In 2018, My friend and I organised a trip to Egypt. A land of wonders. We had both wanted to have a travel experience together as we both shared this as a passion and to tick off seeing the pyramids off our bucket lists.
We found some flights on Lufthansa Airlines and were pleasantly surprised how nice the airline was. We had not traveled by Lufthansa before and didn’t realize that it was Germany’s largest Airline and one of the largest in the World.
We also wanted to see other cities around Egypt and travel throughout. We had done extensive research on ways to travel and initially the plan was to catch the famous sleeper train from Cairo to Luxor, however the price of the ticket was around £100 and the duration was around 9 hours so it wasn’t the most attractive option. We also wanted to see the famous port city of Alexandria in the north.
After extensive research I had come across options of taking up a luxury Nile cruise. This option was intriguing for several reasons. Firstly our accommodation would be taken care of. Secondly we would be visiting several cities on route. Thirdly we will be seeing many of the famous ancient Egyptian sites in the south of Egypt. Food was also provided in a buffet format. Lastly the price of the 5* cruise is a fraction of what this would have cost over 10 years ago where such cruises were only for the elite.
There are several companies who operate cruise ships along the River Nile and depart from several cities such as Cairo, Luxor and Aswan. They all have different itineraries’ for different lengths of time. There were very few that fitted in between the dates we had booked our flights as some started before our arrival date/time and others would overlap our departure. The one I had opted for was one operated by Memphis Tours who are one of the largest tour companies in Egypt and longest serving. They have branches all over the country and are well organised.
When we arrived in the early hours of the morning we were collected at the airport by Memphis Tours at Aswan airport and taken in an air conditioned van to the cruise ship. We waited in the lounge of the ship whilst we awaited our room to be prepared. In this time other people started to arrive over the next few hours. Our room key was given to us and we were pleasantly surprised on how nice the room was and the facilities on board such as having a Television and several power points in the room. The interior décor of the ship didn’t feel like you were on a ship but in a hotel. We had a scheduled meeting our group in a few hours. When we met up we met the other people in our group. 3 of which were families from USA and the other was a family from Mexico.
After lunch we had set off to see various sites in Aswan including the High Dam which slows the flow of water between Sudan and Egypt. An interesting fact is that it also prevents and crocodiles from coming upstream. We had visited the Granite quarries where stones were churned from the ground which were used in many of the historic sites such as the pyramids. The final place we visited was the Temple of Philae. It was a really interesting site as we had to travel by a small boat to the island where the site is located. This site isn’t the original location of this temple but had been relocated due to the risks of flooding following the construction of the Dam in 1902. In the evening Dinner was served and it was followed by a Nubian Folklore show. This wasn’t of much interest to us as a form of entertainment and we preferred to go explore the city. We were constantly asked to go on a horse and carriage ride from some of the local charmers. In the end we thought why not as the price was very cheap and we could make a good amount of ground. We went to a local Masjid (Mosque) which was very nice. After this we had been dropped back to the cruise ship. The young man tried to ask us for more money following the trip, this had been a regular them throughout the trip.
Our 2nd day started very early with breakfast being served really early as we had a number of sites to visit. When we woke up we had wondered what time we were due to start sailing as we didn’t feel any movement on-board nor did we hear any noise from engines. To our amazement we drew back the curtain and realised that we were already moving along the Nile. The first stop we had made was at Kom Ombo where there was a temple dedicated to mummified Crocodiles. The site was slightly bigger than Philae. Following this we continued to sail upstream to Edfu. During this time we had a buffet Lunch onboard. We had a lot of options available to us and the waiters on-board were extremely helpful. We had reached Edfu and crossed the Nile on a small boat then taken on horse carriages to the site of the Horus temple. The temple was really big. The grand scale of the temple was astounding. Please be mindful there are a lot of seller on the route from the car park to the temple who will try their best to usher you in to the tourist shops. If you decide to shop then drive a hard bargain. The temperature rises very high in the afternoon so its advised to drink plenty of water and even wear a head covering to avoid direct sunlight. Following this we went back to the cruise ship where we enjoyed our buffet dinner whilst talking to other passengers. The cruise ship continued up the cruise ship up the River Nile on route to Esna. We didn’t have any stops overnight so we enjoyed the time on the deck where it was a relaxed atmosphere.
On the 3rd day we had an option to do an excursion at our next destination, the famous city of Luxor. We had the option of buying tickets to the Hot Air Balloons. The downfall was that we would have to be up at 4am to travel to the site. As we had long days and we were up very early every day we opted against getting up as there was only a 50% chance the Balloon rides would go ahead due to winds. The rides did eventually go ahead without us. As a group we travelled to the West Bank where we first seen the Colossi of Memnon which was very strange as they created an interesting set. We continued on to the Valley of Kings where there are several tombs of Pharaohs including the World Famous Tutankhamun ( the Child Pharaoh). It was very interesting. The tickets were all included as a part of our Tour package which was another benefit of taking the cruise. Due to crowds and time limitations we only went into a handful of tombs. The journey continued to the next site which was my favourite site which was the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut as the scale was breath-taking. The site was carved into the mountains and it was no mean feat. We returned back to the cruise ship for lunch and to get some more rest. As we found the food was a bit repetitive we decided to eat out, we tried something interesting which was Camel and it was delicious. In the evening we were taken to the Karnak Temple and the Luxor Temple which were both near to the River Nile. At this point we had seen so much archaeology it started to become a bit much. After the tour it was free time until our dis embankment the following morning. We decided to explore the City of Luxor and encountered some interesting people. We got to meet some Egyptian Christians who were very hospitable and very nice. We enjoyed some great conversations and they even offered us some free tea.
The Next morning we left the ship and travelled to Luxor Airport to travel to Cairo. We were met by Khaled who is someone I met the year before in Saudi Arabia for the Muslim Pilgrimage of Hajj. Khaled took us back to his village which was a long drive due to the immense traffic around Cairo. We were greeted with an amazing meal, all home cooked. Some of the dishes were interesting such as a local delicacy of Pigeon. We spent the evening walking around their farm and meeting some locals as well as climbing the top a Masjid.
In the morning we went to the World famous Al Azhar University which was founded over 1000 years ago. Although under construction we got to go inside a small part of it for prayer. We saw that there were many students from Indonesia and Malaysia as well as other Asian countries. We continued on to another famous location which is the Khan Khalili market. We spent a few hours exploring even though we did not buy much. In the night Khaled organised a 5 a side football match with the locals. 8 of us travelled in and on a car through the village and to our surprise the facilities were outstanding. The latest 4G surface was used and the pitch was caged off. In the night we sat around talking whilst enjoying tea.
The next day we travelled into Cairo to visit the Museum and saw a lot of artefacts. The security on site were a bit stubborn and delayed us some time at the entrance as they didn’t like the look of us. We got to see the remains of some of the Pharaohs such as Ramses II and the cast helmet of Tutankhamun. It was very tiring walking around the museum for hours. There is no food available on site so be sure to eat beforehand. We grabbed a quick bite to eat before deciding to ascend Cairo Tower. Although the views were awesome, we felt having queued up for several hours probably wasn’t worth it. After this I wasn’t to visit the first Masjid constructed in Egypt which was south of Cairo called Amr ibn AL-Aas Masjid, named after a companion of the Prophet Muhammed peace and blessings. We want later went to Giza as we really wanted to visit the Pyramids before our departure. We struggled to find a hotel at short notice but in the end we finally got some joy. It was mystifying seeing the silhouettes of the Pyramids in the Night.
In the morning we got up had breakfast then made our way to the Pyramid site. It was amazing. The size of each stone was incomprehensible. I did climb a few steps before being asked by security to come down. We walked around for a while but because of the heat and how far each Pyramid was from each other we decided to take a Horse ride was extremely cheap. It was a pleasurable way to see the Pyramids and well worth the money. We got to see the Sphynx which was a weird spectacle as it was clear the head did not belong to the body. Unfortunately we didn’t get a chance to go inside the Pyramid as we were tight on time and the queues were heavy. We went back to Khaled’s house to some more local cuisine, this time grilled fish.
The next day we left with heavy hearts. We made some great friendships and enjoyed great experiences.
This video was shot on my Smartphone and was intended to act as a memory of my trip. I decided to edit it together to show my friends and family who all loved it. This is what led me to invest in a camera and document my travels better. This is what gave birth to my YouTube Channel.
IF you have any questions about my travel or need any tips or advice. Feel free to drop a comment below and I’ll be sure to respond