We are always in search of new adventures; climbing Kilimanjaro, hiking across the Tibet, Discovering Latin America. However, we rarely look near for this of amazement. It’s a shame that more often than not, we don’t give Egypt the credit it deserves. I mean I know that we have some popular destinations, Aswan, Dahab, and others. But there are so many other destinations that are so underrated, we don’t even realize what we’re missing on.
In this article, I will give you some ideas for a road trip across southern Egypt. This is just an example of the countless options you have in order to explore the country. The one-way trip will take around 20 hours driving, divided up on as many destinations as you’d wish. Of course you can choose to divide the cities and towns over both ways. Better yet, if you don’t have a 4-wheel drive, maybe you can rent one and leave it at your end destination, take a flight back to our beloved Cairo.
Approximately 1 and a half hours from Cairo (depending where you will move from). This is a familiar spot, and you’ve probably been there or at least it’s on your mind. Fayoum has multiple things to see and do, from exploring Wadi El Hitan to checking the pottery of Tunis village. There are a number of activities and things to discover. Even though it’s near and you wouldn’t be tired from driving yet, I would suggest you spend the night there so you have enough time to check everything. There are many local hotels and inns that would suit whatever budget you have.
You can read about things to see and do in Fayoum here.
An hour further from Fayoum, and to be honest, it’s not my favorite spot. However, you should check it out anyway. If you walk in the streets, like many southern cities, you will find amazing mansions and villas all around (of course you need to hurry up before they demolish them all to make room for taller buildings). It also has wide agricultural lands and some good mosques to explore. Nothing very special, but you’ll get few good photos if you’re into photography.
Minya and Mallawi
2 hours driving from Beni Suef, Minya is one of my favorite cities in Egypt. At the first glimpse, you will fall in love with it. As you drive into it, you will notice this huge white sign (just like the one in Hollywood, but smaller) welcoming you to the city. The city itself has a lot of places to explore. Midan El Shohada is one, which has the names of all the martyrs from Minya since 1919 revolution engraved there. It has historical sights like the Fraser tombs and Beni Hassan. And of courseTel El Amarna is a must see, as it was once Egypt’s capital and where Nefertiti lived.
Additionally, the corniche of the city is very clean and pleasant to walk along, it has gardens and benches to sit everywhere, and no one litters or annoys you. In the evening, the corniche gets more impressive as they light up the hills behind the river, and the view is just fantastic. You will enjoy pretty good restaurants also. If you decide to spend the night (which I highly recommend), you will find quite good options for hotels, a number of them even have pools.
2 hours aways from Minya, Assiut is also a pretty interesting place. It has quite a good deal of Historical, Coptic, and Islamic monuments that are worth discovering. With the Holy Virgin Mary monastery, the several monumental tombs, the Amawy mosque, and others, you should spend at least a full day there.
Again a couple of hours further from Assiut. And just like the latter, it has many churches, mosques, and tombs that are worth the visit. Sohag has many houses and villas that are also very luxurious, belonging to big families from southern Egypt. You will have a good time walking around, taking photos, and enjoying the different landscapes that change from greenery to desert-like. There are a bunch of good hotels to stay in as well, in case you wanted to spend the night.
4 and half hours from Sohag, like other southern cities, it has many historical sites. After all Southern Egypt was the start of ancient civilization.
Just 1 hour and a half from Qena, it is easy to reach Luxor by Car. The city is reachable by train as well. A train from Cairo to Luxor takes an average of 11 hours. There are Nile Cruises as well that connect Cairo to Luxor and vice versa. If you haven’t been to Luxor yet, you sure know what you expect to find. You’ve definitely heard about the world’s one third of monuments being found in the city, so let’s not start counting. But you will also find other activities to do such as taking hot air balloons which is an incredible experience in itself.
From Luxor, you can decide to head west to the Western Desert oasis, keep going south to reach Aswan and Nuba, or cross the Eastern Desert to reach the Red Sea.
Marsa Alam and Wadi El Gemal
Around 6 hours from Luxor, you can drive there, or just take a flight if you want to save more time.
You have the option to go back along the Red Sea instead of the Nile. Options are endless, and destinations also. Most importantly is to start planning.