A technological marvel
Upon arrival guests are equipped with virtual reality headsets and ‘backpacks’ then step into a big empty room. The experience starts and you’re teleported to Egypt, finding yourself in Cairo standing right in front of the breath-taking Great Pyramids of Giza.
What’s great about this VR experience is that you’re completely untethered and able to roam free of annoying cables – hence, the ‘backpack’ you’re wearing. Within the VR environment you can see all the other users as virtual glowing silhouettes, meaning you can avoid colliding with other people. The people within your own group are shown as blue and their name floating above their head. There are no controllers to carry around with you which is nice, but there is no hand tracking so you can’t virtually interact with objects or other people – a very minor downside.
Journey through ancient Egypt
Be prepared to crawl (literally) through ancient burial chambers, walk around secret rooms, witness mummification ceremonies and navigate the Nile by boat to attend the funeral of King Khufu, creator of the Giza Pyramids.
Don’t worry, you won’t get lost because you will be accompanied by friendly and slightly clumsy virtual guide Mona and a gorgeous giant glowing and speaking cat Bastet. They both will tell you about historical events and archaeological discoveries at the site, but Bastet was our all-time favourite.
Horizon of Khufu presents a very impressive attention to detail and the quality of animation – from the rising smoke of a funerary brazier and the shadows against the pyramid at sunrise to the sounds of modern day Giza humming in the distance make this experience unmissable. Being able to walk freely around really adds a new dimension of realism to the experience, at times making you forget you’re in a virtual environment.
From Europe to Asia
This new revolutionary format of entertainment, called Immersive Expeditions, was developed by French virtual reality studio Excurio in partnership with Egyptologist, Peter Der Manuelian from the Giza Archives Project at Harvard University. Horizon of Khufu comes to London after its tremendous success in France and China where it has been enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of people, including French President Emmanuel Macron.
The whole experience lasts for 45 minutes but leaves you feeling deeply mesmerised. Even for those fortunate to have seen the Great Pyramid in real life, you can’t help but feel the same sense of wonderment from the virtual monument let alone being inspired for your next real holiday. We went in expecting your average VR experience and came out very impressed, and it’s an excellent and fun way to learn about the history of these places.
The Horizon of Khufu is located at Westfields, Stratford (157 Montfichet Rd, London E20 1EJ). Tickets start from £20 and can be booked here.
Image credits: © Emissive – Excurio