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Egypt for Dummies: The ‘Did You Know’ Guideby Dalene Ingham-Brown

You open the glossy brochure: pictures of the Valley of the Kings, the Karnak Temple and the River Nile confirm what you think you know about Egypt; nothing has changed. You couldn’t be more wrong! 2011 is definitely Egypt’s colour, with so many new great discoveries adding to the destination’s appeal. Sure, Egypt still has its fair share of dust, camels and children playing with tyres, but the country’s historic and natural beauty seem to be expanding and they want to share these with the world.


Photo by Unguvioloet


There’s more than one way to skin a Sphinx. When wanting to view the pyramids, going to Giza seems to be the no-brainer destination for viewing the brilliant structures. Did you know that there are over a hundred more pyramids scattered through-out Saqqara, Dahshur and Ab Sir, simply waiting for an enthusiastic tourist, wielding a camera, to appreciate its beauty. Just when we thought it couldn't get any better; the Egyptian Minister of State for Antiquities recently opened seven, newly discovered, tombs located in South Saqqara, including a tomb built for a general who was to become king. It looks like the Valley of the Kings is going to have to share its precious 8 x 10 centimetres in the next brochure.


It may come across as a ‘new discovery’ to some that Cleopatra wasn’t Egyptian. She wasn’t. Google it. Cleopatra was Greek but just lived and ruled in Egypt. Living in Egypt doesn’t make you an Egyptian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car. I imagine anyone who was under the impression that she was Egyptian, would also like to know that the world isn’t flat and (you may need to sit down for this one) lions don’t roam the streets of South Africa.


Modern day feluccas have all the bells and whistles of new age sailing boats whereas in ancient times they were far simpler versions of their modern, spruced-up selves.  The tranquil experience of floating down the Nile in a quiet, breeze-powered felucca is probably the only thing holding craftsmen back from strapping two, four-stroke Yamaha motors on the back of the vessel. None the less, this shows us Egypt is embracing technology and moving with the times.


Egypt is on the brink of discovering life as a democratic reform. Early 2011, Egypt’s existing president Hosni Mubarak fell out of power, giving way to the revolution lead by the masses. Currently in between ruling parties, the people of Egypt eagerly await the next elections in October/November 2011.This opportunity may see the state moving from autocratic rule into a new phase of democracy. Exciting times. Egypt is evolving and it’s high time you use that glossy brochure to line the hamster cage with and get out there and experience it yourself.

Keen? Check out our Top 3 overlanding trips to Egypt!

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