EGYPT - A Land of Plenty

Marisa Ippolito on 12 February 2010
Egypt... Why is it that I have visited this country more times than any other I have visited in the world?

Because it is special. Every aspect of Egypt is enchanting, mesmeric and I have never received a warmer welcome than here.

I first went to Egypt 20 years ago, Hurghada was no more than a handful of buildings in a small street and the beach one long stretch of sand peppered with remnants of tanks and metal left over from battles. I went back to Hurghada 10 years later and didn’t know it! I saw no beach as in its place was a long line of hotels with the beach now their frontage!

I kept going back because the people are the same, friendly, welcoming and have a deep love and pride for their country. And no wonder.... it is simply beautiful.

There is a vast choice of hotels of all standards offering self-catering/B&B/all Inclusive. All Inclusive tends to be very good in Egypt although don't expect bacon for breakfast, it is after all a Muslim country!

If you are looking for culture then CAIRO is great for 2/3 nights, enough time to view the Pyramids and go shopping in Khan el Khalili souk or market. I can highly recommend it as a real 'gone back in time' experience!

Head south to LUXOR for a wonderfully authentic experience. You can opt for a NILE CRUISE of between 3-7 nights in order to peacefully meander this beautiful River and view locals living their life; children splash and play, you may spot an old man washing his goat or praying on bended knees at the river’s edge and graceful white Ibis birds are often spotted poised catching small fish. The Cruise Boats have 2 or 3 decks, from very comfortable to luxurious and take you to visit the ancient sites. If you prefer to remain on dry land then great hotels lie close to the Temples of Karnak and Valley of the Kings & Queens where many of the Ancient Egyptian Gods including King Tutankhamun lie buried.

I have been to Luxor many times and can truly say I have never felt more relaxed than on return from a holiday here, it is a very unhurried pace of life and after only a few days you will easily fall under Luxor’s spell.

HURGHADA ~ SHARM EL SHEIKH ~ DAHAB There is a number of Red Sea resorts dotted along the Egyptian coastline offering a wonderful beach holiday for all. Well suited for Couples, Families and singles here you can enjoy all the delights of a seaside playground. Hurghada is a good choice if you want to enjoy a TWIN CENTRE with Luxor. Naama Bay in Sharm El Sheikh allows close proximity to the evening promenade shopping and entertainment. The Egyptians love to stroll in the evenings and there is a buzz here. Whereas staying in many of the hotels 20 mins drive away along in Sharks Bay and Nabq tends to be quieter outside in the evenings, good if you prefer to be hotel based although you can take a cheap taxi into Naama and have the best of both worlds. Dahab is a smaller version of Naama bay and therefore offers peace, beauty & and the small town for evenings.

EXCURSIONS: Here are a few of my firm favourites; CAIRO – Cairo Museum/Pyramids (Sound & Light show at night)/Khan el Khalili Souk/Horse & Camel riding around the Pyramids

LUXOR – Valley of the Kings/Felucca boat trip on the river Nile (especially at Sunset)/Sound & Light show Karnak Temple(wow!)/a trip to Abu Simbel

SHARM EL SHEIK Quad Biking in the desert (especially at sunset when the desert glows red!) / Night excursions with Bedouins & camels to the desert (preferably private or with a smaller group) / Trip to the Coloured Canyon in the Sinai/Climb Mount Sinai & visit St Catherines Monastery in the desert/take a day trip to Jordan to visit Petra.

And of course how can I forget, SNORKELLING & DIVING for which the Red Sea is famous. There is free snorkelling to be had all along the Red Sea every bit is as good as Australia’s great barrier reef. A trip to Ras Mohammed National Park or Tiran Island is a must. Take your own equipment as your experience will be more enjoyable if your mask fits your face properly.

I have many more insider tips waiting for you…

Now, which hotel would you like me to book for you?!