Visit Ancient Egypt – Virtually

Have you ever fantasized about visiting ancient Egypt virtually? Since I was a kid, I’ve dreamed of traveling back in time to see what life was really like in the land of Pharaoh.

Apparently, a lot of people share my interest. Egypt was among the top ten most searched travel destinations on Google in 2023. However, current events in the Middle East have some travelers rethinking travel to the region. And for others, a trip to Egypt may be too far, difficult, or costly to contemplate. 

But you don’t have to miss out. The Kemet Klub of Bristol, England, offers expertly guided, virtual visits to ancient Egypt year-round from the comfort of your home. And en route you’ll enjoy the camaraderie of fellow Egyptophiles throughout the world. 

Kemet Klub Origins

Kemet, or “black land”, is the ancient Egyptian name for Egypt. It refers to the rich soil found along the Nile River. The Kemet Klub was established in 2009 to ensure the continued study of ancient Egypt after the local university ceased classes on the subject. An enthusiastic following emerged and nurtured a passionate, ever-growing community of Egyptophiles. 

Pandemic Expansion

After a decade of chiefly in-person events, the pandemic drove Kemet Klubbers online. The Klub diverted its courses and global network of scholars to the virtual classroom. Soon, Egyptophiles worldwide were spreading the word. Internationally renowned archeologists, historians, and linguists were sharing their knowledge about ancient Egypt live and online.

I owe my introduction to the Kemet Klub to British Egyptologist and author Lucia Gahlin. At the start of the pandemic, she alerted me and other former students at Bloomsbury Summer School about one of the Klub’s upcoming lectures. (A few summers earlier, I traveled from Phoenix to London to study heiroglyphs at BSS.) Almost instantly, I signed up for several courses that further fueled my fascination with ancient Egypt.

Expert Lecturers

The Klub’s lecturers had personally visited, photographed, and studied the pyramids, tombs, temples, and other sites. Some were published authors. They knew the gods and rituals, could translate the hieroglyphs, and even spoke as the ancient Egyptians likely did. Naturally, I was enthralled, and my imagination took flight. Travel to modern-day Egypt— and everywhere else in the world— was off-limits at the time, but my mind was free to wander. With curated photos on-screen and the live commentary of an expert guide, it’s as if we stepped back in time. 

Ancient Egypt — Virtually

The online educational offerings were so popular that the Kemet Klub continued them after the pandemic. Current courses are listed on the Klub’s website. Previous topics include ancient Egyptian deities, updates from ongoing archeological digs, and how to read hieroglyphs. And there were lectures on King Tut, grave robbers, and ancient Egyptian women. Also covered were the foods and feasts of ancient Egypt, museum collections “from discovery to display”, and of course, exploration of the pyramids.

For bibliophiles, there were classes on ancient Egyptian literature. And for my fellow photographers, there was even a course dedicated to the earliest photographic records of the land of the Pharaohs. Note that’s only a sampling!

No Expertise Required 

No prior knowledge or study of ancient Egypt is required to join a class, apart from the intermediate and advanced courses on hieroglyphs. Clearly, I’m no Egyptian scholar— but that was okay. Plenty of other amateurs enrolled alongside me. And as the Klub’s website notes, “everyone is welcome, from the curious, to the serious academic, and everyone in between!” Participants were friendly, and the courses were consistently well managed.

Course Format

Classes are taught live via Zoom. Weeknight courses typically are held on Mondays from 7:30-9:00 pm (UK time) for 5-7 weeks. Weekend courses normally occur on two consecutive Sundays from 2:00-5:00 pm (UK time). Don’t fret about the time difference or scheduling conflicts. Each live class is recorded and saved to the student’s account for replay at any time. 

The cost for an entire course usually falls between £30 and £60. And you pay only for courses that interest you; there is no additional membership fee. You can even gift a course to someone else. 

In-Person Offerings

If you find yourself in the UK, Kemet Klub has resumed in-person educational and social events, too. Their upcoming trip to ancient sites in Egypt— including activities not available to the general public— sold out months ago. (I already have an eye out for the next one— I can’t imagine a better group to join for an actual trip to Egypt!)  

Online Resources

If all this talk of pyramids, mummies, gods, and hieroglyphs sparks your imagination, check out the array of resources at the Klub’s website. You’ll find a hieroglyph dictionary, 3-D tours of the pyramids at Giza, and links to out-of-copyright books on ancient Egypt that are now available online. Also worth noting is the link that allows you to explore each of the ancient Egyptian tombs in depth. And be sure to see the Klub’s blog and the list of charities that support the study of ancient Egypt.

It’s in My DNA

I’ve been fascinated by ancient Egyptian civilization since I first studied it in middle school. You could even say it’s in my blood. Despite my apparent Western European origins, genealogical DNA tests claim I share a common ancestor with King Tutankhamen and Pharaoh Ramses III. (My youngest brother is thoroughly unimpressed with those results. He points out we all share a common ancestor if you go far enough back in time.)

Of course, I don’t expect a royal welcome when I someday reach Luxor in person. But maybe the DNA results in some way do explain my lifelong affinity for everything Egyptian? Who knows— the secret path to an undiscovered tomb could be imprinted in my collective memory, just waiting to be triggered and recalled. If any archeologists want to bring me along on a dig to find out, I’m ready! 

Planning a trip? Consider volunteering a few hours of your time and receive free room and board at thousands of destinations across the globe. Read my post about Workaway for more details. 

Ancestry US
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