You don`t know history

No, really.  Forget Stonehenge, Angkor Watt, the Parthenon, Pompeii …

Yes I know that sounds like sacrilege but it’s true.  Unless you have seen Ancient Egypt you ain’t seen nothing yet.

How come you can visit tombs in the Valley of the Kings in lower Egypt where the paint is still fresh and vibrant looking after 3000 years…. And today we can’t get a paint job for the house that will last at least 10.  It’s mind-boggling.  Let’s consider – the ancient Egyptians were working on sophisticated engineering projects like the pyramids, irrigation, surgical instruments and the use of medicinal herbs while our ancestors (North American / European) were living in caves wearing animal skins.  Makes you think?

If you have a fascination for ancient history – for all things related to what we are today as human beings and how we developed – then Egypt has to be the next place to visit.  Put this country on your bucket list.  There are more important archeological and ancient historical sites in this country than Tim Hortons locations in Canada.

Another very good reason to visit now is that the Canadian Government has lifted the travel ban for Egypt.  The Arab Spring brought democracy to Egypt but it also brought a swift decline in tourism numbers.  Hotels, river cruise operators and tour guides have all suffered through this decline but savvy tourists who visited the country over this time experienced almost private experiences at the pyramids, the tombs and the temples.  Consider the numbers – before the Arab Spring over 200.000 visitors a day arrived at sites such as Luxor and the Valley of the Kings and Queens.  To enter some of the tombs you might feel as if you were at DisneyWorld without an express pass with wait times in line ups of up to 45 minutes for each tomb.  Your photographs of famous sites such as the Temple of Edfu might resemble Times Square on New Year’s Eve due to the number of people visiting.

My experience was very different.  Although there was a fair number of tourists our guide made sure we were up early every morning to get out to the sites in order to be the first people there.  I was able to wander around the terraces of the temple grounds and feel that I was the only person there.  A real opportunity for wonder and reflection.

Some tombs cost a little extra to visit – for example the tomb of King Tutankhamen.  Just four of our group decided to fork out the extra $16 to see his tomb.    Wow – now that was an experience.  The original mummy is there in a sealed glass case.  My husband and I dawdled and the other couple left the tomb.  We just couldn’t believe that we were experiencing a private viewing of King Tut.  Priceless!

Another reason to go now….. plans are afoot to close the original King Tut tomb and replace it with a replica.  There has just been too much damage and the concern is that they want to protect these incredible ancient wonders.  Some tombs are already closed to the general public and not accessible with your permit to visit the Valley of the Kings.  You can still visit these tombs but it will cost …. Some permits cost in the region of $3000 a visit.

Apart from the pyramids and the tombs and temples you will be charmed by the Egyptian people.  They take hospitality to a whole new level and I can honestly say that I felt like an honoured guest wherever I stayed.  Yes it’s hectic and the traffic in Cairo is a nightmare, the streets are dirty, the muezzins call to prayer will wake you at 5 am, the street vendors are persistent in their extravagant compliments as to your smile, your hair, your eyes – anything for a sale.

I loved it….. and I will return.

You should go too.

By Lesley Keyter

Lesley Keyter is the face of travel in the fast growing city of Calgary. Every week since 1997 she has has featured live on the Morning News Global TV.


  1. Looks so beautiful. And that is good to know about the travel ban. Okay – now would you take an 8 year old with you on this trip?


    1. Yes I am really hoping that things will settle down in Egypt. We have a number of people interested in our package which is fabulous value. As to the 8 year old? It would really depend on how mature they are. Many of the days in the Valley of the Kings for example are very early starts and while I find ancient history fascinating I am not so sure how much an 8 year old would get out of this. There certainly wouldn’t be many kids on the tour and I know the Egyptians would spoil him or her as they are such hospitable people. We will be launching our package in early January – this is an outline of the tour –
      Day 1 Canada departure • Depart from Calgary to Cairo

      Day 2 Cairo
      Arrive in Cairo and transfer to your hotel.
      Accommodation 5* first class: Mercure Sphinx for 2 nights.

      Day 3 Cairo
      Today is the day you’ve been waiting for! Visit the magnificent pyramids of Giza and admire the legendary Sphinx. After lunch, visit the site of Memphis, the oldest capital of Egypt and Sakkara, with its step pyramid. (B/L)

      Cruise on the Nile begins

      Day 4 Cairo • Aswan • Kom Ombo • Edfu
      Transfer to the airport for your flight to Aswan. Upon arrival, transfer to the pier and board your cruise. Visit the High Dam, and the Philae Temple, dedicated to Isis. Sail to Kom Ombo and visit the only temple in Egypt dedicated to two gods: Sobek, with a crocodile head, and Haroeris with a falcon head. Return to the ship and sail to Edfu. (B/L/D)
      Accommodations 5* first class: Tuya or Tiyi cruise for 3 nights

      Day 5 Cruise Edfu • Esna • Luxor
      This morning, transfer by horse drawn carriage to the temple of Horus in Edfu. Sail to Esna and cross the lock. Arrive in Luxor late at night. (B/L/D)

      Day 6 Cruise Luxor
      Visit the Valley of the Kings, the temple of Queen Hatchepsout at Deir-El-Bahari, and the Colossi of Memnon. Lunch on board. In the afternoon, visit the Luxor and Karnak temples. (B/L/D)

      Day 7 Luxor (end of cruise) • Cairo
      Disembark and transfer to the airport for your flight to Cairo. Arrive in Cairo and transfer to your hotel. Rest of the day at leisure. (B)

      Day 8 Cairo
      Visit the National Museum of Egyptian Antiquities housing the treasures of King Tut Ankh Amon. Visit the Citadel, built in 1183, and the Alabaster Mosque of Mohammed Ali. (B/L)

      Day 9 Cairo • Canada • Transfer to the airport for your flights to Calgary (B)

      $2439 total including flights and taxes and all arrangements above.

      The Package Includes

      Return air transportation from Calgary • Domestic flights as per itinerary • Return airport transfers and sightseeing with air conditioned vehicles • English speaking local guides • Accommodations in double occupancy • Meals, visits & excursions as per itinerary • Hotel taxes and service charges

      Not included • Egyptian Visa: approx $20 • Gratuities to hotel personnel, guides and drivers, approx: $80 • Beverages • Optional excursions


    1. Hi Patricia and Pius – the cruise accommodations are 5 star. Launched in 2006 the ships (Tuya and Tiya) are still fairly new. The M/s Tuya Deluxe Nile Cruiser features: 61 luxury, fully furnished 5-star deluxe rooms plus 5 Royal Suites. 3 dining facilities & bars. The flights we used to price the package are BA flights via London.


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