Image: Unsplash

Unique Experiences in Egypt

Is there anywhere on Earth more culturally fascinating than Egypt? With a history which stretches back to the beginning of civilisation, and a contemporary culture which has plenty to offer for the modern traveller, it’s hard to look past this North African giant as a potential holiday destination. 

There are countless wonders to explore throughout the country. In fact, there are so many it might be hard to work out exactly what you want to sink your teeth into first. Whether it’s an adrenaline rush, culinary delight or a historical marvel you’re looking to enjoy, there are a plethora of options to choose between. 

Let’s make that choice a little bit easier for you. Today, we’re going to look at four of the most unique experiences to try when you head to Egypt. Just don’t blame us when you decide you need to check them all out.

1. Red Sea scuba diving 

This probably doesn’t sound like an activity you naturally associate with a country like Egypt. However, owing to the vast coastline which spreads out 2,900km across the Mediterranean Sea, there are ample opportunities to try out some scuba diving. 

Undoubtedly the most iconic spot to visit is Dahab, in the Red Sea. Translating to literally “The Blue Hole” (so does that make it purple, given its location?), this region reaches a total depth of 27m. Just be sure to head out with a trained professional. Dahab is not recommended for first time divers to try on their own. 

2. Observe local religions 

Image: Unsplash

Whether you’re a religious person or not, it cannot be denied that a culture’s connection with the divine gives a fascinating insight into their morals, practices and general way of life. 

While you’ll be hard-pressed to find many people who still worship ancient gods like Ra or Osiris, there are plenty of other religions to explore during your time in Egypt. The primary religion of the country is Islam, but you’ll also be able to check out Christian churches, Jewish synagogues and even Buddhist temples. 

An unfortunate word of warning must accompany this cultural treat, however. Attacks on mosques, such as that in North Sinai in 2017, are not completely unheard of. Keep this in mind before you decide to travel. 

3. The White Desert 

Mandatory Credit: Photo by KHALED ELFIQI/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock (10220705d) Desert safari vehicle drives along the rock of the massive white inselbergs that are characteristic of Egypt’s White Desert which is located 500 kms southwest of Cairo, Egypt, 26 April 2019 (issued 28 April 2019). The White Desert (Sahara el Beyda) is a protected area of 1,800 square kilometers and was once an ancient extension of the Mediterranean Sea and the unique geological features were carved by wind erosion since the Upper Cretaceous Era. Desert Safari in Egypt, Farafra, Egypten – 28 Apr 2019

In keeping with the colour theme of the Red Sea and Blue Hole, the White Desert is also a must-see for anyone looking to experience the bizarre and other-worldly. 

This vast expanse of calcium rock has been shaped by years of erosion and wind damage. The result? A maze of gigantic, oddly formed natural statues, each somehow possessing their own sense of personality and character.

Without question, the most iconic of these creations is the famous “chicken”, which sits next to another formation of unspecified description. The argument rages as to whether this second rock best represents a tree, mushroom or even atomic bomb. 

Still, at least we can all agree on the poultry. 

4. Nilometers 

Nilometer in Egypt. 17th-century artwork titled ‘Nilometrium’, showing a nilometer as used in Ancient Egypt. The central column is labelled in cubits to show the height of the water during the annual flood (up to around 10 metres). Many buildings were built in Egypt over the centuries to measure the rise and fall of the Nile. These measurements were vital for planning the farming that depended on the annual flood. A good year would be a flood of 16 cubits. Less would mark a drought, and more would be destructive flood. Artwork from the three-volume work ‘Oedipus Aegyptiacus’ (1652-54) by German Jesuit scholar Athanasius Kircher (circa 1601-1680).

Their name makes these structures sound like some form of measuring device for the Nile. And, well, that’s probably because that’s exactly what they are. 

In ancient times the success of crops was pivotal to the health and success of a local community. These gigantic buildings were constructed to measure and predict the behaviour of the river itself. 

Only high-ranking officials such as priests or rulers were allowed to use the nilometers, which would tell them if they were likely to face a drought (bad), flood (very bad) or desirable conditions (much better). 

Today, visitors can find these wonders of ancient architecture, which spread back over 5,000 years, littered throughout the riverbanks of Egypt.

Thinking of checking out one of these utterly unique experiences the next time you’re in Egypt? Make sure to do so, but also remember to keep safe at all times.

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