When our felucca with its flapping sails and smiling Nubian crew pulled up at the dock of our Aswan hotel, we knew it was the beginning of a truly magical journey.
Holiday destination and itinerary planned – tick! Flights and trip booked – tick! Now what to pack? What clothing will be most appropriate for this upcoming adventure?
Being prepared for the differences in clothing norms will go a long way towards helping you feel at ease and welcomed in your holiday destination. And it may additionally help, especially, but not only women, avoid unwanted attention.
Ask travellers what we love most about exploring new places and the majority of us will tell you it’s meeting local people.
We are curious to know more about their lives, we want to share a laugh or two and enjoy authentic experiences. This isn’t easy to do when your stuck in touristy hotels, so the best way to make this happen is to spend the night with someone.
Egypt’s exotic charms and its extraordinary ancient wonders have enchanted intrepid adventurers for centuries.
Though of course we know Egypt’s recent political history has been troubled, the news of late is not all bad, with very favourable feedback coming in from recent Intrepid travellers and our local staff.
This is well-deserved recognition for Hossam (known as ‘Sam’) and he joins Intrepid’s team of exceptional group leaders who for the 6th consecutive year have either been finalists or won the World Guide Awards.
As a holiday destination, we reckon the sea gets a bit of a rough deal.
Together with its buddies (lakes, rivers and bays), the ocean makes up 70 percent of the Earth’s surface. Yet, when it comes to planning a holiday adventure – the other 30 percent seems to get all the love.
So if you like to be near nice beaches, swimming pools and sea views, why not take that next step (or splash) and head for the high seas, low lakes and long rivers of the world on one of these epic aquatic adventures…
Seeing the first light of day peep over the horizon is one of those precious moments that we so often associate with our travels. Maybe because at home we’d normally be hitting the snooze button right about now, whereas when we’re on holidays we get to enjoy a peaceful and beautiful start to another day that’s filled with the promise of wonder and discovery. So set your alarm clock and see where Sue Elliot, our Intrepid Express editor, loves to see the sun rise…
Mt Sinai – Egypt
There is something about setting off in the dark that really adds to the drama of watching the sun rise – especially when you have to start climbing stairs and rocky outcrops by torch light. Hailing down one of the camel drivers was tempting, but my group leader assured me we were making good time and we’d be rewarded for our efforts. He was right – we found the perfect place to perch ourselves on the rocks in time to see the sun start to spread its dawn glow across the valley. It was magical – feeling the freezing desert temperatures start to abate, seeing the reds, golds and russet tones dance across the landscape below and joining in a pilgrimage that has taken place for centuries.
Could Egypt’s Queen Hatshepsut have been an explorer at heart and a tourism trailblazer? In 1493 BC she commissioned an expedition to the ancient land of Punt, known today as Somalia, and this first female pharaoh commissioned public buildings and temples that continue to attract visitors to Egypt. Even her own temple adds wonder to the Valley of the Kings, as Intrepid’s Sameh Tawfik discovers…
“Plodding up the undulating hills on the back of a placid donkey has a tendency to become monotonous. However, glancing over the cliff to my right, I have a reminder of where I am and where I am heading. At the base of the steep cliff lies the great temple of Queen Hatshepsut and I know just over the next ridge is something even more spectacular.
In late January, when the 19th Egyptian Marathon took place in Luxor, one special entrant caused some surprise and consternation. In fact the policeman at the car park said that young Felix wasn’t allowed.
After much negotiation by Felix’s companion, Kim, he was able to proceed and win hearts along the way. You see Felix is an orphan and resident of Animal Care in Egypt (ACE). That’s right, Felix is a donkey!
Nothing beats a home-cooked meal, but especially when that feast is accompanied by music, dance and new friendships in a Nubian family home. Intrepid’s Sameh Tawfik knows what’s on the menu, so he can’t wait to get his group to dinner for this special night in Egypt…
“Plodding along on our camels, it seems like an eternity to reach the small Nubian village, nestled between the sand dunes. As we walk through the streets towards the house we have been invited to for dinner, I try not to hurry but my stomach is urging me forward. We are welcomed inside and my group is invited to see where our hosts are cooking our meal. I try not to be impatient as I wait for the food to be served.