples of Sati, Khnum and Pepinakht-Heqaib; numerous tombs and mausoleums dot the west bank.
The vast plains of the Sahara carpet most of the country, but the huge sand seas and oracle like oases offer the ultimate desert experience. Dakhla Oasis has become the most popular of the seven oases, surrounded by pink cliffs and stuffed with date palms, mulberry trees, citrus and figs; the White Desert, of Farafra, has huge natural chalk rock formations that have been sculpted by the wind and sand; whilst the Great Sand Sea is the third largest dune field in the world – the size of England, travel across them via jeep, camel, donkey or foot.