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Egypt

Whenever people think of Egypt, they probably think of the Pyramids.  This is not surprising: over 2000 years ago, Herodotus labeled the Great Pyramid one of the Wonders of the World.  However there is much more to Egypt than this.

There are probably three main tourist areas in Egypt: Cairo and surroundings, the Nile between Luxor and Aswan and the Red Sea.  In addition, for the more adventurous there are trips into the Western Desert and into the Sinai Peninsular.  Also there is the Mediterranean coast, including Alexandria.

Egypt Facts and Figures

 

Population
 
78 million Currency  Egyptian Pounds
Size 386,000 square miles Flight Times
Language Arabic London to
Religion Islam (mostly Sunni) 94 %

Coptic Christian & others 6%

Cairo 5 hrs
Luxor 7½ hrs (indirect)
Electricity 220 V, two pin plugs Sharm el-Sheikh  4½ hrs
    Time Zone +2 hrs

Sights of Egypts

If you want to see the Pyramids and the Sphinx, you have to go to Cairo.  They are surprisingly close to the edge of the city.  Normally it is possible to enter at least one of the Pyramids.  The Solar boat is also well worth seeing.  In Cairo itself, probably the next most visited place is the Egyptian Antiquities Museum.  In here you will find the contents of Tutankhamun's tomb and a mind-boggling amount of other artifacts from 3000 years of Egyptian history.  Other things to see in Cairo are the bazaar, the Sultan Hasan Mosque and the Church of St Sergius near the Roman Babylon, built on the spot where, according to tradition, the Holy Family found refuge in the flight to Egypt.

Luxor (ancient Thebes) is the start (or finish) of Nile cruises to (or from) Aswan.  It is well worth spending several days in.  In Luxor itself, there are two of the largest temple complexes in Egypt, the Luxor Temple and the even larger Temple of Karnak.  Outside Luxor there are the Valley of the Kings (including Tutankhamun's tomb) and the Valley of the Queens and the Ramessuem.  It is possible to enter some of the tombs.

There is more to a Nile Cruise than just a relaxing way to travel between temples (although it is that).  You are passing a timeless landscape, which would be recognisable by someone from 5000 years ago.  For me, the highlight of the voyage was the temple of Edfu, to the god Horus.  This is probably the best preserved temple in Egypt.

Arriving in Aswan there are yet more temples to see.  The Philae temple to the goddess Isis was relocated to the island of Agilika to prevent it being flooded by the High or Aswan Dam. It is well worth the boat trip to go and see this.  The Aswan Dam itself is an impressive engineering feat.

Also from Aswan one can coach or fly to the Temple of Abu Simbel.  This was probably the most famous of the temples that had to be relocated to avoid the rising waters of Lake Nasser.  It was rebuilt in an artificial mountain, to resemble the original site.  If you don't mind an overnight stay, this is reputed to have the best sound and light show in Egypt.

There are Red Sea tourist resorts on both the Sinai Peninsula (e.g. Sharm el-Sheikh) or on the African shore, (e.g. Hurghada).  These provide reasonably priced year round holidays.  Arguably the major attractions are found under the water.  These are one of the best near to the UK waters for diving or snorkeling.

Weather

 

Luxor  Average daily high temperature (ºC) Average daily low temperature (ºC) Rain (mm) Sun (hours)
January 23 5.4 0 9
February 25.4 6.8 0 10
March 29 10.7 0 10
April 35 15.7 0 10
May 39.3 20.7 1 11
June 41 22.6 0 12
July 40.8 23.6 0 12
August 41 23.5 0 12
September 38.5 21.5 0 11
October 35.1 17.8 0 10
November 29.6 12.3 0 10
December 24.8 7.7 0 9

 

Sharm El-Sheikh  Average daily high temperature (ºC) Average daily low temperature (ºC) Sea temperature (ºC) Rain (mm) Sun (hours)
January 22 13 22 1 8
February 23 14 21 2 9
March 25 16 21 1 10
April 30 20 23 1 10
May 34 24 24 1 11
June 37 26 26 0 13
July 38 27 27 0 13
August 37 28 28 0 12
September 36 26 28 0 11
October 31 23 27 2 10
November 27 19 25 1 9
December 23 15 24 4 8