Pharaohs, Ponies and Palaces, Oh my! (Review)

This year, I was blessed to yet again, spend a few days with the lovely Emma and her team in beautiful Luxor. I first met Emma and her ponies in September of 2016, when I spent a week riding with her across the deserts of Luxor and through the seas of Makadi Bay. Such was this first experience, that I vowed to return.

I was fortunate to be able to do so, and I will again! Having seen many temples and tombs on the first visit, I was determined to return to my favourite temple in Luxor – Medinet Habu, as well as to see sights I hadn’t visited the first time. I simply gave Emma my dates, and she, together with her wonderful Egyptian guide Amel, arranged a wonderful trip to places I hadn’t yet seen, as well as back to my magical Habu.

On this occasion, we began in Aswan, where we dined at The Old Cataract Hotel of Agatha Christie fame, visited the stunning Abu Simbel temple, and puttered in a fishing boat across the waters of the Low Dam to the Temple of Philae. On the long drive back to Luxor with Emma’s lovely and very patient driver, Sabr, we visited Kom Ombo Temple and Edfu. Edfu is amazing, and comes very close to Habu as winning the title of my favourite temple in Egypt!

Back in Luxor, my accommodation at Al Moudira, the palace in the desert, was a once in a lifetime experience. A fountain in the middle of my room – why? Why not! It was lovely to see Amel again, and she and I returned to Habu (her favourite as well), and we visited the spectacular tombs of Queen Nefertari and Pharoah Seti I. Dinner on a felucca on the Nile at sunset followed, and as always, the Nile at sunset is one of the most beautiful sights in the world.

Between historical visits, it was wonderful to see my old friend Gypsy and gallop through the sugarcane in the shadow of Mt Thebes. Oh, how I love that mountain!

Emma’s riding guide Mandor promised me he would show me ‘the best day in Egypt’, and he did not disappoint. We rode high above Luxor and the Nile, to the top of Mt Thebes, and stood with the ponies calmly surveying the Valley of The Kings like something out of Indiana Jones. ‘Epic’ is the only word to truly describe this experience.

The following day, he took me ‘scare riding’ – galloping through the desert, up and down the dunes. I told him, ‘Mandor wins Egypt!’ and I’ll always remember his genuine joyful smile at that.

Like the first visit, I never had occasion to feel wary or unsafe, even as a single female traveler. Egypt is a wonderful place, and Egyptians are genuine, happy people who delight in seeing tourists once again walk the streets of the country they love.

Returning to the Ride Egypt team is like returning to family, and I hope to see Emma, Amel, Sabr, Mandor and the rest of my friends again very soon!

Claire (Australia)