Egypt's Top Vacation Destinations for Solo Female Travelers

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Egypt

Elegant Egypt’s 12 Top Destinations

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How I came to Egypt is rather remarkable. My journey started in Turkey a month earlier. But what I saw, is Egypt’s Top Destinations. Because of two women, a mother, and daughter on my guided tour watched the guide hassle me throughout the tour. Seeing the rude attitude and his behavior they were ashamed. For someone who is in the service business to be so mean to a guest was troubling to them and me. Their response was unexpected. They invited me to Egypt, and my reaction might seem unusual or unexpected because I accepted their invitation and went to Egypt. Here are my favorite things that we did. I think my wonderful friends showed me the best of Egypt.

Egypt’s 12 Top Destinations – My Favorites

Here is the list of the things we did – I think these are Egypt’s top 12 sites.  What we saw on my trip is easy to tell you about and how you shouldn’t miss any of them. Writing about what I learned is more important and harder for me to do. It’s harder because it’s personal – and my friends are my most important memory of Egypt. For me, it’s my friendship more than the places that made my travel wonderful.

Egypt’s Top Destinations

  1. Pyramids of Giza – the 3 Great Pyramids of Egypt
  2. Sphinx at Giza Cairo, Egypt
  3. Ben Ezra Synagogue – in the Coptic area of Cairo
  4. Al-Azhar Mosque, Cairo
  5. El-Naser Mohamed Mosque and the Citadel
  6. Mosque of Ibn Tulun – the oldest surviving mosque
  7. Khan-el-Khalili Cairo’s traditional Market
  8. Cairo Tower
  9. Suez Canal and the Red Sea
  10. Cairo Museum 
  11. Alexandria, Egypt
  12. Cairo–Alexandria desert road the desert in general – go horseback riding

Why Travel to Egypt

What makes memorable travel to Egypt’s top destinations is the people you meet! I am privileged to have lived with an Egyptian family and to have the honor to get to know them. Our relationships as I said, started in Turkey, built in Egypt and lasts today. But, If you don’t know a family who lives there, which most people don’t what makes Egypt memorable is it is the Cradle of Western Culture. To see where our  or my culture started is worth the trip to Egypt.

Egyptian culture is famous. As we all have learned in school, Egypt is the birthplace of western civilization and our culture. But, my friend, Rana shows me that culture is one thing but, hospitality is the little subtle things that matter. Her genuine hospitality always takes into account my needs over her needs. I think her selflessness and generosity is a sign of hospitality. It’s also part of the Egyptian culture and part of western culture too. I sometimes think, that western culture today is less hospitable than in the past.

Hospitality

Hospitality is not about what the host wants, but rather the guest’s desires. Hostess, Rana, always put me first. She thought about what I want to see, do and experience over her needs. It wasn’t about her day or her plans. She even took vacation days while I was there. Rana always thought of me first. Hospitality requires being authentic, present and considerate.

Egyptian Hospitality

My fondest memories are eating breakfast with them. Going to the hairdresser with Rana having our hair washed and styled and a picnic on the Red Sea with her friends are my favorite times. Living like and Egyptian is a favorite thing, living as they do in their home was the best part of Egypt for me. Eating their favorite food, driving in crazy traffic, I experience their day and life. What makes travel worth any and all costs are the wonderful friendships I make, and Rana and her family are the best part of Egypt.

Then and Now

Now, when I see the news and hear about horrible things that happen in Egypt or the Middle East for that matter, I think of my amazing friends, who are typical Egyptians. Specifically, I wonder about how things are for them now in the new world of Egyptian order. My heart bleeds for them now. I feel empathy for how life in Egypt has changed. The new world is so different than it was for them when Rana and Rana’s mother were younger. I feel their challenges, especially since the Arab spring.

Our Favorite Things – A Day Trip to the Egypt’s Top Destinations

The Great El-Naser Mohamed Mosque and Citadel

We went to the famous places such as Mosque of Muhammad Ali and the Citadel.

Rana’s mom is in the photo with the White veil.

Egypt’s Top Destinations

For example, We saw the inside of the courtyard. Next, Rana’s mom showed me where people were bound and punished in shackles. Lastly, we saw where people worshiped at the mosque.

Mosque Architecture

Art

Lights and Ambiance

Differences with Strangely Familiar Similarities

Egyptian People

Strangers ask if I’m American. “Yes, I am.”

The father in the photograph hopped in front of my camera, not so they could have my camera, but so I could have their family with me back in the States. My camera and I make friends, and I can’t tell you how many times people ask me to take their photo. The family wanted to come home with me, to show friends and relatives who Egyptians are and who I have met on the trip. The family wanted to be part of memories, part of the experience. For me, the people I met are the most important part of the travel experience.

What is Special about Egypt?

Rana asks me why so many people want to come to Egypt. Americans associate Egypt with the Great Cairo Pyramids, the Sphinx, the ancient Mosques, and the old Coptic city when we think about Egypt’s top destinations. My greatest pleasure of this trip was to act like a tourist and to share my experience with Rana. My biggest joy was to show her the treasure of her country, and why people come to Egypt. She had never been a ‘tourist’ in Egypt.

Why would she? Have you been a tourist in your town?

Being a Tourist in Egypt

The tourist things we did such as riding Arabian horses and camels in the desert and going to the Cairo Museum she hadn’t done before I arrived. But, when the police and security asked who I was, asking for our passports, they parked our cars between to police vehicles. She wasn’t surprised at the attention we got, but I was. The police want to ensure safety and secure, but no one can do that. She explained that the government doesn’t want any problems, in particular, American’s tourists is coveted by the Egyptians. American’s, treated like royalty in Egypt but still American’s need to take care.

Living Like an Egyptian

My travel time is spent trying to experience authentic life in a country. Living like an Egyptian in an Egyptian home where the crazy sand has a mind of its own is incredible. The sand power blasts the cars routinely, infiltrates everything you wear, eat and touches you like a ghost, a character in play. Sand is just part of life here. The sand makes cleanliness an obsession. Daily cleaning of homes, cars, and shops – Cleaning done several times a day can’t keep the dust away. Cleaning is required no matter if you are rich or poor. The sand provides jobs. For example, one man’s job that Rana’s family hire is to protect and keeps the cars ‘sand free’ so when you want to drive the vehicle, the car(s) is ready to go.

Travel Considerations

The people are worth the trip to Egypt’s top destinations, not just the cultural sites. We saw the Great Pyramids. I learned that religion, geography, and age doesn’t matter, what matters is similar interests and wanting to share the experiences. Solo females probably know this already, but if you travel you will embrace the relationships you make, no matter how long they last.

Guards and Security

We saw guards who were too tired to guard. I felt sorry for him when I saw him sleeping because maybe this is his third job, which is common for Egyptians to have several jobs. At times, security is lax, but we are all and especially solo women travelers only as safe as personal protection and awareness allow. There are so many things that are beyond our control when traveling, especially when thinking about safety and security. Travel wisely with common sense, a sense of presence and awareness, be at the moment. To travel – means travel carefully and with self-awareness.

What to Experience

As a tourist or a traveler on a journey, the relationships I develop, being in the moment took me to places off the beaten track and some interesting experiences. The people I visit provide experiences that are part of my journey. I see all the tourist sights but what I experience is Egypt through the eyes of an Egyptian.

Picnic on the Red Sea

DSC_1171

Suez Canal

DSC_1169

Great Egyptian People

Egypt's Top Destinations

Lessons Learned from Egypt’s Top Destinations

Life is constantly changing. Be aware and present, authentic. Go for it. Don’t let today’s politics and security climate control your next trip – rather look at is as an opportunity. Just mitigate your risk, by being smart. Participate to the best of your ability, in as many new challenges and experiences as you can to become the best that you can be. Never stop learning, never give up or give in to luck, we make our luck.

Egyptian food

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Kate started traveling for work. Now with grown children, who are travelers, she travels for pleasure looking for great travel experiences. Currently, her home is in Bellevue, WA, and lives with her cat Angelina Jolie. She has a Bachelor's of Fine Arts, Studio Arts and Art History from the University of Colorado, an MBA and Master of Arts, Management. Her favorite things are exploring new cultures, traveling the world, creating a painting and sour or spicy foods.

2 Comments

  1. Jim Allen

    May 16, 2017 at 9:34 pm

    Great article. Yeah, the sand, Kate. And dust. It never leaves!

    Just want to mention that Wadi El Hitan, about 150km southwest of Cairo, is an interesting place in Egypt to visit–also called “Valley of the Whales,” and it is a UNESCO site.

    • Kate

      May 17, 2017 at 6:58 am

      thanks Jim, I haven’t been there, you will have to tell us more about it.

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