Africa, an outdoor enthusiasts dream. An entire continent of open space filled with five ecosystems each offering a unique aspect to the landscape. Deserts, mountains, savanna’s, rain forests and coastline. One of the few places on earth where despite being the second most populated continent still contains many locations that look just as they did hundreds or maybe even thousands of years ago.
Visiting Africa for its amazing scenery, landscapes and its most endearing feature it’s biodiversity. Containing the most flora and fauna still in existence Africa is one of the most desired locations for travelers looking to step into a world completely different then their own.
Excited passengers whisking off in 4 x 4 vehicles on protectedwildlife Safarisled by a local guide to search for the Big 5 (Cape buffalo, elephant, lion, leopard and rhinoceros) among others. But there is another experience, one less considered and yet an amazing more intimate way to see wildlife in a natural and sustainable way.
The one source that all animals need for existence is water. Which is what makes very important to the existence of Africa’s wildlife, the rivers.
Africa has dry and wet seasons that occur annually interacting with the animal behavior driving them to and from the rivers, their main source for water. On average Africa’s wettest season is from April to early June and they see some rain October – December. However June through September is the dry period when animals begin migration to and along the rivers for sustainability.
Like the animals, traveling along the rivers can offer explorers a unique experience for up-close wildlife sightings and viewing of wildlife in their natural habitats as they play, socialize, feed, bathe and rest.
*Photo courtesy of AmaWaterways River Cruises
Traveling the Chobe and Zambezi rivers into the Chobe National Park in Botswana, brings guests to the source that attracts wildlife from hundreds of miles to the only water available during the African dry winter months. Offering unobstructed views of herds of elephant, giraffe, hooved animals and hundreds of birds all visiting for the season.
In addition to the wildlife experience, the scenery along the river offers many opportunities for unexpected views of the river and the African landscape. Don’t be surprised if you also come across some other unexpected surprises like the breathtaking sunsets that you can see from your cabin balcony.
The best part of an African river cruise is you don’t miss out on the land safari’s. Time is also spent exploring on safari in the Chobe National Park among other areas within Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Rwanda.
Visit national parks, iconic locations like Victoria Falls and private game reserves all while enjoying the best available five star accommodations that are arranged for you based on the itinerary that you choose.
Enjoying an African river cruise can offer many opportunities for immersing in the local culture, exploring the best sites and experiencing the bucket list adventures that most interest you.
The city of Luxor in southern Egypt, is a modern city, once the ancient Greek city of Thebes and former capital of Egypt known as Waset in the prime of Pharaoh rule during the sixteenth – eleventh centuries BC today is the gateway to the ancient Egyptian monuments..
Located on the Eastern bank of the Nile river, Luxor is the prime location for visiting the ancient sites found on both banks of the Nile river. Luxor was originally built during the 11th Egyptian dynasty as the home of the Egyptian god Aman-Ra and over the growth and power of the Egyptian dynasty grew into a wealthy and prosperous capital city of the Upper region from the 18th – 20th dynasties.
Today as was in ancient times, the city of Luxor is the center of daily life and still where you will find the majority of the people, the airport, hotels, port and the majority of the tourism industry that draws visitors to the area.
Across the river on the West bank of the Nile is the location of the temples and burial sites of the ancient royals who ruled Egypt from the East bank.
When planning a visit to Egypt, what are the sites to plan on visiting on both banks?
East Bank –
The main archeological attractions outside the city of Luxor are the ancient temples of Karnak and Luxor which sit about 2 miles apart along the Nile river.
The Temple of Karnak and Open Air Museum
The second most visited site in Egypt is one of Egypt’s largest surviving temples. Originally designed as the main religious site of the kingdom during the Middle Kingdom period (2030 to 1650 B.C) of Pharaonic rule dedicated to the Egyptian god Amun – Re saw continuous building well into the Ptolemaic period from 305 – 30 BC.
Various monuments were added by the many Pharaohs (approximately 30) who ruled through the Middle Kingdom, during the Roman era, the New Kingdom and into the Ptolemaic period of rule making it one of the largest archaeological sites in Egypt. Filled with substantially decorated courts, temples, pylons and shrines that tell the stories of religion, coronations and military campaigns that occurred throughout the time of construction.
With so many sites to see, one of the key sites is the Great Hypostyle Hall which is a 50,000 square foot area filled with 134 columns from 33 – 69 feet tall, an archaeological feat for construction of the time. Also worth visiting is the Open Air Museum, an archaeological museum featuring reconstructed structures from the various periods.
Recommendation: Schedule time for the evening Sound and Light show that takes you on a visual journey through the history of the Karnak Temple region.
The Temple of Luxor
The second of the primary ancient temples, was constructed from sandstone between 1500 – 1200 BC. Under commissions by the Pharaohs Amenhotep III and Ramses the Great (II) as a dedication to the Ka (original dynasty of Pharaoh gods) and the fertility god Amen was used for the annual Opet festival which paid tribute to the royals of Egypt.
It is assumed that this was where the Pharaohs were crowned. Here you will find the chapels of the Amenhotep, Ramses II, Tutankhamun and Alexander the Great along with shrines that can be found between the Temples of Luxor and Karnak. During the Roman rule of Egypt, The Temple of Luxor was used as the center of Roman government. In the 11th century AD, a mosque was built on top of the temple, Abu al-Haggag, which is still active today.
Tip: For a less crowded and amazing additional temple experience, visit again at sunset or in the evening to walk the grounds of the Luxor Temple when the ruins are lit up.
Between the two temples along the Nile river, an archaeological museum filled with antiquities from the graves of Tutankhamun, statues that were found within the Luxor Temple and the mummies of Ramesses I and Ahmose I.
West Bank –
As if the East Bank did not offer enough ancient Egyptian experience, the West Bank offers a deeper dive into the ancient Egyptian culture filled with Pharaonic death temples and decorated tombs.
The Colossi of the Memnon
The first site you will pass as you are headed along the main road will be the twin statues of Amenhotep III sitting facing the river Nile accompanied by statues of his wife and mother. Constructed of quartzite sandstone the 60 foot statues which are estimated to weigh approximately 720 tons each sit in ruins and are almost unrecognizable.
Originally constructed to stand guard at his 85 acre mortuary temple which at the time of construction was considered one of the largest and most richly decorated in Ancient Egypt, the statues are some of the few remains of the original complex which eroded over time from river flooding by the nearby Nile.
Your next stop will be the temple of Ramesses III. One of the best preserved temples of the New Kingdom period, it’s location is directly across the river from the Temple of Luxor and originally the site of the temple of the god Amun, the god of creation and fertility.
Ramesses III enclosed the Amun temple and built his memorial shrine within the complex. 75,000 square feet of shrine are decorated with script and scenes from Ramesses’ many military triumphs and festivals that were celebrated in his honor during his reign.
Within the complex you will see large statues of Ramesses, large halls, courtyards and a church that was added during the Greco-Roman period.
Valley of the Queens
Just southwest of the temples of Medinet Habu, built into the cliffs is the necropolis of tombs of the royal family members. Here you will find 90 tombs of Egyptian queens, princes and high officials of the New Kingdom.
Starting in the 19th Dynasty with Sitre, wife of Ramesses I, the Valley of the Queens became the traditional burial site and by early BC and AD, due to lack of space, tombs were being reused for nobles and mummified animal remains.
Many of the tombs had been robbed and vandalized over the thousands of years that they sat abandoned, however in 1905, the tomb of Nefertari, wife of Ramesses II was discovered. Referred to as the “Sistine Chapel of Ancient Egypt” it is considered the most beautiful tomb in Egypt. Commissioned by Ramesses II for his favorite wife, his love for her can be seen in the level of detail and vibrant colors used within the designs of the tomb.
Still an active archaeological site, new discoveries are still being made and some tombs may be closed or inaccessible when visiting.
The mortuary temple of Ramesses the Great (II), known as the great warrior, is one of the largest temples of the New Kingdom era. Originally named the “Mansion of Millions of Years” for Ramesses dedication to Egypt as the most powerful and most celebrated ruler of Egypt, the complex is nothing short of a fantastic step into the ancient past.
Featuring gateways and pillared halls filled with columns, sanctuaries and the remains of one of the largest statues in the world estimated to stand originally at 92 feet. All that is left is 62’ of his base and torso. Unlike other mortuaries, the shrine features rising floors and drop ceilings symbolizing the rise of Egypt under Ramesses power.
Also within the complex are temples dedicated to Ramesses mother and first wife Nefertari and a temple palace. One of the highlights of visiting is the preserved painted ceiling and walls decorated with scenes of his military successes and his representation as a god of Egypt.
Valley of the Nobles
As you journey on you will see scattered through the hills the tombs of the high nobles who assisted and guided the royals during the Old and New Kingdoms and through the Golden age of Thebes when it was the most powerful city in Greece.
Stopping in to explore some of these lesser acknowledged tombs will offer a unique experience into the history and culture of the times. Each chapel of the tomb is decorated with scenes telling the stories of its owners and also sharing details into the lives of the ancient Egyptians.
Valley of the Kings
Your final leg of your journey and one the more popular destinations of Luxor will take you to the inland location where you will find hidden within the valley walls 63 tombs of the New Kingdom (1550 – 1070 BC) pharaohs and their royal family members.
Divided into the East Valley and the West Valley, your primary focus will be the East Valley which has many available tombs for public visiting. Each tomb within the Valley has a KV number which means Kings Valley and then the order for which the tombs were opened by archaeologists.
Some of the tombs that may be accessible for visiting are all the Ramesses with the exception of Ramesses II who has a separate tomb closer to the river (see Ramesseumabove) and Ramesses the IIX whose tomb has yet to be identified. As well other New Kingdom pharaohs with the most well known being the boy pharoah, Tutankhamun. The tombs are carved into the cliffs with shafts that lead underground into the burial chambers, decorated with images, religious text and their supposed journies into the afterlife.
Although Tutankhamen is the most well known of the pharaohs it is worth knowing that his tomb has the least to see as most of the tomb has been relocated to Cairo.
Note that not all tombs may not be open at the same time, some are periodically closed for renovation and the more popular tombs like Tutankhamen, Ramesses VI require an additional ticket for entry. The area is still a live archaeological site and subject to closure for additional discovery, it is worth checking before arrival to avoid disappointment.
Egypt offers many rewarding experiences and definitely needs to be top of the list with a visit to Cairo to see the Sphinx and the pyramids of Giza. But also a visit to Luxor and both banks of the Nile needs to be part of the itinerary. Expect to spend at least 3 full days to explore all of the sites and experiences mentioned above.
A tour guide is highly recommended for the most enjoyment and best understanding of the sites you are visiting. Our favorite way to explore ancient and modern Egypt is by river cruise to travel in luxurywith every detail thoughtfully designed for a one of a kind experience of both ancient and modern Egypt.
Despite the negative press that South Africa is receiving right now from the Covid-19 variant, when travel is safe, Africa is one of the most fabulous travel destinations for both the casual tourist and the adventurous.
Both awe-inspiring and the largest waterfall in the world, Victoria Falls happens to be located on one of the most alluring continents in the world, Africa. One of the seven natural wonders of the world is located along the Zambezi River at the border of the countries of Zambia and Zimbabwe where lies the majestic site that many aspire to visiting on their travel bucket lists.
Named by Scottish explorer David Livingstone in 1855 after Queen Victoria, the almost 1 ½ mile basalt cliffs form the falls where water from the Zambezi river plummet over the edge and into the gorge some 300 feet below. The power of the falls can be seen from 30 miles away, heard from 25 miles away and the mists can be felt as high as 430 yards from the falling water.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, on average 500,000,000 liters of water flow when the water levels peak at the end of the rainy season in late March or early April. Alternatively the falls will reach their lowest points in the fall during the dry period when it is even possible to walk through specific points of the falls.
Surrounded by rainforest, another basalt cliff faces the Main falls with a path through heavy spray offering exceptional views of the falls. Another option for viewing, is from the Knife-Edge Bridge for panoramic views of the Main falls and the Boiling Pot area where the river switches down the Batoka Gorge. For the more weary, views from Livingstone Island during the dry season or the Falls Bridge that crosses over the Zambezia provide panoramic views.
Depending on the time of year that you visit, after seeing the beauty and power of Victoria Falls, there are many options for immersing yourself with the area finding adventure at and around Victoria Falls. We recommend that you hire a local guide as some of these experiences can be dangerous for those not familiar with the area. Not all adventures require physical activity, but each offers the opportunity for an adventure you will remember forever:
Flight of Angels
Regardless if it is during the peak flood period when the falls are at their highest or dry season when it’s at its lowest, flying over Victoria Falls is one of the most astounding and most personal ways for seeing the falls from an angle most do not have the opportunity to.
From the windows of a small prop plane, follow the Zambezi river to the gorges that form into the massive magnificent Victoria Falls offering panoramic instagram worthy photos and an unforgettable experience. Other flight options are by helicopter to get you even closer to the action, also flying over the Batoka Gorge and Mosi-oa-Tunya National park.
Your flight experience usually ends with a DVD of your 15 – 30 minute flight as a souvenir to take home and share your experience with others.
Swim in the Devil’s Pool
Close to Victoria Falls, rock pools have formed and the most popular for its location is Devil’s Pool. Located near Livingstone Island at the edge of the falls with a sheer 325 foot drop, the site provides the heart-pumping exhilaration of a natural infinity pool looking over the side of the falls.
The most active part of this experience is the climb down to the Zambezi river and swim across the pool. Unless you are the fearless type who jumps full throttle into the raging waters of the pool from above. Regardless, the thrill that you will get from the view at the edge and feeling the force of the river flowing over the falls providing an invigoration and energy that you will not soon forget.
Devil’s pool is seasonally accessible depending on the water levels. Access to the pool can be dangerous and it is highly recommended that a guide be hired for the safest experience.
Swim below the Falls
Another unique experience is to swim the rock pools located below the falls to view the basalt cliffs as the water cascades above you.
A more active experience involves walking the Batoka Gorge to the river where inflatable rafts and a guide await you to paddle to a location near Victoria Falls for some unique and amazing views. Once your rafts arrive at the rock pools below the falls, you can enjoy some downtime swimming and enjoying the waters that surround you.
Although more physically demanding, this 3 hour or so guided experience allows you to immerse with the geology of the region as you walk over the rocks and interact directly with the river before walking back up the gorge at the end of your tour.
Kayak or White Water raft the rapids of the Zambezi River
From the top of Batoka Gorge, an experienced white water guide will fit you with a paddle, helmet and life jacket before leading you down the 450 – 800 feet to the river to board your kayak or raft boat. Your guide will then steer you through the rapids and direct you for safety with the ultimate enjoyment.
Although no previous experience is required, this is an encounter for those who are both physically able and mentally prepared for this type of adventure. Other requirements may exist as determined by your tour provider.
Kayaking is usually a full day experience offering breakfast at the top of the gorge and picnic lunch as a final reward for your day’s activities. White water rafting offers a half or full day or for the active adventurous type, enjoy the “float of angels” taking a full day on the Zambezi followed by an overnight in a camp deep within the Batoka Gorge to wake up and take on another full day of a roller coaster of rapids.
The best time for rafting all 23 rapids is during the drier season from early summer through early winter.
Victoria Falls is but one of the many Africa experiences that adventurists venture to the farest regions of the earth for. Other exciting journeys await you with safaris within Tanzania and Botswana and spending time at the beautiful beaches and winelands of South Africa’s Cape’s rugged coast.
With so much to see, how do you explore these regions seamlessly and enjoyably? Imagine an experience that combines all of the experiences in a 10 – 21 day African experience. Start your journey on land combined with four nights on a small private luxury African boat drifting along the river all the while having an up-close wildlife experience before heading back on land for more time to explore Victoria Falls, the villages and unique highlights of the region.
Plan now for travel in 2022 and beyond. For more information on the safest and most intimate ways to explore Africa with river cruising visit our webpage.
Traveling to Egypt is a popular location for the adventurist looking for an archeological journey into the cradle of civilization. But what many are finding is that Egypt has so much more to offer then it’s historical sightseeing. Egypt’s Red Sea is an inlet that lies between Asia and Africa offering relaxing beach coastline and water activities while also offering the Arabic desert experience one comes to expect from visiting Egypt.
The Red Sea Riviera is a popular beach destination within Israel that many Europeans flock to during the winter for some warm beach vacations. But lesser known Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula became a popular diving destination starting back in the 1950’s with expeditions by the likes of known divers like Jacques Cousteau. Fast forward 70 years, the area now draws visitors to the many resort areas along the Red Sea coastline while also offering options for water sport activities in addition to soaking up the sun with a beach vacation.
If you want to know more about the beach regions of Egypt we invite you to read on:
One of the most well known beach destinations in Egypt, a beach town with Naama Bay on the Sinai Peninsula. One of the original diving spots within Egypt for the many coral reefs and Ras Mohammed National Park which offers world-class diving. Located within the Gulf of Aqaba, Sharm el-Sheikh offers turquoise blue ocean views of the Saudi Arabian mountains and coastline in the distance across the gulf.
If diving is not your jam, Ras Um Sid reef also offers snorkelers the opportunity to explore the corals and spot rainbow colored reef fish at the surface. The draw to the area is definitely the resort area of Sharm el-Sheikh with its sandy beaches and modern luxury resorts with many options for restaurants, bars and nightclubs. Formerly occupied by Israel from 1967 to 1982 who built up the area, the venture was successfully continued by Egypt once they resumed control of the region.
Regardless of your interest in visiting, the Sharm el-Sheikh area is filled with sun, beach and water activities and you won’t want to miss the sunsets over the gulf.
North of the town of Hurghada built along the shore and on small islands is the beach resort area of El Gouna. Built as a family-friendly vacation spot on Egypt’s eastern coast with many options for large and luxury resort accommodations offering many amenities and spas.
The draw to this area is the resort town and the marina with high-end shops, restaurants, bars and the multitude of additional activities that are available for the active traveler. A popular area for watersports, kayaking, paddleboarding and waterskiing. You can also find many other fun activities like paragliding, horseback riding, golfing and ATVing for a break from the beach.
El Gouna is filled with canals and lagoons offering beautiful seascape sites. The most popular activity in the area is kiteboarding which can be seen off the long and wide Mangroovy Beach area and is just as popular for watching as it is for participating. Zeytouna Beach offers white sand beaches and a jetty with coral reefs and great snorkeling opportunities.
Many Egyptians have been flocking to the area for years for luxury vacations. So whether looking for luxurious amenities to relax and unwind or an activity filled vacation, El Gouna can offer a little bit of everything.
An hour south of the main coastal town of Hurghada, where you will find an international airport, is the beach town of Soma Bay. Surrounded by water on 3 sides and the largest spa facilities in Egypt, makes this a playground for beach goers and resort vacationers.
Egypt’s very exclusive beaches can be found along the strip of white sands of Soma Bay with all-inclusive luxury resorts and 365 days of sunshine. Formerly a Egyptian military location. The peninsula is popular with wealthy Europeans who escape the cool winters for luxurious beach vacations.
As a newer beach area, the entire town consists of resorts surrounded by the ocean and being all inclusive there are many activities available within the resorts with water sports, golfing, entertainment and beach activities.
However for divers or snorkelers, the reefs nearby offer some of the best opportunities for enthusiasts. As a new and upcoming area, Soma Bay is constantly being developed and more opportunities for modern amenity resorts continue to pop up.
Just 3.5 hours from the city of Luxor makes Soma Bay an easy reach for travelers exploring the popular sites of the Egyptian ancient civilizations for post travel relaxation or side trips from a beach vacation.
A lesser known vacation destination area located in the most southern part of Egypt’s Red Sea coastline has been a well known diving spot for years. Filled with coral reefs and beautiful beaches, as the Red Sea coastline has increased in popularity, Marsa Alam has become the newest strip of hotels to the beach coast of Egypt.
Offering an international airport makes it easy to reach and filled with all-inclusive and five star resorts makes the area exclusive for visitors featuring private beaches, resort pools, family oriented activities and spas.
Abu Dabab beach offers beautiful reefs filled with colorful corals and more unique sealife. Turtles, crocodile fish and octopus with beautiful white sand beaches attract vacationers looking for diving, snorkeling and beach vacations rolled into one.
Some of the nearby popular diving areas that attract divers are Elphinstone filled with underwater fauna & sealife, Dolphin House, Shaab Samadai for the large amount of dolphin in the area and Fury Shoals which provides coral gardens, dolphin and various wrecks to explore.
For land experiences, the Emerald Mines of the Roman and Ptolemaic period of rule are nearby as is the Temple of Seti built by Seti, the son of Ramses I and father of Ramses II. The biggest highlight of the area is taking an Egyptian Safari, guided tours by quad or camel to some of the highlights of the interior desert region.
Egypt, the origin of civilization, is primarily identified for the Nile River, the mysterious Pyramids and the Great Sphinx that date back to the ancient Pharoahs. If you are more of an Egyptophile, you have more knowledge about the mummies, the temples, the archaeology and early Egyptian royalty. But if you are like me, a bucket lister who wants to experience Egypt, wants more than a popular guidebook experience, where do you visit for some of the lesser known secrets of Egypt, while also seeing the key sites?
The country of Egypt is known for its relations to the Middle East however physically, it is located in northeast Africa. Cairo, the capital sits on the Nile river, today a very modern and luxurious city, is the perfect introduction to the culture and history of the Egyptian antiquities.
When planning your Egypt agenda, you will no doubt have the highlights of visiting the Nile River Valley, the city of Luxor’s Valley of the Kings and the 4500 year old limestone monuments of Giza. Here are 5 lesser known experiences throughout the region that you can add to your must see list for an unforgettable experience.
The Pyramid of Djoser – is an archaeological site northwest of the ancient capital city of Memphis, home of the Sphinx. Serving as the necropolis (cemetary) for the ancient Egyptian capital. The Djoser Pyramid was built for the burial of the early Egyptian Pharaoh Djoser in the 27th Century BC. The Step Pyramid is part of a large necropolis site (Saqqara) of many tombs of court officials and lesser royalty known as the “tombs of the nobles”. Built using stone and clay, the Step Pyramid was the first pyramid that the Egyptians ever built. Originally designed as a house of eternity with a flat roof and sloping sides in the standard for the time, mastaba style, the tomb evolved into a 200 foot six-layer pyramid. Within the structure, the limestone walls still contain images that were painted approximately 4,500 years ago. Underneath the pyramid are a labyrinth of tunnels almost 3.5 miles long. The pyramid and the complex are an amazing representation of early Egyptian architecture and with about 7 other structures in the area was one of the largest complexes ever built at the time. Saqqara is approximately 30 minutes outside of Cairo and 10 minutes from Old Memphis.
Khan el-Khalili – during a visit to Old Cairo, visiting a bazaar or suq market as it is referred to in Egypt is a must to physically transport yourself back in time. The main trade area established by the Muslims in the 14th century is now a standard part of the Cairenes lifestyle and a must see attraction. Khan el-Khalili, the largest and most popular of the bazaar’s is made up of many historic structures that combined offer more than just a place to bring home fun souvenirs. You will find handmade items, antiques, spices, gold & copper artifacts and jewelry. Visiting is truly a scavenger hunt of exotic local merchandise scattered throughout a maze of shops and alleyways. In addition to the shopping experience, there are many old cafes throughout to round out your visit. If you are looking for a great spot to sit, and sip some local tea or try a hookah while you people watch, El-Fishawi is the oldest cafe in the bazaar, for a full Egyptian dining experience, head over to Naguib Mahfouz Cafe near the Khan-el-Khalili compound.
Temples of Philae – located near Aswan, a historic city on the river Nile, is an island where a significant number of Egyptian archeological sites can be found. One of Nubia’s major monuments, the sacred former temple site is an astonishing experience to add to your agenda. Started in Egypt’s Pharaonic era and completed in the Greek-Roman period between 332 BC – 395 AD are the majority of ancient structures that were relocated brick by brick to a Agilkia island for their protection from flooding. You will arrive by rowboat to the temple complex as you explore the area you will journey through well preserved temples and structures of ancient Egypt where you will see first hand the original hieroglyphic reliefs that are still in the process of being translated. To fully understand the story and history of the complex from erection to conversion as a Christian pilgrimage site, you can also visit the site at night for an amazing Sound and Light Show.
Temple of Edfu – One of the best preserved temples in Egypt, can be found within the lesser visited Edfu region along the West Bank of the Nile Valley. Built in honor of the Egyptian God Horus, the first national god of Egypt, also known as Apollo by the Romans, represented kingship and the sky. Horus, depicted in drawings as a falcon was worshiped from late prehistoric Egypt through Roman Egyptian occupation. The temple’s building started in 237 BC and was completed in 57 BC. The structure originated during Pharaoh rule under Ptolemy III and was completed by Ptolemy XII. The inscriptions on the walls describe life during the Hellenistic period including the language, religion and culture with scenes of the mythical conflict between Horus and Seth for the claim to the throne. Edfu can be reached within 2 hours from Luxor and the Valley of the Kings.
Bucket list worthy experiences – the last experiences if not already on your to do list, may be one’s that you may not have known about or thought about, but highly recommended for the region:
Take a hot air balloon ride over the Valley of the Kings and Queens. This unique experience offers you views of the temples and monuments as you glide over Luxor and Karnak on the West Bank of the Nile while the sun rises and illuminates them by the light of the sunrise. A once in a lifetime view of the ancient sites that even the Pharaohs themselves did not have.
We also recommend discovering the view of Cairo from a Felucca. Experience traveling by ancient river vessel used by royalty as you watch the sunset and sail the Nile river as many of Egypts Pharaohs and Queens did thousands of years ago.
Egypt is a bucket list experience. If you would like to discover the extended history and culture of Egypt starting in Cairo and then traveling from Luxor on a 7 day river journey, to visit the most important sites and some of the lesser known secrets of the region, discover more about river cruising from our website.
Visiting the continent of Africa is always top of bucket list for the amazing wildlife and outdoor experiences. Many times a visit to Africa will begin or end in Cape Town which is located in the African country of South Africa. Did you know that Cape Town offers beaches to relax at, forests and mountains to explore and lush winelands that produce some of the top new world vintages?
South Africa is a country on the southernmost tip of the African continent. Cape Town is located on the western coast of the African peninsula surrounded by the Indian Ocean. The wet winters and hot dry summers provide a Mediterranean climate, similar to the region of Bordeaux, in France and provides for ample wine production with major vineyards surrounding the city of Cape Town.
Considered a New World wine region, wine in South Africa actually dates back to 1659 when the first bottle of wine was produced in Constantia, a suburb of Cape Town. With time and transportation growth, availability to sell in international markets has put South African wine onto the Viticulture map.
Today you can find about 60 appellations throughout the South African wine system and production happens in production centers located around Cape Town.
Most popular today for red wine production specifically the Cabernet grape and another notable vintage, a cross breed of the hard to grow Pinot Noir grape and the sturdy Cinsaut grape, Pinotage, is the second most planted red grape in the country. Recognized by many growers as the grape of South Africa, Pinotage can be found as a single vintage and also in local blends plus created in many styles; barrel aged, rosé, fortified ports and red sparkling wines.
Chenin blanc (referred to as Steen) is the most widely planted white grape in South Africa and can be found in the western region of the Stellenbosch winelands.
The Cape Wineland district is located in the Boland region of the Western Cape that makes up over 10% of the total land of the Cape Town suburbs of Paarl, Worcester, Wellington and Stellenbosch.
Approximately 30 minutes from Cape Town is the oak-lined village of Stellenbosch, the second-oldest and best known of South Africa’s wine regions. One of the, if not the most, scenically attractive and historically preserved towns in South Africa that was planted in 1679. Today 14% of annual wine production in the country occurs at 17 cellars within the district. Stellenbosch is located 28 miles from Cape Town where the surrounding mountains and coastal False Bay provide an average temperature of 68°F during the summer growing season.
Two recommended cellars to visit while visiting Stellenbosch are Longridge and Glenelly Estates.
Longridge is known locally for their biodynamic and organic winemaking practices. Established in 1841 they have created a vintage of environmentally stable wines without the use of chemicals, pesticides and fertilizers using only natural methods. Their primary growths are Steen (Chenin Blanc), Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinotage. In addition to a Wine Lounge with tastings and vineyards tours, they also feature a restaurant with farm to table South African inspired dishes accompanied by scenic views of False Bay and Table Mountain to enjoy while sipping some of their award winning wines.
Glenelly, just a 10 minute drive from the historic town of Stellenbosch is also an environmentally driven wine estate. The French owned estate features South African wines produced with French growth inspiration with vintages of their flagship Cabernet Sauvignon, in addition to Cabernet Franc, Syrah and a Chardonnay Reserve. A tasting room is available daily (except Monday) with scenic views of the estate and local mountain regions plus a bistro offering a French inspired menu serving lunch daily and dinners on the weekends. The one of a kind privately owned wine museum offers another experience when visiting this lovely wineland estate.
In addition to its connection to wine, the Cape Winelands is a popular culinary center of South Africa where local growers produce olives, fruits and cheese. The Winelands also offers beautiful scenic drives with mountains and many miles of hiking and biking trails for the active adventurer.
The best time to visit the Winelands is between March and May during the South African autumn harvest when the weather is warm and sunny. Summer (November through January) is another popular time to visit the winelands while also enjoying the beaches of Cape Town with warm, longer days. Experience three days in Cape Town including the opportunity to spend the day in the Cape Winelands before a 10 day Africa wildlife adventure with Chobe river cruise. Learn more about this amazing bucket list experience in Africa.
I am as guilty as most, I believed the Basque region was Spanish and a Spanish experience. What I have come to learn is that Euskadi (land of the Basque) is the warm oceanic region located on Bay of Biscay along the western Pyrenees mountain range that straddles the northern coast of Spain but it also includes the eastern coast of France. The Euskadi is made up of seven provinces, three of which are in France and four that are in Spain (Basque Country and Navarre region), despite being in separate countries they are an autonomous community.
With their own language (Euskara), the culture is autonomous throughout the Basque region. The noticeable differences between the French and Spanish cities are related to the influences of the countries in which the regions are located. Spanish Euskaldunak (Basque speaking locals) mostly speak Euskara, as many Spanish Euskadi want autonomy from Spain and may also speak Spanish. Here you will find larger modern and industrial areas that are more centered on tourist and resort driven cities. Comparatively French Euskaldunak are loyal to France, will speak French, while some may also speak Euskara. In French tradition, they live in more relaxed rural environments and towns that sit among green pastures and farms.
Basque weather is typically maritime being warm, humid and rainy along the coast and the interior regions have a Mediterranean climate with temperature differences between seasons.
There are many reasons to explore both regions of Basque Country, we will highlight the uniqueness of the key towns and cities of both regions that you will want to visit.
Northern Basque Region
The Pays Basque Français is called Iparralde which means northern part in the basque language. The region lies in the Pyrenees – Atlantiques department of France. Within this region you will find attractive villages worth visiting for the uncrowded pastoral country-side, charming white-washed half-timbered houses and quaint colorful churches waiting to be explored.
Located just off the coast of France at the confluence of the Adour and Nive rivers makes the city not only scenic but also separates it out into 3 very distinct quarters. Most noticeable when visiting is the red, green and white colors that are almost uniformly seen throughout the town. A mix of Basque and French culture, you will want to head to the Grand Bayonne quarter on the westbank of the Nive river where you can wander the narrow cobblestoned pedestrian streets amongst the half-timbered houses, visit the 11th Century Chateau Vieux, the gothic Bayonne Cathedral and enjoy some local farm to table cuisine.
More of a tourist location than sister city Bayonne, The Cote de Basque is both a sophisticated and yet relaxing resort town of cliffside villas overlooking the coast and swanky oceanside hotels beachside. Being a coastal upscale resort town, you will find the large beaches popular during the summer. Biarritz is well known worldwide as a prominent location for its surfing which will also attract many daytime bohemian visitors to the seaside town during the warmer summer months. The town itself offers many trendy cafes to relax at and enjoy a local meal, great boutiques to visit and a lively beachside bar scene that offers a continuation of the daytime beach party to pair with your beachtime tan.
About 15 minutes south of Biarritz and close to the Spanish border is the small seaside town of Saint-Jean-de-Luz. The central town features the Grand Plage, a long stretch of sandy beach surrounded by three sea walls that is more family centric with a few small hotels with spas and nearby local campsites. Off the coast is the downtown region Donibane Lohizune to enjoy the local rustic cuisine, regional products and espadrilles. Yes, the region is best known for their array of comfy beach espadrille sandals which can be found throughout the shopping area. Don’t miss enjoying the coastal inspired gastronomy that blends the French influence with the New Basque inspired dishes from the nearby Spanish region.
Hidden at the base of the Pyrenees mountains is the beautifully scenic village of Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port. The walled capital of Basque is a small charming town on the Nive river just 5 miles from the Spanish border. Most known as the starting point for the christian pilgrimage to the Santiago de Compostela shrine in Galicia, Spain, it is also the perfect stop after taking one of the most beautiful hikes in the Pyrenees for the amazing panoramas from the mountains. Walk the small town that is surrounded by green countryside with a backdrop of mountains.
Southern Basque Country
The Pais Vasco Español is called Hegoalde which I am sure you can guess means southern part in the basque language. The majority of the Basque region lies within the Spanish side and is the most populated with two very distinct regions, the coastal Basque community and the inland Navarre region.
An hour and half southwest of French Basque and across the Spanish border from the Pyrenees is the Navarre region and its capital city, Pamplona. You most likely have heard of Pamplona from its annual weeklong San Fermín Festival. Better known as the “Running of the Bulls” that occurs along Estafeta street annually. It is one of the largest fiesta events in Spain attracting over 100,000 visitors. Iruña as Pamplona is called in Basque is a medieval town that also attracts visitors to explore her cobble-stoned pedestrian only streets that wind throughout the city to the historic palaces and churches. At the center of the town is the Plaza del Castillo (Palace Square) where you will find the locals as well as tourists who are visiting the best restaurants and cafes with the best people watching.
San Sebastián –
Donastia as it is known by the Basque in the region is a very popular resort town for its white sand beaches and New Basque cuisine. Often referred to as Paris by the sea for its sophistication that attracts the wealthy beach-goers who have beach mansions along La Concha beach. Here is considered by many Europeans to be the most beautiful beach in Europe. Notable is that many don’t just visit San Sebastian for the beach luxury, but also for the gastronomy. You can find the largest number of Michelin rated stars per capita than anywhere else in the world with 9 restaurants. The locally sourced pinxtos are partially responsible for the famed dining experiences. Pinxtos are the backbone of the Spanish Basque food culture, similar to a tapa (but don’t call it a tapa) the small plate offers uniquely crafted gastro-pub experiences. Parte Vieja, the old port region is the charming old town with the largest number of bars in the world, a big draw for visitors.
Considered the heart of the Basque region in Spain, Bilbao is a very modern city filled with cosmopolitan buildings, industry and is also the urban hub of Euskadi. The largest city in the region attracts visitors to its famed contemporary Guggenheim museum and offers a very modern metro system compared to other Basque regions. But the old medieval town, Casco Viejo, like in San Sebastian attracts visitors for its culture and historical experiences. Shopping is also a prime attraction at the “El Ensanche” across the river from the old town, which is home to Bilbao’s wealthy residents offering higher end shops, restaurants and bars along the Gran Via. Yes, pinxtas play an important role in local gastronomy here too and you will find many taverns offering the tasty treats to enjoy with a glass of local cider or wine.
Worth noting is the well known French region of Bordeaux is 3.5 hours from Bilbao, the most eastern city in the Basque Country and just 2 hours from Bayonne, the most northern city of the Basque region. This offers a unique travel experience to explore the beautiful Euskadi region of Spain and France and then head north to Bordeaux for a purely French wine experience.
Learn more about Bordeaux with a 7 night river cruise experience to fully immerse in both left and right banks of Bordeaux.
One of the tops on many bucket lists is visiting Africa. Getting close up encounters with animals in their natural environment is an experience that will be different for every guest based on time of year and how they choose to visit. The best way to experience wildlife in Africa is by safari but with many regions within Africa with wildlife, how do you narrow down your options of where and when to visit.
Two of the best countries within the continent of Africa to visit for a safari experience are Tanzania and Botswana:
The United Republic of Tanzania is an African country in East Africa that has coastline on the Indian Ocean, Bordering Uganda in the north, Kenya in the northeast, Mozambique in the east, Zambia to the southwest; and Rwanda to the west. Tanzania is most known for Mount Kilimanjaro, the largest mountain in Africa.
The best time to visit Tanzania to enjoy the wildlife is based around the rainfall. While the summer period is November to February and the cooler winter period is May to August, the rainiest periods are October – December. The ideal time is during the drier shoulder periods of March, April, August and September.
Approximately one-third of Tanzania’s land is dedicated as a protected conservation area featuring 16 national parks in addition to game and forest reserves. Featuring many biodiverse areas you will find a variety of animal habitats:
Serengeti – The Serengeti plain is where you will find the largest concentration of wildebeest and zebra who are known for their annual massive migrations when the herds move north from breeding locations to the grassy southern plains. For sure a not to miss experience, movement can be seen year round, but the massive movement will occur July – October when they can be seen crossing the Mara river in the Northern Serengeti. You will also find giraffe, gizelle, impala and many species of reptiles in the region like crocodiles who habitat in the Grumeti River.
Ngorongoro – the Manyara National park is where you can experience a game drive of animals including lions, cheetahs, monkeys, baboons and impalas. You will also want to visit the three million year old Ngorongoro crater which is the largest volcano caldera in the world and home to a gorgeous wildlife sanctuary filled with large mammals like hippopotamus who live in the lakes, bush and plains of the caldera. To experience the great migration that occurs here annually, you will want to visit between July and September.
Unlike Tanzania, Botswana is primarily flat with the majority (70%) of it belonging to the Kalahari Desert. Located in central Africa, it borders South Africa in the south, Zimbabwe in the northeast and to the west and north of Botswana is Namibia. Besides the large area of desert, you will find the Okavango Delta, one of the largest in the world in the northwestern portion of the country.
Why Botswana if it is mostly desert? Because of the diversity of the wildlife that you can find here. Besides desert and the delta, there are savannas and grassland regions where you will find wildebeest, antelope, the endangered African wild dog and the biggest concentration of African elephants in Africa which can be found along the rivers during the dry season. September is the peak time for experiencing wildlife as it is the end of the dry season.
Chobe National Park – Botswana’s original national park located in the Okavango Delta is biologically diverse making it a prime destination for experiencing wildlife. Taking a safari through the park has one of the largest concentrations of wildlife to observe when looking for the big 5 (lion, leopard, elephant, water buffalo and the rare rhinoceros). Specifically lions can be easily spotted who reside in the area for the presence of the large number of elephants and their young who track them as their primary predator.
The Chobe River – a key location for spotting the “Big Five” game during the dry months. Both sides of the river are protected wildlife management areas. During the dry season the Kalahari elephants, lions and buffalo reside at the river, especially during the end of the dry season when families can be spotted from boats as you travel along the river. A highlight is the daily elephant bathing ritual which offers amazing afternoon photo opportunities.
Safari Lodges are found throughout both Tanzania and Botswana. Unique experiences featuring luxury and modern tented camps that offer immersive wildlife experiences. Seeing nature free from human intervention is the highlight of staying at a safari lodge. You will never know what encounter awaits you as you relax in your tent or while relaxing within the grounds before or after your safari. All inclusive, a stay at a lodge includes meals, guided safari and wildlife spotting, night-time campfires with all the amenities you would expect at a five-star resort but with a rustic charm. With so many to choose from, there is one that fits every budget and travel style.
With so much to see, how do you explore these regions seamlessly and enjoyably? Imagine an experience that combines all of the experiences in a 10 – 21 day African experience. Start your journey on land combined with four nights on a small private luxury African boat drifting along the river all the while having an up-close wildlife experience before heading back on land for more time to explore the villages and highlights of the region.
Learn more about luxurious African river cruise experiences from our website.
A UNESCO World Heritage site for its eighteenth century city-scape that still looks as it did hundreds of years ago, Bordeaux presents many experiences for finding romance within the city and others within an hours drive of the city.
Just 2 hours by train outside Paris (the city of love), the capital city of the Nouvelle Aquitaine region of France, Bordeaux is most noted for its association to the highest quality French wines. One of the most important wine producers and exporters in the world with the largest number of AOC “controlled designation of origin” classification vineyards in France. She is often referred to as “la perle d’Aquitaine” (pearl of the Aquitaine) and “Petit (mini) Paris”. This port city along the Garonne river offers as much as other urban cultural centers provide, but also leaves a small village impression in her old city. A gorgeous well maintained medieval city is perfect for couples looking for or celebrating romance to indulge and lose themselves within her boundaries.
Here are 15 opportunities to find romance in Bordeaux and the Bordeaux region:
1. Fairytale Romance at Porte Cailhau
A must see stop when visiting Bordeaux, Porte Calihau will give you the best views of the city. The impressive castle-like architecture was built in Gothic-renaissance cross over styles with both decorative and defensive features in 1494. The building has not changed in its many hundreds of years in existence when it was re-created as the entrance to the city from the Garonne river. The triumphal arch stands at almost 115 feet, climbing the stairs to the top floor of this beautiful building is where you will find an exhibition of her existence and most importantly where you can enjoy the romantic river views with sightings of the oldest bridge in Bordeaux, the Pont de Pierre.
2. Cross the Pont de Pierre Bridge
Connecting the left and right banks of the Garonne river, Pont de Pierre means “mason bridge” which is the French translation for stone bridge. The 1600 foot bridge was designed by Napoleon so his troops could easily cross the Garonne. Not surprisingly, the bridge has 17 arches for the number of letters in the name Napoleon Bonaparte. To maintain the structure of the bridge, it is closed to automobiles and only accessible by foot, bicycle or tram. The perfect opportunity to take a romantic walk or bike ride along the footpath of the bridge to enjoy the scenery. Depending on the time of day and the tides the day that you cross the bridge, you will have different views of the river.
3. Have a Secular Experience at Bordeaux Cathedral
Even if you are not religious, a stop at the Cathedral Saint Andre is worth the visit especially the Tour Pey-Berland bell-tower. A UNESCO World Heritage site in the heart of the old city, the Notre Dame d’Aquitaine started as a Romanesque church originally built in 1096 AD and then modified in the Gothic style between the 12th and 16th centuries. Some highlights of the church are the exterior spires and the bell-tower that was built in the early 15th century. Separated from the rest of the cathedral, the bell-tower is a historic French monument. Tour Pey-Berland named after the archbishop who commissioned it, features three monumental bells, named Marie, Clémence and Marguerite that ring next to a larger 8 ton tenor bell named Ferdinand-André. A climb up the 231 step spiral staircase to the second terrace at the top offers romantic picture-worthy panoramic city views.
4. Journey into Wine together at La Cite du Vin
Before embarking into Bordeaux’s wines and local vineyards, immerse yourself in the fun and educational wine experience of Bordeaux’s Wine museum. The highly sensory experience starts as you enter the contemporary design of the building and continues with a one of a kind complete wine experience. Taking you into the world of wines from their creation in 6000BC to the modern day mechanics and innovation that makes up the wine industry with exhibitions, wine tasting workshops and pairings, seminars and events held throughout the year. Located on the West bank of Bordeaux between the historic districts for local vintage production and wine manufacturing, the museum was designed to focus on the worldwide wine culture instead of the local wine experience. On the romance side, there is a fantastic wine bar called Belvedere on the top floor, with a wide selection of wines from around the world to be enjoyed with a panoramic view of Bordeaux.
5. Visit one of the Most Romantic Restaurants in Bordeaux
Centrally located in the old town of Bordeaux, La Tupina is a small country inn style restaurant that will offer you a romantic and intimate dining experience. Centered around the fireplace within the dining establishment, in the fireplace sits a cauldron (La Tupina in French) that is used daily to create their signature soups, roasted meats and other traditional hearty dishes from the region. Offering both Prix Fixe menus including wine and mineral waters or a la carte options, the farm to table experience is traditional South-West French cuisine at its best. Michelin rated, reservations are highly recommended.
6. Shop the Marche des Chartrons
A highlight of a French experience is the local markets. Happening each Sunday The quay Market is located along the Garonne river. An outdoor market has sixty+ stands with a variety of local specialties, meats, cheeses, olives, breads, pastries, plates of local seafood’s in addition to crafts, flowers and other products that are not found anywhere else. If you are not in Bordeaux for the popular Sunday market, head to Marché des Capucins which is Bordeaux’s main market hall noted as one of the largest halls in the southwest region of France.
7. Relax at the Bordeaux Public Garden
If you have visited France before you know the parks and gardens offer an experience unlike any other. Providing your usual park amenities like walking paths and playgrounds, it’s the additional amenities that make this experience the perfect venue for a romantic outing. Located in the center of the city of Bordeaux and made up of 2700 acres with a central pond and many open spaces with trees and beautiful landscaping. Here is where you can take cue from the locals and stop to enjoy a bottle of wine and plate of local cheese from the market while relaxing on a romantic Bordelais kind of day. You can also find within the park a botanical garden, 19th century carousel, cafe/bar terrace and the Museum of Natural History.
8. Take Selfies at the Place de la Bourse et Miroir d’Eau
Bordeaux’s most iconic symbol is the Place Royale and Water Mirror reflecting pool. Built over 20 years in the mid 1700’s, facing the Garonne river, the classical French architecture of the Place Royal was built as a town square. She played a major role in the city’s development, trade, and reputation throughout its years of existence. Originally built as hotels, the buildings today are used as government offices and event venues. Across from the palace along the quay of the river is the iconic Water Mirror the world’s largest reflecting pool. Built in the early 2000’s locals will tell you that the pool with the Place Royal in the background at dusk is the perfect photo spot to commemorate your romantic visit to Bordeaux.
9. Enjoy a Concert at the Bordeaux Grand Theatre
The Bordeaux Opera House was built by wooden-frame in the 1780’s as a opera house but also became the home to the origin of the ballet in the region. One of the oldest opera houses in Europe, she was designed in the neoclassical style. The building exterior features Corinthian columns and statues representing the nine muses and three Greek goddesses, Juno, Venus and Minerva. A highlight of the interior is the grand staircase and fresco painted on the ceiling of the auditorium that pays tribute to the city of Bordeaux in a neoclassical style. Still in use today you too can enjoy a sophisticated and romantic adult evening of opera, ballet, symphony or musical concert while visiting. With a tram stop just out front, you can easily get to/from other parts of the city for an early dinner, late bite or a night cap.
10. Cycle the Vineyard Countryside
Bordeaux is famous for the dry, sweet red wines and sparkling whites grown here. Grab an e bike and head out on your own at your own pace or jump onto a half day or full day tour and cycle through Bordeaux’s famous wine region with an English speaking guide. Did you know 22 bottles of wine from Bordeaux are sold every second all over the world? A must do Bordeaux tour will have you riding romantic country roads, enjoying tasting wines from the vineyards and visiting some of the historic chateaus along the way. Purchase a bottle of wine and find an intimate spot to enjoy it before riding back to Bordeaux.
11. Pamper your Senses at Chateau Margaux.
Located on the left bank of the Garonne river in the Medoc region, Chateau Margaux holds the highest classification of Bordeaux wine classifications as a Premier Cru vineyard for its historic wine-making and growth innovations. Sampling the wines themselves is a real treat since the Premier vintages grown and sold are some of the most expensive in the industry. A highlight of a visit is walking the romantic property which is one of the most beautiful chateaux in the Bordeaux region. If you decide you would like to purchase wine, there are other lower cost vintages, note they don’t adhere to the high appellation directives as the Premier Cru but are still highly respectable and enjoyable.
12. Get Lost in Saint-Emilion
A medieval town 45 minutes from Bordeaux in the wine hills is the center of wine making in the region. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the town offers romantically picturesque “cultural landscape” and equally romantic experiences. Saint-Emilion is made up of 8 villages each notable for its vineyards but also offering impressive historical sites and local gastronomy from recipes passed down from generation to generation. Here is the perfect location to explore and sneak into a small local restaurant or cafe for a romantic meal with some local vin.
13. Launch your Relationship to New Heights in the Arcachon Basin
Just under an hours drive southwest from Bordeaux is the Dune of Pilat. A popular attraction for visitors as the tallest sand dune in Europe, it sits along the Arcachon Bay. The dune runs parallel to the shoreline behind the beach and blue Atlantic waters. Add some adventure into your vacation, due to the steepness of the dune, paragliding is a popular activity here and a way for you both to check it off of your bucket lists.
After gliding high above the dunes or taking a dip in the bay, head on to some of the local towns along the bay to enjoy sampling the amazing Arcachon Oysters. The bay has almost 30 oyster farms and produces upwards of 8,000 tons of oysters annually. There are four growing regions and each region produces its own oyster to sample the various local flavors and enjoy a romantic aphrodisiac with some local wine.
14. Take a Personal Spa Day
The Vinothérapie Spa at the Les Sources de Caudalie hotel offers unique spa rituals in a beautiful and rustic setting. Featuring a natural hot spring, the same minerals that help create the best wines in France are the ones that offer properties for an invigorating spa experience. Featuring treatments that include grape and vine extracts for relaxing baths and purifying wraps, scrubs, facial, hand and foot treatments and grape seed massages to indulge in every moment. Located just 20 minutes outside of Bordeaux’s city center, the hotel offers a perfect and romantic balance of exploration and relaxation for a day or as your base for your Bordeaux experience.
15. Cruise the Rivers around Bordeaux
The best way to experience the Garonne and Dordogne rivers and admire Bordeaux’s waterfront is during a seven night scenic river cruise round-trip from Bordeaux. A romantic cruise tour offers boutique accommodations with the opportunity to explore the sights, enjoy the tastes and immerse in the culture of the region while traveling. Inclusive in your experience are many of the experiences and others that have been mentioned above.
For more information on river cruising and to find out if it is the right fit for your luxury travel experience, take our quiz.
When you think of Egypt, your mind immediately goes to pyramids, desert and the cradle of civilization. Egypt is a bucket list venue, it is exploration, archaeology, archaic monuments and more or less venturing into a world embraced by Indiana Jones.
Traveling to Egypt as one of the most luxurious places in the world like Rome, Dubai or New York city it is hard to imagine that Egypt would rise to the level of modern amenities and opulence that you would find in one of these other locations. But it does, with many options for high-end accommodations, spas, golf, sun and sea and even diving to make your bucket list experience a well rounded luxury experience.
A country that is part of the continent of Africa, Egypt’s culture is more associated with the middle east. And yes while it does date back to ancient civilization to the time of Pharaohs, millennia old monuments, tombs and ancient historical relics, all were centered around the luxuries of the time. Even during the Greek and Roman Empire, Egypt was the playground of the rich and powerful. So as Egypt has become a modern city, it is not unexpected that it is to this day filled with luxuries and affluence just as it was many thousands of years ago.
In fact Egypt in 2019, was a top spot for visiting elite (billionaires) who were flocking to the many locales that make Egypt so alluring:
The capital city of Egypt, set on the Nile river has a history that dates back to the 26th Century BC. But today’s Cairo is a modern city with over 9 million residents. It is the largest city in Egypt and the largest within the middle east.
Cairo boasts some of the most beautiful and luxurious hotels in the middle east. The Four Seasons, Ritz Carlton, Sofitel and St. Regis to name a few are all present. Additionally there are many options for boutique brands with postcard-like amenities for the ultimate experience.
Travelers also have many unique options, like a stay at luxury hotels centered around archeology, dating back to the colonial era offering acres of landscaped gardens and the splendors of the old-world providing views off your balcony of the ancient Pyramids.
Today’s Cairo is a food destination, offering high end dining experiences with fine dining and Michelin rated to local standouts for superior dining experience. Le Pacha 1901, once a floating palace, is today a dining and entertainment facility on the Nile in Cairo offering 8 award winning restaurants.
Explore Cairo on private tours with English-speaking Egyptologists to the pyramids and many other historical sites that draw visitors with exclusive VIP experiences escorting you to the highlights of the area in luxury and based on your travel style.
Luxor to Aswan along the Nile River
Travel the Nile river as the Pharaohs once did between Luxor and Aswan visiting archeological sites and temples with breathtaking ancient views that still reflect a time when the eastern banks of the Nile were the place of birth and growth and the west bank was reserved for the eternal rest of royalty as their place of death.
The best way to experience this part of the Nile is on a luxury river cruise from Luxor, the original Egyptian capital, to Aswan. Enjoy the bucket list panoramic views as you travel the waters from your luxury ship’s balcony. If you prefer to stay on land near Luxor, today a modern day city, travelers can find refuge in luxury boutique hotels featuring inspirations of ancient Egyptian history and architecture.
When visiting Aswan you will also find a luxurious five star private resort on Elephantine Island located in the middle of the Nile river. The hotel is completely surrounded by elegant gardens with modern rooms offering amazing views of Aswan across the Nile. Explore Aswan and her islands as the ancients did, by felucca, an oar driven boat with sails, symbolic of the region.
Alexandria is a port city in Northern Egypt on the Mediterranean sea. The second largest city in Egypt and the largest city on the Mediterranean, her history has influences of Greek, roman and Cleopatra’s Egypt. Today Alexandria is referred to as the “Pearl of the Mediterranean” for her cooler weather, location on the sea and modern amenities, making her a popular locale for resident summer visitors.
The city, founded in 331 BC, by Alexander the Great, is home to the Alexandria Lighthouse one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, the great library and the necropolis catacombs both considered seven wonders of the middle ages among many other Roman ruins that still stand scattered throughout the city today.
With its rich history, Alexandria is historic yet also contemporary with modern skyscrapers, and experiences throughout the culturally-rich city. At two miles wide and 12 miles long it is often compared to Nice in France. As one of the lesser visited Egyptian cities, there is a strong attraction for high end visitors looking for less touristy yet high luxury regions to visit.
You will find multiple 5 star hotels along the coast offering luxury accommodations, dining, entertainment, spa services and may also offer private beaches.
The Red Sea Riviera
A lesser known destination on the Northeastern African continent, along the Red sea in Egypt connects the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea. The region offers a relaxing and luxurious cosmopolitan beach resort experience.
Enjoyable climate, warm sea, many miles of shore and multiple underwater parks make this a popular scuba diving and surfing destination.
Made up of resort cities along the western shore of the Gulf of Aqaba and the eastern coast of mainland Egypt offering inclusive luxury resorts providing pampering spa treatments, championship golf, beautiful beaches, high end dining, local entertainment, snorkeling and diving all are strategically placed along the coast for intimate relaxation and fun.
For anyone wanting a more private beach destination away from the popular Red Sea resorts, Agiba Beach in Marsa Matrouh offers a remote beach and the Fjord hole a small bay outside Taba is another option for its spectacular diving and amazing display of marine life.
Egypt can be so much more then adventure but a truly luxurious bucket list experience. If you would like to discover the culture of old and modern Egypt spending a few days in Cairo and then traveling from Luxor on a 7 day river journey, discover more about river cruising with the option of some additional time in historical Alexandria or the resorts of the Red Sea.