• Sequoia, Zamalek: This upscale lounge is simply about the view and the breeze. Situated at the edge of the Zamalek island, Sequoia is where the paparazzi in Cairo head to every evening. The 250 EGP cover charge is a real bargain for being pampered like an Egyptian Pharaoh.
• Having spent a week in different locations in Cairo, Giza has won our vote for the top spot for a 2-night stay. Just do yourself a favour and book a Pyramids view room at the Le Meridien in Giza.
• Just in case you still have to stay in the city, avoid Downtown and instead opt for the trendy Zamalek island. The President Hotel is an ideal choice to experience authentic local hospitality
A bulk of the excursions in Aswan and Luxor are part of the overall Nile cruise package. Below are our favourites and certainly ones you cannot miss. For our cruise, we were on Royal Esadora, an excellent value for money for all meals and excursions. (For more details on how to score a cheap Nile cruise, read Things you cannot afford to not know before you go)
Aswan (2 Nights- on the cruise)
• The Unfinished Obelisk: In the largest red granite quarry in Egypt, lies the obelisk which cracked before it could be separated from its mother rock and hence left unfinished. The place is not really about grandeur but about the innovative building methods used by ancient Egyptian.
• Nile Felucca Ride: Sail on a Felucca to experience the Nile the most authentic way. A visit to one of the Nubian villages (Nubians are Sudanese people living in southern Egypt) gives you a peek into the traditional way of life.
• Very early morning trip to Abu Simbel: This trip is not for the faint-hearted. It involves a 3am wake-up and 6 hours drive for a 1 hour visit to the Abu Simbel temple. The result though is breathtaking. Standing at 21m, the four statues of Ramses II, one of the longest serving Egyptian pharoahs is a sight to behold.
Some facts: Rames II rules Egypt for more than 60 years, fathered more than 200 children, died at the age of 90 (a rarity during those times) and his mummy rests peacefully at the Egyptian museum (one of the must see mummies when you are there).
Luxor (1 Night- on the cruise)
• The Valley of the Kings: Here lies the boy king, Tutankhamun. Nothing can describe how we felt when we entered the tomb KV62, his final resting place. The tombs of the pharaohs in this valley, the paintings and the elaborate heliographic inside stands testament to the unshakeable belief the Egyptians had in the afterlife. So tuck away your phones and listen to your guide. He will have some of the most interesting stories to tell!
Hurghada (2 Nights)
• Diving / Snorkeling Trip: I dived, I dived, I dived and I still cannot believe it! I cannot swim and I dived!. One of the most exhilarating experiences of my life.
Here are the feelings I went through:
♣ Anxiety: waiting for my turn and seeing others ‘drown’
♣ Fear: inside the water, with my guide slowing lowering the pressure taking me down
♣ Awestruck: gazing at my mask-magnified colourful corals and marine life
♣ Victorious: climbing back to our yatch after a successful dive
• Lazing around on the beach: For the rest of the days, we adhered to the holy trinity of a beach holiday: Eat,Laze and Swim