No trip to Egypt is complete without a trip to Cairo’s famous Khan-el Khalili bazaar where haggling for spices, copper and brass, perfume and trinkets has been refined into an art form. Not to be missed is Fishawi’s tea house, which has been in business for over 200 years.
For something more exotic and considerably more grudging, go to the Camel Market (Souq al-Gamaal), held every morning at Birqash, around 21 miles from Cairo on the Western Desert fringe. A livestock market is also held every Tuesday morning at El-Hebel, 2.5 miles from Luxor.
Explore the Desert
Egypt’s six oases in the vast Western Desert offer a fascinating glimpse of Bedouin and Berber life, often with ancient ruins nearby. Don’t miss the White Desert, an area of dazzling white, wind-blown rock forms scattered across the wilderness.
Part of the Egyptian experience is a Nile cruise between Luxor and Aswan. Along the Nile, egrets flock to the water’s edge and Egypt’s ancient wonders unfold like a story book along the river bank.
Luxor, strewn either side of the Nile, looks good from the ground, better from the river and superb from the air. Rise above the land of the Pharoahs in a hot-air balloon and take a bird’s-eye view of the colossal works of ancient mortals.
A walk along the corniche in Alexandria is a good way to work up an appetite for one of the city’s fabled fish suppers. The catch of the day, seasoned with exotic spices and dressed with a dozen mezze (small dishes), is a treat worth being hungry for.
The Red Sea justly deserves its worldwide reputation for peerless underwater adventure. The crystal waters are landscaped with coral and dramatic drop-offs, teeming with many colourful species of fish. Head for Ras Mohamed National Park for the underwater world at its best.
Snorkelling and swimming
Egypt’s spectacular coastline is accessible without a wetsuit. Simply wade out with a mask or snorkel or take a glass-bottomed boat from the shores of Sharm el-Sheikh and the fish will come to you. Alternatively, soak up the rays from the shore and wait for the cocktails instead.
For centuries, pilgrims of different denominations have been making the journey up historic Mt Sinai to witness the sun rise across the desert landscape. If the three-hour hike sounds a bit ambitious, stay overnight at St Catherine Monastery, hire a camel and walk down in leisure.
Relive olden days
Aswan, the gateway to Africa, offers a fascinating glimpse of the fast disappearing Nubian culture. For hints of a more recent colonial past, take tea on the terrace of the Old Cataract Hotel, where Agatha Christie penned Death on the Nile.
While it’s not a sport readily associated with Egypt, the country is now making quite a name for itself and offers almost 20 courses. They range from locations within sight of Cairo’s Pyramids to settings alongside the Red Sea.
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