Why you need to visit Egypt, the Red Sea and Jordan

 Joana Choumali,Ca va aller, 2016, courtesy Loft Art Gallery.

Joana Choumali,Ca va aller, 2016, courtesy Loft Art Gallery.

For embarking on a journey through time and for unravelling the fascination of the land of Pharaohs and lost kings, all you need to do is consider discovering Egypt, the Red Sea and Jordan next winter. The highlights of a trip that will unveil the magnificence of these close by destinations are Cairo, Luxor, the Red Sea islands and resort areas, as well as Aqaba, Petra and Wadi Rum. Visiting during winter months is the best period for exploring the region, as you can avoid the heavy heat of the summer with the added advantage of experiencing a summer holiday in December through to March. One way to further enhance this feeling is to choose a cruise around Egypt and Jordan in winter.

The splendours of Egypt
Egypt and its splendours need no introductions. It is known that is a destination that harbours many of the worlds ancient secrets, and enigmatic, awe-inspiring monuments that will take visitors’ breath away. Cairo, the city of a thousand minarets, is Egypt’s capital and home to numerous landmarks that have graced it with their imposing presence for thousands of years. With the famous river Nile intersecting it, Cairo is one of those unique places that offers a myriad of stimulants. Brimming with countless sites of immense cultural value that are well worth your time as well as colourful markets full of fragrant spices, intricate textiles and intriguing local wares, Cairo is a city that will most definitely enchant you. The Giza Pyramids and Sphinx are, of course, a must see site and are an excellent first item to appear on your Cairo to do list. The collection of the age-old tombs that have been the resting homes of the Pharaohs who instructed their construction around 4500 years ago are truly remarkable. For the braver ones among you, you can opt for tours that entail actually entering the Pyramids. Be prepared to crawl through their passageways on all fours in order to reach the burial chamber. Not recommended for those who are claustrophobic or have shortness of breath, however, for those who do manage to explore the Pyramids from within, the experience will remain etched in your mind for years to come.

 Temple entrance at Luxor

Temple entrance at Luxor

Red Sea richness
The Red Sea is a relatively narrow strait of the sea that hides many natural treasures. It is where the Gulfs of Suez and Aqaba meet, creating a wonderful marine destination in itself. Boasting some amazing waters with seabeds that are home to numerous reefs and marine life, the Red Sea is definitely an excellent place for diving and snorkelling. Sharm el Sheik and Hurghada are two popular Egyptian resort areas right on the Red Sea’s coast, east and west respectively, and are able to offer the exotic holiday that some may be seeking. Around Hurghada, there are various small islands of powdery sand and azure waters, such as Giftun and Gubal islands. One visit there and you will fully comprehend why these are quite popular with tourists and locals alike. Especially if you choose to visit during winter, you can at least avoid the crowds as the majority of locals tend to visit in the summer months. For combining your seaside relaxation with a bit of culture, you can choose an inland excursion to Luxor. South of Hurghada, on the east side of the Nile is where you will find this glorious stone city, built on the site of Ancient Thebes. Striking and imposing, Luxor’s two towering Luxor and Karnak Temples will fill you with a sense of absolute awe. On the western side of the Nile, lies the Valley of the Kings, the burial grounds of legions of Pharaohs throughout the ages.

 Coastline in Egypt boasting marine blues and green hues. An ideal resort escape.

Coastline in Egypt boasting marine blues and green hues. An ideal resort escape.

 Lady snorkelling in the Red Sea with a picturesque backdrop.

Lady snorkelling in the Red Sea with a picturesque backdrop.

The many wonders of Jordan
Jordan is a place of diversity and wonderment and a place that will definitely charm you. It has vast expansions of sand dunes, natural reserves and seaside resorts, while it is  steeped in ancient history that dates back to 300 B.C. The most famous landmark is, of course, Petra, also known as ‘Rose city’; however it is not the only site worth visiting. Aqaba, located on the Red Sea coast in the southernmost part of Jordan, is a city of forts and fields, plus the Aqaba Marine Park which is famous for its Yamanieh coral reef. No visit to Jordan is complete without a tour of the archeological site of Petra. It is bound to enchant you with its rock engraved monuments and temples that are skilfully carved into the pink sandstone cliffs. The Wadi Rum desert is also a place that is awe inspiring, and where scenes of the classic movie Lawrence of Arabia were filmed. This is a particularly striking desert, quite different from any other deserts you may have visited. In appearance, it is evidently more dramatic than most; mountains, rock formations, arches, chasms and canyons are all part of the crimson beauty that characterises Wadi Rum.   

 
 Petra, is an historical and archaeological city in southern Jordan

Petra, is an historical and archaeological city in southern Jordan

 Sphinx in front of the Giza Pyramids, Egypt, Cairo.

Sphinx in front of the Giza Pyramids, Egypt, Cairo.


Notes in Africa