The Natural Beauty of Lake Nasser Egypt

Lake Nasser Egypt 1

 

Although well regarded as a place of natural beauty, Lake Nasser, Arab Republic of Egypt is, in fact, one of the largest man-made lakes in the world. It was completed in 1971 as a vast reservoir located mostly (83%) in southern Egypt and the remaining part located in northern Sudan, where it is referred to as Lake Nubia.

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Location of Lake Nasser in Egypt. Image: Current Research Web

The area surrounding the lake is the traditional home of the Nubian people who date back to ancient Egypt. I found modern-day Nubian people to be extremely friendly indeed, very polite and quite humble. A real pleasure to meet and interact with.

Lake Nasser was created as a result of the construction of the Aswan High Dam across the waters of the Nile between 1958 and 1970. The lake is named after Gamal Abdel Nasser, one of the leaders of the Egyptian Revolution of 1952, and the second President of Egypt, who initiated the High Dam project (reference: Wikipedia).

With the Nile entering the lake in northern Sudan and travelling up in southern Egypt as far as Aswan, this is not a small body of water.

Covering a total surface area of 5,250 km² (or 2,030 mi²), it is 479 km (298 mi) long and 16 km (9.9 mi) across at its widest point. The Nile running through the lake keeps renewing the freshwater and the lake itself looks so good in a lovely clear blue.

 

 

The northern part of Lake Nasser Egypt

This part of the lake is within easy reach of the city of Aswan and just south of the Aswan High Dam. The main area to take trips on the lake in this region is only around a 20-minute drive from the main center of Aswan itself.

Here you find a number of Nubian people and their boats who are happy to take you out onto the lake, with many also selling souvenirs to tourists.

 

Take your pick of boats to get out onto the lake. Photo: James Visser.

 

Looking forward to getting up close and personal in the north of Lake Nasser Egypt. Photo: Nicole Anderson.

 

A trip to Agilkia Island

A short boat ride away, Agilkia Island (also called Agilika Island) is located in the reservoir of the Old Aswan Dam.

The island is the present site of the relocated Ancient Egyptian temple complex of Philae. Partially to completely flooded by the old dam’s construction in 1902, the Philae complex was dismantled and relocated to Agilkia island, as part of a wider UNESCO project. The project related to the 1960s construction of the Aswan High Dam and the eventual flooding of many sites posed by its large reservoir upstream.

 

Approaching Agilkia Island. Photo: James Visser.

 

Love the reflection in the lake. Photo: James Visser.

 

Agilkia Island is hence a major attraction for tourists that visit this region in southern Egypt.

 

Philae Temple

Isis. Image Jeff Dahl [CC BY-SA 4.0 (httpscreativecommons.orglicensesby-sa4.0)]
Aside from the fun of exploring this lovely island, visiting the Philae Temple was quite fascinating. Like many key historical sites in Egypt, there is so much interesting detail behind the impressive building.

The Philae Temple dates back to the 4th century BC but the Ptolemies and the Romans up to the 3rd century AD built most of the existing structures.

Philae is dedicated to Isis, who was a goddess in Egyptian mythology.

Isis was one of the greatest goddesses. She protected children, healed the sick, and was goddess of life and magic.

In images, Isis is usually represented as a woman with the throne-hieroglyph on her head, symbolizing her as the wife of Osiris, the king of the afterlife. Isis can also be represented as a bird (called a kite) wearing the same headdress. In another form, Isis bears the headdress used by Hathor, consisting of a sun-disk and cow horns.

Whether you are interested in ancient history or mythology or not, there is no denying how impressive this temple is. Set against the beauty of Lake Nasser Egypt, James and I found this to be just an idyllic spot.

 

At the Entrance to Philae Temple. Photo: James Visser.

 

One of the exterior walls of the temple. Photo: James Visser.

 

One of the rooms within the temple. Photo: James Visser.

 

External to the main temple, this structure is equally impressive. Photo: James Visser.

 

Such a lovely outlook here. Photo: Nicole Anderson.

 

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Wonderful views of Lake Nasser, Egypt from every part of the island. Photo: Nicole Anderson.

 

Little wonder many people catch boats across the lake each day. Photo: James Visser.

 

Returning across Lake Nassar to head back toward Aswan, it was a peaceful experience. We were glad to have seen and travelled on the lake and visited the island.

 

Heading back across the still lake. Photo: James Visser.

 

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Not a bad spot from which to explore northern Lake Nasser.

 

Lake Nasser in the south

This part of the lake, very close to the Sudanese border was no less beautiful.

Some 3 hours drive south from Aswan, here was also a popular location for tourists. As it happens though, most do not travel here to experience the lake this far south. Instead, the main attraction here is the famous Abu Simbel. While Abu Simbel is a village located in Nubia, Egypt, it is more well known as the site of the Temples of Abu Simbel.

 

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A great view across southern Lake Nasser, wouldn’t you agree? Photo: Nicole Anderson.

 

There is a walkway that runs alongside the lake. Photo: Nicole Anderson.

 

Visiting the Abu Simbel site

Although my primary motivation in visiting new locations is to seek out places of natural beauty, it really isn’t possible to come here and not see this impressive site.

Abu Simbel is home to a gargantuan rock-cut temple of King Ramses II. It is possibly the most awe-inspiring temple of all ancient Egypt with its mammoth rock-cut façade. Abu Simbel was created to revere King Ramses II as the mightiest pharaonic ruler of all.

Guarding the entrance to the temple, the four famous colossal statues of Ramses II sit majestically staring out to Lake Nasser and the desert beyond.

 

This is what greets you as you round the corner on your walk beside the lake. Photo: Nicole Anderson.

 

James and I having a Kodak moment in front of the Abu Simbel temple dedicated to Ramses II. Photo: Ana Mestre.

 

Eagles are on watch for the pharaoh. Photo: James Visser.

 

The temple of Hathor and Nefertari, also known as the Small Temple, was built about one hundred metres northeast of the temple of pharaoh Ramesses II and was dedicated to the goddess Hathor and Ramesses II’s chief consort and wife, Nefertari.

 

In front of the Nefertari temple at Abu Simbel. Photo: James Visser.

 

Everything is done on a big scale here! Photo: James Visser

 

Wikipedia notes of interest here:

“The complex is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the “Nubian Monuments”, which run from Abu Simbel downriver to Philae (near Aswan). The twin temples were originally carved out of the mountainside in the 13th century BC, during the 19th dynasty reign of the Pharaoh Ramesses II. They serve as a lasting monument to the king and his queen Nefertari, and commemorate his victory at the Battle of Kadesh. Their huge external rock relief figures have become iconic.

The complex was relocated in its entirety in 1968 under the supervision of a Polish archaeologist, Kazimierz Michałowski, on an artificial hill made from a domed structure, high above the Aswan High Dam reservoir. The relocation of the temples was necessary or they would have been submerged during the creation of Lake Nasser, the massive artificial water reservoir formed after the building of the Aswan High Dam on the Nile River.”

 

Where do you look?

There is no doubt that the Abu Simbel complex is an extremely impressive site. Your eye is drawn immediately to the majesty of this creation as it comes into view as you approach via the footpath that runs alongside Lake Nasser.

By the same token Lake Nassar Egypt is pretty impressive as well. It was interesting to see people’s reactions of complete amazement as they first set eyes on Abu Simbel. Equally interesting was to watch them gravitate afterward, back toward the lake, to contemplate its beauty and consider the temple’s mighty presence in this remarkable setting.

 

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People on the path between the lake ahead and Abu Simbel temples behind. Photo: James Visser.

 

There is also some greenery around if you know where to look. Photo: Nicole Anderson.

 

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Not a bad aspect at all. Photo: Nicole Anderson.

 

Whether we are talking about the Isis Temple of Philae on Agilkia Island or Ramses II’s Abu Simbel temple complex, Lake Nasser Egypt is still a shining beauty in my eyes.

 

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Close to the Sudanese Border, southern Lake Nasser, Egypt is a lovely place to visit. Photo: James Visser.

 

 

This article is part of the Natural Beauty Travel Series, authored by travel writer Nicole Anderson.
Founder and Publisher at | Website

Outdoor adventure enthusiast that loves nature having travelled locations across North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia.

Passionate Travel Writer, Blogger and Influencer.

128 thoughts on “The Natural Beauty of Lake Nasser Egypt

  • November 25, 2019 at 8:26 pm
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    I had never thought of visiting Lake Nasser. Good to know that it is within easy reach of Aswan. A boat trip to see the Agilkia Island sounds like a good idea. So glad they were able to save the ancient Egyptian complex when the dam was flooded. It looks like it is in great shape. The stone relief work is quite stunning. I can certainly see why you would want to continue south to see the Abu Simbel site. I always find it fascinating to see the art created when stone is carved. That detail on the front is amazing.

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    • November 25, 2019 at 11:18 pm
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      The stonework in terms of the detail, as well as its current condition, are certainly impressive at many sites throughout Egypt, Linda. The temples and monuments that still exist are quite stunning and are something to see in addition to the natural beauty surrounding many sites. Lake Nasser from a tourism perspective is certainly overshadowed by Philae Temple and Abu Simbel which are both unique and amazing sites. Thanks so much for reading and leaving a great comment.

      Reply
  • October 22, 2019 at 11:46 am
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    It’s my dream to get to Abu Simbel. The sheer size of it all is something that I want to see for myself. And here I see pics of you right there. Envy all the way 😉 I like the sound of Philae Temple. 4th century and so well maintained. And yes, I can see that too, is quite gigantic. I love the wall carvings that you have shared. Bet there are more.

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    • October 22, 2019 at 8:20 pm
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      There sure are more Ami, within other posts in this series of 7 articles focused on the natural beauty that you will find in Egypt. I really hope you realise your dream soon of seeing Abu Simbel and other similar, amazing historical structures in person. It is indeed an attraction that pulls so many people around the world and I’m sure it will live up to your expectations when you make your trip.

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  • October 21, 2019 at 4:02 pm
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    I have never known that Lake Nassar was so magnificent and so mystical. I have always been really fascinated by great Egypt and its culture and its influence that it has on modern society. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the opportunity to visit Egypt yet but this post makes me think that I am missing out. Big time.

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    • October 21, 2019 at 9:48 pm
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      If you have the opportunity to visit Daniel, I would certainly suggest you take it. Aside from being so unique in many ways, Egypt is just outright enjoyable. You learn so much, experience the beauty of the country, are fascinated by its wonders and are welcomed by its people. It is a destination that will always stay with you.

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  • October 21, 2019 at 2:08 pm
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    I would love to explore Egypt. It looks so beautiful and love hearing about other non touristy spots to check out. Love your photos as well!

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    • October 21, 2019 at 9:44 pm
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      Thank you so much Stephanie. I agree it is always great to get away from the main tourist areas to explore more of the real country, scenery, people and culture. You learn and appreciate so much that you can’t if you only restrict yourself to the main tourist attractions.

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  • October 21, 2019 at 7:49 am
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    I’ve never been to Egypt but it always looks so appealing. I’ve never heard of Lake Nasser but it’s definitely somewhere I”d like to go. It looks so exotic, and the details in the buildings look fascinating. I could image Cleopatra strolling around there!

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    • October 21, 2019 at 9:41 pm
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      You bet Paul! That image is even more vivid while you are in Egypt as you visit sites where so many famous past historical figures walked the same paths. Beauty and history surround you.

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  • October 21, 2019 at 6:39 am
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    Egypt is so high on my travel list! I really hope to visit the country soon. Lake Nasser sounds really fascinating and definitely an area to explore when I’ll finally be in the country. By the way, I can’t believe they moved an entire temple to an island, what a job!

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    • October 21, 2019 at 9:38 pm
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      That’s for sure Val! That task seems almost impossible but they did it – in both cases for Philae Temple as well as the great Abu Simbel temples. I’m so pleased they did though as it would have been a tragedy to have these amazing sites submerged. Would love to hear about your experience as well when you plan your trip.

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  • October 21, 2019 at 6:35 am
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    Egypt is high on my travel Bucketlist. I would love to visit there and experience the rich culture and traditions of Egypt. I love how there is so much history.

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  • October 20, 2019 at 7:17 pm
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    Such an amazing country and so full of history. Your pictures serve as a reminder to get back to planning my trip to Egypt as my last trip was cut short. Would love to visit Lake Nasser, I have been wanderlusting about doing a Nile cruise tour. I hope next year. Will bookmark your post for inspiration and planning help.

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    • October 20, 2019 at 7:33 pm
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      Hope you do make it back there next year Bianca. The good thing about a previous trip being cut short is that you have a great reason to go back – and see so many things you would have missed the first time. If you are keen on doing a Nile cruise, do check out my post on the Nile to give you a feel for this. I hope you have a fabulous trip.

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  • October 20, 2019 at 2:25 am
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    I am still trying to work out our itinerary for our 2020 trip to Egypt. I am definitely adding Lake Nasser and Abu Simbel to it after reading your article. Your photos convinced me as well. So exciting!

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    • October 20, 2019 at 7:30 pm
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      I’m sure you will have a fabulous time Jane! It is so much fun to plan a trip as you gather information and consider the recommendations according to what your preferences are. Roll on 2020!

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  • October 15, 2019 at 3:02 pm
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    I hope to visit Egypt someday and apart from seeing the pyramids, I would love to visit lake Nasser too It’s too amazing no one would think that it is actually man-made. I would also visit the temple of Hathor and Nefertari. I’ve been watching a series on Moses and The Ten Commandments, and the temple is seen. Can’t wait to see it live!

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    • October 15, 2019 at 10:37 pm
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      Thanks so much, Dalene – I’m sure you would enjoy being there just as much as I did. Seeing things in person is, of course, so much more impressive. Hope you have a wonderful trip.

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  • October 14, 2019 at 8:01 pm
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    Wow, this lake looks like quite a place to visit! I love all the historical sites you can visit. I feel like this would be a more calm place to visit compared to Cairo.

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    • October 15, 2019 at 10:35 pm
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      It is definitely a lot calmer than Cairo for sure, Nina. While Cairo had some very interesting and enjoyable sites to visit, it is always really nice to get away from the cities to enjoy nature. Lake Nasser certainly has such a lovely setting, in addition to the significant historical sites that are quite famous and popular.

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  • October 11, 2019 at 6:34 am
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    I have always wanted to visit Egypt! Thank you for this great recap focussing on Lake Nasser. I really want to go now or as soon as possible! Wonderful pictures!

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  • October 9, 2019 at 7:57 pm
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    I have been to Egypt many many years ago, like when I was 10, and after reading your post and seeing the pictures I really need to go back and explore Egypt again.
    Agilkia Island looks amazing and the carvings in the temples look surreal. How did they make that happen without the tools we have now?! Just breathtaking. I am definitely putting this place on my list to visit one day.

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    • October 11, 2019 at 10:33 pm
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      There is no doubt that you will experience and appreciate Egypt very differently as an adult compared to what you saw from the viewpoint of a 10-year-old, Marlies. I truly believe you would love it. The carvings in the temples are definitely very impressive and I doubt we could do half as well if we tried to replicate that today. I do hope you make the trip again someday soon and thank you for such a great comment.

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  • October 8, 2019 at 11:49 am
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    I was recently researching to plan a trip to Egypt but never came across Lake Nasser, it definitely is an offbeat place to visit and I love including some off beat places in my itinerary. In fact, even the Agilkia Island isn’t one I’ve heard of but the temple on it looks amazing, I love how it stands proud on the shores of the lake. The lake seems really large and I would love to explore both the North and South of it.

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    • October 11, 2019 at 10:29 pm
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      I am sure if you enjoy being nature, that would you find the trip to include both ends of Lake Nasser in Egypt to be really worthwhile Medha. Most tourists in the north of the lake are there to see Philae Temple on Agilkia Island, whereas most tourists in the south are attracted to the famous Abu Simbel. These are historical, fascinating and impressive places for sure but the lake is a beautiful part of any trip. Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts and I hope you have a wonderful trip.

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  • October 7, 2019 at 12:14 pm
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    The sites along the lake are very picturesque indeed! I love the reflection of Agilkia Island you captured. I would love to see the inscriptions on the temples as well, it looks like the carvings are extremely well preserved. It’s great to know the Nubian people are very kind and welcoming. Did you get to visit a Nubian village as well on your trip to Egypt? I will have to put Abu Simbel on my list when I go — the temple for Ramses II is awe-inspiring.

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    • October 8, 2019 at 12:09 am
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      The inscriptions are indeed quite amazing Summer. I didn’t actually allow time to visit a Nubian village while I was there as I was more focused on the natural and historic attractions, where I was able to meet and interact with Nubian people anyway. I do hope you have a fabulous time when you make your trip and do stay tuned for the rest of the posts in this series that show more of what Egypt has to offer.

      Reply
  • October 7, 2019 at 11:59 am
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    I can’t believe they moved that structure! What a job. But I guess they had to in order to preserve it, which makes total sense. It looks like a lovely area to visit. I’ve never been to Egypt, but this looks like a fun stop when I do go!

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    • October 8, 2019 at 12:05 am
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      I know what you mean Jennifer. I can’t even imagine how they managed to do it all but the end result was definitely so fabulous, right by the southern part of Lake Nasser. Hope you do make sure to include this on your Egyptian itinerary.

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  • October 6, 2019 at 11:30 pm
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    This looks incredible! I would for sure love to visit and see all this in person! Thanks for showing these amazing pics!

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  • October 4, 2019 at 11:07 pm
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    Wow! I’ve heard of this place before but I had no idea that it was man-made. It’s beautiful!

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  • October 4, 2019 at 9:31 pm
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    The world is truly amazing! it has lots of espectacular places! WOW! I really need some vacations to travel the world! Loved that temple, and the view of it from the lake…gorgeous!

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  • October 4, 2019 at 8:10 pm
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    I would kill to visit Egypt and it’s been on my travel list for some time. Did you feel safe? That is my concern. Your photos are to die for!

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    • October 6, 2019 at 12:07 am
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      Thank you so much Debra. Yes, I must say that I did feel safe for the whole time I was there and in every location we visited. In fact the last of this series on Egypt being published soon, I cover the topic about solo travels in Egypt for women. There is a lot of information on personal safety coming in this regard that I hope you might get some value from. Plus if you are a keen photographer, there is just so much to capture in Egypt.

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  • October 4, 2019 at 4:11 pm
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    I want to see the hieroglyphics up close and personal one day! Egypt is definitely on my travel bucket list

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  • October 4, 2019 at 12:05 pm
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    Egypt is in my plans for next summer and your post strengthens my resolve not to delay any longer. It’s such a beautiful place and Lake Nasser so serene. Thanks for sharing.

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    • October 6, 2019 at 12:01 am
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      You’re most welcome and how exciting you are planning to visit yourself. I hope this has been helpful and please do check out the other posts in this series on Egypt (this is #4 of 7) to get more ideas on what you would most like to do. Best wishes for a wonderful time.

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  • October 4, 2019 at 10:20 am
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    WOW looks like you have had a fab adventure away. Love all your piccys too by the way. I have always wanted to visit Egypt x

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    • October 5, 2019 at 11:58 pm
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      It was a wonderful adventure for sure Melanie. It is quite easy to take good pictures there because the locations are really lovely. Thanks so much for reading and leaving a comment.

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  • October 4, 2019 at 4:01 am
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    Such beauty! And I am secretly jealous of you!

    Egypt has been on my list since I was 10 – that is when I learned about Tutankhamun. But I have not been able to go there due to many reasons. I am saving this article!

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  • October 4, 2019 at 1:42 am
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    Lake Nasser looks absolutely stunning! The temples are mind boggling and it makes me always marvel at the wonder of these structures. Once again your photography did not disappoint and you have crafted an informative and interesting article on this area. I would love to visit Egypt one day!

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    • October 5, 2019 at 11:54 pm
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      Thank you so much for reading through the series Lindsay and for leaving such a lovely comment. If you ever need additional info in planning a visit, I would be very happy to offer any help.

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  • October 4, 2019 at 1:04 am
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    I have wanted to visit Egypt for the longest time! Looks so beautiful there!!!

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  • October 3, 2019 at 7:06 am
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    I am quite encouraged by the fact that such a huge manmade water reservoir has now become a part of natural life in Nubia. I have never been to Egypt but it is pretty high on my list. And Lake Nasser definitely figures in my Egyptian itinerary. I would love to visit the island and Philae temple as well. And Abu Simbel too.

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  • October 3, 2019 at 5:18 am
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    I’ve always wanted to visit Egypt and this article has really inspired me to make some travel plans! Your photos are beautiful. I’d love to see Lake Nasser.

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  • October 2, 2019 at 10:29 pm
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    Somehow I only associated Pyramids with Egypt, but now am realising that there’s so much more to Egypt. Lake Nasser is definitely a unique experience in the lands of Pyramids, and with so much of historic importance as well. Would definitely include this in my itinerary, when I end up visiting Egypt in the future.

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    • October 3, 2019 at 8:18 am
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      Certainly, the pyramids have come to symbolise the predominate icons of Egypt, Arnav. There is little doubt that many people automatically associate Egypt with pyramids because of this. However, as you say, there is so much more to see across this amazing land. I hope you will check out the other posts in this series on Egypt (so far published 4 out of 7) and that these might give you plenty of ideas for your future trip. Thank you for reading and leaving your comment.

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  • October 2, 2019 at 10:16 pm
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    Egypt looks so calm, and lovely. Everything looks so natural and relaxing. By the way your pics are to die for. They are awesome.

    Reply