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Cairo is the captial of Egypt and home to 18 million people and some unrivalled history. The Cheops (Khufu) pyramid in the Giza necropolis is the largest pyramid ever built. Located nearby  are the smaller pyramids of Khafre and Menkaure and  the Great Phinx of Giza - one of the oldest known statues. Not far from Cairo and Giza  are Memphis and Saqarra which were once part of the kingdom of Lower Egypt.


Luxor was once the capital of the new kingdom of upper Egypt. The temples of Luxor and Karnak are very well known tourist attractions. Across the Nile on the west bank the Thebes necropolis includes some of the most famous tombs and the temple of Hatsheput. Luxor itself is a beautiful town with the Corniche stretching across the left bank of  the entire town and  the temples of Luxor and Karnak.

Egypt is renowned for its ancient civilization and some of the world's most famous monuments, including the Giza pyramid complex and the Great Sphinx. Visiting these historic sites was on top of our itinerary for sure but our 4 nights of camping out in the various parts of the Sahara desert was the most memorable part of the trip. The desert was full of surprises and untold mysteries to discover. Leaving Cairo behind after spending a couple of days there, we drove into the Western desert and headed towards Bahariya first. During our numerous stops enroute, we discovered the secrets that lay buried in these sands from millions of years ago, like the ocean of pearls and the sea of dinosaurs. The necropolis of the 10,000 golden mummies was recently discovered when a donkey stumbled upon it, we visited this and several other such ancient burial chambers all over the desert.

Sleeping under the stars in the white desert was magical and ethereal. With all the limestone creations gleaming under the moon and with the temperature getting close to sub zero, we were not sure if we had been transported to the Arctic circle instead. This was certainly a trip of our lifetime and we cannot wait to go back!


The Egyptian western desert makes up eastern most part of the Sahara desert. There are seven major oases located in this area. The bigger ones like Bahariya, Dhakla and Kharga are fully self-contained little townships with several thousand inhabitants and provide the gateway to the sands of various deserts in the area. The White and Black deserts provide some of the most unique landscape that you can imagine.


Aswan the southern-most Egyptian city stands on the east bank of the Nile and is a busy market (souq) and tourist center. The extremely beautiful is home to some beautiful islands in the middle of the Nile with the desert coming right down to the water's edge on the western bank. It is home to the largest Nubian population in the country. Aswan is home to two of the largest dams in the world.

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Copyright 2008 Rajani Ramanathan