Egypt is back on the radar for group travelers wanting to delve into the wonders of ancient history and experience all that a vibrant Middle Eastern culture has to offer. The country offers a surprising array of activities and experiences both cultural/historical and nature-based. From scuba diving in the Red Sea, kicking up sand in the Sahara, setting sail on the Nile, or standing in awe in an ancient burial tomb, Egypt will certainly not disappoint the globetrotting groupie.
Here are Goway’s GroupsOnly picks for “the must-do” experiences for the adventurous group travelling to Egypt:
TO THE PYRAMIDS AND BEYOND
Cairo, Egypt’s largest city and main international gateway, is probably what most people first think of when considering Egypt as a destination. And there is no doubt that Cairo has a lot to offer with the Pyramids of Giza as well as the great sphinx on its doorstep. It’s also home to the world-renowned Egyptian Museum, the most important depository of Egyptian antiquities in the world. But there is so much to see just outside Cairo that it’s worth adding an extra night or two in the city. Journey to the Step Pyramid of Djoser, in the archaeological remains of the Saqqara necropolis. Visit Dahshur on the west bank of the River Nile and go inside the unfinished Red Pyramid, named for the rusty color of its limestone rocks. Do not miss Memphis, located south of the Nile River. This city, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was the ancient capital of Egypt and an important centre during much of Egyptian history.
COOK LIKE AN EGYPTIAN
What better way to ‘live like a local’ than by sharing a meal with them? Even better is learning how to cook some of the dishes at the same time. A great experience in Aswan in Southern Egypt is to have dinner with the Nubians. Small groups will be met by an extended family member and taken on a stroll of the local village to learn about Nubian tribal history and traditions and interact with the villagers. Then it is off to the family home for a traditional ‘sit on the blanket’ evening meal with an array of delicacies to choose from. Try Nile perch, spice-infused rice, tomato-soaked chicken pieces, and even some homemade beer to wash it all down with.
CRUISE THE ‘RIVER OF LIFE’
A cruise (or sail!) on the Nile should be on the ‘to do’ list of every group traveler. A Nile cruise between Luxor and Aswan is a wonderful way to experience 5000 years of history and culture while sitting on a shaded deck sipping iced beverages. Whether your group chooses one of the larger river boats with multiple decks, bars, health club, dining room, and room service, or the smaller, luxurious boutique sailing boats called Dahabiyas that once plied the Nile back in the day with aristocrats, the shore excursions bring you face to face with legendary sights. The Valley of the Kings and Queens, the Temples of Karnak, Luxor, Philae, and Edfu, and the more recent Aswan Dam to name just a few.
ONE HUMP OR TWO?
There is no better way to experience the Sahara than on the back of a camel as you meander along a base of a massive barchan with a shimmering oasis on the horizon. This is the quintessential Egyptian experience. The classic camel ride adventure is at the pyramids, where your group can do a 1-hour camel ride and see one of the wonders of the ancient world at the same time. One of the best perks is that you will be able to get a lot closer to the pyramids than on the traditional walking tour. Those who really want to ‘get to know a camel’ can opt for a longer camel trek with expert Bedouin guides, lasting a full day or even for 1 or 2 nights exploring both the natural and the historical elements of the desert environment.
No trip to the Middle East is complete without at least a few shopping experiences (even if you are not a shopper) in the Arab souks filled with the sounds, the scents and the cheerful chaos reminiscent of ancient times. The grandest market of them all is the 500-year-old Khan El Khalili Market in Cairo with its maze of alleys and meandering laneways filled with all types of goods and produce. From Alexandria to Aswan, traditional markets abound and are a wonderful way for the group to get a glimpse of Egyptian daily life as well as have fun bartering for souvenirs.
For itinerary ideas see our Wonders of Egypt sample tour
No group is too big, too small or too unusual for the tour-planning experts in Goway Groups!