Traveling in pandemic times is hard enough for everybody but after one year of staying home and do pretty much nothing, we decided to dodge the bullet. At the moment, for Romanians, there were three options available (didn’t involve more than a PCR test). As Egypt was one of the dreamy destinations, it was an easy choice in the end. So we booked our tickets two weeks before departure.
Because it was a decision on short notice and we wanted to avoid all the hassle in reviewing all the options for our two weeks in Egypt, we decided to choose a “one-stop-shop”. As we knew already what we wanted to do, we chose to leave the administrative details in hands of a local professional guide. In the beginning, we told him what hotels we want and what we want to visit and he came back with the solutions (+costs).
If you are lazy or want to be extra safe when traveling through the country, I will leave his contacts here. His name is Mohamed and he is able to solve everything you need at any budget.
Beautiful and Amazing Cairo
The moment we left Cairo, we realized that pharaons were smarter than we are today with all the technology they were capable of and also the life knowledge they possed.
Be ready for chaos. Traffic chaos, both pedestrian and public are just crazy, you can actually cross the street wherever you want when you want. Traffic lights, well, almost none. We just fell in love with the positive vibe of the city and the positive people we met.
For 3 days in the big city, we visited the Giza Pyramids-Necropolis, Saqqara, Cairo museum, and Jewish district. Our accommodation was at Steigenberger Hotel El Tahrir Cairo, it’s next to the Cairo museum and in the city center.
When you go to Giza Pyramids, the first thing you will find is the Great Sphinx which for sure is bigger than you ever imagined. On the left side of it, you can go and make the famous “kissing the Sphinx” photo. Going further you will find the big 3 pyramids.
We learned from our guide why they changed from creating big structures like pyramids to underground structures like tombs – the ones in the valley of kings – Luxor. Due to the big size of the pyramids and location (being build on the highest point around), for thieves, it was easier to spot them and find the entry point. Most of the artifacts and findings have been taken away and lost.
Inside the complex, you can go for a camel ride (that I do not advise you to do), take pictures, and enjoy the vibe. You will totally need a guide when visiting the pyramids and the best time to visit is definitely before the sunset.
There are a lot of options for the Nile Cruise but we choose the 4 days cruise from Aswan to Luxon. From Cairo, we took a 1h flight for 60 USD. Below you can find the itinerary for the Nile experience, please note that we had a guide with us for the whole experience, and this brought a deeper understanding and experience.
The best place we visited during the Nile Cruise was definitely the Abu Simbel. The temple is made of two massive rock-cut temples and is situated near the Sudan border. From Aswan, you will have to take a car/ bus for 4h, really sad part with waking up at 5 in the morning.
The site is part of UNESCO heritage and they did a wonderful job relocating the rocks (1968) from the water (after the creation of Lake Nasser to the artificial hill made by them next to it. The site was created in the 13th century BC, reign of the Pharaoh Ramesses II. At his feet, you are able to see his wife Nefertari and the children, a lot smaller.
Valley of the Kings
The first day in Luxor we woke up at 4 in the morning to go to our transfer for the balloon ride above Valley of Kings. The ride was scheduled so that we can enjoy the sunrise from the air. The whole experience was great and the fact that we didn’t know the exact landing place as there is no engine and it depends only on the air movement. Our landing place was in the middle of a sugar plain plantation but the organizing team was following us with the GPS and before we knew it, we were back in our minibus going back to the cruise.
Right after the balloon experience, we plan to visit the West Bank, which includes the Valley of the Kings, the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut at Deir El Bahari, and the Colossi of Memnon facing the Nile.
The Valley is on the West side of the Nile and for 500 years (1600 – 1100 BC) rock-cut tombs were dough for the pharaohs and nobles at that time. After the experience with the big pyramids where everybody had access to them (stealing and vandalizing), the kings decided to camouflage the tombs between two small mountains and make it secret for the population by looking as natural as possible. This time they took care of the builders and the architects to be isolated near the building site and were never allowed to go out and share where the treasuries are hidden.
We visited the 3 biggest tombs on the site but there are a few others that also worth visiting like Tutankhamun’s, or others with different styles of carving and better-preserved colors.
Hurghada, El Guana and the Red Sea
When we finally arrived at Hurghada, we realized that we have no plan for the whole week. It was wonderful the first day but after that, we start to analyze our options and we choose: PADI lessons and certificates. With some help from our guide, we manage to find a very good school for scuba diving and we register for a 4-day course. The whole experience was amazing, we had theoretical lessons and also 3 dives/ day. And guess what? – we manage to complete the final test and now we are certified, open water divers. If you are interested to read more about this, check it here.
A very nice experience was also the desert tour by quad bike with a Bedouin village; Orange Bay visiting and El Guana visiting. To be me, next time I will definitely choose El Guana to stay. In Hurghada city center you can also find a lot of small and cute restaurants and bars. My favorite bar is Caribbean Bar. Will strongly advise you to check the local shops and the amazing fish market near the port (where you can choose fresh fish to be cooked only for you).
Hurghada is also a very kid-friendly place. There are a lot of big resorts offering a wide variety of activities to do bring a smile to every child’s face and keep the parents relaxed.
Two weeks are not even close to enough for Egypt, there are so many amazing staff to do here. Traveling to Egypt is enriching your understanding and knowledge of one of the starting points in our history. Our guide was excellent and I totally advise you to contact him before traveling to Egypt. They also can help you with the best rates for hotels and everything. His direct email address is:
Traveling to Egypt in pandemics is not so bad. It was really fun, you get the advantage of being alone at the best site sighings and you don’t have to use photoshop to remove all the people in your background pictures.