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Egypt

10 Things to Do in Egypt - Even as a Solo Female Traveller!

I love Egypt! I've been twice and still working on getting myself out there a third time. The first time, I visited from Cyprus with my peers from my study abroad program. BTW, if you find yourself in Cyprus, def take a weekend trip over to Egypt and Turkey!

My second trip was a solo trip, and it was unforgettable! Egypt is so rich in history, it almost brings tears to my eyes. I highly recommend it as a solo trip if you can't find anyone to go with you. I made several new friends and got a nice do-over from the first trip!

Word of advice: Don't let anyone strong arm you into paying outrageous prices for anything!

As always, read the news to check the political climate and (if you're from the US), visit travel.state.gov to learn what to expect if you visit. FWIW, I never felt unsafe in Egypt as a solo, female traveller. Just frustrated that everyone wanted money I absolutely didn't have to give.

Visit El Fayoum & Lake Qaroun

El Fayoum is one of the most peaceful locations in Egypt as a green oasis located in the middle of the desert. If you're starting from Cairo, a visit to El Fayoum is a nice day trip, as it's only an hour away and the activities can be as adventurous or relaxing as you want. Back in 2009, my tour group and I visited a local's farm where we learned about the agriculture and then took a boat ride on Lake Qaroun before returning back to Cairo. Other possible activities include the waterfalls at Wadi El-Rayan and visiting Whale Valley where you can find the invaluable fossil remains of the now extinct suborder of whales, Archaeoceti.

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Take a Dinner Cruise on the Nile

Photo by Ali Othman on Unsplash

It might sound cliché, but you just cannot go to Egypt without visiting the Nile, one of the most referential rivers of Egypt and the world, and it’s even more spectacular at night. Take a cruise and sail on an evening cruise, be entertained by live music, belly dancing, and a traditional Tanoura show.

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Order Koshary

Koshary, once known as “the plate of the poor” is a very typical dish in Cairo, consisting of lentils, rice, and chickpeas, which are high in protein and fiber. Made with simple ingredients, the textures and flavors complement each other beautifully, making it the best budget friendly food option.

It wasn't until my second trip to Egypt that I was introduced to koshary. When it was first described to me, I thought, "...Why should I be so excited to eat this??" It didn't sound bad, just bland. Well I trusted my tour guide and it's one of my top favorite dishes of all time.

If you need a restaurant recommendation, I can personally vouch for Abou Tarek, as this is where I visited back in 2016. It's frequently list as one of the best places in Cairo to order koshary.

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Visit the Egyptian Museum

Photo by Naemolia on Unsplash

The Egyptian Museum is the largest archeological museum in the middle east (source: Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities). I personally find a lot of value in hiring an Egyptologist to explain the significance of some of the artifacts, but feel free to stroll around on your own. One thing I regret is not paying to see the mummies!

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Visit the Lighthouse of Alexandria

The Lighthouse of Alexandria, or Pharos Lighthouse, is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Built in 247 BC, earthquakes in the 11th and 14th centuries damaged and toppled the original lighthouse. Known now as the Citadel of Qaitbay, the site was re-established as a defensive fortress in the 15th century by Sultan Al-Ashraf Sayf Al Din Qa’it Bay.

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Visit The Great Library of Alexandria

I've always had a fascination with The Great Library of Alexandria, as it was once the repository of all knowledge until its eminent demise. Now reconstructed to its former glory, it now comprises a vast complex, including a substantial library, a dedicated research center, four major museums, several art exhibitions, a planetarium, and even a laboratory for the discovery and restoration of ancient documents.

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Visit Karnak Temple

If you started in Cairo, head down to Upper Egypt to visit the archeological sites in Luxor. Karnak is a large, open air complex where you'll find many ancient artifacts and reconstructed monuments. Definitely worth a visit if you ever find yourself in what was once known as Thebes.

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Take a Hot Air Balloon over Luxor

All of Luxor is an open air museum. A hot air balloon ride is the ULTIMATE activity to do in Luxor to truly take in and marvel at Ancient Egypt. Head on over to TripAdvisor to find a tour, or, what you SHOULD do, is arrive there and book with either a local tour company or directly with your accommodation. Why? The price will be cheaper.

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Visit Abu Simbel

Abu Simbel is one of the most truistic destinies, its many ancient temples alongside with its striking archaeological complex, makes it a must-go for the curious or historical nerds.

When I arrived, I was constantly touching the walls and holding back tears until I was politely told to stop touching the walls. You absolutely won't regret visiting Abu Simbel!

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Visit Philae Temple

Besides Abu Simbel, if you find yourself in Aswan, it's definitely worth a visit to Philae Temple. Philae Temple is one of the best-preserved Ptolemaic temples in Egypt, relocated to Agilkia Island where visitors can admire hieroglyphic and sanctuaries dedicated to the ancient Egyptian gods Horus, Isis, and Hathor.

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Looking for activities for your next trip?

Tips

Is it safe for solo travel to Egypt as a female-identifying person?

I never felt unsafe in Egypt, but keep in mind that for both trips, I had tour guides and a driver at all times. In essence, no place is completely safe.

Check with your country's travel advisory site for up-to-date info:

Join the Girls Love Travel facebook group and ask the women there what they're recent experience was like. This group is inclusive to all female-identifying persons!

In this day and age, it's common to come across blog posts that were either written by AI or people who have never been to the places they write tips about.

I aimed to choose the most appealing pictures for this article and get straight to the point, but if you had any doubts, here's a gallery of proof that I was there and that I'm a reputable writer.

Cheers and ILY!

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