Tour Egypt's "A Survey of Egypt"
by Jimmy Dunn
Its back to the Hotel Longchamps for me, my home away from home, as well as for many others, but only for too short a time. In fact, just about as soon as my feet hit the ground in Cairo, I will be off for the first leg of a massive Tour Egypt project we are calling "A Survey of Egypt." During this visit, I will be roaming all throughout the Nile Delta, as well as visiting Wadi Natrun, the North Coast from Alexandria to Port Said, and then back down through the eastern Delta before heading back to Cairo. In this segment, we hope to visit many of the minor temple ruins and other sites within the Delta, as well as major sites in Alexandria.
Then, for a few days I will be photographing some of the major monuments in and about Cairo, including the major pyramids at Giza, Saqqara and Dahshur, and many of the Islamic sites in Islamic Cairo, rest a couple of days, and then head out on the second leg of this trip.
This phase will take me back up the eastern coast from Suez to past the Bitter Lakes region and cross over into the Sinai at Qantara, just above Ismailiya. From there, we will move along the north coast to Al-Arish, then straight down the middle of the Sinai to Nekhl before moving on to Taba. We will then travel along the east coast of the Sinai, allowing for a journey from Nuweiba into the interior and to St. Catherine's and other monuments, including Sarabit el-Khadim, Qalaat Al-Gindi, before heading back to the coast at Dahab and on to Sharm el-Sheikh. After covering that popular southern Sinai resort and the surrounding area, we will move back up the western coast of the Sinai and eventually pass through the Ahmed Hamdi Tunnel on our return to Cairo.
It should be fun, but a lot of hard work. I will be taking along some new professional photo gear in order to capture high resolution photos all along the way. We hope not only to bring our readers fresh photos of many archaeological sites, but also of other scenery in the Nile Delta and the Sinai, as well as cultural information and photographs.
In a later visit to Egypt, we expect to likewise survey the Nile Valley and along Lake Nasser all the way down to Abu Simbel, before heading back up through the various Oasis, including the Siwa, to the north coast, back to Alexandria and then back to Cairo. Then we also hope to make a second leg of that visit from Marsa Alam back up the eastern mainland coast all the way to Suez, including the eastern desert monasteries (St. Paul's and St.Anthony's) . Between the two visits, we also will cover all areas of Cairo and its environs. In other words, between these two visits, we will make a completely new survey of Egypt with all new photography.
In fact, we will also be attempting to assess safety in all regions of Egypt, including those often well outside of mainstream tourism, as well as updating cultural profiles of Egypt's various regions.
It is all an ambitious project, and will involve much hard work, but Tour Egypt is committed to bringing our readers the best coverage of Egypt. However, it is made all the more difficult because of current airline restrictions. Those traveling to Egypt, particularly on EgyptAir, should know that carry-on baggage is very limited, particularly on return flights, at least to the US. While a carry-on bag may measure up to about 45 inches (length + width + depth), we are currently being told that those returning from Egypt were not allowed to carry on bags with wheels. Furthermore, weight of these bags is technically limited to only 18 pounds, which we understand at this point is enforced more on the homeward flights. Many 45 inch bags may weigh as much as 10 pounds empty. And there is only one carry-on allowed. Basically, one gets the idea that these limits are really meant to allow a laptop or purse. Obviously, taking expensive professional camera gear gets to be a problem. Unless some of these restrictions are lifted prior to my trip to Egypt, beginning in mid September 2006, my solution will be to pack the bulk of my camera gear in a metal case that will be checked, and attempt to carry-on the camera and a couple of my most expensive lenses and flash. I hope that works, but at least I will be able to report back to our readers with more details of current restrictions.
As a side note, anyone taking very expensive photographic gear into Egypt, particularly if they are professionals, should contact the Egyptian Press Office in their Egyptian consulate. Such equipment must often be registered, because does not want such equipment bought into Egypt and then sold without paying customs taxes. Hence, they will check in this gear upon arrival and check it out upon departure.
I will also be traveling during Ramadan, one of Egypt's most important religious holidays, and one which our readers often ask about, concerned with limitations that might apply to various tourist sites. We have always maintained that this is a good time to visit Egypt, because of the festive nature of the country during this holiday, but of course a few of the monuments have early closing times. Nevertheless, for those who enjoy cultural exchange, which we do, this is a good time to visit Egypt.
So in the end, we hope to very soon bring some new photography and detailed information to our readers on some of Egypt's less visited antiquity sites, and to give you a virtual visit to the Delta and Sinai. We hope you will enjoy and stay tuned to Tour Egypt as we survey the Egyptian countryside.
Last Updated: June 9th, 2011