Located in Northern Africa, bordered by the Mediterranean Sea, Libya, the Gaza Strip, the Red Sea and including the Sinai Peninsula at Latitude 27 °N and 30 °E. It was in the perfect position to establish trade routes. This lavish realm spans over 1,000,000 sq. km (combined land and water), and came to achieve its golden age in the New Kingdom Era.
Climate and Temperature
The climate of the region varied by 5-10°F, which did not pose any significant shift. Egypt has two climates; Desert for the majority of the region, and Mediterranean for the coastline of the Mediterranean Sea. Deserts are areas that receive less than 10 inches (254mm) of precipitation per year. Egypt’s rainfall along the Mediterranean coast receives about 200mm of rainfall yearly, while the rest receives anywhere between 0 and 29mm. Egypt has mild winters with temperatures between 50°F to 68°F and extremely hot summers often averaging above 86°F. This is inclusive of nighttime, where temperatures approach freezing (32°F). On a hot summer day, it is common for temperatures to reach above 120°F. “The Mediterranean climate is characterized by mild, rainy winters and warm, dry summers” which perfectly describes the coast as winter is when most of its rainfall occurs.
The River Nile
The Nile flooded annually, which meant that Egyptians could set up their three seasons being akhet, peret and shemu. The first season, Akhet, the time of flooding, ran from July to October. During this time, the flood would sweep over the nearby land, peaking during September, and providing nutrients to the soil, restoring its effectiveness for the crops of the next season. The
Egyptians referred to this land as the Kemet, kmt or “black land”, as a way to differentiate it from the deshret or “red land” which was the desert around them. The second season, Peret, the time when the land reappeared, ranged from November to February. This is when they plant their crops. Lastly, there was the third season, Shemu, the time of the harvest, from March to June. The flooding of the Nile though predictable varied in mass. A bad Nile flow crippled the Egyptians leaving them unable to produce food, leading to starvation and death. Luckily, during the New Kingdom Era, there was three hundred years of good Nile flows, which allowed the nation to prosper.
Egypt is home to the Western and Eastern Deserts, alongside the Sinai Peninsula. The Eastern Desert is rocky and full of mountainous land. It holds several wadis or “deep ravines”. The
Western Desert on the other hand has the Qattara Depression, the lowest point in Egypt. Along with Oases, which are areas where water flows underground from the Nile and forms springs surrounded by palms. The Sinai Peninsula is a mixture of desert and rocky mountain and houses the highest point in Egypt, Mount Saint Catherine. During April, beware of khamsin, a hot dry wind from the south, which can create blinding sandstorms.
Tips for Traveling
The best time to travel to New Kingdom Egypt would most likely be from the later part of September to November. This time has been chosen as the Nile will be near its peak flooding, allowing the visitor to experience it. By this period, the extreme summer heat would have subsided and it would be easier to withstand. Travelers should wear sunglasses or a hat to shield their eyes and short, light clothing with durable footwear able to traverse both rocky and sandy terrain. The best time of day to travel is during mid-morning or after sundown. During midday when the sun is at its peak, traveling is very dangerous. If the visitor is not careful, they can suffer from sunstroke, dehydration or hallucinations. Some people may prefer traversing the desert at night, but this is also risky. Aside from the predators that lurk around, the temperature being near freezing would be difficult for the body to handle in such short clothing.
Top Picture Source: Jiseon Shin, “View of the Nile and the desert banks,” http://www.ancient-egypt-online.com/images/nile1.jpg (November 21st, 2017); Bottom Picture Source: James Thurley, “Qattara Depression,” http://www.akademifantasia.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/Qattara.jpg (November 21st, 2017)