In recent years, the number of people touring Egypt has slowly dwindled. This is most likely due to the violence in the Middle Eastern region and the few bombings and kidnappings that have occurred in recent years. However, these cases are pretty much isolated, and the thousands of people who visit Egypt every year thoroughly enjoy their experience there.
Egypt is famous for a lot of things, from their exotic perfumes, fine cotton, and the mysteries of mummification and their ancient religion. However, I would like to focus on the architectural and engineering wonders of the Egyptian civilization. When the tribes in Europe and Africa were still building huts and shelters, the Egyptians have already constructed monstrous monuments hundreds of feet in height and width. It is this superiority that has elevated the ancient Egyptian civilization as one of the greatest civilizations in the world.
The Great Pyramids of Giza
By far the most famous of Egypt’s architectural wonders are the 3 Great Pyramids located at Giza, near Cairo. These monuments are hundreds of feet in height, and have survived the test of time for the last 4500 years. There are over a hundred pyramids of various sizes in Egypt, and more in neighboring Sudan. These monuments serve as tombs for the great pharaohs of ancient Egypt, and stand as testimony to the power and influence of these pharaohs.
When you stand at the bottom of the Great Pyramids, looking up at their magnificence, the feeling is indescribable. You begin to wonder just how the ancient people managed to construct this huge structure with only the help of the simple tools available at that time. And this feeling of awe intensifies when you take the opportunity to descend into the pyramids via the original entrances that were used thousands of years ago. When you touch the walls of the now-empty tombs beneath the pyramids, you will feel as if you were there thousands of years ago when the tombs were freshly carved. (One warning: You might not want to enter the pyramids if you are claustrophobic!)
Next to the Great Pyramids at Giza is the enigmatic Sphinx. A gigantic statue with the head of a man and the body of a lion, the great Sphinx stares silently at the east, perhaps watching the sunrise, or perhaps protecting the great pyramids from whatever evils that may threaten to destroy them. The Sphinx is just as old as the pyramids, aging over 4500 years (or more, depending on which group of archaeologists you believe).
Almost everyone has heard of the Sphinx with its missing nose, and some might wonder how he actually lost his nose. (Do not believe what you saw in the Disney cartoon Aladdin) Almost everyone has seen many pictures, or perhaps the Discovery channel, showing the Sphinx in various angles. But you have to visit it, to stand there right next to it, to realize why both the Sphinx and the Pyramids are the most famous man-made structures in the world. Just the front paw of the Sphinx is larger than a human being!
The Wonders of the Nile
The architectural wonders of ancient Egypt are not limited to those at Giza. As you travel along the Nile River (incidentally the longest river in the world), you will come across other monuments. Chief of these is the Valley of Kings near Luxor. It is here that many kings from many of the ancient Egyptian dynasties were entombed. Each tomb is unqiue and is a wonder in its own right. Unfortunately, most of the treasure that was entombed with the pharaohs have long been stolen by tomb raiders. Only the well-hidden tomb of Tutankhamun managed to survive more or less intact to this day.
Further south, near the town of Aswan, are the famous temples of Abu Simbel. Constructed during the reign of Ramses II, better known as Ramses the Great, these two temples feature much-larger-than-life statues guarding the entrances. And beautiful hieroglyphs still adorn the walls of the temples.
The few monuments I’ve mentioned are just a small fraction of the many wonders that can be found in Egypt. If you have any interest in ancient civilizations, or want to know more about the wonders of ancient Egypt, you owe it to yourself to visit this ancient land before its wonders are eventually swept away by the sands of time.
About the Author
Steven maintains the informational website Wonders of Ancient Egypt at http://www.nekhebet.com/ Do visit if you want to find out more about the wonders of Egypt such as the Pyramids and the Lighthouse; or mysteries such as mummifcation and conspiracy theories; or its religion and history.
When it comes to island vacations, Africa is one great destination for some of the most luxurious hideaways.
This is no surprise. Blessed with pristine white sand beaches, private islands, and rich marine life, many resorts already have the perfect setting for great tropical island getaways.
If you want to stay in one of the most luxurious tropical resorts in Africa during your island holidays, you might be interested in checking out the following hotels which offer great amenities, romantic villas and suites, and 5 star world class service fit for the perfect island vacations.
St Anne Resort, Seychelles
St Anne Resort is luxury accommodation on its own island which is surrounded by a protected marine park. It is only about 15 minutes by boat from Mahe, the capital.
This tropical resort in the Indian ocean belongs to Beachcomber hotels which is one of the leading providers for luxury accommodation in Africa.
St Anne’s Resort has 87 villas set amidst tropical surroundings. It has its own private garden that leads to the beach and its own gazebo to lounge in and spend romantic evenings and days at. It is also well known for its exceptional Spa by Clarins.
With a protected marine park around it, it is not only great for swimming and lazing by the beach but there’s also excellent underwater marine life to explore. The island itself is also host to a range of flora and fauna which you can see if you’ve had enough of the white sand beach and the clean aquamarine sea.
Fundu Lagoon Luxury Resort, on Pemba Island ( Zanzibar’s sister island )
With only sixteen bungalows, this tropical island resort is one of Africa’s most exclusive accommodation made for romantic and quiet holidays.
Set on an idyllic beach on Pemba island, 40 kilometers north of Zanzibar, it is accessible by boat or chartered flights from Zanzibar or Dar Es Salaam.
Simple yet elegant, all the bungalows have thatched roofs and have either an ocean view, or are oceanfront. There are also bungalows set in a very secluded tropical jungle setting for those who want time and space only for themselves. For even more luxurious accommodation, some of these bungalows have a private plunge pool.
Le Prince Maurice, Mauritius
If tropical resorts can be breathtaking, Le Prince Maurice accurately fits the bill. From its lush gardens to its impeccable architecture and charm, staying in this resort is an experience in itself.
Overlooking a lagoon and barrier reef, the resort is set on 60 acres of land. There are over 89 suites which are artistically set over it’s very private resort setting. Choose from the one-bedroom junior suites to the senior and princely suites which have private swimming pools.
Le Prince Maurice is undoubtedly one of Mauritius’s best 5 star luxury resorts for great island vacations, not only for its great setting and elegant accommodation, but also for the various activities which you can enjoy here.
It has very easy access to two world class golf courses and there are also many land and water sport opportunities for more active guests.
The Residence Tunisia
If you’re looking for luxury resort accommodation in Tunisia, The Residence, which is the country’s first 5 star hotel is the only place to go.
The rooms are designed in rather dramatic North African architecture and have marble floors, dome ceilings and an elegant décor.
The Residence easily fits the needs of all kinds of guests. From couples on holidays, to people who want to get away, and even for families spending a vacation together.
This is best exemplified by its wide range of facilities ranging from a relaxing massage centre and spa to a children’s playground and swimming pool.
Kenya is more and more popular with foreign tourists – not surprisingly, if we look what the country has to offer. What are the top seven things to see and do in Kenya?
1. Going on a safari
Kenya maintains a well-managed system of national parks, who are among the finest of Africa. This has made Kenya the top safari destination in the world. Masai Mara and Amboseli National Park are the most popular wildlife resorts, and they draw in the tourist high seasons (July-August and December-January). However, there are plenty of hidden gems for safaris left.
My favorites are the impressive Mount Elgon National Park – the area around Africa’s third-biggest mountain – and the small but beautiful Saiwa Swamp National Park. Both attract few visitors but are of a breathtaking beauty and tranquility.
2. Visit the Swahili coast region
Within Kenya, the coastal region stands apart. Arabs have frequented this part along the Indian Ocean since the 9th century, and this has led to the rise of the famous Swahili culture – the vibrant mix of African, Arab and Indian cultures. Many people are Muslim here, although of a liberal type.
If you have the chance, watch a Taarab performance, seductive African-Arab-Indian music played at weddings and other festivities. And of course, Kenya has 500 kilometers of white sand beaches with excellent and affordable beach resorts, where you can dine and sip Martinis right at your private beach.
3. Visit a tribal village
Especially the Masai, Samburu and Turkana peoples still live a traditional, tribal lifestyle. It’s possible to visit their villages and do a tea drinking ceremony or watch traditional dances. However, ask a travel guide to direct you to a good opportunity, as too much of tourist visits turn into demoralizing high-pressure sales events.
4. Experience the Wildebeest Migration
Perhaps the best of all Kenya travel tips. Each year in September-October, between half to one million Wildebeest suddenly gather on the Serengeti plains in Tanzania, after which they trek in a big circle through the south of Kenya and back again. It’s one of the biggest wildlife shows on earth. Some lodges are strategically placed so you’ll be right in the middle of it.
5. Take a balloon trip
Short hot air balloon trips over one of the major wildlife resorts – especially Masai Mara – have become increasingly popular. They typically leave very early in the morning so you’ll spend the first hours after sunrise gliding over the Kenyan plains, which is the best time for animal watching. There’s breakfast with champagne after landing. Priced around $400, they aren’t cheap, however.
6. Visit Nairobi
Who’s afraid of big bad Nairobi? It doesn’t have the best reputation, but actually I like Nairobi, and if you take some common sense precautions, nothing unpleasant is likely to happen to you. Nairobi is a really cosmopolitan place, where Africans and whites of all nationalities gather.
My favorite places include Simmers, for a late breakfast with good coffee and newspapers, and the New Florida nightclub (nicknamed “Madhouse”), which indeed is a pretty crazy place in the early hours… And just outside Nairobi is the huge Nairobi National Park, making Nairobi one of the few world capitals where you can be in the middle of the wild bush with a 30-minute taxi ride from the city center.
7. Go diving in the Indian Ocean
Kenya has great possibilities for diving and snorkeling, even by professional standards. The reefs at Watamu National Park along the coast are in an excellent condition. There are many of very exotic fish, in every color and shape conceivable. Fishers are totally banned from the waters, so you’ll not be disturbed. Even harmless whale sharks visit the waters regularly, a highlight for any diver.
With this list of Kenya travel tips, I still haven’t mentioned trekking the permanently iced Mount Kenya, the huge pink flamingo population of Lake Nakuru, the coastal city of Mombasa with it’s ancient fortress, the paradise island of Lamu, the dhow races, and much more.
After scuba diving for many years, I became enthralled with the sport and decided to search out the world’s best places to scuba dive. The options of great scuba diving destinations are endless, but here are my top three diving sites.
Beginning with the Red Sea in Egypt, there is no other scuba diving like this place. It is one of the best places to scuba dive I’ve found. The water is incredibly clear and with the right scuba gear, you can dive and see some amazing sea life.
The next best place to scuba dive is in Malta. This place offers great visibility as well, but the diving with scuba gear is protected by the Maltese Island government. When you scuba dive in this amazing place, you will see octopus and rays of every kind.
Finally, the third best place to scuba dive is in Costa Rica. I can’t believe the fish I saw in my dive off the shores of Costa Rica. Scuba diving in the world’s best water is a hobby of mine, so I’ve seen some fabulous fish, but none like the underwater life I saw here. Keep up the great scuba diving and enjoy these wonderful scuba diving locations.
Every year a handful of tourist destinations emerge as the hotspots, the places where everyone wants to be. They can be ‘new discoveries’ or destinations that have been on the tourist map for ages, but received a new lease on life. As we wind down 2007, we take a peek at the places that are destined to become the most sought-after holiday locations this year.
Prague has been on the hotspot radar for a number of years, but finally makes it onto the A-list as new designer hotels, restaurants and clubs transform it into Europe’s capital of cool. Nearly two decades since the end of Communist rule, the city of a hundred spires has acquired a new level of sophistication and style. And the best news of all is that Prague is still a great value-for-money destination, where you can experience the charm, history and tradition of other European capitals without spending a fortune.
CAPE TOWN, South Africa
When it comes to beautiful cities, few can match this gem at the tip of Africa. What other city can boast a magnificent mountain, beautiful beaches, sweeping vineyards and architectural gems? Add to that the friendliness of the Cape’s diverse population, the African sunshine and amazing value for money.
With soccer’s World Cup heading for South Africa in 2010, everyone will discover the city’s delights. Among the tantalising activities on offer in this city is a cable-car ride to the top of Table Mountain, wine-tasting in the vineyards of Stellenbosch and Paarl, sun-bathing with supermodels at exclusive Clifton Beach and dining at tiny restaurants in the city’s Moslem Quarter.
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates
If you’ve been enthralled by the fabled cities of the past, here’s the chance to visit the growth of one of the miracle cities of today. Only a few decades ago, few people could have imagined that Dubai would become the wonder world that it is today and that Dubai hotels would rival the top hotels on the planet. It takes a special breed of developer to conceive what this city in the United Arab Emirates seems to have achieved remarkably effortlessly.
Dubai is truly a dream city where the impossible has been made possible. A golf course in the dunes? No problem! Vast shopping centres and skyscraper office blocks? Consider it done. A ski slope in the torturous heat? Why not? For hotel buffs, Dubai is heaven. Here you can choose from all the world’s top hotel brands, but it is the local developers who have pulled out all the stops. Who has not heard of the Burj al Arab, considered the world’s only seven-star hotel?
About the Author
Peter Graham is a consultant for HotelTravel.com – a leading international online travel information and hotel reservations service offering discounted hotel rates in top destinations world wide. Visit http://www.hoteltravel.com for additional travel information.
The essential thing to remember is to travel light!
Be Certain to Have with You:
1. Valid passport 2. Valid visa – if required 3. One other picture identification (e.g. driver’s license) 4. Photocopy of passport page to carry in wallet 5. Air tickets 6. Expense money 7. Comprehensive Travel Insurance Policy
Dressing for Safaris
On safari, most people wear shorts and a T-shirt during the day and put on long sleeved shirts and long pants in the evening for warmth as well as protection from mosquitoes. Should you be particularly sensitive to the sun a loose cotton shirt is essential during the day. Khaki, brown, olive and beige colours are best for and safaris and game walks.
White is not a suitable colour for these activities, as it increases your visibility to wildlife you want to get a closer look at and it will get dirty very quickly. Fleece or sweater and a windbreaker for game drives, because it is highly possible that you may go out on a hot day, but be faced with a chill evening on your return. Remember that layering your clothing will keep you warmer than relying on one thick item.
Clothing to Pack for Safaris
2 pairs khaki cotton pants 2 pairs khaki shorts 2 long sleeved shirts/ blouses (for sun protection as well as warmth) 1 light sweater or sweatshirt 1 lightweight, waterproof windbreaker
Swimming costume Sturdy walking or hiking boots Sandals 3-5 short-sleeved shirts or T-shirts 5 changes underwear and socks
Hat with a brim (baseball caps might cover your nose but not your ears and neck) Gloves (if you really feel the cold) Down vest or jacket (if you really feel the cold) A sarong or kikoi type garment Most lodges and safari camps offer laundry as part of their service. Hotels all offer laundry, at additional cost.
Toilet kit including shampoo and soap Insect repellent Good quality sunglasses plus protective case Hand wipes or ‘Baby wipes’ Stuff-sacks or plastic packets; to compartmentalise items within your travel bag
Repair kit: needle and thread, nylon cord, rip-stop tape Camera, film or memory card Spare batteries. Film and batteries can generally be obtained at lodges, but at a price of course, so please be sure to have sufficient supplies for your needs Binoculars Paperback reading, writing material (keep weight at a minimum)
Sunscreen or block Moisturizer, lip balm Personal first-aid kit (headache pills, antihistamine cream etc) Large towel and washcloth (thin, quick-drying) – if required for camping/overland safari
If you take prescription medication, be sure to bring a sufficient supply with you. If you are on a lengthy holiday, we suggest that you carry a copy of your prescription with you.
Luggage for a Mobile Safari
For Safari travel, the best type of luggage to bring is a soft bag, or backpack with an internal frame. As packing space in Safari vehicles is limited, only one bag is allowed, but you should also have a daypack for all of your personal items/camera/binoculars. Hard suitcases are usually scuffed or damaged in transit and are inappropriate for a game safari.
Light aircraft: Important note
If part of your itinerary includes light aircraft flights, there are serious weight restrictions. You are usually restricted to 10 or 12kg (22 or 26 lbs), per person, in a soft bag. Storage space in a light aircraft is at a premium, and the pilot may refuse to take on bulky or excessive luggage. The most common aircraft types used for charter work are Cessna 206 or 210, and Cessna 208 Caravans. Slightly larger aircraft are often used in East Africa, but luggage is still restricted.
A reasonable amount of hand luggage and camera equipment is generally allowed.
Remember that the charter pilot has the final say in terms of taking the luggage and you will be responsible for costs should your luggage need to be forwarded for you, or should an extra aircraft be required for transportation.
By Gerald Crawford
About the Author
Gerald Crawford: born in South Africa, studied electronics, telecommunication, eco-travel and african travel concepts. He taught responsible tourism in South Africa and the United Kingdom. If you have any questions or comments please e-mail me on. E-mail Address: email@example.com Website Address: http://www.12234455.co.za