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Egypt: The Pyramids, King Tut and The Red Sea

Pictures and Stories from an Ancient Land and a Salty Sea

July 2006: I just returned from a grand tour of Egypt and all the great sites that make that country famous.  Since my a return a few days ago, the consensus questions has been, how were the Pyramids? The Pyramids are impressive and the biggest of the three structures, the Great Pyramid is the last remaining of the 7 Ancient Wonders of the World.  However, the Pyramids of Giza outside Cairo represent only a small chapter in 5000 years of ancient Egyptian history.  Growing up in country that has maybe 500 years of history made it hard for me to comprehend the greatness of early Egyptian civilizations.  The most impressive part of ancient Egypt is the grand style and meticulous detail in which structures and temples were built.  Every temple covers enough ground to host a large concert and are as tall as a 10 story building.  The 500 foot Great Pyramid of Giza was the tallest structure in all of Egypt for nearly 4600 years and was only passed by the skyscrapers of Cairo in the last 100 years.  Afifii and Menal, our native Egyptian tour guides, ensured that we traveled safely, saw all the great sites and gave us enough information on Egypt to win on Jeopardy.

Egypt-The PyramidsEgypt-The SphinxEgypt-Camel at the PyramidsEgypt-Step Pyramid

I also paid a visit the the Valley of the Kings and the tomb of King Tut.  Surprisingly, the tomb of Tutankhamen is unimpressive in size compared to the other tombs of great Pharaohs in the Valley of the Kings.  King Tut died at a young age of suspicious circumstances so a grand tomb was not ready for the boy king. In Egyptian history, King Tut had no major significance and the Pharaoh was only made famous in 1922 when Howard Carter discovered the king's tomb completely intact with all the treasure buried with the Pharaoh.  All other tombs of the great Pharaohs of Egypt were plundered by grave robbers before being discovered by modern Egyptologists.  The treasure from King Tut's tomb takes up a entire wing in the Museum of Cairo and there is even a separate secure room just to display the famous jewelry buried with the boy king.  Besides viewing the Pyramids and the Valley of the Kings, I toured all the great temples of ancient Egypt along the Nile River including The Temples of Karnak, Luxor, Kom Ombo, Esna, Edfu, and Abu Simbel.  Each temple was as impressive as the next standing tall after thousands of years of history.  I also had time to take a break from temple sightseeing to visit the famous marketplaces and bazaars of Egypt which are a mecca for shoppers.

Red Sea Diving -Napolean WrasseRed Sea Diving-Whale SharkRed Sea Diving-Clown FishRed Sea Diving-Ras Mohammed

The rest of my trip in Egypt was spent diving the Red Sea, the second saltiest sea in the world.  The Red Sea is the European Caribbean and hosts some of the best diving I ever experienced. On every dive I experienced "gin clear" warm water, vibrant pastel colors and unique species of fish that are unfamiliar to the Caribbean. I even saw my first Whale Shark and Hammerhead Shark diving the Red Sea.  I never see any articles on the Red Sea in American dive publications which makes the Red Sea the best kept secret in diving on our side of the pond.  Europeans dive the Red Sea in droves and kept asking me, "Americans..what are you doing here?"  I answered, "having a great time diving and finding ways to bring Americans to dive the Red Sea by the boatload!!"  The Red Sea is truly a special place to dive and Sharm el-Sheikh, our dive location, is a fantastic resort town that offers plenty to do both on land and underwater.

Besides diving and sightseeing, I spent my time in Egypt inspecting hotels, cruise ships and restaurants to finalize the best possible accommodations and itinerary for a group adventure tour next summer. I have been planning my Egypt trip since October of 2005 and the final pieces to the itinerary are just now falling into place. The intention of this newsletter is to pique your interest in joining us in Egypt next year and to show you some breathtaking pictures of my journey.  My August SCUBA newsletter will feature complete itinerary details and trip package pricing for the Egypt-Red Sea trip in the early summer of next year.  Here is just a few highlights of our Egypt adventure tour for next summer: 4 Day Nile Cruise (Agatha Christie style) with stops in Abu Simbel, Kom Ombo, Aswan, The Valley of the Kings (tomb of King Tut) and extra time to check out the ancient city of Luxor and the biggest temples in the world. We will spend some time in Cairo to experience the culture of this great city and to visit the The Sphinx and The Great Pyramids of Giza, see the Cairo Museum and shop at city bazaars. A short flight to Sharm el-Sheikh will bring the group to the Sinai Peninsula and the shores of the Red Sea. In Sharm, the SCUBA divers of our group will take day charters to experience the underwater beauty of the Red Sea and Ras Mohammed National Park.  Snorkeling and shore diving will also be available right in front of our resort in Sharm. We plan to have a separate land itinerary while in Sharm so non-divers are more than welcome on our Egypt tour. The adventure tour to Egypt next summer will truly be a trip of a lifetime!

Egypt Tour & Red Sea Diving Trip July 02-17, 2007 Information Page

Please check out some of the highlight pictures of Egypt and the Red Sea: Egypt-Red Sea Photo Gallery (click here)

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