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Travel Across Egypt’s South Through This Virtual Road Trip

May 15, 2020
Aswan. Photo courtesy of Earth Trekkers.

Diving into part two of this two part virtual road trip series, this road trip plan will help you discover Egypt’s Southern governorates in all their glory. As previously mentioned in part one of this series, Egypt’s rich cultural heritage shines through every corner of the country. What is most interesting however, is that the various areas of Egypt offer different kinds of charming experiences.

Although this road trip may not be a physically viable option as of yet, one can enjoy the tour virtually through these beautiful images for now, and plan ahead for when the times comes to make this trip a reality.

The south of Egypt is home to many a touristic destination (namely Luxor and Aswan) thriving with beloved ancient Egyptian history, however some of the smaller cities along the way are also worth stopping by and exploring. Generally speaking, Egypt’s southern population are also well-known for their hospitality and beautifully light spirits. 

Without a doubt, these images will not only offer a momentary escape, but they will also provide you with something to look forward to. When it comes to this particular road trip however, we would recommend renting a car or bus as opposed to taking one’s own as both the drive down and the drive back may be quite tiresome and long. If planning a trip across Egypt’s Southern governorates, we also recommend that the trip either ends at Marsa Allam or Aswan after Luxor, before heading back to Cairo.

Uncovering Egypt’s Southern Charm

Cairo – Fayoum – Beni Suef – Minya – Assiut – Sohag – Qena – Luxor – Aswan/Marsa Allam 

Stop #1: Fayoum

Magic Lake, Wadi el Rayan, Fayoum. Image courtesy of Flickr.

Just an hour and a half drive away from Cairo is the quaint Fayoum area. Fayoum is the perfect example of Egypt’s alluring desert charm. Other than being a great place to camp out in the vast desert under the stars, Fayoum is also located by the Qarun Lake where one can enjoy fishing or horseback riding by the shores of the calm lake. 

Fayoum is also well-known for its pottery-making in the picturesque Tunis village, as well as its cultural and heritage sites such as Wadi el Rayan (where one can see waterfalls) and Wadi el Hitan (a UNESCO world heritage site full of fossils). 

Stop #2: Beni Suef

Meidum Pyramid, Beni Suef. Image credit unknown.

The next stop on this trip would be Beni Suef, which is just an hour away from Fayoum. Although not as activity-filled or touristy as some of the other cities on this list, Beni Suef does have a history of having been once known for its linen production. It is worth stopping by to observe how time has taken a toll on this city, as well as enveloping oneself in its current-day culture. 

Stop #3: Minya

View of the Nile from Beni Hasan archaeological site in Minya. Image credit unknown.

About a two hour drive away from Beni Suef lies Minya. Perhaps the first city on this road trip to truly reflect the beauty and essence of the following Nile-lined cities, Minya is home to a number of cultural and historic sites as well as the country’s largest Nile corniche. In addition to this, Mina is thriving with agriculture, meaning that one will spot greenery all around. 

Stop #4: Assiut

The Hanging Monastery nearby Assiut. Photo courtesy of Rehab Saad blog.

Another two hours away from Minya is Assiut. Consisting of an ancient city and a modern city built next to it, Assiut houses a number of historical sites and landmarks, as well as the country’s largest Coptic Catholic church. 

Stop #5: Sohag

Sohag. Image credit unknown.

A little bit of a longer drive to the next destination, Sohag lies about two and a half hours south of Assiut. Sohag is particularly known to be a major Coptic Christian area and is home to the nearby historic White and Red Monasteries. The area also holds a number of other historical sites worth a quick visit. 

Stop #6: Qena

Dendera ruins, Qena. Photo courtesy of Trip Advisor.

Another roughly two and a half hour drive away is Qena. Sitting on a huge bend of the Nile River, Qena has many an interesting site to visit, the most important being the close by Dendara Temple. Qena is also a great place to visit during the 14th of the Islamic month of Sha’ban, which is when the city’s 12th-century patron saint, Abdel Rehim Al Qenawi, is celebrated.

Stop #7: Luxor

Hot air balloons over Luxor. Image credit unknown.

Just one and a half house away from Qena is the enthralling city of Luxor. Engulfed in Nile valley beauty and a number of mesmerizing ancient historical sites such as the Luxor Temple and the close by Valley of the Kings and Queens. In addition to these amazing sites, one can also take a soothing felukah (boat) ride down the Nile, visit crocodile island or enjoy a breathtaking hot air balloon ride. 

Following Luxor, we suggest to choose between either Aswan or Marsa Allam being the next destination – which may be quite he difficult choice, as both offer vastly different yet equally magical experiences. 

Stop #8 (Option 1): Aswan

Aswan. Photo courtesy of Earth Trekkers.

Continue driving three hours south of Luxor, and one will find themselves in the awe-inspiring city of Aswan – a place that photos just don’t do justice. Home to some wonderful ancient temples and sites, Aswan is also part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network in the category of craft and folk art. Make sure to also stop by the vibrantly colorful and culturally rich region of Nubia which is situated close by. 

Stop #8 (Option 2): Marsa Allam

The Qul’aan Mangrove near Marsa Alam. Image courtesy of Experience Egypt Facebook page.

The option of driving east towards Marsa Allam may be slightly more of a drag as it is an almost five hour drive… however, if wanting to immerse oneself in the gloriously pristine crystal clear waters of the Red Sea, then it is well worth the drive. Marsa Allam has some of the most glorious beaches the country has to offer, as well as diving and kitesurfing activities and so much more. A perfect way to relax and unwind after a long road trip. 

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