Why is Egypt the best destiny for horseback riding holidays?

Matias Carrillat

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This land, in which renown pharaohs are buried, and where rays of light hit the desert, is the ideal place to get to know on a horseback ride. Egypt means not only intensely galloping around the desert, but having time to relax in the Red Sea, all of it while taking all its culture in.

Why Horseback Holidays in Egypt?

Located at the northeast of the African continent, Egypt is a land characterized by the opulence of its landscapes and history, engraved in its more intimate hidden corners: travelling around this land means travelling in space and time.

 

Famous for its historical pyramids, which, no surprise, are considered one of the seven wonders of the world, is not the only attraction in this land. The greatness of Egypt is not only found in its monuments but in the life lead by those who inhabit this land. The history and culture of this region remain present among local families, its alleys and every site that has its essence imprinted. In a way, peace and mysticism will reach its highest point when, at the shores of the Nile river and as writer Jorge Luis Borges said, we “exhaust its intimate deserts”.

 

Following you will find a description of the aspects that stand out the most.

The best horseback holidays in Egypt - landscapes and geography.

On the one hand, the Valley or Upper Egypt. A vast territory located amid cliffs that outline the desert and the fertile lands where human life develops. There, we will breathe the fresh air of the green oases that conform this great land and we will enjoy its agricultural landscapes. We will see wheat, sugar cane, fruit and vegetable plantations, all based on a plain surrounded by houses built with natural materials. Here, we will find the famous Valley of the Kings, a site famous for being the place where the pharaohs walked and were later buried, including Tutankhamun and Hatshepsut. Discovering sarcophagus and chambers is a fascinating activity: a great portion of Egypt is buried and our job is to unearth it.

 

Of course, and according to the spirit of Africa Horse Tours, we can live this experience on a Luxor horse: Have you ever wondered what it feels like to gallop across deserts filled with history and in the magnificent waters of the Red Sea?

If we follow the course of the river, further north, we will discover that green areas are not disappearing but just beginning to appear. The Delta or Lower Egypt, distinguished by its agrarian power, has a usable land extension twice as large as that of the valley. It is here, in the northern area, where the famous Giza pyramids and the tombs of millennial pharaohs are located, a tour that can be done on horseback during the Phantoms of the Desert experience.

 

Of course, throughout this green area we will meet the Nile, the “father” of all rivers. With an extension of 6400 kms, this is the second largest river in the world, which not only mesmerizes you for its majestic waters, but for having rocked the development of the Egyptian life and economy. If you really ponder over the Nile, you will transform the way in which you understand our presence in this world: how come that we, simple mortals, can observe such a millenary river that has been running in the same way it did three thousand years B.C?

 

In the eastern part, we will find the incredible Red Sea, the one that, according to biblical texts, Moses opened in two to cross to the promised land. Although we cannot dear to do that much, we can go into the sea with our horses during the Tombs, Pyramids, Pharaohs and The Nile experience: a ride through history. As with the other regions, this paradise with fantastic beaches contrasts with the dusty and reddish mountains that surround it.

 

At the other side of this land, in the western desert, we will come across Wadi El Rayan, one of the most important natural reserves in the country, a place you will be able to admire with our Phantoms of the Desert horseback experience -we highly recommend it. There, different landscapes come together: oases, mountains, rocks and waterfalls. And if we carry on, the Wadi Hamra will be waiting for us with its reddish sands: an image worthy of the Martian chronicles of Bradbury.

 

Finally, we cannot forget the Sahara, this immense and enigmatic area in the African continent. In a matter of two centuries, this land went from being a fertile land of green plains, humid mountains and deep valleys, to a completely dry area. This forced its inhabitants to migrate to new territories. But before leaving this land, they left their tracks in caves and on rocks. Maybe, the most incredible thing is not those anachronic painted or carved scenes, but the fact that they are still there after all this time. A hint that there are memories that not even time can erase.

The best horseback holidays in Egypt – flora and fauna.

When we mention Egypt, we possibly envisage extensive blankets of sand that cover all the ground and makes us feel thirsty. However, this country is not all desert and aridity. Beyond the dunes of the Sahara, we will discover green and exotic flora, a view that will seem to be the result of a mirage. The regions of the delta, the Nile valley, and the oasis in the middle of the desert gather most of the vegetation.

 

Firstly, the agriculture developed in the fertile lands of the delta provides us with landscapes surrounded by vines, garden products and flowers such as roses, jasmine, and lotus. Secondly, in the Nile, we can find trees such as tamarisks, sycamores, acacias, and carob trees, typical of this country. However, without a doubt, what you will not miss are date palms, which extend along the entire river.

 

Now, when it comes to fauna, the arid climate leaves very few native animals out in the open. We will, nevertheless, be able to come across foxes, hyenas, jackals, wild donkeys, lizards, and snakes, among others. But that is not all: in the Upper Nile we will have the chance to sight hippos and crocodiles. And, if we look up to the sky, we will see all kinds of birds: gazelles, pelicans, flamingos, storks, eagles, hawks, owls, to name a few, since these are just some of the 300 species that the land houses.

 

As if this was not enough, the Red Sea awaits with an endless spectrum of colours, textures and sizes in the fauna that inhabits its coral reefs. This subaquatic oasis teaches us that, unlike what we are told by the pyramids, there is life under the ground.

The best horseback holidays in Egypt - Culture

With more than 6000 years old, the Egyptian culture underwent numerous changes due to its contact with invading peoples. Therefore, today it constitutes an amalgam between its ancient heritage and that of the civilizations that have come together in the territory during subsequent centuries. Arabian, Greek and Roman airs are some of the sources of influence that make this an extraordinary culture.

 

Considered a land of history and with monuments declared as World Heritage sites, Egypt reveals an architecture of a millenary past. Colossal temples and pharaonic toms await us through paths of vast sand and sun. But this sea of sand is immense and hides pyramids, the legendary sphinx with a human head and body of a lion, home to millenary fossils, and all kinds of historical relics. We can also find the Museum of Cairo which treasures more than 120,000 pieces pertaining to the ancient Egypt. This journey to the Egyptian past is as amazing as it is immeasurable. It is just a matter of daring to pierce its deep boundaries. A good idea is to embark on this adventure in experiences that combine the best of horseback riding and the unmissable walking tours in Tombs, Pyramids, Pharaohs and The Nile.

 

We cannot but mention Luxor, a city built over the ruins of Thebes which will captivate us with its panoramic views, the incredible Karnak Temple, the biggest religious complex in the planet. Additionally, the place has one of the most important museums in the country.

 

In other respects, we should highlight that inhabitants here are extremely pleasant and welcoming. That is why, in our tour experiences, we include nights of accommodation in guest houses [see more in Accommodation Types]. This will allow us to establish a more intimate bond and delve into their customs. In addition, we can delight ourselves with its exquisite gastronomy that combines Mediterranean cuisine with African and Middle Eastern recipes. With simple and tasty ingredients, we will discover dishes for all tastes -there are also many vegetarian options to enjoy on their menus. Everything is prepared by its humble residents.

 

For all these, travelling to Egypt means so much more than going through the desert and visiting pharaonic tombs. Travelling to Egypt means getting to know more than 3000 years of history living together with an ordinary present.  

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