In sharing once in a lifetime adventures, it’s hard to ignore the allure of Africa and the Middle East, and in particular, Egypt – the pyramids are still magnificently standing, having withstood every imaginable world crisis. The history, the pyramids, the sphinx, and the ancient burial tombs all standing amid a hectic twenty first century life. Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.
Merely weeks before lockdown I enjoyed a glorious visit to Jordan and Egypt, who could ask for a more perfect ending to travel. I began in Jordan exploring Amman and made my way to the Rose City of Petra. We will help you arrive for a night walk under moonlight. I trekked through the narrow dirt Siq passage of Petra by candlelight, to reach the spectacle of The Treasury illuminated by thousands of candles. It was perfectly quiet except for a haunting flute melody played by a local Bedouin. Explore Petra for at least two days, there is much to discover besides the famed Treasury, stroll the colonnades of the Great Temple complex, climb up more than 800 steps to the top of the impressive Monastery. Add on a day or two for glamping in Wadi Rum.
We always send a box of books and reading list pre-departure and Agatha Christie is at the top of the list for Egypt. It’s a personal choice whether you gather your finest floppy sun hat and white linen, don’t forget evening clothes. Plan to begin in Cairo, the boisterous capital of Egypt. Known alternately as “The Mother of the World” or “The City of a Thousand Minarets”— visit the tangled narrow alleys and bustling marketplaces and the larger-than-life Pyramids of Giza. If you dropped the pyramid in New York City, it would take up a whole city block.
The soon to be opened vast Grand Egyptian Museum, is a treasure trove of antiquities, including royal mummies and gilded King Tutankhamun artifacts, is not far from the Giza pyramids. In the shadow of the pyramids, the grand Mena House hotel provides easy access to Giza and the new museum. Arrive early to explore – there’s no better place to initiate your visit, laying out a cultural map of your upcoming days of exploration. Marvel at the majestic Sphinx, buried for most of its life in the sand, an air of mystery has always surrounded the great Sphinx. Then head to the Nile and board a private Felucca or one of our favorites, the intimate 22-cabin Oberoi Philae, we enjoyed an onboard tour. For the ultimate in indulgence and comfort consider a Dahabiya Nile cruise. A Nile cruise has long been one of the classic experiences of travel. Long stretches of river have changed little over the centuries, it’s truly Biblical in nature. Lounging on the sundeck, watching the ancient scenes glide past is a contemplative experience, I moseyed to the upper deck at dawn and couldn’t tear myself away. Absorb archaeological wonders, explore vibrant bazaars, and ponder pharaonic temples as you cruise the Nile. Float past lush sugarcane fields, sleepy rural villages, and oases of date palms as your boat glides up the Nile. The Dahabiya is an ancient iconic boat style, a reminder of the romance of the past with modern comfort and convenience. It’s a leisurely way to get between Luxor and Aswan. Sailing the Nile in a private Dahabiya is what inspired the Victorian allure of boat travel. The most serene of river boats, it offers the ultimate in privacy and convenience for stopping at any riverbank. Fancy a shore break to bicycle around an oasis of date palms or an impromptu farmers market, this is the only river boat allowing such intimate shore access. Elegant in design, designed for modern comfort with light filled comfy cabins and acres of outdoor lounging space.
The Old Cataract Hotel is the historic site where King Fouad once entertained, and Agatha Christie sipped cocktails in the colonial era five-star hotel on the banks of the Nile. The hotel faces out over the Nile to Elephantine Island and the sands of the Sahara beyond.
“(Egypt) is a great place for contrasts: splendid things gleam in the dust.”
― Gustave Flaubert, Flaubert in Egypt: A Sensibility on Tour