Before getting married, Beenish and Ozayr connected over their shared passion for travel. “It is what brought us together,” says Beenish. The London-based duo is now on a whirlwind adventure across the globe. “We go looking at the world hand in hand.” Egypt’s pyramids, Cairo’s markets and a ride down the Nile was on their bucket list and despite some apprehension about this destination choice, they are so happy that they booked the tickets and jumped into this adventure. Beenish and Ozayr share their tips for a sun soaked journey to the ancient land of Egypt.
What to See
The capital of Egypt seems to be bursting at the seams. Cars, culture and a cacophony of sounds crowd its busy streets. It’s a fascinating place where Muslim, Christian, and Jewish history and houses of worship, co-mingle. Minarets jut out into sky, calling the faithful to prayer, while Coptic Cairo is a treasure trove of dazzling churches. Cairo wears its patina well and its chaos is intoxicating.
Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx
Soaring up in the dusty skies just a stone’s throw away from Cairo’s bustle, stands these pyramids and the massive limestone creature, the sphinx. These massive and marvelous remnants of the past are a true testament to the mystery and achievements of Egypt’s civilizations.
Khan El Khalili
It’s easy to imagine Aladdin racing through the narrow lanes of this centuries old market that sells gold and all types of goodies. Copper lamps and lights glimmer in the shadowy labyrinth and the scent of spices wafts through the air.
Luxor and Aswan
Down the Nile, these two hieroglyph hot spots are full of fascinating relics to be explored. First stop Luxor to wander through the Tomb of Ramses VI. Then further south to Aswan to explore the temples and tombs fit for a king…or queen.
A hot air balloon ride over Luxor at sunrise. “It was absolutely breath-taking,” says Beenish.
How to Get Around
The couple took a train from Cairo to Aswan. Hot meals were provided and they slept overnight in bunk beds. Beenish says it gave them the chance to chat and laugh with locals and Ozayr kept her entertained during the trip by belting out Bollywood tunes.
A guide can arrange trips down the sparkling, desert and palm-fringed river offering a leisurely chance to take in the sight of daily life along its shores. A four day boat cruise down the Nile also means hoping on and off to see ancient temples. Beenish says she will never forget visiting the Valley of the Kings and Karnak and drinking mint tea on the sparkling Nile at night.
What to Eat
“Don’t shy away from street food,” says Beenish. Her favourite was a falafel and flatbread with hummus and mint tea. Still she advises caution of getting the dreaded “Pharoah’s Revenge” or in other words a ghastly stomach ache. Drink only sealed bottled water and avoid ice cubes.
Keep in Mind
“Any country that thrives on tourism, has pushy touts trying to make you pay considerably more than the actual selling price,” says Beenish.
What to Pack
Loose fitting clothing is a must. Think linen trousers, maxi skirts, cotton scarfs to use as a cover up and the most comfortable shoes you can find. You don’t want sand in your fancy heels.
“After hearing a fair amount of negativity surrounding safety in Egypt, we arrived with many preconceived thoughts,” says Beenish. “ But we can happily say after ten days of touring, this notion is void.” The adventure-seekers were so enthralled by Egypt, that they want to go back again. “The people are charming and warm, the country welcoming and beautiful.”