“While the country has long been a stalwart of many travellers’ bucket lists, for several years following the Arab Spring uprising political upheaval saw a marked decline in the numbers of people travelling there.”
“However, thanks to an extended period of stability, there has been a real resurgence of interest in Egypt and visitors are starting to flood back.”
Sanctuary Retreats has been operating luxury river cruises on the Nile for almost two decades, offering a range of itineraries and bespoke charters, including the Sanctuary Sun Boat IV, which is set to re-launch after an extensive refurbishment.
According to Michael the company remains passionate about – and confident in – the destination.
“We’re optimistic about Egypt’s stability and safety, and we are really buoyed by renewed tourist interest over the past 12 months.”
“If you add in excellent weather all year round, lots of major landmarks which are relatively free of tourists and friendly locals, now is a fantastic time to travel there.
“The Egyptian government has also taken significant steps to bolster security around tourism hotspots over the past few years, which means that there is a reassuring security presence at Luxor, Aswan and other areas of interest, alleviating any fears travellers may have.”
Sanctuary Retreats’ Nile River Cruises sail between Aswan and Luxor, visiting all the major sites including the Valleys of the Kings and Queens, the Temple of Karnak and the Island of Agilika.
Prices in 2019 start from $US960 (approx. $AU1,360) per person twin share for a three-night cruise aboard the Sanctuary Sun Boat IV.
Michael’s other top travel destination for 2019 is Kenya and specifically the Maasai Mara for a chance to observe the Great Migration, one of the wonders of the natural world.
Every year more than 1.4 million wildebeest, gazelles and zebra stampede, following the rains from the Serengeti to the Maasai Mara.
Offering a ringside seat to the spectacle is Sanctuary Retreats’ newly rebuilt flagship property, Olonana, with 14 glass-sided luxury suites, each with marble and slate bathrooms as well as private decks.
But for Michael the game viewing on offer at Sanctuary Olonana is the other aspect which makes a stay here truly memorable.
“Our experienced guides are expert at finding the perfect hidden spots from which to view the extensive wildlife on show in the Maasai Mara, ensuring that our guests have the best safari experience possible, with plenty of memorable, out-of-this-world sightings.”
Michael also points to several other factors that are playing an increasing influence on the travel choices of customers in the year ahead – especially over-tourism, security and environmental concerns.
“We’re already seeing people wanting to visit more undiscovered parts of Africa rather than the major highlights,” he said.
“In particular, we’re seeing real growth in demand for access to more remote wilderness areas in Botswana and Tanzania’s Southern Serengeti and Tarangire National Park, where we operate several small safari camps sustainably – and with a very small footprint.”
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