Egypt: Beyond Planes, Trains and Automobiles

by Emma Hackwood

Getting from one destination to another isn’t always a travellers favourite part of the journey. However John Neill shares the unique forms of transportation he experienced on his recent tour in Egypt with On the Go Tours. From hot air ballooning, to cruising on a Felucca down the Nile River, he shares his amazing experience (and photos) with us: 
I know that I am not alone in saying that one of my life long dreams has been to see the Great Pyramids, explore ancient temples and to snoop around the tombs of the Egyptian pharaohs and kings.  My dream came true when I recently joined a tour with a bunch of my Flight Centre colleagues from around Canada to experience Egypt with On The Go Tours.

Although I love travelling by any means necessary, the typical planes, trains and automobiles that get us quickly from point A to point B are usually the most tiring and easily the most forgettable part of any of my previous trips. When I’m in a destination I want to take it slow; I want to fully experience my surroundings and absorb as much as possible to enrich my soul and form lasting memories. Thanks to my travel companions, who had boundless energy and enthusiasm, the two 15 hour overnight trains I took on this trip turned out to be highly entertaining. However for this article, I want to focus on some unique forms of transportation that had me and my new found friends touring around Egypt in style.

camel ride, egypt

To start off this whirl wind adventure was a caravan of friendly camels who were obedient enough to take us on a ride through the desert. It was a leisurely, yet slightly bumpy ride on the Giza plateau that offered us the opportunity to soak up our desert surroundings and gaze in wonder at the Great Pyramids. Just when I thought life could not get much better, or stranger, a local vendor came by with his donkey to offer us a selection of ice cold drinks. Our camels stopped for a bit, posed with us for some pictures and then strolled back across the desert to bring us to a fantastic look out point where we could again marvel over the Great Pyramids. This was only day one and needless to say, my mind was blown.

Camel Ride in Giza, Egypt

The next highlight on my Egyptian adventure was a two day cruise down the Nile river on a traditional, locally operated Felucca sail boat. Unlike the camel caravan, this was literally smooth sailing all the way.

Felucca Cruise, Nile River, Egypt

Our boat crew prepared meals and shared many laughs with us as we zigzagged slowly down the Nile River which truly brings life to an otherwise vast desert.

Felucca Cruise, Nile River, Egypt

Armed with some inner tubes tied to the back, and an endless supply of cold beverages, we soaked up the sun, swam, spent the night on the bank of the river, checked out a secluded beach and ended with bonfire where the locals played drums and sang songs with us. All that and we even managed to fit in an afternoon nap or two along the way, (life was rough).

Felucca Boat along the Nile River, Egypt

Probably the most exciting highlight of this tour was soaring over Luxor in a locally operated hot air balloon. My slight fear of heights subsided allowing me to enjoy a breathtaking sunrise and to see ancient tombs and temples from heights beyond my imagination. After an early wake up call and a cup of tea on a short boat ride over to our balloon we were quickly whisked away and soaring upwards of 3000 feat. We cruised over vast valleys with tombs carved into the mountain side, ancient temple and views of the Nile and the surrounding city.

Hot Air Ballooning over the Valley of the Kings, Egypt

I could not believe my eyes and had to remind myself numerous times that I was not dreaming.

Hot Air Ballooning over the Valley of the Kings, Egypt

As the day dawned, we floated back down to earth for a smooth landing at a local farm. The owner generously let us snap some pictures with our experienced balloon captain and we gained back our land legs to continue on for a full day of tomb and temple exploration.

Hot Air Balloon group

It is impossible for me to sum up my trip in any amount of words but I am happy to share part of my experience with who ever is interested. Riding a camel across the desert, sailing down the Nile on a felucca and soaring over Luxor in a hot air balloon were all unique experiences to me and I would highly suggest getting out there, slowing down the pace and experiencing the sites from new perspectives.


Looking for more information on travelling to Egypt or with On the Go Tours? John Neill is a Future Team Leader at our Lonsdale location in North Vancouver, BC and can be reach by e-mail or calling 1-866-295-0131