This one would deserve a chapter of its own. For me it was always (well, before I started travelling, anyway) like a miracle of the world:)) My opinion of it has not diminished, now I've seen it (things you've been dreaming about can occasionally disappoint, for one might expect too much).
I do not know whether the way I saw it, during sunset on a camel among the dunes is the best one, but it's certainly the traditional one.
I wish I could have seen more of it though... If you feel up to a longer journey on a camel, consider the one with a night in the desert -- the stars are magnificent, for they seem to be so close to the Earth!
Many Asian and African countries, including Egypt, are predominantly Muslim, so the religious sites you are most likely to encounter, are, predictably, mosques. This is a brief tip of advice, written from the point of view of a non-Muslim, female traveler (yours truly!!!):
- Do dress modestly, covering arms, legs, shoulders and the like, no frivolous dressing will be allowed. Hire the modest dress if needed;
- Check whether you are allowed into the mosque at all, since most of them admit you only into the courtyard, and some do not admit non-Muslims at all. However, in several countries you may be able to visit the interiors of many mosques;
- Respect the boundaries laid and do not attempt to enter further (I saw such a thing once, and it did arouse ill-feeling);
- If possible try to avoid going even to the courtyard on Friday afternoon, since I remember this is the most important praying time of the week;
- If you are curious, feel free to ask questions (though not of people hurrying to pray) and most likely you will be answered: I’ve always found people proud of their culture and heritage and ready to explain it;
- Do not criticize things we in Europe and in the West might (such as separate praying space for men and women), for such are the customs of the land and mosques are the least appropriate places for such topics.
This advice is based only on common sense, but it allowed me to see something of the mosques and learn loads of interesting info on Muslim countries, their religion, and culture. Really helped me when we had a general education class on religions at University:))
Some young boys will drive along with their horses and encourage the tourists to make pictures. When they do so, they will claim money for it.
Unique Suggestions: Make your pictures of the beatifull surrounding and tell those boys that you are not interested at all. When a whole caravan of tourists tell this, they will start discussing a while, but then they go away as other tourists are entering the desert as well :-)
When you are on the dromedary or when you are arriving to take a break in the desert, some young boys will show up and offer you a coke of other drink:
1. Don't take the drink: if you have it in your hand, they will consider it sold to you;
2. If you are accepting the drink and the price thereof (can be as much as 10 Dinars =7Euro), make sure you pay the right price. If you pay to much, the boys will take the money and start running while you are sitting on the dromedary and can not go after them
Unique Suggestions: Be vigilant, don't take anything someone is giving you.
Fun Alternatives: Buy a bottle of water or a coke in the Zafraane hotel.
Travels to places like Tunisia involves a lot of fighting the heat, especially if you, like me (I am still surprised as to why I did that), go there right in the middle of the summer. Here’s a list of useful items to take:
- Hats and other covering: Large brimmed hats that provide head covering and some shade. For women, they are also a proof of modesty, welcomed when visiting old churches and mosques. Scarves and the like covering shoulders and arms can keep the sun off during treks. A cloth hat or scarf can be soaked to help keep the head cool.
- "Squeeze Breeze": this is a water bottle with a sprayer and a battery-operated fan attached. The beach toy to take with you!
- Sun block: While sun blocks may be purchased in Tunisia, people tend to prefer sticking with their own favourite brand (the skin, too, ‘gets used’ to it), and there’s not guarantee you’ll find it on the spot. So take your own, if you have preferences!