Destination: Egypt

giza.jpgSince today’s topic is history, the home of the pyramids seems a good destination to focus on. Here’s a place where the landscape reflects thousands of years of human history… and where it’s clear that some insight into that history is essential if you’re going to get the most out of your visit. Without it, you’re just looking at some big piles of rocks, surrounded by souvenir vendors.

Egypt’s main sites at Giza and Cairo teem with tour groups, but the traveler who ventures off the beaten track will find plenty of authentic places to explore. Here are a couple of suggestions via Tourism Concern‘s Ethical Travel Guide:

basata-view1.jpgBasata, an environmentally friendly resort on the Red Sea coast, offers a communal, hostel-like experience. Huts made of bamboo and reeds are scattered along the beach. Campers can bring tents, or even just a sleeping bag. Electricity is found only in the main building, where you can help yourself to breakfast and join your neighbors for dinner. Campfires on the beach are popular, and the sands are kept pristine, not even a cigarette butt to be found. Families and kids are welcome, and the main activities are relaxing, walking on the beach, swimming and snorkeling. One blogger writes that “Basata is the best place ever,” but if you’re traveling with pets, scroll down to read about one visitor’s traumatic experience with a dog.

cameltrek.jpgWind, Sand & Stars offers alternative small-group tours in the desert, many working in concert with the local Bedouin tribes.

A three-week Summer Expedition for ages 16 to 23 combines hikes in the high mountain region with working on community-based projects for the Bedouin. You’ll go camel trekking and visit the Red Sea to swim and snorkel. A similar week-long tour is offered for parents. Other camel treks and tours are available, or they will design an itinerary just for you or your group.

Lonely Planet’s Code Green guide recommends Sheikh Mousa at the Mountain Tours Office in the Sinai desert, where they can arrange camel tours and guides for you at about $20 a day.

More info:
The British Museum takes you on a tour into Ancient Egypt. Written for kids, but with lots of great graphics, and fun to explore.
Egypt’s World Heritage sites rated.