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This article is written by African Destination Specialist Michelle Crabtree
At the age of 10 I remember glancing at a map of Africa, wishing that one day I would get to stand in the shadow of the Great Pyramid. Thirty-odd years later, I stood tall in front of this wonder of the ancient world – though when I say ‘tall,’ I mean about as tall as a single one of the blocks used to build this masterpiece! We spent a fair amount of time marveling at the Pyramids of Giza before stopping to admire the Sphinx. Said to represent the Pharaoh Khafre, this “half man/half lion” stands to protect tombs and treasures. It’s hard to imagine a more magical introduction to Cairo. A few fun photos later, and we were off to explore the city!
A drive through the bustling city of Cairo brought a smile to my face as we watched with eyes half open. A 3 lane road quickly turned into a 5 lane game of Tetris as each car found its slot in the chaos. I’m still not sure the polite honking had a purpose. Old meets new in Egypt’s capital, with incredible hotels and modern gourmet restaurants (we would be treated to an evening of fine dining at its best later on) amid the bustle of the old bazaars and apartment blocks not quite finished. Leaving roofs unfinished is quite common in Cairo, in order to make space for family members to add on at a later stage. What a sight!
Bidding farewell to Cairo – for now – we boarded our Egypt Air flight to Luxor. Ah Luxor, home to one of the most spectacular temples we’d see during our visit. Karnak Temple left us speechless as we disappeared under its unusually tall statues and obelisks that still stand proud, so many centuries after they were built. The next day took us to the west bank, where we would see the Colossi of Memnon, the Valley of the Queens, and the highlight of my day – the Valley of the Kings! To think King Tutankhamun is still buried here was incredible. Visits to the Temple of Horus, Om Kombo, and Philae filled in our next few days, while our evenings were spent on deck of our 4-tiered floating hotel. Each night, we would take in the most incredible Egyptian sunset over the remnants of Egypt’s historic past. The staff, food, entertainment, and ambience were most welcoming.
Back in Cairo, we visited the Egyptian Museum while stories from our amazing guide “Jimmie” held us truly captivated! Artefacts that took us way back in time were only surpassed by the famous headdress belonging to King Tut! More sites awaited me on my last day with a tour to Memphis – the original capital of Egypt – and a walk around the Khalil Bazaar, rounding off my stay in this amazing country. After braving a walk back to my hotel that included crossing one of the previously-mentioned vehicle-packed motorways, I smiled as a surprising rainfall gifted us with a rainbow just above the River Nile.
I WILL be back!
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