Egypt: A must SEE destination
Over the years we’ve traveled pretty much everywhere in the world, from North to South and East to West. While Egypt was always on our list, we always passed over it, prioritizing instead the immediate destination choices of our clients and the subsequent need for our inspections there. And then it happened: a university requesting a program to Egypt.
The time had finally come… we were off to Cairo!
From the moment of our arrival, we were immediately enchanted and sold on this country.
And why not? Egypt checks all the boxes for a perfect special interest destination:
Fabulous Program Content: Amazing experiences and learning opportunities. Culturally, no other destination delivers more content than Egypt with 4000 years of epic history (more on that later). And there’s much more: for contemporary studies, Egypt’s social, political and economic developments are rapidly transforming this relatively young (1953) and dynamic country and offering a compelling laboratory for studies of all kinds.
Excellent Security: Every place we went – cultural sites, restaurants, hotels, etc. – security was present, but the vibe is calm, friendly, no stress. Egyptians take this subject very seriously and they are happy to see their country returning to a thriving international destination.
Strong Hospitality Options: Outstanding 4* and 5* hotels, good restaurants, top of the line transport and excellent DP guides and ground support. All the ingredients are here.
We are fortunate to have an outstanding local travel management partner in Egypt who did an great job arranging our travel logistics and ensuring we had the very best overview of what Egypt has to offer. Our guide – who was with us over the course of the 14-day inspection – was just the right man to guide us: our Egyptologist Tarek Tawfik is one of the best professionals we have met in our years of site inspections and was a treasure trove of fascinating information.
We started in Alexandria, the Mediterranean port city founded by Alexander the Great in the third century BC, and learned how the Greeks – and then the Romans – first conquered but then were in fact absorbed by the Egyptians to build on their ancient kingdoms. Our stay at the waterfront Four Seasons was exceptional and we enjoyed visits to the (rebuilt) Alexandria Library, The Roman Catacombs, the Mameluke Castle and more.
Next came Cairo, a bustling and frenetic city of over 20 million just a 3 hour drive from Alexandria. Despite our concern about congestion and pollution we were in fact very pleasantly surprised by the gracious tree-lined streets, wide boulevards, squares and peaceful green islands along the Nile. Here again we stayed at the Four Seasons Hotel and learned about other 4* and 5* properties, including the Marriott, Sofitel and Hilton, all very suitable for groups. Highlights here included visits showcasing Egypt’s Arab and Islamic culture such as Cairo’s Great Mosque, the Citadel and the colorful Souk. Walking the intriguing Coptic area of Cairo gave more insights into this important part of Egypt’s Christian history. Not to forget the ancients, truly memorable was our visit to the fabled Egyptian Museum and the beautiful King Tutankhamen exhibit. Incredible to see, up close, the treasures found in his completely intact tomb.
The peak experience here of course is the Pyramids complex of Giza. It’s hard to overstate the sense of awe as one approaches them from nearby Cairo. And it’s also difficult to conceptualize the amount of knowledge this civilization had to build huge and complex structures 4500 years ago. These truly awesome structures of alabaster, sandstone and granite remain printed in the brain as one of the most fascinating sites we’ve seen.