Ancient Egypt

Ancient Egypt is so much more than pyramids and sphinxes. For about 2,000 years, Ancient Egypt thrived as a civilization, creating effective systems of bureaucracy, medicine, mathematics, and agriculture. But we wouldn’t know any of this if they hadn’t also created effective means of capturing and preserving their achievements, partly in their written language and art, and partly in feats of engineering and architecture so solid, they still stand today.

When visiting the Temple of Hatshepsut, be sure to hike over the top and descend into the Valley of the Kings. The hike takes 30-45 minutes and is accessed by a trailhead near the visitor’s center. From the top you can take photos, but you’ll not be able to once you get into the Valley of the Kings area.
Red Sea Governorate, Egypt
The Philae temple complex, situated just south of Aswan on a picturesque island in Lake Nasser, dates back to Ptolemaic times—some 350 years B.C.E. Although you can visit by day, the sun is merciless and will suck your energy right out from you. It’s best to visit at night for the sound and light show, when the temple blazes bright against the sky and the flickering lights infuse the ancient reliefs with an air of mystery. Narrated by a cast that includes Egyptian priests, the old gods, and even the Nile itself, the story that unfolds is both compelling and pleasingly melodramatic. You’ll learn about the colorful and violent myth of Osiris and Isis, the history of Philae, and the importance of the rhythms of the Nile to the ancient Egyptians. You will also hear what is perhaps the most extraordinary story of all: how the temples were moved to another island after spending years underwater. This following the construction of the Aswan dam at the start of the 20th century. It’s easiest to have your hotel organize the trip for you. (They can also check the times.) Otherwise, arrange for a cab to drop you at the ticket office and to pick you up after the show. Once you have your ticket, you’ll need one of the boats to ferry you over to the island and to bring you back after. The cost is (technically) included in the ticket, but you should expect to haggle in advance over the tip.
Abu Simbel, Aswan Governorate, Egypt
The Great Pyramids of Giza are very impressive and rightfully earn their wonder of the world title. But then there’s Abu Simbel. The site has, well, personality. Ramses II is present at every turn, as is his wife Nefertari. Four giant likenesses are carved into rock walls and look out over Lake Nasser. Inside, it’s pure Indian Jones and archaeology with magnificent hieroglyphics and rows and rows of columns at every turn.

Travel here is from Aswan in a caravan that leaves at dawn. Make arrangements from your hotel for the trip, and be glad you decided to pay respects.
A short ride from Luxor is one of the most incredible places on the planet, the Valley of the Kings. Home to more than 60 tombs of royals and other important personages, it is here where you will find Ramses and Tut, their tombs still decorated so many millennia later. I couldn’t help but think what those first archaeologists felt as they first reopened these tombs, bringing to life pharaohs that previously had been lost to the sands of time. Photos aren’t allowed anywhere in the Valley, but that’s okay. The images of your special visit here will be etched in your memory forever.
Al Haram, Giza Governorate, Egypt
One of the most famous landmarks, the pyramids that grace the Giza Plateau certainly don’t disappoint. Nearly 4,000 years old, these mystical tombs have captivated the attention of people around the world since they were first built. Tourism is down in Egypt, making this a great time to visit and have these monuments almost to yourself. With your admission ticket you can wander around the massive structures and even descend into the incredible Pyramid of Khafre. Touring the pyramids with a trained Egyptologist, like those found with Insight Vacations tours, makes the experience even more enriching. It’s hard not to feel like an archaeologist of old as you “discover” the inner chambers for yourself.
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AFAR Journeys
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
National Parks