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Escape into Egypt with Exodus Travels
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No photo compares to seeing the pyramids of Giza with your own two eyes.

Even viewed from afar, you cannot comprehend just how large and impeccably arranged these stones are until you鈥檙e literally standing on them.

It was a childhood dream realized at 32: I stood inside the Great Pyramid鈥檚 tomb, rode a camel through the desert, and saw the Great Sphinx 鈥 all within my first few hours in Egypt.

And I still had an entire week of exploration ahead of me.

SSENSE GLOBAL

Exodus Travels invited me to join their Pyramids & Pharaohs tour, a nine-day inclusive adventure designed to hit the landmark sites while still leaving ample room in the schedule for off-the-radar stops and free time to explore each destination.

It was the experience of a lifetime鈥nd one that you can have just as easily.

Equal Parts Recreation & Relaxation

Surfing down a sand dune on a modified snowboard is a thrill 鈥 but it鈥檚 not everyone鈥檚 idea of a relaxing vacation.

My small group consisted of our local guide, Houba, and fourteen other travelers aged late-20s to over 60. The tour is categorized as a 鈥渓eisurely/moderate鈥 activity level, which means most of the activities were inclusive for our range of ages.

Kayaking the Nile, riding ATVs to the pyramids, and even sandboarding down the desert dunes offered excitement at an accommodating level for all ages. And yet, those who sat out on these itinerary stops rarely felt left behind.

The tour had a mix of sightseeing and leisure time. Our first day in Aswan was spent sailing (and napping) down the Nile on a traditional felucca while the next had us visit the Temples of Abu Simbel long before the break of dawn to experience the biannual Sun Festival.

We visited too many temples to list, and even when moving between ancient sites felt slightly rushed for everyone鈥檚 taste, I never felt like I missed out on seeing what I wanted to see. For instance, fully exploring every open tomb in the Valley of the Kings would take hours, yet in 90 minutes I enjoyed slowly reading the hieroglyphs in the tombs of King Tut, Seti I, Ramseys IX, and Merneptah.

Egypt has such a long history that even the Ancient Egyptians were studying the Ancient Egyptians. You鈥檒l need endless days to explore all of Egypt, but Exodus Travels helps you maximize seven full days with as many diverse activities as possible.聽

Unexpected Highlights

Every single person in the group came to see the legendary pyramids and temples, yet all of us agreed that one of our favorite elements of the trip was our time at a Nubian village in Aswan.

Our Nubian hosts were more than accommodating, treating us to traditional dinner and dancing and teaching us about the Nubian way of life. Although many of us took an optional tour of Philae Temple, the best moments for our time in Aswan were those we spent hanging out with our new Nubian friends.

These experiences were truly what transformed our trip from a general 鈥渉ighlights of Egypt鈥 tour into an culturally engaging and educational experience.

I鈥檝e imagined visiting the pyramids most of my life, yet in no part of my dream did I ever plan on having mint tea with a Nubian family who owned pet crocodiles or getting up at sunrise just to take a cold plunge into the Nile River with two people I鈥檇 only just met and would possibly never see again.

The idea of visiting a veterinarian鈥檚 office sounds severely underwhelming after scouring the Valley of the Kings, but our stop at ACE Luxor animal hospital was another surprisingly rewarding element of the Exodus itinerary.

Fulfilling travel means finding the healthy balance between following the schedule and going with the flow. Thanks to Exodus鈥 arrangement of activities 鈥 or allotment of free time 鈥 we saw everything we wanted to see, did what we wanted to do, and discovered a few new corners of Egypt we hadn鈥檛 planned to visit.

Should You Solo Travel Instead?

Prior to this trip, I鈥檇 traveled to 36 countries: 2 via cruise, 2 via organized day trips, and the other 32 with my own independent planning. As a travel writer, part of my job means exploring places off the beaten path and figuring out the logistics of getting from place to place 鈥 whether that be across town, across international borders, or across an ocean.

Exodus Travels was my first group tour and I would have regretted trying to tour Egypt alone.

On paper, Egypt is not a difficult place to visit. The main attractions are obvious and anyone could fly between Cairo and Luxor, purchase tickets or tours to each site, and theoretically see it all.

In practice, however, it can get complicated.聽

Cairo鈥檚 traffic is a nightmare scenario that鈥檚 always a centimeter away from becoming one big game of bumper cars. You need ample time not only getting to and from the airport, but from the pyramids in Giza across the Nile into downtown Cairo. Luxor is similar; the Nile separates Luxor and Karnak Temples from the Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Queens.

Even if you hire taxis in those cities, you鈥檒l still need to book transport or day tours to cities like Aswan and Abu Simbel, both of which will eat up your sightseeing time.

Logistics and planning aside, the keystone of Exodus Travels is its cohesiveness; something that you can rarely achieve and sustain on your own.

Having Houba guide us at every stage of the trip added rich layers of context to each ancient site. Small details and conversations from days prior were revisited to maximize tour fluidity: Having a tour guide point out a specific exhibit in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo then go deeper into its history at the site of its excavation in Luxor a week later offers a much more engaging and memorable experience.

Plus, solo travel is lonely at times.聽

Experiencing one of the world鈥檚 oldest civilizations with a small group of strangers-turned-friends is priceless. From sipping mint tea together under a Bedouin tent in the desert to making sure everyone gets a proper photo of themselves in front of King Tut鈥檚 tomb, I鈥檓 surprised at just how many of my favorite Egyptian memories have little to do with Egypt鈥檚 great wonders at all.

Escape to Egypt with Exodus Travels

The pyramids aren鈥檛 special because of the stones themselves, but rather, because a team of people came together to create something unforgettable.
Visit Egypt on your own and you鈥檒l see why it鈥檚 a special place; visit the country under the curated itinerary of Exodus Travels and you鈥檒l create lifelong memories with as little stress as possible.

Egypt was the seemingly unattainable top of my bucketlist and the Pyramids & Pharaohs tour turned this longtime dream into an amazing reality. Whether you鈥檙e interested in living out a childhood dream like I was, or if you鈥檇 simply like to enjoy a vacation in Egypt that requires virtually no planning, the Pyramids & Pharaohs tour through Exodus Travels will leave you in a state of wonder that lasts long after you leave Luxor.

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