Interacting with locals is one of the most attractive features of any Peregrine Adventures tour, but – as a group of Travellers Choice members recently discovered on an exclusive Egypt Adventure educational – sometimes the most memorable moments happen when you’re alone.
As part of their eight-day educational the agents were looking forward to a mid-afternoon visit to Abu Simbel, but thanks to a serendipitous delay, they arrived later than anticipated.
“The crowds had just completely disappeared,” says Lucinda Metcalfe from Maria Slater Travel. “It was ridiculous because it was just us, on the banks of the Nile, standing beneath these four enormous carved statues of Ramses guarding the Great Temple.”
There were, however, still plenty of opportunities for interactive experiences during the tour, including a boat ride to a Nubian village for dinner with a local family.
“It was nice because it didn’t feel too contrived,” says Metcalfe. “It was like we were Nubian friends who had just turned up for lunch. Everybody we met was lovely and trusting, and one shopkeeper even asked us to look after her shop while she popped out to get something.”
There was, however, one encounter with a local that was a little disconcerting.
Kerry Fiske from Clayfield Travel Professionals was on the outskirts of Cairo, taking a camel ride around the Pyramids of Giza, when she attracted the attention of an amorous local.
“One of the other camels took a liking to me and he put his head under my armpit and left it there,” says Fiske. “Then he began to run his head up my leg and slobber all over it for the whole 20-minute journey.”
The journey also included visits to Aswan and Luxor, from where the group explored the temple complex of Karnak and the Valley of the Kings. But for Fiske the real highlight was the group’s overnight journey up the Nile on a white-sailed felucca.
“There is something very special about a night-time felucca. You can watch the sunset reflected in the water, and experience all the sights and sounds of people and animals along the banks. In the evening the crew set up a gangplank, lit a fire on the bank and started singing songs, and we were joined by local kids. You don’t have those sorts of experiences at places like the pyramids.”