We had a short break & wanted to explore somewhere totally new, we were feeling a lack of creativity & needed some fresh inspiration, I get most motivated and inspired when discovering a new destination that isn’t saturated all over the online world, So we choose to head to Egypt for 8 nights, a mix of relaxing and getting some fresh content!
I’m going to keep this blog pretty raw, I know a lot of people are curious about travelling Egypt, “is it safe” is a question I’ve been asked too many times. So I want to share my experience with you all, this trip wasn’t sponsored at all, and I believe in voicing honest travel experiences, I don’t like when I see bloggers that only have good things to share about every single destination they visit, unless you are truely just lucky enough to not come across any hurdles.. I doubt it.
We flew in from Athens directly to Cairo Egypt,
We were a bit exhausted from a full day of travel, and when arriving in Cairo airport we were pulled up by customs with our gimbal –
Camera stabiliser for video, we explained what it was several times, they eventually took us into another room, where several of the officers all stood around poking and prodding through all our camera gear, after almost an hour of sitting there asking what is the problem, they all pretty much ignored us and told us just to wait, while they all say around, smoking cigarettes & laughing, we felt like they were taking us as a joke, another foreigner stopped by us and said goodluck I’ve been here for hours.. they took off with Jacks passport, and after a few more attempts to get them to hurry up as we became extremely impatient and told them we would just like to get on a flight out of here if they can’t provide any answers on what the problem was, finally we came to the conclusion that they didn’t want us bringing our broken drone into the country so we agreed for them to keep it there until we leave, 2 hours had passed and I hadn’t eaten for several hours so I left jack to go get a sim and some food thinking that he would be coming through any minute now, another hour later no sign of Jack & he wasn’t where I had left, I began to feel concerned being the only tourist around and getting hassled by every passer by for a taxi, a lady even approached me and said you were on my flight why are you still here I’ve been out to my hotel and just came back as we forgot a bag, I explained what was happening and she urged me to get in contact with the British embassy as that’s not a usual process, I asked the same officers who were with us before where jack was and they all shrugged and said don’t know and wouldn’t bother to tell me anything, 3 hours since we arrived jack finally comes through, totally pissed off at the whole situation & process- we made it to our hotel in Cairo finally, exhausted and confused on the entire scenario, but decided to give Egypt another chance as we had been so excited to see this part of the world.
The Great Pyramids of Giza
First stop was the great Pyramids of Egypt in Giza, just out of Cairo. We drove out in the afternoon hoping to catch sunset by the Pyramids, although the site closes at 4pm so sunset inside isn’t possible, we found a rooftop cafe above a hotel for clear views of the sphinx and pyramid, it’s such a shame you can’t be inside the area for sunset, it would be so magical.
After this we left to try get a closer and different view of the pyramids & they were trying to encourage us to go by camel or horse, we were in the back area where all the horses and camels come back after the day & I became really distressed & concerned at the way these animals were being treated, we went by quad instead & the trip to the side of the pyramids was so traumatic for me, going passed so many horses with carts and camels that just appeared to be in the worst conditions I’ve seen, the way they were whipping the horses was horrific, I had to close my eyes I was soo upset, one horse we passed by was bleeding from the mouth, I’m not overreacting when I say this was fucked up and nothing I would want anyone else to see.
When we got to a sand dune with a lovely view of the pyramids we stopped as it was becoming too late for any nice light & a guy and his camel stopped by for some photos, of course this came at a price..
From there we left and headed back to our hotel, I was soo disappointed by what I seen, & extremely traumatised, I just felt so helpless for these poor animals, I can’t imagine the pain and torture these animals have been put through for the sake of animal tourism.
The following day we came back to the pyramids around 10am to enter the area, as soon as we were in everyone’s hassling us to ride camel, ride horse, I got so exhausted from saying no, the pyramids themselves are so incredible, it’s truely such a surreal feeling to be standing by them and just wondering how and when these were created. It’s a quiet time in Egypt at the moment, being the middle of summer it’s too hot for most tourists, and doesn’t help that most the world is too afraid to visit, bonus for us was walking around with little tourists around, which was kinda the whole reason we came, our friend had recently visited and said there’s like no tourists anywhere it’s so good!
I’m so happy I had the chance to visit the pyramids, its always been a dream of mine, I was a bit sensitive to what I seen, but it shouldn’t stop you from visiting, but hopefully this will encourage you to not ride the animals.
Whilst in Giza we stayed at the Le Meridien Giza, although I would not recommend this hotel, It was expensive and the service was terrible! It’s probably cheaper, easier and better value to stay in Cairo and get a transport to the pyramids.
Our next stop was Luxor, we took a flight from Cairo to Luxor & stayed at the Hilton, which was a really nice hotel, prices were cheap & it was so quiet!
The asian restaurant was real nice & also made a great margarita.
The next morning we had a guide take us around to the spots, first up was Karnak Temple, which was SO incredible, next was Valley of the Kings, to visit the tombs and see a mummy! We headed back to the hotel for lunch and some time by the pool as it was so hot, we later headed back to Karnak right before they closed to get some nicer photos in the sunset light, it was certainly worth it!
Karnak Temple, Luxor
Next and last stop; Aswan
We were recommended to visit Aswan by a few people, we only had time for one destination and it was between here and a beach town, we picked Aswan due to its unique spots! To get to Aswan was a 4 hour drive from Luxor, which went really quick!
We stayed at Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Aswan, which is a historic and beautiful hotel! the rooms were soo big & spacious! When we arrived we quickly headed to the back of the Hotel to take a boat ride down the Nile river to the colourful Nubian Village, one of the most unique and surprising places I’ve visited along the way!
Filled with markets, hotels and colourful buildings amongst the sand dunes and along the Nile river, there was a real Crocodile thing going on here, which they liked to hang dead ones on their walls and bring tourists in to see their live crocs, I wasn’t too into this, kinda creeped me out..
Last day visit was to Abu Simbel, it is right on the border of Sudan & 300km from Aswan. We hired a private driver to take us out there, we were pretty much the ONLY tourists there, it was probably my highlight! This temple was buried under sand for many years, and a young boy named Abu Simbel discovered it around 1813, the young boy led explorers there and eventually it was named after him.
The temple was entirely relocated in 1968 by Unesco to save the temple from going underwater from the dam on the Nile.
They estimated that it began to be built in 1264 BC.. which is mind blowing, inside the temples was so beautiful, I loved this place! People were far more chill here & not really hassled at all, no animal tourism.. not really any tourism haha, which made it more enjoyable to basically have the place to yourself!
To end our trip we flew back from Aswan to Cairo & spent the last night there, we tried to head to the famous market in Cairo and ended up spending around 2 hours in a taxi getting lost which was a disappointing way to end the trip!
Most times I leave destinations I’m genuinely pretty sad to be leaving & already start to think about where and what I’d love to see next time, but we both agreed we wouldn’t rush back to Egypt.. But SO SO glad I got the experience to see the sites and learn about some of the history, it truly is such a unique place! I hope they can get through what they are going through, and work on some positive tourism, because they have a lot to offer the world!
All images were edited with presets from our Egypt Collection, now available on www.doyoutravelXgypsealust.com