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The Wonders of Egypt



Recently, Tribù Travel Founder, Marni Granston, her husband, and their two close friends returned from an incredible journey to Egypt. A land of timeless wonders and rich history, Egypt boasts a treasure trove of archeological marvels. Beyond the mosques, temples, museums, and architecture, there's a mystical undertone that will leave you both enthralled and bewildered. There's so much to question and explore deeply. In true Travel Designer fashion, the trip was for both work—scouting out sites and properties, and meeting face-to-face with our local Egyptian partner—and pleasure, by taking in the sounds, sights, and true essence of this beautiful country. We got to chatting about all the details of their trip.


Here are Marni's responses:


Q: What inspired you to take a trip to Egypt?


A: I've always had a genuine fascination for ancient sites like emblematic Machu Picchu in Peru, for example. It's a unique opportunity to be transported to a different time where you're able to almost feel (or at least envision) what life was like centuries ago. I've had numerous friends and acquaintances come back and speak so highly of their experiences and note the vibration and spiritual connection they've felt in Egypt. To be able to see places like this firsthand feels like a dream.




Q: Can you tell me a little bit about how you curate private tours in Egypt?


A: We have an amazing, trusted local partner that is an extension of our company in Egypt. The team of guides go beyond the traditional touring into something more thought-provoking and transformative. The experiences nourish not only the one's desire to see and explore the ancient sites, but equally feed your soul and spirit. Egypt deserves to be explored in a manner that allows its secret to be revealed slowly and thoughtfully. The team of guides understand the ideology that the vastness and richness of ancient Egyptian history are such that we can never claim to fully comprehend its entirety. They are truly experts, and they mindfully navigate the country to avoid the typical, run-of-the-mill experiences.





Q: Can you give a brief overview of the trip? Where you went, stayed, etc.?


Even better? Here's a sample itinerary of their trip: Classic Egypt featuring Mena House Hotel, Historia Boutique Hotel Nile Cruise, Four Seasons Nile Plaza, and Le Méridien Cairo Airport.


A: 2 nights in Cairo near the Giza Plateau to explore the pyramids and Saqqara, fly to Luxor, 4 nights on the Nile, and fly from Aswan to Cairo, 2 nights in Cairo visiting Islamic Cairo and the Egyptian Museum before departure. Note a majority of hotels in Egypt currently are international brand hotels. Boutique hotels are a new concept in Egypt, but growing. Cairo is a very large city with 22 million people - something to keep in mind since traffic and drive times can be excessive when visiting the city. Having small children, we're always pressed for time when we travel without them. I'd recommend clients slowing down the pace of their time in Egypt and diving deeper into the destination.





Q: What was your favorite experience/site?


A: The Pyramids were the most thought-provoking to me. It's somewhere where you leave and cannot fully comprehend or conceptualize how they came to be and how they were built. It makes you question the technology of that time in relation to what we have today— it makes you question your scope of reality.


Down the Nile, the Karnak Temple was where we first saw hieroglyphs in color. We got to the temple at such a perfect time. The morning glow made the colors more visible and bright. You could visualize how the Nile would come all the way up to the temple, and add to its splendor. I also really loved the Valley of the Kings and going into the tombs to see the preserved hieroglyphs representing preparation for the afterlife.





Q: Can you talk on the Nile Cruise and how it works?


A: Nile cruises will be 3, 4, or 7-nights long departing from Luxor to Aswan or the reverse. We opted to sail from Luxor, so spent the first day sightseeing then began the cruise down the Nile. It's a magical perspective; seeing magical green oases, villages along the riverbanks, kids playing in the water, and hearing the call to prayer. The boats range from more traditional Dahabiya sailing boats with 10 rooms to larger, more modern luxury ships that have about 40 rooms. Each day you'll visit 1 or 2 sites, pulling up to the port, and sometimes getting to the sites by horse drawn carriage.





Q: Can you speak on your guide/touring?


A: We have our private guides accompany you throughout the trip, including on the boat if you choose to do a Nile cruise. Having a guide is crucial in navigating Egypt and the historic sites. A good guide will make the sites come to life and paint a picture of what life would have been like. They help you understand a complex history, interpret the hieroglyphs, and take you around the crowed sites, navigating away from crowds and stopping at places others aren't spending time at. This includes having to maneuver through the cities and traffic, avoiding getting stuck for hours in a vehicle. It's also a great way to connect with a local and understand the culture of Egypt today.





Q: Did you do anything that felt really unique?


A: We had a special lunch on a rooftop in Old Islamic Cairo. It was beautiful hearing the calls to prayer, looking at life from above, and sitting down at a local spot serving amazing traditional food like pigeon soup and camel meatballs. We also ate in the garden of a woman's home in Cairo. She cooked us a lovely homemade meal.


In terms of art, each area is known for something different—where artisans specialize in a specific craft. We went into schools teaching traditional rug making where you could purchase them. Luxor is known for alabaster and you can see where they take the raw materials and make it into vases, light fixtures, and candle holders.


I also went crazy for the pure essential oils. Egypt is a main producer for essential oils to big perfume makers in France. We went into a private gallery room, were served coffee, and learned about different oils and how they're used in different meditations.





Q: Other suggestions outside of your itinerary that you'd like to visit next time?


A: Adding Abu Simbel! Abu Simbel is an archaeological site in southern Egypt, near the border with Sudan. It is renowned for its two massive rock temples that were originally carved out of the mountainside during the 13th century BCE, during the reign of Pharaoh Ramesses II.


I would also love to get out to Alexandria and Siwa Oasis. Get inspired with our sample itinerary HERE!





Q: Who should travel to Egypt?


A: Anyone who is interested in ancient civilizations, history, spirituality, and culture! If you want a trip that expands your mind, and you're open to seeing the world in a much different way, Egypt is your place. It's fairly accessible for people of most fitness levels, but there is quite a bit of walking. I wouldn't recommend it for children. Wait and take kids when they're young adults.






Q: Suggestions for packing?


A: Bring layers and wear comfortable sneakers to walk around for the day. It's dusty and there are a lot of cobblestone walkways, so close toed shoes are a must. Wear anything light, flowy, and conservative. Light and neutrals colors work best. Always bring a scarf to put over your head to go into mosques—a head cover is not needed in temples. Depending on the Nile cruise, you can get as dressy as you want on board. They do serve nice dinners, so it's advisable to bring a couple nice outfits.





Q: What's the value add of booking Egypt through Tribù?


The thoughtfully executed logistics and expert guides! The days are really well thought out and that's super important. There's so much to see that it can be overwhelming, so how the days are executed becomes a main factor in the overall experience. Also, we partner with guides who take a different approach to guiding that encompasses more than traditional Egyptology. It allows for more curiosity, soul-expansion, and a deeper connection to the country, sites, and people there.





Q: Anything else you'd like to tell us about your trip and traveling to Egypt?


I've heard people talk on safety in Egypt and I want to make it clear that throughout my time there I felt very safe.


Alcohol is very expensive, so bear that in mind. Egyptian wine is readily available and good, but liquor will cost you.


Don't miss the Grand Egyptian Museum. The architecture is unreal. It's been under construction for 20 years, funded by the Japanese and currently only has a small portion of the museum open, but it's worth the visit. They're slowly starting to move pieces over from the Egyptian Museum.


Egypt is really easy to get to from the U.S. with connections in Europe.





Always wanted to go to Petra in Jordan? Jordan is a perfect (and easy) add-on to Egypt. Click HERE for a sample itinerary of Egypt + Jordan.



 


Let's map out your exploration of Egypt's rich historical tapestry together. Connect with a Travel Designer by filling out our Trip Inquiry Form.



 

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