Tuesday, September 25The Voice of London

8 exceptional things to do in Egypt

Some people believe that Egypt means the Pyramids, Luxor and Aswan, the Nile and the Red Sea. While those are all places worth visiting, there is a lot more to do and see.

Reporter: Marwa Khalifa | Sub-Editor: Jack Leslie

This video was shot for a campaign called #thisisegypt to promote tourism in Egypt.

The Blue Desert. Courtesy of Atlas Obscura.
The Blue Desert. Courtesy of Atlas Obscura.

It is not very far from the famous Mount Sinai in St Catherine Protectorate. The Blue Desert is not a natural creation, but a man-made work of art created by the Belgian artist Jean Verame in 1980, after the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Agreement 1979. The artist was inspired to paint large boulders in a bright blue colour to symbolise peace.

2- Monastery of Saint Simon: QASR AD DOBARAH, EGYPT
Saint Simon church
Saint Simon church

It is an enormous cave church in Cairo and is one of the largest churches in the Middle East. Built in 1975, it was the first Christian church built in Egypt. Simon the Tanner was an artisan Saint who lived during the 10th century, the Monastery was dedicated to him. The church seats around 20,000 and other close caves have been built and linked to form a massive Christian complex in the area.

3- Dahab: The Blue Hole
Blue Hole, Dahab.

It is a small town on the southeast coast of Sinai. Originally it was a Bedouin fishing village, but now it is one of Sinai’s most visited and treasured diving destinations. The Blue Hole is a well-known diving location in East Sinai and is approximately 300 feet deep. The diving destination and area around it, is rich with coral and reef fish. Hotels and shops there are not very expensive and the people are very friendly and helpful.

4- The Fjord Bay:
Fjord Bay, Taba.
Fjord Bay, Taba.

Fjord Bay is a magnificent diving spot located 15 kilometres south of Taba, surrounded by a breath-taking and preserved bay with bright coral reefs. If you are into diving, I can assure you that you will be seduced and amazed by Fjord Bay. The Fjord Hole is a site that comes after a huge coral bed at 16 metres deep – up to 24 metres deep.

5- Siwa Oasis:
Siwa, Shali Resort.
Siwa, Shali Resort.

An oasis between the Qattara Depression and the Egyptian Sand Sea in the Western Desert, 50km east of the Libyan border and 560km from Cairo.

6- White and Black Desert:
White Desert.
White Desert.

This is the best place to go camping and stargazing. The White Desert is located 45km north of the town of Farafra. The most special thing is the type of rock, which is coloured from snow-white to cream. The chalk rock formations there have been created due to the occasional sandstorms in the area.

The Black Desert:

Black Desert.
Black Desert (Marwa Khalifa)

Lying to the north of the White Desert, closer to the Bahariya, the mountains there have disintegrated to cover the desert with a bed of black powder and rocks. There are some volcanic hills at the end of the Black Desert that erupted a while ago releasing a dark volcanic substance called Dolerite which formed the black rocks.

7- Nubia, Aswan:
Anakato Hotel.
Anakato Hotel. (Marwa Khalifa)

Located in the north of Aswan, the speed of life there is slow but relaxing. If you want to have a taste of the ancient and wealthy culture you should visit Nubia Museum, Nubian villages and perhaps stay for the night in one of the houses there. The Nubian houses are painted with dazzling colours, with floors made of sand. Nubians are friendly and generous; many would come and show you their handmade crafts.

8- Wadi Al-Hitan (Whale Valley): Faiyum
Wadi Al-Hitan
Wadi Al-Hitan

Situated in the Western Desert of Egypt, it contains priceless fossil remains of the extinct, suborder of whales, Archaeoceti. These fossils tell major stories of evolution, which is the development and transformation of the whale from a land-based animal to an ocean mammal. This site is of a huge importance for the proof of this stage of evolution.

Egypt is a safe place to visit. If you need more information on where to go, visit here.