Research Report: Ben’s Trip to Egypt

Research Report: Ben’s Trip to Egypt

On a recent research trip to Egypt, our North Africa specialist, Ben, enjoyed the sweet life on board the Flaneuse du Nil, a traditional dahabieh sailing boat. Along with cruising down the Nile from Luxor to Aswan, he ate dinner with a view of the Pyramids of Giza, explored ancient tombs and learned about an ongoing scheme to keep the Nile clean. Interested in experiencing Egypt for yourself? Read on to learn more about Ben’s trip and a few of his top travel tips.


Where did you visit?

I spent two weeks touring Egypt to experience the country’s highlights and hidden delights, including the capital of Cairo, the port city of Alexandria, the little coastal town of El Alamein, and Siwa and Fayoum, two gorgeous desert oases. I was also lucky enough to cruise down the Nile from Aswan to Luxor aboard the Flaneuse du Nil, a traditional dahabieh sailing boat. Sailing on the Flaneuse over other boats is extra special, because its small size (there are just seven cabins onboard) means it can reach small villages and islands that bigger vessels can’t access.



What did you get up to?

During my Nile cruise, I visited some of Egypt’s historical temple sites, including the Tomb of Seti I in the Valley of Kings, which is the longest, deepest and most elaborately decorated tombs there. I also sand-boarded down dunes, ate lunch overlooking the pyramids (twice!), watched the sunset over Cairo and swam in the incredibly blue Salt Lakes at Siwa.


What made your trip special?

As I was travelling outside of Egypt’s peak tourist season, I got to explore new areas with few tourists which was amazing. It was also great to see that, despite safety concerns over recent months, Egypt is still the same spectacular country it’s always been.



Did you learn about any hidden gems?

The lesser-visited desert oases of Siwa and Fayoum were both fantastic to explore. Each combines rolling dunes with fertile plains fed by natural lakes, creating the most stunning landscapes. In Cairo, I also visited the headquarters of Very Nile, a non-governmental organisation working towards cleaning the Nile. They remove plastic waste from the river, upcycle it into useable products like shoulder bags, wallets and passport holders, and educate local children on the importance of keeping the Nile clean.


What’s your favourite thing you ate?

It’s hard to narrow it down to just one thing, but saying that, I adored the freshly cooked feteer, a flaky pastry packed with butter and dipped in goat’s cheese. Onboard the Flaneuse du Nil, the chicken stuffed with herby rice was also divine.


What new things did you learn?

Locals greatly appreciate visitors speaking even just a few words of Arabic. A little effort goes a long way, and it’s easy to memorise some words or even carry a phrase book. An easy way to get you started is to use shukran, which means thank you.


What was something you’d never done before?

I’d never visited the Grand Egyptian Museum, also known as the Giza Museum, located near the pyramids. It was only partially open when I visited, but when it’s completed, it’ll be home to some of the world’s greatest ancient treasures and will be well worth a visit.



What’s one thing that can’t be missed?

The Tomb of Seti I in the Valley of the Kings. It’s much deeper than the others, allowing for an extra mile of painted walls and ceilings that demonstrate exceptional craftsmanship. The artwork is so well preserved that it feels like you’ve stepped back in time.


What’s a top tip you’d give to clients?

Always stay hydrated. If you’re visiting between March and October, it’s worth getting up early in the morning to avoid spending too much time under the sun when it’s at its strongest.


Header Image by Olivier Romano | Body Images by Ben Williams.