Exploring the East of the Nile

Dear Tim,

I’m glad you enjoy the Frontline club, it’s a great asset to have somewhere so congenial to meet for business and pleasure. One of the benefits of being a member of the Explorers Club.

The security situation here in Egypt is much the same, the tourist industry is in it’s fourth year of decline, in some way this is where ISIS/DAESH have won, by destroying the economies in the near and middle east countries that relied heavily on tourism for foreign exchange - it is tragic to say the least.

UK based tourist agencies have been in talks with the FO about getting the travel ban on Sharm el-Sheik lifted sometime in the New Year. However as you know I got an EasyJet flight to Hurghada on the Red Sea coast of Egypt, as I had the opportunity to explore the Eastern Desert, which as the name suggests is the area east of the Nile up the the Red Sea coast all the way to the Sudan border. The Foreign Office has no travel restrictions imposed on the whole of this area and after running about having meetings with the chief of police and the head of the tourism office, we secured permissions to travel across and throughout the southern part of the Eastern Desert.

The following morning to our surprise, instead of a guide, Sheikh Mar-Ey turned up to personally guide us around his lands, west and SW of Hurghada. Over the next two days we encountered many Roman ruins, hidden springs and rock art that no European had ever set eyes upon. The following week proved to be even more dramatic, when we met Sheikh Abdullah of the Abdabda, at a small roadside mosque in the coastal village of Qusier. From here we moved West, back into the desert and to even more impressive ruins, temples, pre-dynastic rock art, wide sandy Wadi’s and star studded nights around the campfire. After chatting with Sheikh Abdullah about the size of the tribal lands that he governs, it became apparent that it would be possible to trek across the Eastern Desert, supported by camel’s, from the Red Sea, finishing on the Nile at Edfu, then carry on up the Nile by Fellucca three days to Luxor.

No one has done this in recent times and I feel another epic desert trek is in the making.

We will chat more about this when I get back in December, I still have to go to Cairo to get my membership to the Egyptian Geographical Society and get down to Dahab.

Sam