The opportunity to visit, explore and wonder over the most remarkable ancient Egyptian sites has never been better. Visitor numbers have dropped significantly over the past ten years, so the chance to get up close and personal, in relative privacy, with ancient Egypt’s history, architecture, region, language, literature and cartoon-style hieroglyphics is arguably better than at any other time in recent memory.
Tourism is so important to Egypt that this downturn in numbers has had a devastating impact on local economies, but for visitors, it allows for a sensational feeling of discovery, similar to that experienced by the early archaeologists examining pyramids, temples and tombs.
Not only do visitors have access to the most knowledgeable guides and highest quality accommodation and transportation facilities but there is also an inexhaustible supply of under-visited sites and artefacts, many of them dating back five thousand years.
We at Nomadic Thoughts have received recent reports of clients spending up to fifteen minutes on their own in the Tomb of Tutankhamen. Equally the sense of isolation when climbing the inner ladder-steps of the Great Pyramid of Cheops to the Queen’s Chamber and Grand Gallery is astonishing.
Cairo’s Egyptian Museum is also experiencing wafer-thin visitor numbers in comparison to previous years. Whether standing face-to-face with Tutankhamun’s funerary mask, or touching distance away from the occupants of the Mummy Room, the lack of hordes of other visitors is astounding. Especially when you consider the overcrowding issues at so many other heritage sites and ‘wonders of the world’ across the globe.
The fact is, international visitor numbers to Egypt have stayed significantly low since the Arab Spring. Shortly after this, I first posted a blog flagging up the exciting chance to visit the hugely under-visited Upper Nile region in 2012.
The good news is that things are changing, with our local travel colleagues reporting an upturn in recent months as the perfect springtime weather kicks in.
So if you are looking for an inspirational escape, with the opportunity to get personally acquainted with some of humanity’s oldest friends before international tourism numbers rise again… go for it.