Egypt Tourism Authority Launches New #thisisegypt Campaign

ETPA-January1 (18)

The Egyptian Tourist Authority (ETA) has announced today the launch of a new campaign titled “This is Egypt” (#thisisegypt), to kick-start a major domestic campaign to drive growth in the tourism sector.

♦In a departure from previous ETA campaigns, #thisisegypt will be adigital-first, focusing on peer-to-peer advocacy and digital media.

In addition to the traditional advertising methods that will be undertaken by the ETA, #thisisegypt will be the first new campaign for the tourism sector since 2012.
This Is Egypt focuses on personalizing the Egyptian experience by encouraging Egyptians to celebrate and share what theyvalue most about their country on all social media platforms – and play a positive role in retelling the nation’s narrative.
The hashtag, #thisisegypt, originally began as a grass-roots movement developed by Egyptians, and was adopted by the ETA as the campaign to give all Egyptians a chance to play a role in boosting tourism by portraying an experiential and authentic image about the country to the world.
♦The three-year campaign will focus on attracting and engaging diverse audiences, with a focus on millennials who are driven by personal experience, passion and adventure. Recent studies have shown that millennials take a higher number of trips annually compared to other age groups, driven by the aforementioned factors.

♦Millennials also have the highest level of influence in their respective communities, which indirectly affects the travel decisions of their peers – upon which this campaign heavily relies.
♦The campaign will highlight Egypt’s touristic destinations into four main geographic attractions: the Nile Valley, the Red Sea Riviera, the White Mediterranean and the Western Desert. The four destinations will be promoted across different audiences and seasons based on each of the targeted markets’ unique attraction points.
♦“The #thisisegypt campaign is built for Egyptians, by Egyptians,” said Egypt’s Minister of Tourism Hisham Zaazou. “Now more than ever we want all Egyptians to explore our country and share their positive visuals, and help reshape Egypt’s image to the world.”
The campaign comes as Egypt continues to work around the clock to enhance safety and security procedures to ensure the well-being of all travelers.

♦The country recently passed an assessment by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) with inspectors from Russian, Dutch, Emirati and Italian airlines, and is also collaborating with delegations from the United Kingdom, Germany and Russia to implement the strongest security measures possible. As it launches the #thisisegypt campaign, Egypt has pledged to do all that is possible to provide all visitors – internal and external – with a safe and enjoyable experience in the country.
♦The domestic campaign will be followed with another extensive GCC and international campaign at a later stage.

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About The Egyptian Tourist Authority
Egyptian Tourist Authority was established in March 1981, by presidential decree No. 134 endorsing a recommendation by the Minister of Tourism.

♦ The Authority is dedicated to promoting Egypt as a first class tourist destination, in line with the rise of tourism marketing as an independent discipline and the emergence of new tourism promotion tools.

♦ The Authority responded to the increasing competition in the travel and tourism industry, by adopting an advanced structure capable of dynamically dealing with the situation.

♦The completion is due to the rising number of new attractive destinations, budget airlines and the huge progress made by the airlines industry.

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The historical expedition of Prince Kamal El Din Hussein

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Under the auspices of the Ministry of Tourism This is a historic event taking place from the 14th to 26th of March 2014.
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Who is the Prince?
The Prince  Kamal El Din Hussain (son of Sultan Hussain) who was heading out into the deep desert with Citroen Kegresse Autochinelles in the years 1923 – 1926.  Massive camel caravans of up to 500 animals were carrying his fuel supply as the logistical backbone of his ventures. He was the one who found and named the Gilf Kebir Plateau.A memorial plaque was laid down by Count Lazlo Almasy – better known as – The English Patient. This plaque was placed in honor of the Prince at the southern tip of the Gilf Kebir Plateau in 1933 after his death. The Hollywood film “The English Patient”, won nine Oscars in 1996. The Prince was the first to introduce the automobile into deep desert explorations.After 1 year of the construction of the memorial Almasy returned with tourists to revisit the site. That expedition was sponsored by the Royal Automobile Club of Egypt which was represented by Prince Muhammed Abdel Moneim and by the Ahram Newspaper represented by Hassan Sobhi.
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The preliminary agenda for passengers

13 March 2014 – Arriving Cairo
Overseas participants arrive in Cairo. We will assist with hotel bookings and we will be delighted to assist and organize transfers to the hotels (only hotels listed as participating in Kamal Expedition).

14 March 2014 – Opening ceremony – Flight – Drive heading to Gilf Kebir
We will have a transfer organized from the hotels of our choice to the Kamal Expedition Opening Ceremony which will be held at the Automobile & Touring Club of Egypt in Cairo. You also have the choice of joining us independently at the Club if you wish. After a brunch and the ceremony we will be heading to the Cairo International Airport to catch a charter flight to Dakhla Oasis.
At the airport of Dakhla the packed 4×4 cars will be waiting for us and will bring us to have lunch. Meanwhile the last formalities will be finished with the government to have
a fast start to the desert after lunch. Divided into several groups, the participants will be leaving the Oasis heading south on the Asphalt Road. Leaving the road, our first visit will be the Balise of Saviem Trucks which traversed the entire Sahara from West to East in 1977 (from the Atlantic ocean to the Nile). In the area of G-Hills we will be looking for a camping place. In the evening we will have the chance to listen to an interesting lecture on a chosen topic related to the desert by one of our top speakers.

15 March 2014 – Wadi Eight Bells
After breakfast, we will be continuing in groups crossing different desert landscapes to approach the Gilf El Kebir plateau. We will find some relics from the Second World War: broken down Cars which were used by the British Special Forces, the Long Range Desert Group. We will also cross some dunes to reach the landing ground of 8 Bells where we will set up camps nearby. Like every night we will have the chance to listen to an interesting lecture on the desert by one of our top speakers.

16 March 2014 – Gilf Kebir Wadi WassaKamal El DIn Monument
We will be traveling through the Wadi Eight Bells to reach the Wadi Wassa and the Rock paintings of the Mararet el Qantara which was found in 1935 by a British explorer group under the leadership of Shaw. From here we will be heading south to the southern tip of the Gilf el Kebir Plateau where Almasy erected the Kamal El Din Monument 81 years ago. Nearby, we will find a set up prepared for the group. It will be on that occasion were all the groups will be gathered together and we would have a longer entertaining program for you that evening including the screening of a documentary film. If you do not feel like attending the screening, you could enjoy the calm evening weather some hundred metres away.

17 March 2014 – Camil Crater
After a late evening, the starting of the groups will be delayed. They will be heading to the south to reach the meteorite crater of Gebel Kamil, where they will be camping nearby. The evening will once again be filled with an interesting topic of one of the speakers.

18 March 2014 – Gebel Uweinat Karkur Talh
The groups will be heading towards Gebel Uweinat to arrive there after a few kilometers looking for camping places in the Karkur Talh area and will be exploring the different sites of the Gebel Uweinat. In the evening there will be a chance of attending another interesting lecture.

19 March 2014 – Rock cave near Peter & Paul
There will be a chance to have a short hike in the mountain in the morning before heading back north to reach some interesting rock art caves near the mountain of Peter & Paul. In the evening another interesting lecture will be organized.

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20 March 2014 – Gilf Kebir – Wadi Sura
We will be reaching the area of Wadi Sura (the Cave of Swimmers) which became famous through the 1997 film The English Patient. We will be visiting the Clayton Cave and the Chinati Camp site exploring some rock paintings nearby. Before that, we will have a second gathering in front of the Cave of the Beast. Here all the groups will unite for a second time to watch a short film about the life of the late Egyptian Father of Environment, Prof. Mohammed el Kassas, who died on that day (March 21st) one year ago in Cairo. Through different presentations and a film we will have a second longer night in that area.

21 March 2014 – Gilf Kebir Aqaba Pass
The groups will split up again to move over the Three Castles to the Aqaba Pass to drive on top of the Gilf Kebir Plateau and to cross some dunes which are on top of the plateau. Here we will be looking for different camping areas and have the chance to another interesting lecture.

22 March 2014 – Gilf Kebir – Wadi Hamra
We will reach the higher level of the Plateau and have a nice view at Belle Vue
onto the southern plane. Driving along the edge of the plateau we will reach a passage which will get us to the southern tip of Wadi Hamra. Here, we will be visiting different engraving sites and have a special look at the different Fauna of the Gilf el Kebir area. We will be camping at the northern exit of the Wadi Hamra where each group will get a chance to listen to an interesting lecture.

23 March and 24 March 2014 – Crossing Great Sand Sea
These 2 days we will be crossing the dunes of the Great Sand Sea having exciting passages crossing the dunes from west to east.

25 March 2014 – White Desert
We will be back near the Wadi Obaid and we will be entering the National Park of the White desert. Here a buffet will be waiting for all the participants. The groups will be spread in the National Park and a last evening with lectures will end our evenings in the desert.

26 March 2014 – Cairo – Closing Ceremony in Mena Hous
We will be leaving the White Desert National Park heading back to the road in a northerly direction reaching Baharya Oasis where a lunch will be prepared for everyone. After lunch, a 300 kilometre drive to Gizeh will bring us to the Mena House Hotel at the foot of the Pyramids. After a welcome coffee and cakes, the closing ceremony will be held in the hotel and will include a dinner. The anniversary of the Prince Kamal el Din monument will come to the end of its journey.

for more info visit : http://www.kamalexpedition.com

under the auspices of the Ministry of Tourism This is a historic event taking place from the 14th to 26th of March 2014. – See more at: http://en.egypt.travel/events/id/371#sthash.aYWVe1KJ.dpuf

Classic Egypt back on map as FCO relaxes advice for tourists visiting Luxor and Aswan

British tourists wishing to visit the Valley of the Kings, home to Tutankhamun’s famous tomb, can once again do so safe in the knowledge that they will be covered by travel insurance after the British government relaxed long-standing advisories.

The FCO is still warning against all but essential travel to a large part of the country including Cairo and the North Sinai but destinations such as Luxor, Aswan and the Abu Simbel temples in Nubia are back on the map.

A spokesperson for the FCO said: ‘We continue to urge British nationals already in Egypt to follow the instructions of the local authorities and obey curfews where they are in place. There remains a high threat from terrorism throughout Egypt. This has not changed.’

They continued: ‘As always, the safety of British nationals is a priority. We continue to follow developments carefully, and keep our travel advice under continuous review.

‘British nationals should continue to monitor FCO travel advice closely for any updates and stay away from any demonstrations or protests.’

Speaking at a holiday industry conference in London last week, Egypt’s minister of tourism Hisham Zaazou told journalists: ‘More than 18 countries have lifted the travel advisory on Luxor and Aswan. As soon as the FCO revises its travel advice for the UK, we will work tirelessly with our valued media, travel agent and tour operator partners to communicate that the whole of Egypt is open.’

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/article-2500039/Egypt-map-FCO-relaxes-advice-tourists-Luxor-Aswan.html#ixzz2kdoGTpIN

Lavrov hopes to restore tourism cooperation with Egypt

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Moscow is confident that the scale of tourism cooperation with Egypt will be restored after the lift of the state of emergency in that country, the Voice of Russia correspondent Ksenya Melnikova reports.

“We have agreed on the intensive development of dialogue on tourism. This is an extremely important area of our relations and part of stabilization efforts in Egypt; as I understand, the lift of the state of emergency regime which occurred yesterday can restore the scale of tourism cooperation. I am absolutely positive about that,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told a press conference after his negotiations in Cairo.

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Read more: http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2013_11_14/Lavrov-hopes-to-restore-tourism-cooperation-with-Egypt-after-state-of-emergency-is-over-6248/

Minister of Tourism said : Egypt open for tourism

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Egypt will end its state of emergency and lift all curfews in the country by November 14, according to Egypt’s Minister of Tourism Hesham Zaazou Speaking at World Travel Market at London’s Excel, he said, ‘Over 18 countries have now lifted their negative travel advice to key regions of the Red Sea, Luxor and Aswan. Egypt’s compass is now pointing in the right direction.’

Apart from the Red Sea resorts, the UK government currently advises against all but essential travel to most of Egypt including Luxor and Aswan, but the Minister hopes this is reviewed and expects to meet with the Foreign Office in the coming days.

 

Following this summer’s revolution and subsequent protests, Egypt has seen a huge drop in tourist arrivals. ‘It’s been a challenging time as over 4 million Egyptians work in tourism,’ he said. ‘In the last week of September, we saw a drop of 90% compared to last year which is huge. However, while the media has focused on negative images of Cairo, I want to stress that not one single tourist has been targeted.’

 

As part of the mission to win back tourists, the tourist board has launched their ‘Egypt Now’ initiative with live streams of key tourist hot spots in Egypt available on their website, as well as an ‘Egypt Travel’ mobile application  for visitors to plan their holiday.

 

‘One million British tourists visited Egypt last year and 1.46 million in 2010. We must be doing something right and we’re adamant we can retrieve these figures.’Blue hole entrance

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Hisham Zaazuo the Minister of Tourism Resigned 1st July

Each of the Minister of Tourism, Environment,Communication and the Minister of State for Parliamentary and Legal Affairs resigned  formally to the Council of Ministers to submit it to the presidency.

In protest at the poor performance of the institution of the presidency and not dealing with the will of the people and not to pay attention to events that fill the areas of Egypt .

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LES OASIS DU DÉSERT OCCIDENTAL

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Des paysages majestueux aux contrastes extraordinaires Paradis isolés, poches de civilisation au milieu du désert,refuges luxuriants loin du monde moderne, les oasis sont undes rares endroits de la planète qui échappent au temps.Situées à l’ouest du Nil, elles parsèment le désert occidental(ou désert Libyque) et ses dunes aux courbes sensuelles.

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De Siwa à Kharga, les oasis d’Egypte sont les plus variées aumonde, chacune possédant son caractère propre au milieu d’immenses étendues de sable noir, blanc ou doré et d’impressionnants paysages rocailleux.L’oasis de Siwase distingue culturellement du reste de l’Egypte.

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A l’ombre des palmiers/dattiers et des oliviers verdoyants, les Siwisy  vivent pratiquement en autarcie. Siwa « l’authentique » s’attache à garder et perpétuer ses valeurs traditionnelles et ses coutumes ancestrales. L’eau y est miraculeusement très abondante et la multitude de puits, jardins, sources jaillissantes et fontaines d’eau chaude font oublier sa position dans l’un des déserts les plus arides du monde. Depuis plus de 2000 ans, le nom de cette oasis est associé à celui d’Alexandre le Grand.

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C’est dans le temple dédié à Amon, au cœur de Siwa, qu’en 331 avant notre ère, les oracles ont confirmé la descendance divine d’Alexandre et sa conquête du monde. Ilot de verdure au milieu de l’océan saharien, les deux grands lagons qui l’entourent lui donnent une allure féerique Longtemps demeurées inconnues des égyptologues, les oasis du désert occidental livrent une multitude d’informations qui renouvellent considérablement l’histoire de l’Égypte

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pharaonique. Ainsi, l’oasis de Fayoum, célèbre pour la douceur de son climat et sa beauté, est un site touristique exceptionnel. A proximité du Caire, ses nombreux sites archéologiques et monuments témoignent de l’héritage historique et culturel laissé par les pharaons mais aussi par les civilisations gréco-romaine, chrétienne et musulmane.

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Un héritage géologique et culturel Plus au Sud,l’oasis de Bahariya recèle de sources chaudes et de spas naturels. Ses innombrables arbres fruitiers et savégétation dense contrastent avec les collines et les montagnesde sable partiellement couvertes de pierres noires qui l’entourent (le désert noir).C’est dans ce paysage majestueux et surprenant

que fut découverte la nécropole des fameuses « momies dorées » datant de l’époque gréco-romaine.Sur une bande de 60 km, coincé entre Bahariya et l’oasis de Farafra, s’élève alors un univers minéral magique,le désert blanc.

Véritable décor lunaire,hérissé de colosses de calcaire aux formes extraordinaires sculptées par la nature et le temps,cette banquise de sable et de pierres émerveille par sa géologie unique au monde.

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Les oasis de Dakhla, Kharga et Farafra sont concentrées dans la région de la nouvelle vallée, un des plus importants pôle d’attraction touristique d’Egypte. Grâce à leurs

sources sulfureuses froides et chaudes (jusqu’à 50°C !) riches  d’éléments à valeur curative, ces oasis ont acquis une  réputation mondiale de centre hivernal thérapeutique.

Le soleil y rayonne toute l’année, le climat y est sec même enhiver et les plantes herbacées de la région sont utilisées dans le traitement du diabète ou des rhumatismes par exemple.

A Farafra, les habitants excellent dans l’artisanat, Kharga, où se trouve l’unique aéroport du désert égyptien, abrite de nombreux sites anciens, et Dakhla est sans nul doute la pluspittoresque des oasis avec ses villages traditionnels, véritables labyrinthes de ruelles couvertes, bordées de maisons en boue séchée. Ses lacs naturels entourés de palmiers et de dunes de sable, ses champs dont le vert gras éclate sur l’ocre pâle du désert en font un lieu envoûtant truffé de sites archéologiqueset de réserves naturelles.

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Idéalement de septembre à mai, il y a mille et une manières d’explorer cette terre de contrastes qu’est le désert Libyque.

A pied, à dos de dromadaire ou en 4×4, la diversité des paysages comblera les amoureux d’aventure et émerveillera les voyageurs en quête de culture et d’histoire.

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Egypt Participating at ITB Berlin 2013

Egyptian Minister of Tourism Hisham Zaazou headed a high level delegation representing Egypt at ITB Berlin 2013 that took place during the period from 6th to 10th of March 2013.

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Nearly 100 exhibitors representing the most important Egyptian hotels, travel agencies, the Hotel Association, and the Travel Agents Association where exhibiting at the Egyptian pavilion covering an area of 1515 m2

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It is worth mentioning that Egypt was the partner country of ITB Berlin in 2012. In this respect Egypt had taken the opportunity to maximize the coverage and promotion about the Egyptian destinations through a marketing strategy that included intensive advertising campaigns through conventional and non-conventional advertising channels as well as a public relation strategy that has been launched since the beginning of 2011. The campaign focused on wide participation in all major touristic and cultural events, the launching of press conferences and workshops.

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ITB Berlin hosts around 106644 exhibitors representing 187 countries, in addition to 7000 Journalists representing 94 countries.

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Most Important 18 protectorates In Egypt

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The unique geographical location of Egypt, at the northeast corner of the African continent, where it joins with Asia, coupled with the fact that it is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north and the Red Sea to the east, endows it with a rich natural heritage.In a bid to take action to conserve and preserve its biodiversity, flora and fauna, Egypt passed law 102/1983, which empowered the Prime Minister of the country to designate certain areas to be declared as protectorates. To date, 28 protectorates have been declared, ranging from coastal, wetlands, geological and coastal protectorates.

Ras Muhammad National Park

Ras Mohamed was the first declared protected area in Egypt in 1983. It lies at the southern-most tip of the Sinai Peninsula, overlooking a panoramic view of the Gulfs of Suez and Aqaba. A diversity of shoreline configurations and coral reef ecosystems that are internationally recog-nized as some of the world’s best make up a small part of the park’s beauty, which also features mountains, valleys, gravel plains and sand dunes. In addition, more than 1,500 marine creatures can be found, which is why the park is a famous snorkeling and diving site. Ras Muhammad is located about 20 km from Sharm, and 446 km from Cairo. There is only one place in Ras Mohamed where camping is admitted but visitors must get a permit from the Park Management located at the entrance.

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Zaranik

Zaranik Protected Area is located at the eastern end of Lake Bardawil on the Mediterranean coast of Sinai and was declared a protected area in 1985.It is bordered on the north by the Mediterranean, on the south by Qantara – El Arish road, and on the east by a huge compound of tourist development areas where one can find comfortable accommodation.The area is characterized by amazing flora and fauna, which includes rare species (up to 270), as well as migra-tory birds. It is located around 30 kms east of the town of El Arish and 300 km from Cairo, and can be reached by road. There are several budget campsites and some double rooms. Binoculars and telescopes are available for rent at the site.

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Al Ahrash

Al Ahrash Reserve lies in the northeast corner of Egypt, bordering the huge expanded area of sand dunes that reach 60 meters in height above sea level.The reserve is famous for its trees and plants, which densely cover the reserve, making it a natural and serene haven. Numerous acacia trees, various camphor trees, bushes and pastoral plants can be found there.Located between El Arish and Rafah cities in Northern Sinai, it can be reached by road from these cities.

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El Omayed

This relatively small area of the Mediterranean coastal desert is characterized by the richest and most diverse flora in Egypt. Dunes of white sand by the sea are followed further inland by limestone ridges separated by depressions, some of which contain salt marshes. It is the only protected area that has this type of habitat.Many birds migrate through in spring and autumn, provid-ing excellent bird watching opportunities. El Omayed is easily accessible from Alexandria, as well as the governorate of Matrouh.

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Elba Protectorate

The Elba Protected area is an extensive and complex area comprised of a number of mangroves of the Red Sea, islands, coral reefs, coastal sand dunes, salt marshes, desert plains and a cluster of coastal mountains (Gabel Elba, Gabel Ebruq and Al Daeeb).
Gabel Elba is the only igneous mountain rising up to 1,437 meter. Its summit is a “mist oasis” where a considerable portion of the precipitation is contributed in the form of dew and clouds, creating a unique and rare ecosystem not found anywhere else in Egypt.
Some 458 species are known in the reserve. Gabel Elba also supports a rich faunal diversity unparalleled in any other desert environment in Egypt. Forty species of birds and twenty-three species of mammals including the endangered sea cow Dugong – and thirty species of reptiles are found here.It is located in the south-eastern part of the eastern desert. The distance from Cairo is around 1300km and there are many resorts around the area where visitors can stay.

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Salouga and Ghazal

The two islands of Salouga and Ghazal in the River Nile are located north of the High Dam. You can also visit the islands of Asbournati and Amoun and the plantation garden at Aswan, which are all located north of the reserve vicinity.
The reserve area is characterized by predominantly expanding bushes and 94 various kinds of plants. The favorable natural conditions in the area provides wildlife spotting opportunities, with 60 kinds of rare birds, as well as migrating birds. The two islands are about 3 kms north of the Aswan Dam. You can reach the islands from Aswan or from Cairo (a 7-8 hour drive; there is a bus that leaves Cairo daily).

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St. Catherine’s National Park

The Park occupies much of the central part of South Sinai, mountainous region, which includes Egypt’s highest peaks St. Catherine’s Mountain – a favorite of many climbers Moses, Serbal, Umm Shomer and Tarbush mountains.Around 1,000 plant species, representing almost 40% of Egypt’s total flora are found in this region. Half of the 33 known Sinai endemics are also found in St. Catherine area. The white-crowned Black wheatear is very characteristic of the area. There are 46 reptile species,15 of which are found nowhere else in Egypt such as the Endemic Sinai Banded Snake and the Innes Cobra, which is considered to be very vulnerable to extinction. The Saint Catherine National Park abuts the coastal reserves of Ras Mohammed National Park, the Nabq and Ras Abu Galum Managed Resource Areas that lie along the Gulf of Aqaba. The coastal resorts, a mainstay of the Egyptian economy, are among the fastest growing tourism developments in the world.Many hotels are available for accommodation in the South of Sinai, as well as, around St. Catherine’s

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Lake Qarun

Lake Qarun lies in the Fayoum Province, an easy drive from Cairo. A gently sloping sand-plain extends from the lake shore northwards and upwards to reach sea level at
7 km north of the shoreline. The lake is an important archeological site because of the presence of the numerous marine life with a unique collection of fossil fauna and flora that goes back to some 40 million years.It is well known for wetland of international importance for water birds. The 376-feddan-islet serves as the most convenient spot for bird reproduction, specifically the flamingo. It is also the incubator and the happy nest that embraces infant birds on the lake islets during reproduction time. The reserve contains several monuments including As-Sagha (goldsmiths) palace that lies at the northern part, dating back to the Pharaonic Middle Kingdom. Three km away from As-Sagha palace, lies Abu Lifa Monastery that was built in the monastic era on an elevated spot in the bosom of a mountain to keep monks secure from Roman aggression. Greek monuments include relics of the old town of Skitnopius, once the departure point for the south desert-bound trade caravans.Several eco lodges, as well as two 5 star hotels are avail-able in Fayoum for accommodation.

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Wadi El Rayan

The Wadi El Rayan depression is located in the western desert of Egypt, about 65 km southwest of the town of El Fayoum and 80 km west of the Nile River. The vegetation is confined to inter-dune areas around springs and at the base of large dunes, and covers 13 species of plants. It is especially important, as it is home to the world’s only known population of the endangered Slender horned Gazella leptoceros. The Dorcas Gazelle is still found in the area in small numbers, as well as, the Fennec Vulpes zerda and Sand Fox.

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Wadi El Allaqi

Wadi El Allaqi is a valley formed by the drying up of a large river, 275 km in length with an average width of 1 km. Home to more than 90 species of annual and perennial plants, it also includes fifteen species of mammals, 16 species of birds, a few venomous reptiles, and a large number of invertebrates. The valley is easily accessible from Aswan.

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Wadi El Assiuti

The Assuiti Valley starts in the form of tributaries, mostimportant of them are the areas south of Qena Valley and up north. The Valley reserve differs from other Egyptian reserves as it is the sole station for breeding wild animals and wild plants endangered by extinction.

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El Hassana Dome
The reserve is situated at Abu Rawash on Cairo-Alexandria desert road, about 8 km from Giza pyramids.El Hassana Dome, with its topographical merits and geological make-up, reflects a distinguished history. It is the sole location near Cairo that features remnants from the Higher Crestaeceous age, that dates back to about one million years. Its surroundings of rocks are from the Stone Age that were formed about 60 million years ago and the Rocky Age dating back to 40 million years ago.

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The Petrified Forest

In 1989, the area outside of Maadi (30 kms from Cairo’s downtown), known as the Petrified Forest, was declared a protectorate by Prime Ministerial decree. Roughly 35 mil-lion years old, the Petrified Forest is an astounding piece of the earth’s physical history. The six-kilometer expanse is strewn with the remains of trees from an early forest, which were washed to their current location by flooding from the Red Sea hills. The period in which this flooding and move-ment occurred is known as the Oligocene, when the Earth’s overall temperature experienced a great deal of cooling. What makes this period particularly unique is that the global cooling that occurred in it created an atmosphere that brought about the appearance of many new species, such as horses and elephants.

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Sannur Valley cave 

Sannur valley cave reserve is located in Beni-Suef, 10 km southeast of the city.
Due to the ongoing alabaster drilling operations, 54 big cavities leading to the caves in the bottom of the earth were discovered. They contain geological formations known as ups and downs. The most important feature is the quality of its natural formations that are the most rare in the world. They also represent an importance to researchers for conducting detailed comparative studies with regard to variations of ancient environmental conditions.

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Nabq

The largest coastal protected area on the Gulf of Aqaba, Nabq contains a variety of ecosystems in the Sinai Peninsula. With an area of over 600 kilometers square, Nabq contains 134 plant species, 6 of which are found only in Nabq, and the largest single stands of Arak bushes in the Middle East. Gazelles, Nubian Ibex, Hyrax and small mammal populations inhabit the adjacent desert. Herons, Spoonbills and Ospreys have sustainable breeding populations in and around the mangroves. Nabq (which is near Sharm El Sheikh resort), is an amazing site for diving and snorkeling as the coral reefs are extremely rich there. Reef profiles and therefore community structure are different from reefs in the Ras Mohammed National Park.

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Abu Gallum

Abu Gallum is one of south Sinai’s best-kept secrets and is considered among the most picturesque protected areas in Egypt. Its spectacular granite mountains ending abruptly
on a narrow coastal plain, fronted by rich coral reefs makes it a worthwhile visit. Abu Gallum reserve houses 167 plant species, 44 of which are seen only in this area.You can trek to Abu Gallum from the Blue Hole camp in Dahab, which should take you about an hour. You can also enjoy a camel ride to Abu Gallum, which can be rented, along with a guide from the Blue Hole. If you opt to drive to Abu Gallum, the ride will take you two hours from Dahab.

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Lake Burullus

Situated northeast of the Rosetta branch of the River Nile, Lake Burullus stretches over 460 square kilometers, and is considered the second largest natural lake in Egypt.The lake has many environmental treasures, most impor-tant being the salt swamps and sand plains, while high sand dunes cover the lake’s coasts. The area features over 135 types of land and water plants. Moreover, the site is a great bird watching location as it is convenient for receiving migrating wild birds.

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The White Desert

The White Desert is considered the main attraction of Farafra, and is the second biggest depression by size located in Western Egypt, between Dakhla and Bahariya Oases. Located 45 km north of the town of Farafra, the White Desert has a white, cream color and has massive chalk rock formations that have been created as a result of occasional sandstorms in the area. You can also visit the hot springs at Bir Sitta and the El-Mufid Lake, also located near Farafra.

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10 Things not to miss in Egypt

1 The pyramids

It would be a travel-weary soul indeed who failed to be impressed by the spectacles of Giza, the only survivors of the seven wonders of the ancient world. It took teams of 10,000 workers they have non-farming months of 20 years to build each pyramid and they are awesome. Although climbing the pyramids is no longer permitted, you can walk right around them, take a camel ride between them and even go inside to the main chambers (providing you don’t suffer from claustrophobia as the entry tunnela are narrow, steep and hot). By contrast, the nearby Sphinx is, as English playwright Alan Bennett observed, like meeting someone famous who turns out to be smaller than you might have imagined from seeing them on TV or in photographs.

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2 Egyptian Museum in Cairo

You could spend a month in this vast, fusty and cavernous museum and barely scratch the surface. Highlights include the Tutankhamun Galleries with everything from clothes, funerary couches, golden sarcophagi and statues to canopic jars containing the boy king’s internal organs. Tut’s death mask, 11kg of solid gold with details in lapis lazuli, obsidian and quartz, completes the sensory overload. Don’t miss the royal mummy room with 11 of Egypt’s most celebrated rulers laid out for the passing parade, or the animal mummy exhibit where royal pets from cats and dogs to crocodiles are preserved. The ancient Egyptian jewellery room is also astonishing, particularly for the inspiration it has provided modern jewellers with lots of seashell and star?sh motifs.

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3 Old Cairo

The history of the Coptic Church is tied to the history of Christian monasticism. The ancient tradition of monasticism continues to be practiced in Egypt and offers a great opportunity to visit Coptic monasteries, such as the monastery of St Simeon in AswanSt Anthony and St Paul Monasteries in the Red Sea mountains, and Deir Al-Kashef Monastery, an early Coptic monastery in the Western Desert. Some of Egypt’s churches also rank among the oldest Christian landmarks in the world, such as the church of the virgin in Asyut and the Coptic Cathedral of St. Mark in Alexandria.Several churches and monasteries also mark the Holy Family Journey trail as described in the Bible. Take an angle’s advice and “Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt.”

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4 Khan Al-Khalili

Cairo’s bustling central market since the 14th century, it meanders across countless alleys. In the midst of all the touts and tat, this is a great place to pick up souvenirs as long as you’re prepared to bargain. Take a break at Fishawi’s Cofee house, which claims not to have shut in 200 years except in the mornings during Ramadan when everyone is fasting. And try fateer from the stall that has “Egyptian pancakes” written on the wall.

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5 A ride on the Nile

A felucca ride on the Nile is the best way to escape the hustle on land. We took a two-hour sunset cruise in Luxor, but there are full-day and even week-long cruises on these time-honoured Nile sailing boats. Longer cruises usually head up-river from Aswan — the strong current keeps you moving even when the wind drops.

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6 Luxor Museum
If Cairo’s museum is old-school, the Luxor Museum is new age, with multi- media presentations and well-documented exhibits. There are mummies (including one thought to be the mummy of Rameses I) and statues aplenty, but we delighted in the everyday objects including sandals, a quiver of arrows and even a slingshot from Tutankhamun’s tomb.
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7 Luxor
Allow at least a couple of days to explore the temples and tombs of Luxor . Anything less and you’ll end up with pharaonic fatigue not able to tell a sphinx from a scarab. Karnak and Luxor temples are the highlights of the East Bank in the actual city of Luxor, while on the West Bank you can visit the underground tombs of The Valley of the Kings (including Rameses II and Tutankhamun), the temple of Hatshepsut, the queen who ruled ?rst as regent and then as pharaoh, even to the extent of dressing as a man, the twin pillars of the Colossi of Memnon and the tombs of the Valley of the Queens. It gets very hot in these parts, so start early, wear sunscreen and take plenty of water.

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8 Alexandria’s waterfront walk
A stroll along the Corniche in Alexandria, two hour’s drive north of Cairo, provides a pleasant respite from antiquity overload. The fishing boats place you firmly on the Mediterranean and the Alexandrian Bibliotheca (library) is a modern architectural wonder worth visiting. Stroll down the seafront to see the Hotel Cecil where Lawrence Durrell stayed when he came to Alexandria in 1942 and later immortalised in the Alexandria Quartet. Somewhat incongruously, it’s now a Sofitel.
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9 Oriental cuisine 
From dips such as baba ganouj and homous to salads including tabbouleh and fattoush and chickpea-based felafel, it’s almost impossible to eat badly in Egypt. We fell in love with fattah, a slow-roasted lamb dish with a rich tomato sauce, and hamam, pigeon stu?ed with spiced rice. Sweet-tooths are well catered for, with honey-sodden pastries ?avoured with rosewater and pistachios, pinenuts, almonds and cashews. Though most Egyptians don’t drink alcohol, beer is easy to come by (a bit harder during Ramadan). Egypt also has an emerging wine industry producing creditable wines under licence to French winemakers. Wine and spirits are mainly available in the tourist hotels. There’s also an astonishing array of juices, from limoon (lemon) and rumman (pomegranate) to karkadai (hibiscus flower).

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10 A dip in the Red Sea 

The Red Sea is justifiably famous for the spectacular coral reefs and more than 1000 species of making it a diving and snorkeling paradise. Many Egyptians and tourists base themselves in the resort town of Sharm el Sheikh on the point of the Sinai Peninsula and explore Ras Mohammed National Park, 20km to the west.

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