We are told that the....loading of the ships very heavily with marvels of the country of Punt;
"all goodly fragrant woods of God's-Land, heaps of myrrh resin, with fresh Myrrh trees, with ebony and pure ivory, with green gold of Amu, with cinnamon wood, khesyt wood, with two kinds of incense, eye-cosmetics, with apes, monkeys, dogs, and with skins of the southern panther. Never was brought the like of this for any king who has been since the beginning”
The identity of the Plants, Animals and products of the Land Of Punt has always remain a mystery but during the corse of the past few years and during the anylasis of the various inscriptions and mostly the walls mural of Hatshapsut and by studying the plants and animals and the gifted productes in more acuratly than what the earlear Archologists had.
According to Sayyid al-Qimni, Egyptian historian and thinker in his massive four Volume Arabic books intiteled "Prophet Moses & The last days of Tell Al Amarneh" from page 239 - 363 suggests the Arbian Pennsula and particularly the region of south Jordan as the location of Punt Land.
Also according to Dimitri Meeks in a well researched paper called "Locating Punt" explain in 2011 how the hypothesis of an African location for the land of punt is based on extremely fragile grounds. He suggests Arabia for Punt location.
He explain:“The terrirtory of Punt began quite close to that of Egypt, once Sinai had been crossed, in Arabia Petraea or the Negev. It incoperate, probably in a rather imprecise manner, the whole coastal zone of the Red Sea dowen as far as present day Yemen and the actual heart of Punt probably correspond more or less to Yemeni Tihama."
Evidence from the ancients
The first clear mention of Punt comes from the Old Kingdom. As the so-called Palermo Stone tells us, about 2500 B.C. during the reign of King Sahure, an expedition to Punt returned with 80,000 measures of 'ntyw, which scholars believe to be myrrh. Derived from a tree of the same name, myrrh is a resin used to make incense, which the Egyptians coveted for temple rituals; myrrh was the most prized commodity from Punt. Sahure's expedition also brought back 23,030 staves—wood being precious to a desert country like Egypt—and 6,000 measures of electrum, a natural alloy of gold and silver, among other items.
In the time of Pepi II, a certain pepynakht was entrusted with a delicate mission:
"so, His Majesty, my master sent me to the land of the Asiatics, so that i might bring him back the Unique Companion, the Captain (?), the overseer of interpreters Anankhta, who was assembling (sp) a kbnt-ship there in order to travel to Punt, when the Asiatic-dwellers-on-the-Sands killed him together with the armed detachment which was accompanying him." (Sethe 1903:134,13-14)
The scene of this tragedy can be seen at the coast of the Red Sea near the Asiatic dwellers on the sand where this person was killed while the assembling of the ship that was destined to sail to Punt. A location at the end of the gulf of suez would seem to fit best with the text. This clearly show that the scene of the tragedy must have been near Egypt and in a region Asiatic Bedouins.
By the Middle Kingdom, expeditions to Punt had become pyramidal in scope. One inscription from about 1985 B.C. mentions an expedition of 3,000 men; another a half century later boasted 3,700 men. Again, Punt's location is not given. Where did the ships go on the Red Sea after they set sail from Saww? No one knows.
Today, scholars have convincingly shown that Middle and New Kingdom pharaohs bent on Punt constructed their ships on the Nile, then disassembled them and carried them 100 miles across the desert from Koptos, the place where the Nile comes closest to the Red Sea. They then reassembled them at the ancient Red Sea harbor of Saww (today Mersa Gawasis) and sailed to Punt. On the return, they unloaded the ships at Saww and transported the goods by donkey caravan back to the Nile, where they loaded them onto other ships for the journey south to the capital at Thebes.
Actually the site of Mersa Gawasis “port” was very important port in the Middle Kingdom. Several stelae have been found there dating to the first half of the 12th dynasty contain references of Punt. From the quantity and coherence of these written sources, the amount of enigmatic objects/products and the aired and isolated nature of Mersa gawasis location indicate that this site was on one of the routes to and from Punt by boat.
The inscription also inform us that the voyages which were connected with “the mine of Punt” (pB n pwnt) rather than punt. (according to Gardiner 1952) and it seems that the location of this mine could have been at any point in the red sea coast. Many objects where found in this site including unfinished anchor, pegs, pieces of rope, along with fragments of copper alloy chisels.
The site or port mersa gawasis seems to give the ancients the choice the outwards journey without problems. Because if the ship departed from a further north point from the Gulf of Suise hoping to reach the gulf of aqaba will not be able to make it. Because inexperienced Alius Gallus (Aelius Gallus was the 2nd praefect of Roman Egypt in the reign of Augustus during the years 26–24 BC.) attempted that rout and he lost his fleet ship and suffered serious damage to the rest of his fleet, from making the direct route round Ras Muhammad.
So all ships that left Egypt should land or sail towards the Arabian Pennensula some where between Aynunah and Jar in the south. From there ships could sail back up the Arabian coast in small stages, mostly rowing so as to reach the gulf of Aqaba intrace.
Whats interesting, one their return from the Gulf of Aqaba winds a currents would again carry the ships towards the Egyptian coast in the area of Mersa Gawasis.
The last expedition to Punt that we know of occurred under Rameses III, in the 12th century B.C. An ancient papyrus records that Rameses III "constructed great transport vessels ... loaded with limitless goods from Egypt. ... They reached the land of Punt, unaffected by (any) misfortune, safe and respected." And they returned safe and respected.
The details in Harris (Papyrus Harris collection in the British Museum) of an expedition sent by Ramsesses III to punt reinforce the impression that the northern end of this gulf of Suez, in all periods of the year, provide a favourable point of departure for long distance expedition.
Ramesses III (1186 to 1155 BC) writes regarding his expedition that he sent to Punt:“I built great ….which were equipped with countless crewmen. Landen with products beyond number from Egypt…(and then) sent to the great Sea of Nuqed, they reachhed the mountains of Punt without any misfortune befailling them ….”
Ramesses does tell us that they sailed on the “Great Sea of muqed” in order to reach Punt. Muqed is usually understood as two words, mw kd, meaning the revers water (the sea that flows backwards) which seems to mean the Sea that goes from south to North. Which allouds to the currents of the Gulf of Aqaba , which are the reserve current of the Nile.
Another important detail, Muqed appears in several series of toponym devoted to Syria-palestine, at Aksha, Amara and soleb. All these names were closly linked to Punt.
A Papyrus from the region of Ramsses IX confirms that this land was bordered by the sea, and it was inhabited by Shosu bedouin. And this lead us to Sinai with the Gulf of Aqaba coasts.
So in conclusion we do know many of the routes taken to reach punt. It could certainly be reached by boat from the Red Sea. During the Old Kingdom this involved crossing the desert east of Memphis to the Gulf of Suez, or Mersa Gawasis or setting off from the Sinai and then throught the so called King's Highway. And it sems that during the Middle Kingdom and afterwards, when the kingdom capital moved south, the Red Sea journey to Punt originated from the port of Quseir.