The land of the pharaohs is back on our bucket list. Chelsey Hale takes a look at why you need to make Egypt your top travel destination for 2020.
With its mighty Nile, magnificent monuments, and sand-covered tombs, Egypt is set to be a top destination for South African travellers in 2020.
It’s a country that is changing by the minute, continuing its post-revolution recovery, whilst still retaining everything that has long-lured in story-lovers and adventure-seekers for centuries.
If your curiosity is peaked, and you’re ready to channel your inner Indiana Jones, or Rick O’Connel (The Mummy 1999), here are a few factors to confirm your decision to visit next year:
Tourism Is Bouncing Back
According to data released by the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE), Egypt’s travel receipts (tourism revenues) have hiked up by 28.3%, year-on-year, recording $12.57 billion in fiscal year 2018/2019. That’s right. Egypt is officially back on the map.
The capital city of Cairo also recently cracked the nod for Lonely Planet’s top ten cities to visit in 2020, while the 2019 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI) report notes that Egypt’s tourism and travel sector registered the highest performance improvement globally, jumping nine places to rank 65th.
Coupled with its stability and its improving economic situation, the country as a whole, has been hard at work encouraging all types of tourists to visit the country, be it for leisure, business, sporting, or religious reasons.
While the old saying that “Egypt is the gift of the Nile” still rings true, tourism is definitely the gift that keeps on giving. It is one of the leading sources of income, which is an important reminder for sustainable-seeking travellers that their holidays here significantly contribute to the economy.
While the Great Sphinx, the Giza pyramids, and yes, even those camels rank amongst the top drawcards for visitors, there have recently been some remarkable discoveries and new developments.
Just last week, 30 ancient, wooden coffins were uncovered near the city of Luxor. Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, reported that the coffins, adorned with 3000-year old inscriptions and paintings, were found in the Asasif Necropolis on the Nile River’s west bank.
If you’re wanting to catch a glimpse of this incredible discovery, he said that the artefacts will be moved to the Grand Egyptian Museum, currently being built in Cairo and set to open in 2020.
The Egyptians definitely know a thing or two about anticipation, the museum being under construction for well over a decade now. It is intended to showcase Egypt’s ancient treasures whilst drawing in new and return travellers.
As for further discoveries, keep your eye on the news. Excavations are still underway in the Asasif Necropolis, which includes tombs dating back to the Middle, New Kingdom and Late Periods (1994 B.C. to 332 B.C.).
New Tours Set To Launch In 2020
“The best way for South Africans to save and enjoy a trip to Egypt is to prepay as much of the trip as possible, book early and opt for an inclusive style of travelling,” recommends Teresa Richardson, MD of The Travel Corporation (TTC) in South Africa.
If you haven’t yet heard, Costsaver guided holidays are a bestselling TTC product in South Africa and are set to debut their new tour to Egypt In 2020: Footsteps of the Pharaoh.
“Costsaver’s ready-to-go rate also ensures South Africans get their holiday at the best price,” adds Richardson. “Guided tours covers all the nitty-gritty when planning your travels to, and within Egypt, with quality transport, accommodation, city tours and a selection of meals included.”
If you’re ready to scan flight prices SAA codeshare partner Egypt Air is a popular airline when flying from South Africa to Egypt.
Excellent Food and Affordable Shopping
As for shopping and souvenirs, you’d be surprised at what you can find in a place like Egypt. “Bartering is a huge part of Egyptian culture and while you need to understand that you will always pay more than the locals, you can still find some stellar deals,” explains Richardson.
“Items like spices and teas will cost a fraction in Egypt of what they will at home and you can find some great hand-crafted goods from local artisans that are of great quality.”
And while you can walk like an Egyptian through the local markets, you can also look forward to eating like one, too. Egyptian food is quite the mix, and if it’s not mummies or King Tut that draws you to this incredible country in 2020, it’s Richardson’s pick of must-try dishes that will:
- Kushari: This popular dish is found both in restaurants and from street vendors. It’s a generous mix of spaghetti noodles, macaroni, onions, garlic, and lentils with tomato sauce and a chilli sauce. Vegetarians, assemble!
- Ta’meya and Ful Medames: This fried fava bean falafel is served with tahini and bread. It is often accompanied by another dish called dul medames which consists of cooked fava beans, vegetables, and spices.
- Kebabs and Kofta: Meat lovers, this one’s for you. Kebabs are most commonly prepared using lamb while kofta is minced meat. Both are grilled and served with salad, tahini, and bread.
- Om Ali: For those with a sweet tooth, don’t leave Egypt without trying this sweet snack made from puff pastry soaked in milk, nuts, raisins, coconut, and sugar.
Keen to explore more? Book your tickets today!