Everyone knows the top attractions in Egypt, like the Great Pyramids, the Sphinx, the Egyptian Museum, the temples in Luxor and Aswan and many more enchanting landmarks. However, not many people know about the amazing opportunities for adventure that are available in the country. There are plenty of top adventures to have in Egypt for every ability and age.
Across the cities of Egypt, you’re bound to find everything you’re looking for in terms of adventure, from sky diving, and mountain and rock climbing to zip lining and so much more. Here are some of the activities you can do in Egypt if you’re looking for something different, new and exciting to do.
Climb to the Top of Mount Catherine
Mount Catherine is the highest in Egypt at 2645m above sea level. Locals and tourists flock to it from all over the world to climb its steep steps all the way to the top to visit the famous St. Catherine Monastery.
This monastery was built around 330 AD by the Byzantine empress Helena who wanted to construct a small chapel beside what was believed to be the burning bush through which God spoke to the prophet Moses. Today St. Catherine’s is one of the oldest continually functioning monastic communities in the world.
It is named after St. Catherine, a legendary martyr from Alexandria, who was tortured and beheaded for her beliefs. Legends of stories say that her body was transported by angels away from the torture device, a spiked wheel, which spun and killed the pagan onlookers and onto the slopes of Egypt’s highest mountain peak. Catherine’s body was found completely preserved about 300 years later by monks from the monastery.
In the 6th century, a fortress, basilica and monastery were constructed around the chapel as ordered by Emperor Justinian, to house the monastic community there, and to serve as a refuge for the Christians of southern Sinai.
Throughout the years, millions of people have braved the extraordinarily difficult journey to reach this historical and isolated site. Thankfully, now there is a paved road that makes the trip a lot easier. Some people even choose to make the journey riding camels. Once you reach the 6th-century Church, you’ll find a nave and huge marble columns. The walls of the church are covered with beautiful gilded icons and paintings. St Catherine’s remains are interred inside the church but the location is off-limits to visitors.
Above the altar is one of the monastery’s most important treasures, the 6th-century mosaic of the Transfiguration. Below the altar, you can find the monastery’s holiest section, the Chapel of the Burning Bush, which is off-limits to the public because visitors tend to cut pieces of the bush to take home as blessings. The Well of Moses, a natural spring that is said to give marital happiness to those who drink from it, can be found near the burning bush as well.
You can also visit the Monastery Museum and explore its displays of artistic treasures, including Byzantine-era icons, chalices, and gold and silver crosses, along with ancient manuscripts, and the most important exhibit: parchments from the Codex Sinaiticus, the world’s oldest near-complete bible.
The monastery’s library is the second largest in the world with a priceless and precious collection of ancient manuscripts and illuminated bibles, including a hand-written copy of the New Testament.
Just outside the monastery, there’s a gift shop selling replicas of icons, and outside the walls, there is a guest house and a cafe.
Climbing Mount Catherine is not only a favourite activating for those seeking to visit this historical and religious site, but also for the spectacular views along the way as you navigate through the wadis before trekking up the steep trail to reach the summit. Once at the top, you are treated to a 360-degree view across the high mountain region of Sinai.
There are two main routes for climbers to ascent Mount Catherine, the first is via Wadi Matar. This route takes between 5 or 6 hours to climb and 2 to 3 hours to descend via Wadi El Arbain. If you take this route, you’ll get the chance to explore some of the hidden wadis, gardens, streams and daily Bedouin life in the region otherwise overlooked by travellers.
The other route is shorter and takes between 4.5 and 5.5 hours to climb, while it only takes 2 or 3 hours to climb down via Shag Musa and Wadi El Abain. Although this route is shorter and more direct, it is steeper.
To take this trip, make sure you’ve bought the necessary equipment, like trail shoes, sun protection, sunglasses, warm clothes if you’re taking the trip in the colder months, water, and food for snacks as it’s a one-day trip.
Make sure to hire a local guide as you won’t be able to make the trip without one.
Watch the sunrise from the top of Mount Catherine on a day trip from Sharm El Sheikh or Dahab for an unforgettable experience. Most tour operators will pick you up at the hotel a few hours before dawn break so that you’ll have the time to watch the beautiful sunrise from one of the highest points in Egypt – a really wonderful example of adventures to have in Egypt.
Adventures to have in Egypt: Explore the White Desert National Park
The White Desert National Park is one of the most fascinating places in Egypt. It is located in the Farafra Oasis. The park has large white chalk rock formations, created through erosion by wind and sand, along with cliffs, sand dunes, as well as several oases.
The park is home to various endangered animals, such as the Rhim gazelle and the Dorcas gazelle, as well as jackals, foxes, and Sand cats, among others.
The White Desert National Park spans an area of 300 km2, with an altitude of 353 meters above sea level.
This massive area is littered with white chalk rock spires sprouting from the ground that almost changed colour during the day or night. The surrounding sand is littered with quartz and different varieties of small fossils.
About 50km north, you’ll find two mountains known as the Twin Peaks. Then, the road climbs a steep escarpment known as Naqb As Sillim (Pass of the Stairs); which is the main entrance that leads into and out of the Farafra Oasis and marks the borders of the White Desert.
As you move a few kilometres further, you’ll find the desert floor littered with quartz crystals, and the formations place there is Crystal Mountain.
Camping is sometimes allowed in the area for an additional EGP 120 per night, aside from the national park entry fee.
This is bound to be a magical experience, to stay at this beautiful location filled with natural formations made over the course of thousands of years.
Dive into the Blue Hole
Around 8 km north of Dahab, the Blue Hole is Egypt’s most popular dive site and one of the most well-known in the world. It is 130m deep and is visited by freedivers and professional divers from around the globe.
If you are inexperienced, you can remain close to the surface and snorkel by the shore to check out the gorgeous, colourful reef and variety of fish.
If you are experienced, you can rent the required gear from the many nearby shops and take a dive down this majestic location.
Be warned that the site, although beautiful and fun to experience, has claimed several lives. Many have underestimated the lengths they can go to while diving, so they ventured below the diving limit to reach through an archway that can be found at 65m, and connects the hole to the open water. Many divers succumbed to narcosis, missing the archway and becoming disoriented until they ran out of air. So, please be aware of the dangers that you may come across and hire a professional guide to acquaint you with what must be done.
Explore the Majestic Mount Sinai
Mount Sinai (aka Gebel Musa) is both an interesting touristic location and a holy site for Christians, Muslims and Jews, all of whom believe that God delivered his Ten Commandments to Moses at its summit.
Although the mountain is fairly easy to climb, you’ll still need to be accompanied by a local Bedouin guide who will take you through one of two routes up the mountain. The first starts at the monastery car park (known as the Camel Trail) and the second begins from the Steps of Repentance, both of which are located at Elijah’s Basin, where it is said that the prophet Elijah heard the voice of God. The climb takes you up 750 rocky and uneven steps to the summit where you’ll find a small chapel and mosque.
The Camel Trail, the easier route, can be found past the northern wall of St Catherine’s Monastery. It takes about two hours to climb and is wide, and comfortable to climb. Instead of walking, you can hire a camel to take you up from the base.
As for the Steps of Repentance, it is a much longer trail with 3750 steps laid by one monk as a form of penance, beginning outside the southeastern corner of the monastery compound. There are 3000 steps from Elijah’s Basin and then 750 up to the summit. The trail is steep and uneven, unlike the former option. However, if you choose to take it, you can still admire the stunning mountain scenery along the way, which may make the experience a bit less daunting.
There is a third less ventured trail from Wadi Al Arbain Trail, which takes you across the nearby mountain of Gebel Safsafa and takes in more historic sites. Along the way, you’ll pass by the 6th-century Monastery of Forty Martyrs and the Rock of Moses which is believed to have miraculously produced drinking water after Moses struck it with his cane. This trail also leads to the main Mount Sinai trail near Elijah’s Basin. To walk this route, you’ll need to hire a guide.
No matter which trail you take, when you reach the top, you will enjoy a spectacular view of the nearby valleys and beautiful mountain range. You can even spot Mount Catherine in the distance.
You can take the trip from Sharm El Sheikh and make the climb before dawn to watch the sunrise over, and arrive back at the base before 9:00 am, or you can do this in time for sunset as well. However, if you choose the second option, be aware that you’re going to make your descent in the dark, so bring a flashlight and wear your sturdiest shoes, and make sure to wear warm clothes as it can be chilly even in the summer.
Face Your Fears at Gebel El Mawta (Mountain of the Dead)
As daunting as its name is, this is another popular tourist site. It’s located in the northern region of Siwa Oasis in the Western Desert.
The mountain was used as a burial ground, so it’s covered with rock tombs ornamented with wall paintings. Most of the tombs date back to the 26th Pharaonic dynasty, as well as Ptolemaic and Roman times. The tombs were also used by the people of Siwa as shelters during the Italian air raids in WWII.
Make sure to check out the Tomb of Si Amun, who was a wealthy Greek landowner or merchant, and its beautifully coloured portraits.
Roam around the Thistlegorm Dive Site
Another fascinating diving site is the Thistlegorm where you can explore the submerged temples and tombs among the coral reefs off the coast of the Red Sea, along with several abandoned shipwrecks. The most well-known shipwreck in the area is that of the Thistlegorm, an English cargo ship from WWII that was on route to resupply British troops when it was bombed by the Germans in 1941.
Today divers regard the site as one of the top five wreck dive locations in the world due to the vast WWII memorabilia scattered around the wreck. Trips to the site are organized from both Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurghada.
Ras Mohammed National Park
Located 20km west of Sharm el-Sheikh is the Ras Mohammed National Park. The park is visited by more than 50,000 visitors annually, to swim among the world’s most spectacular coral reefs. The Red Sea is known to have 1000 species of fish, most of which can be seen in the park’s waters.
Go for a swim in the park’s waters and you have the chance to spot these amazing and rare creatures and enjoy some of the best of what nature has to offer. Popular diving sites in the area include Jackfish Alley, Yolanda Reef, Sha’ab Mahmoud, Old Quay, Beacon Rock, and the wreck of the SS Thistlegorm.
Go Sand Boarding in Fayoum
One of the best activities available in Egypt is sandboarding in the many sand dunes across its deserts, especially near Fayoum. Fayoum is a 2-hour drive away from Cairo. Once there, you can set up camp, light a fire, have some delicious barbequed lunch and roll down the dunes to your heart’s content.
It’s a wonderful way to leave the city for a day and go on a safari in the desert, where you can enjoy your time in the peace and quiet of this enormous landscape.
Thankfully, you don’t need the experience to go sandboarding; however, you might need a guide from a travel agency to help you find the perfect spots to spend the day in.
Discover the Lost City of Heracleion
Discovered by French archaeologist Franck Goddio in Abu Qir Bay off the coast of Alexandria, Thonis-Heracleion contains ruins of 64 ships, 700 anchors, gold coins, 16 feet-tall statues and the remains of a massive temple to the god Amun-Gereb, as well as the sarcophagi for the animals that were brought there as offerings.
The ruins are so well-preserved and give a glimpse into the 2300-year history of the city that was one of the great port cities of the world.
Explore this amazing underwater site for a chance of a lifetime to see these artefacts up close.
Swim with the Dolphins in Marsa Alam
Marsa Alam is one of the best places in Egypt to swim with dolphins and have the time of your life. Tours usually depart from the marina and head to Samadai Reef (aka Dolphin House). The reef is home to many spinner dolphins who are happy to interact with snorkelers.
Go Kite-Surfing in El Gouna
This one is for the adrenalin junkies out there who are always looking for the next exciting opportunity. Now, you can go kite-surfing at El Gouna, one of the newer resort towns in Egypt by the Red Sea. Its shallow lake waters make the experience suitable for both experienced and non-experienced surfers, so have no fear, if this is your first time trying it. The two main kite-surfing beaches are Buzzha and Mangroovy.
Paragliding over the Pyramids of Giza
The Pyramids of Giza or the Giza Plateau isn’t just a historical site that you can explore on land. Now, you can also fly over to this majestic location and have the experience of your life. There are several companies that can help you with the trip and ensure you have an unforgettable experience.
The activity is available at certain times of the year, so make sure to keep an eye out for when it is organized so that you don’t miss your chance.
The 15-minute flights usually take place in the early morning or the afternoon, so that you can catch a great view of the majestic panorama.
The maximum weight allowed is 90 kg and participants must be 12 and older.
Go Hot Air Ballooning in Luxor
You cannot visit the ancient city of Luxor without taking the famous hot air balloons at dawn to watch the sunrise over the city that has a history going back thousands of years. Get your camera ready and snap some of the best selfies you’ll take in your life.
The trip can take from 45 minutes to two hours depending on your choice and it starts at 4:00 am, so make sure to dress warmly to avoid the early morning chill. The company that arranges the flights usually picks you up at your hotel to take you to the site. The balloon takes you over the west bank of the Nile in Luxor to marvel at the great ancient Egyptian monuments from above. Just one of the many adventures to have in Egypt.
Snorkelling at Giftun Island
Giftun Island is in the Red Sea, 45-minutes away from Hurghada. Many people come from nearby resort towns for a day trip to go snorkelling, diving, and sunbathing on the island’s beautiful beach. The day trip usually takes 9 hours from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm as tourists and visitors arrive via yacht that docks by the island, as they jump out into the sparkling waters for a chance to explore the coral reefs and swim among the colourful fish and friendly dolphins. Most day trips include lunch and all the snorkel equipment and you are accompanied by certified scuba divers.
The area contains more than 196 species of coral reefs and about 794 species of fish.
Gifton Island attracts about 187,512 tourists annually. The island is surrounded by 14 of the best diving spots in Hurghada and a number of small islands: El Gifton El Kabeer, El Gifton El Sagheer, and Abu Monqar Island.
A trip to this unique island is sure to be an unforgettable experience, whether you’re with your friends or family it is suitable for both adults and children as you’re always accompanied by certified guides to help you throughout the day.
Go Inside the Pyramids of Giza
Visiting the Pyramids of Giza is an amazing experience all on its own, let alone entering these phenomenal and extraordinary buildings to explore the inside of one of the Wonders of the World.
Many legends have circulated throughout the years about what it’s like to go inside the Pyramids of Giza, and one of these legends goes back to Napoleon. It is said that he entered the Great Pyramid and spent hours alone in the King’s Chamber only to come out pale and shaken. As the story goes, he never revealed what happened, but he was forever changed after this incident.
The Pyramid of Khufu (aka the Great Pyramid) is the oldest of the three pyramids of Giza. It was constructed c. 2551–2528 BCE and stands at 147 meters. It is definitely a sight to behold, hard to imagine that these pyramids were royal tombs for the pharaohs and kings of Egypt.
The pharaoh’s final resting place was within a burial chamber underneath the pyramid. Although the Great Pyramid has underground chambers, they were never completed, and Khufu’s sarcophagus rests in the King’s Chamber, which is the room Napoleon is said to have visited.
Once you enter the Grand Pyramid, you will be led through a tight ascending passageway from the north face of the pyramid, up a ramp, past the Queen’s Chamber, and then through a wider passageway called the Grand Gallery. The King’s Chamber itself is lined with thick granite blocks and contains an empty granite sarcophagus.
To go inside one of the Pyramids, you pay an extra entrance fee, EGP 400 for Khufu, and Egypt 100 for Khafre and Mankaure. The journey typically takes around 30 minutes.
We definitely recommend this particular excursion, if only to see how intricate and brilliant the construction of the Grand Pyramids of Giza really was.
Swim in the Healing Waters of Siwa Oasis
As we mentioned before, Siwa Oasis is a must-visit, if you’re ever in Egypt, if not for its unique location and beautiful landscapes, then for its renowned healing waters and hot springs, measuring at 67-degree Celsius, that is visited by people from all over the world, hoping to benefit from its unique properties that are said to cure a multitude of illnesses. Its golden sands are also said to have healing qualities, so people are buried (heads excluded) in the sand for specific amounts of time.
The ancient Egyptians used to take baths in these springs at Siwa Oasis, such as Cleopatra’s Spring where Queen Cleopatra bathed while visiting Siwa, Tamusa Spring where it was a tradition that any bride should take her bath there before marriage, as well as Fatnas Spring, Qurayshat Spring, Wahid Spring, and the Siwa Salt Lakes that are known to heal skin, sinuses and eye issues. The Shiata Lake is also well-known for the Flamenco birds that inhabit it.
Also, consider visiting the hot sand of Dakrour Mountains which is said to have healing potential for skin issues by sand bathing and burying your body in the sand.
If you’re looking for a more relaxed adventure, but also quite new, then we recommend the Siwa hot springs.
Top Adventures to Have in Egypt: Row down the Nile in Cairo
Cairo offers a variety of activities for all ages, including rowing or kayaking in the Nile waters. You can explore the many landmarks of the city from a different vantage point and have a great time doing it. There are several venues that offer this activity and provide you with the equipment, like The Egyptian Rowing Club in Zamalek, Nile Dragons Academy and Nile Kayak Club in Giza, and the Maadi Rowing Club in Maadi.
This is an experience not to be missed.
Experience the North Pole at Ski Egypt
One of the must-have experiences in Cairo is skiing at the Ski Egypt arena at Mall of Egypt, one of the largest shopping malls in the country. This is Africa’s first indoor Ski resort and Snow Park, where you can enjoy tons of real snow at below zero degrees, with a range of enjoyable activities from learning to Ski or snowboarding on the slope.
The temperatures of the arena are usually kept between -2 and -4°C, but you can certainly warm up with a hot chocolate at the Snowflake Cafe while enjoying the atmosphere and the great view of the snow park.
The 210-metre slope is suitable for Skiers and Snowboarders of all ages.
The entire family can enjoy the Snow Park play area where they can sledge, climb towers, and have snowball fights. Ski Egypt also houses several penguins who are let out of their enclosures several times a day. You can also book a penguin encounter to interact directly with the adorable creatures.
To go on the slopes, there are a variety of ticket options. You can get the Snow Classic to pass for EGP 300, which allows you to enjoy a certain section of the arena where you can have fun doing different activities such as sliding down the ice slope in the Kids’ rides Snow Rocket, Zorb Ball, or Tubings.
The Snow Plus ticket (EGP 450) allows you all the above, in addition to a choice between the penguin encounter, a 60-minute ski or snowboard discovery lesson or the 2-hour slope access. As for the Snow Premium ticket (EGP 600), it already includes the Penguin Encounter and allows you a choice between the 60-minute ski or snowboard discovery lesson or the 2-hour slope access.
There are also a lot of different packages and offers for the entire family.
The arena is open from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm.
Museum of Illusions
The Museum of Illusions is a bit of a new concept in Egypt and has only opened in Sheikh Zayed, Cairo, at the Walk of Cairo mall, quite recently. It’s a fun experience for you and your friends or the entire family where you can enter a world of optical illusions that will play tricks on your senses and amaze you at the same time.
Move from one hall to another to see all that the museum has to offer from intriguing visual, sensory and educational experiences to unexplored illusions.
Be brave and jump into the Vortex Tunnel that will literally flip your world upside down, as you feel like the world is turning, while you’re actually standing in one place. Lose yourself in the Infinity Room, resist the laws of gravity and size ratio, and take pictures of yourself for some great memories!
Fly High at Aerodium Egypt
The first skydiving simulator in the Middle East has made its way to Egypt, offering its visitors an experience to remember. If you’re reluctant to go skydiving, never fear, you can still go through the thrilling adventure in a safe and controlled environment.
Aerodium Egypt can be found at Cairo Festival City Mall, 5th Settlement, and has one wind tunnel with an open flow up to 2.1 meters and a wind speed of 230 km/h. Anyone can join as long as you’re over 4 years old and under 120 Kg.
You can have this exhilarating ride every day from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm on weekdays and from 10:00 am to 1:00 am at weekends.
Egypt offers its visitors, tourists and locals a multitude of opportunities for exciting adventures and thrilling new experiences for all ages and preferences. This list sums up most of the activities to be hand in the country, but there are certainly many more to be mentioned. Pick out the adventure that suits you best and doesn’t hesitate to start having the time of your life! Let us know if you have any of the top adventures to have in Egypt.