On my first trip to Egypt, I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect. I knew that I was in for the classics: towering pyramids, ancient relics, rolling dunes, and a sun rising over the desert. But what I found was that and so much more.
Located just five hours from London by air, Cairo International Airport was easily accessible and located just a short cab-ride from downtown Cairo. Upon arrival in the city center, I realized that Egypt was a mixture of the ancient and modern, the spiritual and the commercial.
Cairo itself is a city that has been built and re-built hundreds of times over throughout the millennia and the site of sky-scrapers located adjacent to Victorian-era mosques was a sight that I was not expecting by utterly delighted by. Bedouin run stalls selling amazing food, handmade clothing and carpets, jewelry and antiques sat beside modern high-street shops. From the latest fashions to ancient relics, the shopping in Egypt was without doubt as varied as any I had ever seen.
Outside of the city, I was expecting rolling deserts and caravans of Bedouin travelers. I was not disappointed. What I wasn’t prepared for was the variety of landscapes and activities available throughout Egypt. From Africa’s largest man made lake – Lake Nasser – to the beaches of Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt offered so many activities I was kept busy for a week. Scuba diving at Sharm el Sheikh offered me the chance to see the variety of sea-life on display in the crystal clear waters while – if I had had a bit more time – windsurfing, parasailing, and canoeing were available to help scratch the action sport fix.
Further south, along the Nile River, lake Nasser offered a chance to angle for the Africa’s biggest fresh water fish: the Vundu Catfish. Some areas of the lake are preserved for wildlife and sight-seeing tours provide a chance to see massive alligators, delicate birds, and beautiful sunsets while other shore-lines provided me a safe and exciting fishing experience – wading out into clear, cool waters to cast a line in my hunt for a fish that can reach up to 55 kilograms.
It seems that Egypt provided more memories in a short time than I could hope to catalog easily in this blog: tasting authentic Bedouin cuisine, camping under the stars in the desert, and dancing the night away in some of Africa’s most famous night clubs, Egypt provided an experience unlike any other in the world. I fell in love with Egypt during my time there and I am ready to go back as soon as I can.