The cradle of civilisation. If anywhere has a real claim to that title, it’s the Nile basin. Given enough time, this snake of a river will take you from Cairo right down to Luxor to Aswan, but most people just visit the final two locations.
The Egyptian capital is a bustling city where you can explore the souks and bazaars; but what truly sets the city apart is that the last remaining Wonder of the World, the Great Pyramid of Giza, lies 12 miles away. Giza is a sight like no other to watch the sun coming up and flooding the site of the pyramids with light. There you really can feel a connection to the past that you won’t feel anywhere else. The Sphinx, so majestic, has watched over visitors for thousands of years and by night, a sound and light show make the pyramids shimmy with colours.
Further south, the temples of Luxor – one, the setting for a famous scene in The Spy Who Loved Me – show all the religious grandeur of the ancient Egyptian pharaohs. Huge columns, massive carved stone statues of people and animals. You can walk through these huge buildings – or what’s left of them – and picture the scene as they teemed with people. On the other side of the river is the Valley of the Kings, the burial place of the pharaohs, where you can descend into the chambers and have the stories and hieroglyphs on the wall explained by your guide.
Your last stop is Aswan, an ancient town that begs to be explored. There are more ancient, fascinating tombs to enter, and don’t miss the Philae Temple, which was built 3,000 years ago in honour of the goddess Isis and is just as splendid today as it ever was.