An Egyptian Encounter - Week 2.

13th of February 2000 (Day 8)

Up at 5:30 in the dark, breakfast at 6:30, on the road by 7:00 for the (330km) long drive to Mut (within the Dakhla Oasis). Lunch by the road side.

Our objective was Nasser's Hotel (GPS) a camp site described by LPgE as "..the young and likeable owner, Nasser, built this simple peasant-style mud-brick house over a period of two years. He has five rooms for E£10 per person, including breakfast". The track from the main road to Nasser's Hotel seemed very unpromising, the scruffy building site surrounding the hotel unattractive and the absence of any running water unfortunate. Although we had originally intended to camp everybody opted to take rooms (four to a room).

After meeting Nasser (and his laid back American born wife) and having something to drink the place began to feel more attractive. After sharing a sheesha (water pipe) and listening to Nasser and friends play the tabla it felt very welcoming. Recommended. (Tel 092-822727) The water came back on at about 18:00. Dinner was delivered by Nasser's brother, who runs Ahmed Hamdy's restaurant in Mut, and eaten on the hotel terrace.

Internet access!

Unexpectedly our host's wife mentioned that Internet access was possible from the hotel via her iMac computer.

Because the nearest ISP was in Cairo the cost was relatively high at E£1/Min, but it worked!


Nassers Hotel, Mut
Sharing a sheesha.
 

14th of February 2000 (Day 9)

Today was the much anticipated camel ride. Billed in the EO Project Dossier (PD EEN 1099) as "..we travel by camel for a day and a half across the dunes and rose-hued landscape to small and remote oases..".

Luckily the camel ride was for less than two hours and we covered a straight line distance of about 4.3km at a speed of about 6km/hour. All the camels were well behaved (except the one male camel) and were happy to be stroked, scratched or brushed. After the initial few minutes excitement the ride was very relaxed bordering on the soporific.

Whilst some of the group might have wanted to ride for a little longer I do not think anyone fancied a day and a half on a camel.

Our destination was a small oasis where we were met by Michael with the truck (he had a more adventurous trip getting there than we had).

We spent the night in the desert, most of us sleeping in the open.

The evening meal was provided by the camel owners with much music and some dancing.

Our camel route recorded by GPS.
Asad cleans his camel
Asad and Vicky in control?
View from the camp

15th of February 2000 (Day 10)

With the benefit of experience we rode our camels safely back to yesterday's starting point and then took the truck back to Nasser's hotel where we had lunch and collected our laundry (E£1 for "small" things and E£2 for "large" things).

In the afternoon we set off towards Luxor. The usually very reliable Michelin "Africa North & East (954)" map showed the road as an "unmarked track" (black line). In practice a good hard surface road (blue line) existed.

Whilst looking for a suitable wild camp site by the road side (GPS) we became stuck in dried mud. Ten minutes work with the sand mats saw us on harder ground.

During the evening the camp was visited by a fearless desert fox.

Map 954 Baris to Luxor
Stuck!
 

16th of February 2000 (Day 11)

We arrived at Rezeiky Camping (GPS) in Luxor at mid-day. When offered the chance to upgrade from camping to a hotel room for E£10 ($2.85) per person per night most of the group accepted!

Although the hotel offered a swimming pool nobody used it - too cold.

After lunch (provided by Rezeiky's) the group walked up the Corniche (past the sunken advert for Nile Cruises) to the Temple of Karnak, probably the single most impressive monument we saw in Egypt.

In the evening we returned to Karnak for a "Sound and Light" show, that whilst better than the one a Giza was still over long and melodramatic.

Rezieky camping
A Nile cruise boat at Luxor!
Temple of Karnak Templ of Karnak
Temple of Karnak

17th of February 2000 (Day 12)

Most of the group got up before dawn to take a local ferry to the West Bank where they toured the Valley of the Kings on donkey back. (Camels 8, Donkeys 0). In the afternoon we visited the Temple of Luxor.
Temple of Luxor
Ramses II foot!
Ramses II
The Kings Head In the evening the group ate at the Kings Head Pub (LPgE: "English through and through - except that it's open 24 hours a day and the king in question is Akhenaten wearing a Tudor hat".)
 

18th of February 2000 (Day 13)

Abu Simbel Hotel, Aswan

We traveled from Luxor to Aswan in the 7:00 convoy with an armed guard in the cab of the truck. (A distance of 298km.)

In Aswan we stayed at the Abu Simbel(?) hotel (GPS) about 100m from the Nile.

This fine establishment had commanding views over the neighboring rubble, and was convenient to hear morning prayers at sunrise. They were however happy for us to take over their kitchens in the evening.

View from hotel
Abu Simbel Hotel room
Abu Simbel Hotel dinning room
In the afternoon the group visited the Unfinished Obelisk and the Temple of Philae. Building of the temple began in the fourth century BC but most of the surviving structure dates from the third century AD. The temple was a major tourist attraction in the 19th century but was submerged by the Nile after the building of the Old Aswan Dam. With aid from UNESCO the temple was moved to higher ground between 1972 and 1980.
Temple of Philae
Temple of Philae
Temple of Philae
 

19th of February 2000 (Day 14)

Because the road from Aswan to Abu Simbel is considered unsafe, even for a convoy with an armed guard, it is only possible to reach Abu Simbel by air or boat.

Most of the group left for the airport at 3:30! The plane (a very old 707) should have left at 5:00, but actually left at 5:30. We arrived back at the hotel in Aswan by at 10:30. Because of poor organization at both ends of the flight we only had 1 hour and 15 minutes at the temple. Even so the $100 trip was considered worthwhile by most who went.

The Temple of Abu Simbel was carved out of the mountain on the west bank of the Nile in about 1290 BC. The four 20m high statues represent Ramses II.

The temple was lost to the sand until being rediscovered 1813, and was moved (with funds from UNESCO) in 1968. Unfortunately the Egyptians have rather spoiled the effect by putting floodlights on the laps of the four Ramses II statues outside the entrance!

Inside the Temple of  Abu Simbel
Temple of Abu Simbel Notice outside the Temple of  Abu Simbel
The key to the Temple of  Abu Simbel Inside the Temple of Abu Simbel

In the afternoon we visited Kitchener's Island by felucca (sailing boat). The island, given to Lord Kitchener in the 1890s, is a magnificent botanical garden.

"MRick" on Kitcheners Island
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Home pageLast updated 10th March 2000.