Egypt is a transcontinental country in the north-eastern corner of Africa, spanning into Asia with its Sinai Peninsula to the northeast.
With a population of over ninety two million, the highest in North Africa, Egypt also has one of the longest human histories of any modern nation and is considered to be one of the first cradles of civilisation. It was in Ancient Egypt where some of the earliest developments in literature, farming and urbanisation took place, resulting in the rich cultural heritage still admired today.
The country itself has long been a gold mine for archaeologists, with some of the most glamourous artefacts displayed in the Egyptian Museum in the capital, Cairo. However, the best known discoveries are the opulent and awe-inspiring monuments of the Sphynx, the Great Pyramids of Giza and the Valley of the Kings, where Tutankhamun was unearthed in 1922.
Nicknamed the ‘Mother of the World’, the Egyptian capital is a buzzing city on the Nile River. Home to over seventeen million people, it’s one of the most densely populated cities in the world, and, like the rest of Egypt, it’s steeped in millennia-old history. Some of the best sights include the magnificent medieval Islamic city; Al-Azhar Park; the country’s first ‘step’ pyramid and the Khan al-Khalili bazaar. Cairo also holds a modern outlook, with Zamalek on Gezira Island offering upmarket shopping and the tallest structure in North Africa, Cairo Tower, boasting panoramic views of the capital.
Journeying through Egypt isn’t exclusively historic sightseeing, though. Sharm el-Sheikh, the famous resort town on the Sinai Peninsula, is a paradise for snorkelers and beach lovers, with clear waters displaying coral reefs and some of the best diving sites on the planet. And beyond the fertile banks of the Nile, close to the Libyan border, the Siwa Oasis, with its glistening springs and lush trees, provides a welcome rest along a desert trek.
In terms of ferry travel in Egypt, you can hop between the two popular beach resort towns of Hurghada, on the Red Sea coast, and Sharm el-Sheikh, on the south coast of the Sinai Peninsula. Operated by one of the nation’s leading ferry companies, the sailing lasts just over two hours, running a few times a week.