My Egypt Travel Wish List
I’ve been wanting to go to Egypt for a while but it hasn’t happened yet, so I’m now making notes for my travel plan / wish list! As it often happens, I start my to-go destinations by using the UNESCO World Heritage list. There are currently 7 sites inscribed for Egypt as I marked on the map above.
From what I gathered from friend who has been and some reading around, and now from this map, most people would start from Cairo, and then go along the Nile River. That should cover 4 World Heritage sites: Historic Cairo, Memphis and its Necropolis – the Pyramid Fields from Giza to Dahshur, Ancient Thebes with its Necropolis, and Nubian Monuments from Abu Simbel to Philae. It is a good distance away to reach Abu Simbel, but from what I heard and the pictures I saw it’s really amazing and worth making some time for.
The rest of the three World Heritage sites seem less straightforward.
Abu Mena is some way to the North West of Cairo, but it’s been marked as red, which means it’s in danger. There are currently 46 sites in the List of World Heritage that are considered in danger. From the website:
“The List of World Heritage in Danger is designed to inform the international community of conditions which threaten the very characteristics for which a property was inscribed on the World Heritage List, and to encourage corrective action.”
Saint Catherine area in the North East of Cairo has the orthodox monastery of St Catherine which stands at the foot of Mount Horeb, where according to the Old Testament, Moses received the Tablets of Law (Mount Horeb . The entire area is sacred to three religions: Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. It is a highly important and interesting site, but it would take a good amount of time and effort to go from Cairo, so I wonder if it’s feasible. In a glance it seems to be closer to Israel and Jordan, so I wonder if people normally go there from those countries instead of Cairo in Egypt.
Lastly there’s Wadi Al-Hitan or the Whale Valley in the Western Desert of Egypt, a natural World Heritage, which contains fossil remains of the earliest, now extinct, suborder of whales, Archaeoceti. According to my experience, this would be a tough one to get. Natural world heritage or anything fossils related are always a bit tricky.
So there you go, realistically I should target the 4 sites along the Nile River, while keeping Saint Catherine at the back of my mind for possibly another trip around the area. What do you think?
I have yet to decide whether to do independent traveling or follow a tour in Egypt. A friend of mine recommended to take a tour and it does seem like a good idea for this country (which I imagine to have similar feels as Morocco, but with completely different – frankly better – sights). One tour operator to consider is First Choice.
Food is always an important part of my travel, so I cannot wait to discover Egyptian food. In London, there’s Koshari Street, which serves Egyptian street food (or so they claim): a mix of lentils, rice, chickpeas, spicy tomato sauce, and fried onions. I’ve tried it once and it’s yummy, as someone originated from South East Asia I especially love the fried onions!
From what I read, sunshine is all year long in Egypt. Summer could reach 40 degrees C, while winter hovers around 20C. I struggled through the heat back in Morocco when I went at the end of August to early September (so it wasn’t even the peak of summer), so I will make sure not to go to Egypt in summer! In fact, winter time sounds perfect if it’s around 20C. So maybe it will happen at the end of 2015? Wish me luck! :)