Why Egypt Now?

Marianne Moore June 23, 2014 8

This past January, I embarked on a trip to a place I’d never been before: Egypt. Four days before departing, the headlines screamed of chaos, riots, and demonstrations. Egypt had held a constitutional referendum, and most of the calls I received from family and friends were anxious and less than supportive of my choice. Reassured by the hardy G Adventures team on the ground, though, I went ahead. Adventure doesn’t come calling every day, and although the headlines at home were negative, something about the place still called to me. I simply had to go.

As the sun rose, we emerged from the airport and were thrust headfirst into the wonderful, vibrant cacophony of Cairo traffic. First stop: two of the oldest pyramids in Egypt, the Red Pyramid and the Bent Pyramid.

The Red Pyramid, Egypt.

The Red Pyramid, Egypt.

It is one thing to see the pyramids looming in the distance, but quite another to stand at the foot of one. They remain the only standing wonders of the Ancient World and are, quite simply, breathtaking. As we stood, there marvelling at the Red Pyramid and preparing to climb inside, we realized that we were completely and totally alone – no other travellers, no lines waiting to get in, no parking lot filled with buses, no bustling about for an unobstructed photo. Maybe, I thought, it’s because these pyramids are lesser known than Egypt’s main draw, the Great Pyramid of Giza.

But later that afternoon, as we approached Giza, we encountered only a slightly busier site. And when we climbed up and into the Great Pyramid itself, we were alone inside the world-famous pyramid save for a small group of Egyptians on their way out. At the lookout point where millions of photos have been snapped, our group of ten accounted for about half of the tourists present. Mo, our great and knowledgeable CEO, told me that the throngs of people trying to get pictures are usually dozens deep and that it can take an hour or longer to get close enough to take a picture. Going into the pyramid can mean Disneylandesque lineups lasting hours more, but there we were, at arguably one of the most famous and recognizable historical sites in the world, and we basically had the place to ourselves.

This theme continued as we made our way around Cairo. At the end of five days, we had climbed into and out of two pyramids and visited the grounds of many others, saw the Sphinx, glided down the Nile, rode camels into the desert, wandered deep into an ancient bazaar, laid next to a bonfire in the Sahara and gazed up at the stars, tried stuffed pigeon (an aphrodisiac in Egypt!), sat in one of the oldest hookah cafés in Cairo filled with the aromas of the shisha smoking all around us, and witnessed a spontaneous wedding dance party on the side of the road.

A scene you would expect to be filled with tourists: the Sphinx.

A scene you would expect to be filled with tourists: the Sphinx.

a camel resting on the sand.

Taking a rest.

Two felucca's floating on the nile

The relaxing waters of the Nile river. Photo by L Tamburri.

There were demonstrations while we were there, but not for one single second did any of us feel even a bit uneasy or were even aware that they were going on. We were welcomed with open and loving arms, not just by our team there, but by all of the Egyptian people that we met.  They asked to take pictures with us, were passionate in their love for their country, and hopeful about its future. And they graciously thanked us at every turn for coming.

We never saw any military personnel. The only police we saw were a pair sitting under a tree eating lunch with the locals and a few waving at us from the back of a truck as they headed home from their shifts. We drove through Tahrir Square at midnight, the greatest threat to our safety being dinged by another car in the elegant madness that is Cairo traffic.

There is a small window of opportunity to see Egypt in all its grandeur, minus the hoards of tourists. Right now, you have access to an Egypt that few have ever witnessed. There are no line-ups, no struggles for photo-ops, no waiting. There is just Egypt itself – magical, historical, mythological, vibrantly alive, majestic, hopeful, drenched in culture, and awe-inspiring. You just can’t wrap your head around the greatness of this country or why it is so important to experience it. You just have to go.

There aren’t enough words to describe Egypt or the incredible, passionate and proud people that call it home. But for me, it was love at first sight and I embraced it with every fiber of my being. I am so glad we went and so grateful for the opportunity.

I’ll return to Egypt. There is so much more to discover. And I’ll go back soon because right now may be the very best time there has ever been to discover this incredible country and meet its inspiring people. If you want to discover a country in it’s most authentic state, don’t delay. Head to Egypt soon for an experience you’ll never forget and may never get again.

A group riding camels at sunset.

I’ll go back to Egypt. There is so much more to discover.


Getting There

Egypt’s landscape offers a unique travel experience. Go now to go back into the storied histories it has to offer. G Adventures runs a number of departures to Egypt encompassing a wide range of departure dates and activities to cater for different tastes. Check out our roster of small group trips to this mesmerizing land. Check out Egypt with us today!

8 Comments »

  1. Sandy June 24, 2014 at 8:38 am - Reply

    In March 1998 we took a similar “Window” after the Luxor Thanksgiving Massacre. Having a good organization and excellent guides made us feel relatively “secure” while the photo and people opportunities were unmatched.

    My emergency medical equipment was tripled but my worst patient was another ex-Peace Corps volunteer who feel off her camel! Do prepare, but be ready for amazing experiences. Safe travels, Sandy

  2. Adam Brown June 24, 2014 at 2:51 pm - Reply

    I too have felt much of what is described by Marianne, and I love to hear people that get the feelings I get about Egypt, and its people. I do business there, and I’ve been on holiday also. For me it extends to Africa and the African people, having just got back from Johannesburg with work, I just love the attitude, and the warmth of these wonderful people.
    I went to Egypt when the “Arab Spring” first started, and like Marianne I was confronted by a lot of people who could not believe I was going, and were shocked I was taking my family. Well I decided that having checked the foreign office web site going to one of the resorts was absolutely fine. There were very few tourists there, and that was great for us! No unrest, no signs of any problems, and a warm welcome from a number of Egyptians, just happy we had made an effort. One Egyptian said “we knew we could rely on the English” which I have to say made me feel pretty good!
    I could keep going, but I think you get a little of my drift……
    I love this web site and the whole concept of the G Adventures organisation, feels like I may have found a travel company that understands me!
    Best wishes
    Adam Brown

  3. David Ernest June 27, 2014 at 8:16 pm - Reply

    I’d put Egypt on your back burner for the time being, “safe” tour or no tour!

  4. Ruth Kozak June 27, 2014 at 9:08 pm - Reply

    I was also in Egypt for 12 days the end of March. We felt perfectly safe and had a marvelous time. I love the Egyptian people – so friendly and welcoming. I’d recommend it any time and actually hope to go again on another press trip. It was a dream come true being there and the memories will stay with me forever.

  5. Boomster June 27, 2014 at 11:14 pm - Reply

    I had visited Egypt few years ago,in 2000, it was a great trip, had a short cruise through the Nile River, to Luxor/Aswan and then ended my journey on a lovely resort along the Red Sea in Hurgadah .
    That was than, today I will not feel safe or dare traveling to that area of the world, it’s really very sad,it’s a great place to visit ,hope things will get better soon and life go back to the normal life in that Region.

  6. jazz June 30, 2014 at 2:14 am - Reply

    very well written, especially considering it is the anniversary of the Morsi overthrow. We were supposed to go to Egypt for the first time almost a year ago, on 12 July 2013. 10 days before our dream trip, we had to cancel.. we were completely devestated, but our insurance wouldn’t cover us – and still doesn’t. We would love to go as soon as possible, when will our Govt lift the ‘reconsider travel’ warning? How are you able to take people over to Egypt G Adventures? Do you recommend a particular travel insurance, because noone seems to want to cover us. at the moment, we got plans to go in March 2015.

  7. Ahmed Mohamed June 30, 2014 at 3:21 am - Reply

    Marianne, Such a great post! I hope this clears up the rumors about Egypt being unsafe & I hope you have enjoyed your stay in Egypt.

  8. Steve September 6, 2014 at 2:24 pm - Reply

    We had a Sept 2013 Egypt tour booked through G Adventure and they cancelled it because of the instability following the military overthrow in July 2013. We totally trusted G Adventures decisions and knew we would go it was safe and not go if it wasn’t. So we put Egypt on temporary hold and booked a tour to the Antarctica for Mar 2015. Seeing the comments of those who have gone recently, we will definitely move Egypt back into our plans for later in 2015. Thanks all for your comments!!!

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