Other Destinations in Egypt, Cairo
Buildings on the outskirts of Cairo vary from skeletons of partly built apartment to villas, to partly dilapidated dwellings. Some arein the barest of surroundings, others surrounded by trees. All fascinate me,
In Matariyah, the Holy Family stopped for a rest under a tree.
Here, too, the Infant Jesus caused water to flow from a spring, from which He drank and blessed, and in which the Virgin washed His clothes.
not in Cairo but it is in Aswan.Do not forget to visit the Island of Trees.Best known as Kitchener Island.Its an amazing place,like a oasis.An island full of life in the midlle of the Nile.U can see many egzotic flowers,plants and birds.This botanical garden contains the rarest examples from Africa and Asia.U take a Felucca (typical boat) and enjoy the Nile while it take u to the island of trees. And if you are really lucky like me, the gardener offer you couple of lime directly from its tree.
Wadi Rayan consists of two large - artificial - lakes, connected by a small river and Egypt's only permanent water falls. The place was made to drain the excess water from the Lake Qaroun and to reclaim land. Because the high level of salt, this is only partly a success and now they're in the process of converting it into a national park. It is about 20 minutes drive from the lake. It takes about half an hour to tour the road on the western half of the lake. For the eastern side, you need four wheel drive.
Egyptians seem to love the place, and have trips for both school children as well as adults. The 3 metre high water falls is not spectacular, but the setting is quite nice. The water has a deep blue colour, and there are a lot of birds. Near the water falls is a visitors centre that gives an overview of the region. If you visit it, please give my regards to Dan.
Near the south of the lake are nice, yellow sand dunes, one side mildly sloping with a nice pattern of sand and the other side steep and even. The sand is 'hyper critical' and when you touch it, it slides down hill in a large wave. There are some natural springs, one is quite near the road, which harbour some greens and animals. There are some barren rocks, sculpted by the sands, near the Western shore of the lake, that you can climb: beautiful views.
For the nearby %vvalley of the whales, a world heritage site of the Unesco, you need a four wheel drive.
All in all it may be not very spectacular yet, but if you love nature and want a taste of desert: this is a nice place. You can stay at the Guesthouse Zad al Mosafer in Tunis or one of the hotels near the lake Fayoum.
I've visited the guest house 'Zad Al Mosafer' in the village Tunis, part of the town of Fayoum on Lake Qarun. It has a very nice atmosphere, very rural, and good comfort. The rooms - single upto four persons - are clean and well kept. A restaurant room on the first floor profits from the wind from the lake. The meal we had was very good, great chef. There is even a small swimming pool in the shade.
They can arrange local trips, tours and guides. They promote local handicrafts and Folk Art.
Mother insisted that we take a trip to FAyoum, so the driver took us out to the Oasis. There wasn't much to see except a water wheel, lots of farmland and trees. It was strange to see black buffalo walking along the road among the traffic.
Probably because the driver didn't know the area, we only went to the lake where we sat and played on the sand. Mother let us rent a boat for a while. I think it cost a small amount or she wouldn't have let us go!!
It had a sun canopy and the owner took us out onto the lake which was fun.
Don't miss the opportunity of diving around the Tiran Island Wreck. You really can see for miles under the water. If diving's not your thing then you will still get an amazing view of the reef and the marine life that lives there simply by snokelling.
Go on... get down to the Marina and discover the Red Sea!
Visitors to Vienna often try to go to the Spanish Riding School to either see a performance by the Lipizanner horses, but many visitors to Egypt don't know that there is an Arabic version of these performers. Contests are held in various locations throughout the year and horses and riders are often hired to entertain visitors at horse shows or other outdoors entertainments. These horses are beautiful and the silver decorated saddles and bridles are something to see.
Hadika Al-Dawliya in Nasr City (Medinat Nasr) is one of my favorite places to relax and have a picnic under the warm Egyptian sun. It is a rare green santuary in this rumbling city.
The park is famous for it's various statues and wonderful landscapings, ment to represent different countries of the world. There is also a petting zoo here. Entry is only 1EP. Be prepared for a big crowd (egyptian families with children) if you come on Friday. The other days of the week are more calm. Personally, I enjoy the people watching.
I suggest buying drinks and sandwiches or feta from the MY QUEEN stand across the street from the park entrance. Voila, perfect picnic food.
After your picnic and relaxing stroll in the park, you may wish to make your way to WONDERLAND. The complex contains a disco, bowling allies, multi-plex movie theatre, shopping mall, amusement park, and large grocery store. There are also many near-by coffee shops. Just hop in a taxi if you are not sure. Tell the driver you want CAFE CAFE or STORIA. (they are so close, a 2EP taxi ride)
Giza and Saqqara are two interesting necropiôlis just a short drive from Cairo.
Giza is where everyone feels at home, in the sense that everyone has seen it so many times in pictures and on TV that it really looks familiar. The sight of the three main pyramids and of the sphynx is something hard to forget. The same gos for the annoying "camel" people.
Saqqara is pyramids, too - but not only. There are excellent mastabas (tombs) to visit. it's not as developed and popular as Giza: many burial grounds are still (at least partly) covered in sand; which makes it a very mysterious place to visit.
To visit the Suez Canal as a day trip, I recommend the town of Ismailia - only becuase it's the nearer to Cairo. It isalso called City of Gardens and Flowers... you can easily guess the reason. It's half-way between Cairo and Port Said, it's in the Sinai region, and it's located on the shore of Al-Temsah Lake. A temsah, by the way, is a crocodile - so maybe you might not want to swim in this lake.
Ismailia, or at least part of it, is a beautiful colonial city, with old houses and wide avenues lined with trees. It was founded by
Khedive Ismail (hence the name) together with the construction of the canal - as a dormitory town. Today it's a city of 300000 people, and a popular tourist resort for rich people from Cairo. At the weekend, it's buzzing with life.
In Ismailia you can not only see the ships passing through the canal, you can also cross it yourself. There's a small car ferry on the canal, and it leaves regularily, as soon as it's full. It's quite nice to be crossing its waters with a huge ship approaching you. It's also a good photo opportunity.
Wadi Natrun is a semi-arid plain about 100 kilometres from Cairo, roughly off the Cairo/Alexandria road. Wadi Natrun means valley of the Natrun, and Natrun is the mineral used for mummifying purposes.
Wadi Natrun is home to 4 wonderful and old coptic monasteries: Al Baramus, As Suriani, Al Anba Bishoy, Abu Maqar. In the past, however, there were more than 50 monasteries - which have since then been destroyed by Berber tribes. They are all built according to a similar pattern: an outer wall with one or more churches inside, storerooms, a dining hall, kitchen, bakery, a free standing fortress and monks' cells.
It's best to hire a car to get there, as they are far apart from each other (and in the middle of nowhere, too). As Suriani and Al Anba are undoubtedly the most interesting, while Al Baramus the most remote. Abu Maqar is possibly the most important, but it's usually necessary to phone ahead if you want to visit, since it's not normally open to the public
On my last trip to Egypt I traveled to Tel Amarna from Cairo,
Tel Amarna is a place I wanted to go to on every one of my tours to Egypt.
It is a real pain to get to from Cairo or from Luxor. But I had to go there =o)
It was a five hour Drivedown by Car and the same back ,So ten hour trip for a hour stay at the site
I already knew there was not much to see in Tel Amarna,(From my screen name you can tell I have a fascination with Akhenaten)
But there is nothing like "Being there"
There are only Three tombs to see up on the hill top. and the rest is desert.
So If you go there you "Really Really" want to go there and not expect much.
Actually I had an army escort of two jeeps and approximately 15 guards for the trip down.
Apparently it is not a safe place to go to.
The picture is from the tombs at the top of the hill, you can see a good layout of the old city from there, but everything is covered by sand.
Do not miss the sailing on the Nile in fellucca. It is the best Nile experience you can get. Warm summer night, wide Nile river, lights of the city, big boats passing by you, the flower of Nile floating on the river, an old man in traditional "galabea" dress steering the sailing boat. Very romantic...
in ancient times Wadi Natrun, at 100KM north-west of Cairo, was important as a source for natron, needed for mummification.
Now Wadi Natrun is connected with the Coptic church. In the past there existed 60 Coptic monasteries in this area. Now only four remained. Three monasteries can be visited. We visited Deir Anba Bishoi. It was a place of solitude and serenity. A Coptic monk guided us and showed us the Coptic art and the nice architecture and explained a lot about their customs.