What to consider when traveling to Egypt in 2019 and 2020

How to Travel to Egypt

Ancient Pyramids, the Nile River, The Library of Alexandria… If you are planning to travel to Egypt, you may be completely lost on what to do once you get there. It can be tricky creating an itinerary for a place you have never been to and only learned about in history books. But if Egypt has been on your bucket list, don’t pass up an opportunity to go out of intimidation! We will walk through some of the must-see historical attractions in Egypt. You will also learn about their brief histories in this article. Keep reading below! You will be an expert in great Egyptian marvels by the end.

1. The Great Pyramid of Giza

The Great Pyramid of Giza is the oldest and biggest of all the Giza Pyramid Complex. It is also one of the most important and notable places to visit in Egypt. This is understandable since it is one of the seven wonders of the world. A must see historical attraction and must do when planning any trip to Egypt. There is a rich history here as well as so much to explore. There are vendors here selling all types of things (watch out for high prices). But one of the best parts of these vendors’ possessions are the animals they have around the pyramid.

So many tours can be taken here. Some include a camel ride, some including lunch, and some will take you to see the Sound and Light Show at The Pyramids of Giza. But what they all have in common is the history the tour guides will relay to you about this mystical and incredible place. You even have the option of going into the pyramids to explore deeper. But this experience is not for the faint of heart, or claustrophobic.

From a historical standpoint, these are incredible to take in. Many questions will go through your mind like “how in the world did they have the technology to build these?”. Or “how much did they dedicate and sacrifice, and how much passion did they have to contain?”. Or “how did they create structures that are still standing today?”. The pyramids truly show the best of humanity when we collectively put our minds together. Be sure to read up on your history before visiting. This will cause you to have the best experience possible when you travel to Egypt.

2. Mount Sinai

Sinai means Mountain of God. So you can imagine the implications this location has for those who believe in or study the Old Testament. Mount Sinai is an important area for Jewish and Christian history. The Monastery of St. Catherine was constructed on the foot on this mountain over what is believed to be the location of the burning bush God spoke to Moses out of. It is still inhabited by monks today. Biblical characters such as Elijah, Moses, and much of the history of Judaism took place in this spot.

This is an important mountain for many Jewish and Christian pilgrims to trek to. For many tourists exploring Mount Sinai, Sunrise hikes are often taken. On this trek, you will climb the Steps of Repentance, which there are tales a monk created (all 3750 of them). The rest of the trek you can take by walking or by riding on a camel. You will pass Elisha’s cave and the Chapel of the Holy Trinity. This is talked about as the place where the tablets of stone were written on. When you reach the top, the views are incomparable and the journey will be proven well worth it. Make sure to do this when you travel to Egypt!

3. Abu Simbel Temples

Called the temples that moved, the Abu Simbel Temples relocated by the UNESCO in 1968 for fear of destruction by the flooding of Lake Nassar. When this took place, it became clear that the worth of history was of high importance and needed to be preserved. You can read all about how this was done in the visitor center. This was the temple of Ramses II, who you may have heard about in history books. Many visitors claim to call this a personal favorite in Egypt. Located on the banks of Lake Nasser, this temple was originally named the temple of Ramesses Meryamun. It was constructed in 13th century BC by the Pharao it was named after.

These temples are guarded by ginormous statues when you are entering, and there are plenty of hieroglyphics that reveal the story to go along with it. The temple is explained on the outside through pictures. Though it is a dive and requires an early wake-up call, once you visit you will see it was all worth it and worth the preservation that took place a few years ago. This temple complex is yet another historical attraction that will shock you. It will make you ask so many questions about the mystery of how it was built. Another great part of this temple is the smaller temple of Ramssess II queen, Queen Nefertari. This is a must-do for when you travel to Egypt.

4. The Bibliotheca Alexandrina

The Bibliotheca Alexandrina is a research institute in the beloved Alexandria, Egypt. It is inspired by the Library of Alexandria, the most famous classic library. There is so much more to explore here than just a library. There is a focus on four things: Learning and understanding for the world. An untraditional institution in the age of technology. Egypt’s window into the world and vise-versa. There are 11 stories to explore here and over 8 million books. It has museums and reading rooms and lots of books and history.  It is not a bad idea to take a free guided tour through here. This will help you get the best understand of all this place offers.

For all book lovers, history lovers, learners, and beauty seekers, this is a must see place. The architecture is stunning from the outside in. In order to see all of it, it may take a full two days. This only makes sense considering it is the second largest library in the world! Because of the significance of The Great Library of Alexandria, the artifacts and manuscripts here are a thing you cannot leave Egypt without exploring. Since this library was recently constructed, this is a modern and updated institution. This is a reimagination of the ancient library that was burnt down in the third century. This library held the largest manuscript collection found anywhere in the world. You cannot miss this historical attraction as you travel to Europe.

5. The Nile River

The Nile River is the longest river in the world, and it is an absolute must see when you travel to Egypt. This river was important for the ancient Egyptians. Many of the must-see attractions on this list can be found near this river, so that is your proof of how centralized a location it was. For the ancient Egyptians, the overflow and flooding of the Nile created a mud that was the perfect soil for planting seeds and growing crops.

The ancient Egyptians would fish and catch birds near the water as well, so the river was a great life source for food. Another purpose of the river was to give them a trade route in order to transport and buy goods.  This river was such a life source and blessing to the ancient Egyptians that they believed it had it’s own god.

These are some of the ways you can see the Nile- both of which are on our list, so keep an eye out below! Through the City of Aswan, you can see the Nile River since this city is on the Eastern bank of the Nile. Our second place to see the Nile River is by visiting The Valley of the Kings which is located on the Western bank of the Nile and contains underground tombs, the largest complex of them to be exact. There is so much to see and do along the Nile, so make sure not to pass up the River that gave so much life and hope to the ancient Egyptians.

6. Red Sea Riviera

While we are talking about famous bodies of water in Egypt, let’s talk about the Red Sea Riviera. Here, right along the coastline of the famous Red Sea, there are plenty of places for a tourist to stay and explore. The beach resorts are one of a kind, and the shopping is more amazing than you can dream of at places like the Senzo Mall.

There are so many uniquely Egyptians things to enjoy when shopping, like picking up exotic spices to take home with you or getting hieroglyphics written on papyrus to remind you of your trip to Egypt. One of the things you will be close to if you stay at the Red Sea Riviera is the Luxor and The Valley if the Kings and Queens, which contain archeological gems to explore. It is amazing how many tourists come here on holidays to stay at a resort and enjoy this exotic and ancient place in a modern way.

There are so many other great things to see and do when you are here. One of them is visiting the Monastery of St Anthony, which you can explore on a tour. There is also the Marsa Alam which is an incredible place to enjoy water activities or the quiet town. Another amazing excursion is taking a horse or camel ride in Makadi Bay through sand dunes.  If you are traveling with kids, take a day and experience ​​Makadi Water World, which is the biggest water park in Egypt. There an equal amount of water slides for both the kids and the adults to enjoy! If you are looking to have a touristy trip and enjoy the sea activities and resorts, this is the place for you to go when you travel to Egypt.

7. Aswan, Egypt

Aswan Egypt

While we are talking about tourist places, let’s cover Aswan. There is so much to do in the ancient and historic town of Aswan. You can take a Nile River Cruise from here to Luxor, tour the Abu Simbel from Aswan. You can also visit monasteries, museums, and temples. There are so many ​​places to stay​ in Aswan like the Baba Dool Bed and Breakfast, or the Mövenpick Resort Aswan. There are incredible restaurants here like the Panorama Restaurant & Bar which is situated in a tower with a full view of Aswan. Another great one is the Nubian café-restaurant which lives in a garden on a bank of the Nile river. Can you imagine a more beautiful place to eat a simple meal?

Aswan is one of the must-see tourist places in Egypt.  It may be the smallest tourist city along the Nile, but it is still a marvel to take in and a fun place to take a family vacation. Some other great places are the Nubian Museum, the Ferial garden where you can relax and unwind. Saint Michael Cathedral which is a free and breathtaking attraction, and the Aswan Botanical Gardens, which has all the birds and plants you can ever dream of. On the West Bank, you can check out the Tombs of the Nobles and a large list of other tombs. Aswan is amazing for the history/adventure seekers and vacation lovers alike who travel to Egypt.

8. Valley of the Kings

Valley of the Kings, also known as Valley of the Tombs of the Kings, is a tale 4,000 years old. Many visitors would call this the best attraction in Luxor. You will find the tales laid out for you of the lives of those Egyptian pharaohs whose tombs are here through hieroglyphics. There are so many tombs that have been uncovered over time, but these are not your average tomb. There are so many things to see in each and every tomb. You will learn the history of mummification that keeps these ancient bodies preserved so well. You will learn all about the beliefs of the afterlife and the burial process as well.

The beauty and detail will stun you when it comes to the entire process after death. You will be able to take a tour to find out all about the iconic King Tutankhamen, The Boy King. There are more than 60 tombs you can explore, but there are only a few open at a time. If you are interested in history, ancient civilization, or the Egypt of old, this is a must see. It is truly a bucket list item. Pro tip: You will have to pay for a ticket in order to take your camera and take photos, but remember that the camera ticket policy is monitored and if you abuse it by not purchasing a ticket, they will confiscate your camera. If you are able, pay the extra fee, though. This is once in a lifetime experience to take when you travel to Egypt!

9. Karnak Temple, Egypt

In Luxo, the Karnak Temple is “the largest religious building ever constructed”. During the time period, it was built it (over about 1,000 years during the reign of many pharaohs), it was one of the wonders of the world. This was the center of Egypt in this day as far as faith as concerned, and their faith was central to their lives. Be sure to set aside a good amount of time to explore this huge area that has been preserved so well to this day.

You will not want to miss the Karnak Temple Sound and Light Show on your travel to Egypt. It gives a long background history of what was going on in this time period and how the Karnak Temple fit into it. Going to this show is good prep to take in all the temple has to offer, or a great clarifier to explain all you are taking in. You will not want to miss this attraction and we can guarantee you will not leave disappointed or expecting more!

Your Guide as You Travel to Egypt

We have walked through some of the most incredible historical attractions that you must visit as you travel to Egypt. We have covered the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Biblical location of Mount Sinai, the touristy Red Sea Riviera, The Valley of the Kings, and so much more.  How can you actually use this? As a guide while you travel to Egypt, of course! There are so many incredible ancient places to visit here that will blow you away. With architecture so amazing it has been credited to aliens, and seas so beautiful poetry has been written about them. Don’t pass up a trip to Egypt

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How to plan a tour to Egypt from the USA?

Egypt is a dream destination for those who want to discover interesting places with their family members and others. This is because it covers archaeological sites, historical monuments, and other things. There are many people who want to plan their vacation in Egypt based on their choices. At the same time, it is necessary to focus more on certain important things before making a trip. Another thing is that it gives ways to schedule a trip with options to get complete satisfaction. There are different types of packages available for visitors enabling them to select the right one according to needs.

How to plan a tour to Egypt from the USA?

Anyone who wants to plan their tour to Egypt from the USA should plan everything properly for making the same a memorable one. The first thing to consider in Egypt tour is the visa requirements and tourists should know more about them in detail for making a journey with ease. One should fix an itinerary program in advance that can help to explore many things on a tour. It is necessary to know the local laws and the best time to visit Egypt for making the trip a memorable one.

Understanding more about the tour packages

There are several types of packages offered by a tour operator and visitors should know more about them with special attention to select the right one. They are an ideal one for those who want to plan their honeymoon, vacation, adventure, and other trips based on their choices to get complete entertainment. It is advisable to get complete details about Egypt tours from different sources before planning a journey. Another thing is that they provide ways to schedule a trip at estimated budgets.

Working with a reputed tour operator

Not all tour operators are the same and visitors should evaluate them properly to choose the best one. It is an important one to consider the reputation, reviews, the number of years in the business, and testimonials of customers. This, in turn, gives ways to plan a tour to Egypt with options for overcoming unwanted issues. Visitors should get more information about Egypt tour packages from USA with a reputed tour operator for meeting exact needs. Moreover, they provide ways to plan a trip with a loved one and others without any difficulties.

How to save more money on a tour package?

Tourists who want to save more money on tour packages should get quotes from multiple tour operators. A Nile cruise tour is an excellent choice for those who want to make a travel to Luxor, Aswan, Cairo, and other places at cheaper prices that can reduce expenses to a large extent. The Egypt tours from USA allow tourists to tour important places for a duration of 10 to 15 days. Furthermore, they give ways to plan an adventurous trip with groups and others to get complete entertainment. It is advisable to read the terms and conditions of a tour operator before making a trip to Egypt.

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My Experience in Egypt

Globe trotting is no longer the reserve of younger generations. The recently retired are increasingly taking time out to explore the world and, if anything, discovering that travel only gets better with age. Jonathan Look, Jr. began travelling after his early retirement and this February we invited him to try out our Sunchaser group tour in Egypt as a ‘mature traveller’. Here’s what he had to say about his experience.

I am a retiree that loves to travel. From South America to Southeast Asia, I spend about half of my time on the road in pursuit of pleasure, education and adventure. My travel style varies from solo backpacking trips in Southeast Asia to ultra-luxury river cruises through Europe. I am as comfortable flagging down a tuk-tuk in Thailand as I am being chauffeured around Moscow in the back of a luxury SUV.

One of the joys of experiencing the full spectrum of travel is trying new things and doing them in different ways. Yes, I am fully capable of getting to places on my own, using public transport and waiting in line to buy tickets (and I still do that). But, by going with Luxor and Aswan Travel for my Egypt trip, I was able to sit back and let them take care of the logistics. On this trip, I also took advantage of their plan for ‘solo travellers’, where you book with no single-supplement and they arrange a same sex roommate for you. I was a bit apprehensive, but my roommate and I became good friends. And he is even planning to visit me in Portugal later this summer!

Authentic experience

Egypt was the second trip I have made with Luxor and Aswan Travel. I like traveling with them because we share the philosophy that when you travel, it’s important to experience a country the way it really is, with people who live there and know it inside out. All of their guides are locals who not only know the highlights – they know the details and secrets of a place that can make you feel like an insider. The variety their trips encompass – in Egypt, we stayed on everything from feluccas floating on the Nile to luxurious five-star hotels – allow you to experience the full spectrum and truly experience a place.

Range of travellers

I also like travelling with On the Go because of the diversity of their clientele. On our last trip to Egypt, we had people on board from places as far apart as Cape Town and Canada – and ranging in age from thirties to seventies. Although we were all of varied backgrounds, we all shared a love of travel and the excitement of being on a trip with new people, many of which also turned out to be new friends.

Benefits of group travel

Luxor and Aswan Travel take all of the worries out of planning a trip. Their itineraries are designed to efficiently make the most of your time, without the feeling of being herded from place to place in a giant group. Their groups are large enough to be friendly and sociable (there were 20 of us on the Egypt trip), but small enough that you can visit an attraction without ruining the atmosphere. Another advantage, especially if you’re a bit apprehensive about trying out a new place, is that their professional guides are available to assist you with any eventualities that may crop up.

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Cruise the Nile in Egypt

Cruising along the Nile in Egypt with Luxor and Aswan Travel is the best way to view some of most iconic landmarks of ancient Egypt.

For many centuries travelers have sailed along the world’s longest river, past small fishing villages, towering monuments, ornate temples and fields of wheat and sugarcane.

You’ll see landscapes that have changed very little since the Pharaohs ruled. Those who live along the banks of the Nile tend their land and sleep in mud brick houses just as they have done for 5,000 years. It’s a journey back in time to the past of this complex and fascinating nation.

The Experience of Cruising the Nile

There are no modern yachts or large ocean liners on the wide and slow moving Nile – the boats here are sailing ships and traditional feluccas that elegantly glide through the waters. The journeys range from day trips to multi-day cruises and they can be anything from luxurious to basic and budget friendly.

Dining aboard is usually a buffet for breakfast and lunch, with a selection of entrées served at dinner. Some ships will have a lounge where lectures, port talks and crew shows are held and there also may be performances by Nubian dancers and other local talent.

The itinerary will vary depending on the tour, but there are certain must-see temples that nearly every trip will visit. Here are some of the best temples and sights you can see along the banks of the River Nile.

Karnak Temple

Most cruises and luxury Egypt tours will begin in Luxor and one of the first ports of call will be the Karnak Temple – a series of incredible carved pillars, walls and obelisks that feature highly detailed images of gods and creatures.

This ancient temple was thought to be the earthly home of the sun god Amun-Re and it is covered in symbols and imagery, such as the ceiling that shows the night skies of Egypt filled with stars.

Temple of Luxor

The other main temple in Luxor is dedicated to Amun-Re and the entrance is guarded by two enormous figures of Ramses II. The beautiful carvings depict people who are performing acrobatics, beating drums, dancing and clapping – you can almost feel the energy.

The Valley of the Kings

The bright and detailed paintings within the tombs of the ancient Pharaohs will take your breath away – they are much better preserved because they have been protected from the sun over the centuries. In this incredible valley you can visit all of the kings of Egypt’s past, including Ramses IX, Ramses II, Merenptah and of course – the famous boy king Tutankhamun.

The Great Pyramids

For the ultimate Egypt tours, stay in Cairo before you board your cruise and visit the Great Pyramids of Giza before you set sail. These are the most iconic of all the pyramids – the ones that set the standard for all that came after them. The largest of the three pyramids, Khufu, was built by one hundred thousand people for three months of every year and it took 20 years to complete!

Is a Nile cruise in Egypt on your bucket list?

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Avoid the Crowds at the World’s Most Popular Sights

These wonders of the world are must-sees for good reason. Here, we map out how to visit 10 iconic sights – with no crowds. After all, life’s too short for queues.

Pyramids of Egypt

Pyramids of Egypt

Avoid: Touring on foot
Instead: Visit the site on a quad bike
Soaring above the desert beyond Cairo’s urban sprawl, the Great Pyramid of Giza is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World – and the only one still standing. Yet it’s difficult to admire this 4500-year-old monument and the smaller pyramids surrounding it without being badgered by characters spruiking tours, souvenirs and camel rides. So take a step back. Or, more precisely, hop on a quad bike. The sprawling sand dunes that fringe the historic Giza complex provide four-wheeled fun with awe-inspiring panoramas. Blending adrenaline-fuelled bursts of speed with moments of quiet reflection, Luxor and Aswan Travel’ Desert Safari by Quad Bike allows you to marvel at the ancient structures from myriad angles. Sunset trips are especially enchanting; the sky reddens and the triangular silhouettes appear to hover on the horizon. Post ride, enjoy a spa treatment fit for a pharaoh at The Ritz-Carlton Cairo. This five-star hotel by the Nile River occupies the site of the former Nile Hilton, which was visited by stars such as Frank Sinatra and Elizabeth Taylor. Bespoke tours inside the pyramids with the hotel’s qualified Egyptologists can be arranged.

Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower Jules Verne, Paris

Avoid: The viewing platforms
Instead: Book a table at one of the tower’s restaurants
Few things can put a dampener on a romantic break in Paris than having to queue for eons to scale the Eiffel Tower. Avoid that by booking dinner at one of the Iron Lady’s esteemed eateries. Not only will you skip the line for the public viewing platforms, you’ll also enjoy a delicious and intimate meal while the City of Light sparkles below. The more wallet-friendly option is 58 Tour Eiffel, a first-floor brasserie 58 metres up that serves classic cuisine with a modern twist: think cod croquettes with aubergine caviar. On the second floor, 125 metres up, Le Jules Verne is the splash-out choice – a chic Michelin-starred affair that’s part of Alain Ducasse’s empire. The restaurant’s much-coveted window-view tables are awarded on a first-booked, first-served basis, with reservations opening three months in advance. To guarantee one, plump for the Dinner Gift Box, which includes chocolate, Champagne and other goodies.

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu, Peru

Avoid: Hiking the Inca Trail
Instead: Take a boutique train trip
It’s become fashionable to embark on arduous multi-day treks along Peru’s Inca Trail to the fabled lost city but it’s much faster and comfier to go by rail. Forget the standard tourist trains and take the Belmond Hiram Bingham, a high-end service named after the Indiana Jones-like explorer who rediscovered Machu Picchu in 1911. Boarding the train’s dapper British Pullman-style carriages at Poroy, on the outskirts of Cusco, you’re spirited away on a bewitching three-hour journey featuring mountain and valley views, live Latin and Andean music and a delectable brunch of smoked trout or roast alpaca with fine Peruvian wines. Upon your arrival at Machu Picchu, the crowds should have thinned. After a guided walking tour of the mesmerising, jungle-shrouded ruins, there’s afternoon tea at the site’s Belmond Sanctuary Lodge before a return rail trip that includes pre-dinner cocktails (such as pisco sours), a four-course Andean-flavoured menu and a well-earned nap.

Great Wall Of China

Great Wall of China

Avoid: Badaling
Instead: Head to Jiankou

Historians estimate that some 3.8 billion bricks were used to construct this colossal defensive landmark that zigzags for thousands of kilometres across China and is split into separate sections in varying states of repair. The best-preserved part – at Badaling, 80 kilometres north-west of the capital, Beijing – witnesses a daily invasion of tourists. Far less congested but much wilder and more dramatic is the section of the wall that crowns a vegetation-cloaked mountain ridge at Jiankou, about 100 kilometres north of Beijing. “Most of the bricks have decayed and collapsed and the wall has become part of the mountain,” says Gary Lee, founder of Great Wall Hiking. His company runs various wall treks, including one stretching 9.5 kilometres from Jiankou to Mutianyu – a restored section of the wall visited by Michelle Obama in 2014. Devilishly steep in parts, the rustic Jiankou-Mutianyu trail is punctuated with ancient watchtowers where you can catch your breath and glimpse the wall snaking perpetually into the distance through misty mountains and forests. It’s bitterly cold in winter and sizzling in summer so it’s best to hike the wall in April/May or September/October.

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Avoid: Going at the crack of dawn
Instead: Visit between 7am and 11am
It’s not just the cicadas and roosters that make a racket as the sun rises over Cambodia’s Angkor Wat. It’s the droves clamouring for that Instagram-perfect image of the temple’s lotus-bud towers. But remain patient. Many tourists soon return for breakfast at their hotels in Siem Reap, the nearest town, providing the perfect opportunity to explore Angkor Archaeological Park. The site, which includes Angkor Wat and hundreds of other temples, sprawls through the muggy tropical jungles of northern Cambodia. “From 7am to 11am, temperatures are relatively low and the soft morning light is ideal for capturing the temples’ ornate carvings on camera,” says Kelly Willis, Cambodia general manager at Grasshopper Adventures, which offers a guided bike ride of the park’s forested back trails as part of its Angkor Sunrise Discovery. Pedalling through rice paddies and rustic hamlets, you’ll stop at iconic structures (including the tree-strangled Ta Prohm temple that starred in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider) and evocative ruins that few visitors know about. The tour ends with lunch by Srah Srang reservoir, where Angkor royals once bathed. “My favourite time of the year to cycle the temples is July/August,” says Willis. “During that time, it’s very green and beautiful in Angkor. It can be wet sometimes but [it’s usually only] short and sharp rain during the morning and daytime. There are far fewer people, which makes for a nicer experience at the temples without the crowds.”

The Serengeti

Serengeti, Africa

Avoid: The central plains
Instead: Try the western corridor
An epic quest for food, drink and survival, the Great Migration unfurls throughout the year across the African savannas. Much of it plays out in Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park yet while most tourist jeeps and tents trail wildlife in the park’s central plains, its more remote western corridor is a seductive alternative. “Even during June and July, when the Great Migration is in the area, the number of tourists in the western corridor is relatively low compared with other parts of the Serengeti,” says Nadhir Waziri, head ranger at the deluxe &Beyond Grumeti Serengeti Tented Camp, one of a handful of permanent lodges in the western Serengeti. Game drives yield intimate encounters with resident and migratory wildebeest and zebras, plus year-round attractions such as lions, leopards, hyenas, elephants, cheetahs, colobus monkeys and crocodiles. After the migration rush, the khaki-clad crowds virtually disappear but nature thrives amid landscapes watered by seasonal rains (it usually rains for just a few hours each day and often only at night). “From October to March, the area is very green and the wildlife sightings are phenomenal, with a lot of action from the big lion prides, whose cubs are learning to hunt,” says Waziri.

Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal, India

Avoid: Daytripping to the site
Instead: Book a room at the hotel next door
Dubbed a “monument to eternal love”, the Taj Mahal in Agra was built to honour the wife of a Mughal emperor who died in childbirth. But loving feelings can fast evaporate in the chaos of its tout-and-tourist scrum. To best appreciate this Indian jewel, stay at The Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra, a palatial Mughal-style hotel 600 metres from the site. Every room has views of the Taj Mahal but in the opulent Kohinoor Suite, you’ll gaze at the dreamy domes and pillars from your king-size bed, bathtub and terrace. Wake before dawn and, clutching your entry ticket purchased in advance from the concierge, take a complimentary golf cart to the Taj Mahal’s east gate (it opens at sunrise but most tour groups don’t arrive until 9am). As daylight arrives, wander by the site’s reflective pool and manicured lawns then watch as the mausoleum, in all its marbled majesty, changes colour from grey to gold to saffron to snow-white. Before the hordes get here, admire up close the intricate design of a building that demanded 22,000 workers for its construction. For more historical nuggets, hire one of the hotel’s erudite guides.

New York City

Times Square, NY

Avoid: The major landmarks
Instead: Map a course through hipper districts
Fancy having the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty and Times Square all to yourself? As a New Yorker might say, “Fuggedaboutit!” Don’t fret, though. The best way to get a real taste of the Big Apple is to delve beyond the usual sights. Our tip? Do a self-guided Manhattan walking tour from Lower Manhattan to Midtown. This covers some of the city’s most vivacious neighbourhoods, letting you soak up the electric New York vibe, with pit stops for food, drinks, shopping and culture. After an espresso and bagel breakfast at trendy SoHo café Ground Support, mosey along that quintessential New York drag, Broadway, until you reach the resurgent NoMad enclave  experiencenomad.com). Fanning out from Madison Square Park, its side streets are lined with design and fashion boutiques. Then backtrack a little, heading west to urban food court Chelsea Market, where temptations include sushi, oysters and lobster rolls at Cull & Pistol. Stroll through the neighbouring Meatpacking District and visit the Renzo Piano-designed Whitney Museum of American Art for works by the likes of Andy Warhol and Mark Rothko. Now hit the High Line, a former freight rail line redesigned as a grassy promenade with quirky sculptures, sweeping city views and fantastic people-watching. Follow it to its end at Hell’s Kitchen, a lively ’hood with a slew of dining options and party-fuelled bars. Or if you’re after a taste of New York beyond Manhattan, hop on the subway to Brooklyn’s Bedford Avenue Station and join the Williamsburg Bites Brooklyn Food Tour, a snack-tastic trawl through one of the city’s hippest quarters.

Sistine Chapel

Sistene Chapel, Vatican City, Rome

Avoid: Going during opening hours
Instead: Book an after-hours tour
Even the most well-travelled souls find themselves overwhelmed by the Vatican Museums. It’s not just the staggering array of art on display, it’s also the shoulder-to-shoulder crush inside the labyrinthine galleries. Particularly exasperating is the Sistine Chapel, where you jostle to peruse Michelangelo’s masterful frescoes while stony-faced guards attempt to shush everyone. Beat the masses by booking a small-group or private after-hours Vatican tour through Italy With Us. Guided visits lasting two hours begin just after the museums close to the public so you’ll get the kind of exclusive access usually reserved for dignitaries and celebrities (and hear the echo of your own footsteps as you saunter through the eerily empty corridors). You’ll spend at least 30 minutes inside the Sistine Chapel, where your guide will explain Michelangelo’s motivations while you savour the flamboyant ceiling and wall paintings in peace. Though photography is usually banned inside the chapel, guards have been known to turn a blind eye during VIP visits. Just saying.

Great Barrier Reef

Great Barrier Reef, Queensland

Avoid: Daytrips from Cairns
Instead: Sleep on the reef
Snaking for 2300 kilometres along Queensland’s coast, the Great Barrier Reef is bigger than Tasmania and Victoria combined but most tourists “do it” in a day from Cairns or Port Douglas. To really immerse yourself in the reef’s dazzling, technicolour underwater world, book a four-day live-aboard cruise on Reef Encounter, which is permanently located by the outer reef about 70 kilometres from Cairns. This 21-room boutique catamaran “hotel” ventures between company-owned moorings that provide a springboard for guests to discover the treasures that lie beneath, from sunrise to night-time. Highlights include swimming with manta rays and moray eels at Saxon Reef and ogling schools of tropical fish, reef sharks and giant wrasse in the coral gardens of Hastings Reef. There’s a range of diving and snorkelling packages to choose from. By upgrading to the VIP Top Deck Club, you get a personal valet, who, among other things, serves you breakfast in bed and acts as your in-water guide. Most guests come by boat transfer from Cairns but Reef Encounter has its own helipad so splash out on a scenic helicopter ride and enjoy a bird’s-eye view of the Great Barrier Reef

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Holiday Vacation Season: Best Ways to Experience Egypt as a Family

Egypt is one of the most fascinating and culturally rich places anyone can visit. From its historical sites to the more modern tourist attractions, Egypt is the perfect place to go for a family vacation. If you do decide to visit Egypt for a family vacation, here are some of the best ways to enjoy it:

  1. A Nile River Cruise: The Nile is perhaps the most famous river in Egypt as well as being the longest river in the world.

Nile river cruise with family would be a great way to enjoy an Egyptian holiday. On one hand, you get to visit one of the greatest rivers in the world. On another hand, you get to sail through Egypt, catching a view of various landmarks.

You will also have the opportunity to stop and visit various cultural sites such as Luxor temple, the world’s largest outdoor museum, Karnak temple, Philae Temple and Hatshepsut temple.

If you’re looking for the perfect balance between leisure and cultural enrichment, a Nile River cruise would be a great option for you and your family.

  1. Visit the Pyramids: One can hardly think of Egypt without thinking of the pyramids, and for good reasons. No trip to Egypt is quite complete without a stop at the pyramids.

These monuments have stood for hundreds of years and continue to attract millions around the world. There are around eighty pyramids in number but some of the most popular are the pyramids of Giza, the pyramid of Djoser and the Red Pyramid.

Visiting the pyramids is sure to be a great memory for the family as well as an educational opportunity for the children. If you’re visiting Egypt, make sure to see the pyramids.

  1. Visit museums: Egypt is practically bursting with culture and history and this is shown through its various museums that house centuries-old artifacts.

Take a trip to some of the popular museums such as the world-renowned Egyptian museum in Cairo, the Luxor Museum in Luxor and the mummification museum which is also in Luxor.

These museums also have souvenir shops in which you can purchase memorabilia to commemorate your family trip.

Also, visit some of the lesser-known but still interesting ones such as the Nubian museums. Many feature exhibitions that cater to a younger audience which makes sure that the kids don’t miss out on anything.

  1. A desert safari: Egypt, as most people know, is in a desert and this means that there is a great number of fun activities that can be engaged in during a visit there.

There is camel riding through the desert as well as dune riding. If you fancy a more laid back experience, there is the option of a safari in an air-conditioned vehicle that allows you to see the Egyptian desert in all its glory.

Many safaris also offer a desert camping experience if you are interested. It is sure to be a fun experience for the entire family.

  1. Visit the coral reefs: It’s important to escape the heat when in the Egyptian desert and what better way than diving in the red sea?

While it is not eh most advertised activity to engage in while in Egypt, the Red Sea is home to an amazing coral reef that is open to divers.

This gives you the opportunity to not only cool off but also to see a wide variety of sea life up close such as sharks, dolphins, and stingrays.

It is a great activity for the whole family you don’t want to miss.

  1. Visit the local souk: No trip is complete without shopping and besides the many malls and shopping complexes that can be found in Egypt, a visit to a local souk is in order.

At a souk, you can find a variety of authentic Egyptian items to take back home, from tapestry to lamps to fragrances.

If you’re looking for the perfect souvenir or gift courtesy of your Egyptian trip, take a trip to a local souk.

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Reasons to Take a Nile Cruise

You’ll never forget the incomparable feeling of cruising down one of the world’s most famous rivers— a river that has been essential to Egypt’s agricultural and economic wellbeing since ancient times.

As you travel between Luxor and Aswan, you’ll pass a dizzying array of temples, tombs, and monuments.

Here are a few of the highlights from a traditional Nile cruise, plus a few tips for your tours in Egypt.


1. Karnak Temple

This stunning temple complex is far more than just one temple: it comprises temples, chapels, and colossal statues spread out over multiple precincts.

Construction began under Pharaoh Senruset I, who ruled from 1971 until 1926 BC during the Middle Kingdom, and continued for centuries under the pharaohs of the New Kingdom and Ptolemaic rule (305-30 BC).

As you walk through this complex, take your time to marvel at the endless columns, statues, carvings, and friezes, which bear witness to over 1,500 years of history.

2. The Valley of the Kings

Don’t be fooled by its unassuming appearance from the outside: this valley is one of the world’s most magnificent archaeological sites!

Numerous underground chambers contain the tombs of pharaohs, cut out from rock between the 16th and 11th centuries BC.

Tutankhamun is the most famous pharaoh to be buried here, but since his artifacts have been removed to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, the other tombs are even more splendid.

3. Temple of Hatshepsut

This beautiful mortuary temple was constructed for Hatshepsut, who plays an unusual role in Ancient Egyptian history as a female pharaoh. The temple’s layered architecture makes a striking visual statement.

The interior at one time contained lavish decorations, sculpture, and relief paintings, but many of these items have been looted or damaged over time.

Nevertheless, this distinctive temple and its pharaoh are famous icons of Ancient Egypt and are well worth a visit.

If you want a sense of how vast this ancient landscape (including the nearby Valley of the Kings) is, consider taking a hot air balloon tour out of Luxor.

4. Temple of Edfu

Monumental. Jaw-dropping. Spectacular.

This temple to the falcon god Horus is a real crowd-pleaser thanks to its size and level of preservation. It features a number of inscriptions, carvings, and decorated columns.

Built during the Ptolemaic Dynasty (3rd-1st century BC), this temple represents a blend of Egyptian, Greek, and Roman cultural influences and reflects the general wealth and prosperity enjoyed under the Ptolemaic rule.

5. The Aswan High Dam

Built during the 1960s, this dam is a remarkable feat of modern engineering.

For millennia, people living along the banks of the Nile have relied on its regular cycles of flooding. Yet sometimes the river proved unpredictable—high water levels could overwhelm crops, while low water levels caused drought.

This dam was built to take control of the Nile, ensuring favorable levels of flooding and allowing water to be stored for future use.

Construction of the dam, however, displaced thousands of people who lived in areas that became flooded by Lake Nasser.

Due to its sheer size and impact, the High Dam is worth a stop on your itinerary.

6. Abu Simbel Temples

These colossal temples were painstakingly chiseled out of the mountains under the rule of Pharaoh Ramesses II during the 13th century BC. The two structures honor Ramesses and his queen Nefertari.

During the 1960s—when the Aswan High Dam was under construction—these temples were dismantled and relocated so they would not be damaged by flooding.

7. Temple of Kom Ombo

Another Ptolemaic-era temple, this one is distinctive because of its double purpose and structure. Its northern half is dedicated to Haroeris, or Horus the Elder, while its southern half celebrates the crocodile god Sobek.

Fascinated by crocodiles? You’re in luck. You can also visit the nearby Crocodile Museum which displays some of the mummified crocodiles found in the area.

8. Traditional Markets

In both Luxor and Aswan, you’ll find delightful markets where you can stock up on local fruits, savor the aroma of spices, browse for clothing, and find countless souvenirs and handicrafts.

Whether you’re on the hunt for perfume or paprika, baskets or bracelets, you’re likely to find it if you look hard enough.

9. Felucca Tours

Your large cruise ship may be luxurious, but why not try out a traditional felucca too?

These small wooden boats, a classic form of Nile transportation, are propelled either by oars or by the wind.

A smaller vessel will get you closer to the water and let you truly feel the breeze as you glide along the Nile.

Frequently Asked Questions

And now, some tips for having the best Nile cruise possible.

When should you book your Nile cruise?

Most people prefer going between November and February when the weather is best. The low season runs from June to August, when scorching temperatures deter all but the most intrepid.

What to pack?

Do some research before you book your trip so you know what kind of temperatures to expect.

In summer especially, pack plenty of lightweight clothes that wick away moisture (plus a hat, sunglasses, and lots of sunscreen).

Dressing modestly will help shield your skin from the sun, and it may be required when visiting temples and other religious sites.

How long will a cruise take?

Most cruises travel between Luxor and Aswan, which takes three to four days. Longer cruises of about a week go to Dendera and Abydos, then follow the usual route.

Enjoy your ship and take advantage of all its amenities. Many ships are fitted with swimming pools, spas, and comfortable cabins where you can relax after a long day in the sun.

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All You Need to Know About Nile Cruises

Egypt receives thousands of tourists annually who hear a lot about Egyptian history and come to explore Pharaonic Egypt and see the luxurious heritage of the ancient Egyptian kings. Their interests extend to discover what resulted from 5000-year civilization, construction processes, mummification techniques, features of hieroglyphs and its symbols, and the huge complexities of religion in Ancient Egypt, their gods, scared animals, religious ritual and their beliefs about life after death. All these ideas motivate this large number of guests to come to reveal these secrets. It’s glamorous and Luxor and Aswan Travel one of the best choices to visit Egypt.

Egypt is rich in many fabulous destinations, each destination has spellbinding historical landmarks that date back to the ancient Pharaonic eras. Luxor and Aswan in Upper Egypt are of these destinations, and they are regarded as the lovely place for a huge amount of visitors. Luxor and Aswan have an essential role in ancient history, thus the Pharaohs had left many precious treasures and ruins there.

Luxor the Ancient City

Luxor, as it’s claimed, has two-thirds of the world’s monuments. Named “ The World’s Greatest Open-Air Museum”, Luxor is well-known for its marvelous temples which the ancients used for worship and practicing rituals; Karnak Temple, Hatshepsut Temple, Dandara and Abydos Temples all were used for a religious purpose, but now they turned into tourist attractions that contain amazing drawings and priceless mummies and artifacts.

Aswan the Nubian City and it’s Breathtaking Attractions

On the other hand, Aswan, the dear neighbor of Luxor, is characterized by a distinctive location on the southern borders of Egypt, warm climate in winter, wonderful nature, and it’s considered as a large market for many visitors of various nationalities. Moreover, Aswan has a great part in Egypt history so it possesses charming glory, including Abu Simbel Temple, the High Dam, Philae Island, Edfu and Kom Ombo temples with their precious contents that amaze their visitors.

Remain that both Luxor and Aswan are located on the banks of the Nile. This advantage makes holidays-makers think to offer an additional option for the tourists who adore sailing. It’s all for the sake of providing the best service for our guests. Instead of having their own trip on foot, we enable them to witness our glorious sights on board Nile cruises, enjoying the warm sun, the attractive nature, the clear water and exploring the beauty of the Nile Valley, which was the starting point of the Egyptian glory. What a magnificent idea, it’s the best way to see our stunning ruins. Our Cruises are always well organized and we offer well-equipped ships to begin your trip. On board the ship, you will find all means of relaxation and fun. By sailing in the Nile, you take the chance to cover Luxor Temple and its fabulous buildings, Karnak Temple and discover its fascinating complexities, then move to witness the great Hatshepsut Temple that belongs to Queen Hatshepsut, one of the most successful Pharaohs in the ancient history, Valley of the Kings should also take a part of your tour and explore the precious tombs of the Pharaonic kings, including the great Tut Ankh Amun tomb. Moving to Aswan, you can experience a fantastic tour to reveal the secrets of the immortal civilization in Ancient Nubia. Explore Abu Simbel Temple, one of the ruins that symbolizes love, in Ancient Egypt, between Ramses II and his wife and don’t forget enjoying Edfu and Kom Ombo temples which directly overlook the captivating Nile and were used in Ancient Egypt for worship.

Nile cruise is an effective treatment for the boring routine of the everyday life as it’s a new experience and you have an incredible chance to relax and take in the scenery of the magical blue Nile River. On board the ship, you are allowed to do some activities in addition to visiting the historical attractions. You have the ability to listen to the music you prefer and dance, have fresh food and your favorite soft drinks, and the choice of taking many photos is also available to immortalize your trip. All your needs are fulfilled and all the circumstances and the atmosphere around you are ideal and force you to get out of the stress and be relax.

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7 of the Most Popular Attractions in Egypt

Very few places in the world are as fascinating as Egypt. All thanks to a geographic location that has allowed the blossoming and development of one of the most interesting peoples of antiquity that has left much to the modern world.

Egypt is a vast country: its surface reaches one million square kilometers. However, 90% of the population is concentrated on the narrow strip of fertile land around the Nile. There are numerous tourist attractions in Egypt, which include:

Cairo

For thousands of years, Cairo has been the heart of the life of the Egyptians. Despite being a bustling metropolis, crowded and full of traffic, it remains one of the most unique cities in Egypt: the crossroads of several civilizations and a meeting place for numerous ancient monuments, imposing buildings and magnificent mosques. Do not miss the great bazaar of Khan El Khalili, where, even if you do not purchase anything, you can see the streets and alleys full of shops and stalls, with their smells, colors and voices, creating a unique atmosphere. Then there is the Egyptian Museum, the largest in the world for the quality and quantity of archaeological finds.

Giza

The Giza Plateau provides people with an insight into the glorious days of ancient Egypt. You cannot go to Egypt and not be amazed by the beauty and majesty of the three pyramids of Khefren, Kheope and Menkaure and the lion-shaped Sphinx overlooking the landscape below. The Great Pyramid of Giza is one of the wonders of the ancient world and it still remains one of the most visited ancient structures in the world.

Luxor

Luxor contains two splendid monuments dedicated to the god Amun, the father of all the gods. Even more surprising are the tombs of the pharaohs of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Dynasty in the Valley of the Kings and Colossi of Memnon, giant stone guarding the valley. The Luxor Temple and the Karnak Temple on the East Bank of Luxor fascinate tourists with their grandeur and elegance. Apart from the above, there are many other ancient structures in Luxor which are worth visiting.

Aswan

Before Aswan was known for its abundance of red granite that was used in the construction of the obelisks. Today this city is famous for the Aswan High Dam, which helps to control flood in the country. Other attractions in Aswan include the Nubian Museum, Unfinished Obelisk, Fatimid Cemetery, and Elephantine Island etc.

Abu Simbel

The village of Abu Simbel, contains the great temple complex which is considered as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. After the construction of the Aswan Dam, the temples were moved to this village to save them from flooding. The Great Temple of Ramses and the Temple of Hathor are ancient structures that should not be missed, when touring Egypt. On the front of the Temple of Ramses, there are four colossal statues that represent him. Tourists can easily hire a taxi for travelling to Abu Simbel from the city of Aswan.

Sharm el Sheikh

Sharm el Sheikh is the most famous seaside resort town on the Red Sea. It is ideal for those who want to spend some quiet time on the beach. Tourists can also enjoy various aquatic sport activities such as scuba diving, snorkeling, swimming, diving, fishing, sailing and windsurfing in Sharm el Sheikh.

Monastery of St. Macarius

In the village of Wadi el-Natrun, lies the Monastery of St. Macarius. It is a very important religious center for Coptic Christians. The village of Wadi el-Natrunis situated almost halfway between Cairo and Alexandria. The monastery was established in the year 360 AD by St. Macarius the Great.

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The Nile: Longest River in the World

the Nile River

The Nile River, considered the longest river in the world, is approximately 4,258 miles (6,853 kilometers) long, but its exact length is a matter of debate. Flowing northward through the tropical climate of eastern Africa and into the Mediterranean Sea, the river passes through 11 countries: Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, South Sudan, Sudan and Egypt.

The Nile has two major tributaries: the longer White Nile, considered the prime stream and headwaters; and the Blue Nile, which carries about two-thirds of the river’s water volume and most of the silt.

The White Nile begins at Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest lake, which touches the countries of Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. But Lake Victoria isn’t necessarily the most distant and “true” source of the Nile River because the lake itself has many feeder rivers coming in from the surrounding mountains. In 2006, a British explorer named Neil McGrigor said he’d traveled to the Nile’s most distant source at the beginning of the Kagera River, Lake Victoria’s longest feeder river.

Still, experts do not agree which tributary of the Kagera is the longest — and therefore the most distant — source of the Nile. Ultimately, it would be either the Ruvyironza in Burundi or the Nyabarongo from the Nyungwe Forest in Rwanda.

Much less disputable is the Blue Nile’s source at Lake Tana in Ethiopia. The Blue Nile meets up with the White Nile near Sudan’s capital city, Khartoum. From there, the river flows north through the desert in Egypt, and finally, by way of a large delta, the Nile flows into the Mediterranean Sea.

The Nile Delta

The Nile waters flow at an average volume of 300 million cubic meters (79.2 billion gallons) per day, according to Travelling Along Rivers, a Dutch bilingual travel magazine. It takes approximately three months for the waters near the town of Jinja, Uganda (the point where the Nile leaves Lake Victoria), to reach the Mediterranean Sea.

The Nile Delta is approximately 100 miles (161 km) long from north to south, and it spreads out along about 150 miles (241 km) of Egyptian coastline, from Alexandria in the west to Port Said in the east. It is one of the world’s largest river deltas with about 40 million inhabitants — approximately half of Egypt’s population. Just before reaching the Mediterranean Sea, the river splits into two main branches, the Rosetta Branch (to the west) and the Damietta (to the east).

Ancient mythology of the Nile

Perhaps no river on Earth has captured the human imagination quite like the Nile River History. From stories of Pharaohs and man-eating crocodiles to the discovery of the Rosetta stone, it was here, along the river’s fertile banks, that one of the world’s most remarkable civilizations — Ancient Egypt — was born around 3000 B.C. The Nile was not only the source of life for the ancient Egyptians, but is still so today for the millions of people living along its banks.

Known as both the “Father of Life” and the “Mother of All Men,” the Nile was the center of life in Ancient Egypt. In the ancient Egyptian language, the Nile was called Ḥ’pī or Iteru, meaning “river.” The Ancient Egyptians also called the river Ar or Aur, which means “black,” in reference to the black silt left behind after the yearly flooding.

The Nile River was central to the Ancient Egyptians rise to wealth and power. Since rainfall is almost non-existent in Egypt, the Nile River and its yearly floodwaters offered the people a fertile oasis for rich agriculture.

The Nile is associated with many gods and goddesses, all of whom the Egyptians believed were deeply intertwined with the blessings and curses of the land, weather, culture and abundance of the people. They believed the gods were intimately involved with the people and could help them in all facets of their lives.

In some myths, the Nile was considered a manifestation of the god Hapi who blessed the land with abundance, according to the Ancient History Encyclopedia. Isis, the goddess of the Nile and the “Giver of Life,” was believed to have taught the people how to farm and work the land.

The water god Khnum, who ruled over all forms of water, even the lakes and rivers in the underworld, was believed to be in charge of the amount of silt that flooded the river banks every year. In later dynasties, Khnum branched out to become the god of rebirth and creation as well.

Flooding

Each year, heavy summer rains upstream and melting snow in the Ethiopian Mountains would fill the Blue Nile well over its capacity and send a torrent of water downstream. The extra water would then spill over the banks onto the dry desert land of Egypt. Once the floods subsided, thick black silt, or mud, would be left behind on the ground. The silt created rich, fertile soil for planting crops — vital in this land of so little rain. Approximately 96 percent of the sediment carried by the Nile River originates in Ethiopia, according to the New World Encyclopedia. The silt area was known as the Black Land, while the desert lands further out were known as the Red Land.

Each year, the Ancient Egyptian people eagerly awaited and thanked the gods for the life-giving floods. If the floods were too small, there would be difficult times ahead with little food. If the floods were too large, it could cause flooding harm in the surrounding villages.

The Egyptian calendar was divided into three stages based on the yearly flood cycle: Akhet, the first season of the year, which covered the flooding period between June and September; Peret, the growing and sowing time from October to mid-February; and Shemu, the time of harvesting between mid-February and the end of May.

In 1970, the Aswan High Dam was built in Egypt to help regulate the Nile’s flooding. Although the floods were desperately needed in older times, they are less necessary and even a nuisance to modern civilization with its irrigation systems. Even though the floods no longer occur along the Nile, the memory of this fertile blessing is still celebrated in Egypt today, mainly as an entertainment for tourists. The annual celebration, known as Wafaa El-Nil, begins on August 15th and lasts for two weeks.

Sharing the Nile

Because 11 countries must share one precious resource, there are bound to be disputes. The Nile Basin Initiative (NBI), an intergovernmental partnership among all the Basin States, was formed in 1999. It offers a forum for discussion and coordination among the countries to help manage and share the river’s resources.

Joseph Awange is an associate professor in the department of spatial sciences at Curtin University in Australia. Using satellites, he has been monitoring the volume of water in the Nile River and reporting the findings to the Basin countries so they can effectively plan for sustainable use of the river’s resources.

Of course, getting all the countries to agree on what they believe is fair and equal use of the Nile’s resources is no easy task. “Lower countries (Egypt and Sudan) rely on some old treaty that they signed with Britain decades ago to impose unrealistic water use conditions to the upper countries,” said Awange. “For this reason, some countries, e.g., Ethiopia, have decided to disregard the treaty and are busy constructing large hydropower dams within the Blue Nile.”

Awange is referring to the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), currently under construction on the Blue Nile. It is located just over 300 miles northwest of Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa. When complete, the GERD will be the largest hydroelectric dam in Africa and one of the largest in the world. Controversy has surrounded the project since its beginning in 2011 as downstream nations rely heavily on the Nile’s waters for their drinking water, agriculture and industrial needs.

Wildlife

The Nile River and its banks are abundant with many varieties of animal life. These include the rhinoceros, African tigerfish (the “piranha of Africa”), Nile monitors, enormous Vundu catfish, hippopotamuses, wildebeests, baboons, frogs, mongooses, turtles, tortoises and over 300 species of birds. Hundreds of thousands of water birds spend their winters in the Nile Delta. This includes the world’s largest concentrations of little gulls and whiskered terns.

Possibly the most well-known animal — and most feared — is the Nile crocodile. This fearsome predator has a reputation as a man eater and rightly so. Nile crocodiles can reach lengths of 18 to 20 feet, and unlike their American cousins, can be quite aggressive toward people. Estimates say that about 200 people a year are killed by these reptiles, according to National Geographic.

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