While Alex and I are on our honeymoon in Egypt, we decided to take a 10 day tour with Travel Talk Tours to see the main sights before we settle in the diving village along the Red Sea, called Dahab. I’ll be posting a full travel guide on Egypt and our tour here on the blog in the weeks to come, but for now I wanted to share my favorite part of Egypt thus far: the small nubian village in Aswan called Garbsohil.
This village isn’t on the itinerary with our tour group, but after researching and seeing photographs of this small village, I asked Alex if he would be willing to take a day off from the tour and catch a small boat to the village instead of seeing the High Dam and Philae Temple (and from what our tour guide said, the village is a much better sight to experience)! At 8am, we met with our boat driver Safi along the Nile River and sat down in a small motor boat for a 40 minute ride through the swamps and Grey Herons and Mohens, past the Mosque and riverside villages until we saw a burst of pastels in the distance: the Nubian village of Garbsohil. Small houses brightly painted in light blues, yellows, oranges and purples and set in front of red and orange desert sand hills, it stood out like a jewel. Once our little boat passed through whirlpools and currents, our little “Jungle Cruise” sped on and we arrived to a group of small children already selling us their beads and trinkets at the steps leading up to the village.
Safi took us to a small Nubian house where they gave us water and we explored the straw roofs and brightly painted walls. Giant crocodiles in small cages sat in the living room for tourists to feed, and I felt so sad and distraught by the sight of these alligators that have been caged up for four years, that I kindly mentioned I didn’t want to feed the reptiles and expressed my concern over why they were in such small enclosures. Tourism leads to animal exploitation, in this form, as well as the abuse I’ve witnessed of their donkeys and camels. (That’s for another blog post.)
After exploring the home, Safi gifted us some pineapple juice in the sweltering 104 degree heat, and we wandered the small nooks, corners, and hills snapping away photographs, chatting with Safi and admiring the spices placed in the bazaars. We arrived around 9am, and with the markets not fully open until 11am, we decided to head back to the river after an hour or so. The heat was too unbearable, and the village was so small we had explored all that we needed to. Lastly, Safi took us to a beautifully decorated Nubian hotel called Anakaoo meaning “our home.” The owner of the hotel was so gracious and friendly, allowing us to explore his grounds and snap polaroids. Much to his delight, I gifted him a polaroid of him in front of his colorful beauty before we parted.
Aswan is our favorite part of Egypt, with the Nile River right at the banks and lush plant life and palm trees set against the bright sandy hills. People are kind and warm, and many of the Egyptians in town care deeply about their animals and the environment. On our boat back, Safi pointed out all the pollution and gasoline that was streaming through the river due to the cruise ships and big tourist boats that dock along the Nile, and the plastic bottles and trash that filled the waters made me severely unsettled. Luckily, there are people like our wonderful guide, Safi, who truly care to make Egypt a cleaner place to live and visit.
July 12, 2018
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