TOURING THE TEMPLES… Ashley and Emily at the Philae Temple at the Aswan Dam.

IT ALL came about by chance for two young women, Ashley Waddington and Emily Birchall who originally wanted to go to Asia but the itinerary did not fit in with the leave.

So Ashley had always wanted to see the pyramids and Emily wanted to go on safari, so they did both. Their first stop was Cairo, the capital of Egypt.

Both Ashley and Emily could not get over the traffic. Cars by the thousands and they were everywhere. Emily says they have indicators but she did not see them being used, instead the car horn is the main way of getting the other driver’s attention.

They were soon on a bus heading to Alexandria, the ancient capital of Egypt. It’s a very modern city but the outer suburbs are home to the very poor.

They visited an ancient lighthouse and also saw Pompey’s Pillar, the largest ever constructed outside of Rome.

Now it was back to Cairo and the exciting Museum of Ancient Egyptian History. They saw Tutankhamun’s death mask and the wonderful treasure that was buried with him.

Another must see is the Mummy Room where many of the well preserved mummies are on show. The museum is just packed with ancient relics. A new museum is under construction and when completed will house these priceless relics and will have air-conditioning too.

While in Cairo, Emily and Ashley say you are aware of the huge constructions on the edge of the city so next stop was the pyramids.

They are just massive. Standing on the Giza Plateau together with the Sphinx they are incredible to see and as you travel Egypt you become aware of the huge number of pyramids throughout the country.

Next an overnight bus to Luxor where massive temples, huge obelisks and rows of Sphinxes provide a breathtaking experience.

They took a felucca, a local boat with a massive sail, to glide along the Nile stopping along the way. They visited a Nubian Village and dined with them. Emily says the Nubians are so friendly and they could not do enough for them.

Further along the Nile they reached the Aswan High Dam and in its waters the Philae Temple moved to its present location as the waters of the dam rose.

They also reached Abu Simbel. Again a massive temple complex moved to a new site above the water line.

Last they visited the Valley of the Kings and it was a case of keeping the best to last. They entered three tombs and they were amazed at what they saw in the tomb of Ramses the 4th the colours of the paintings and etched images on the walls were just mind boggling. It was a truly wonderful experience.

Leaving Egypt they flew to Dubai for two days and their first experience was a desert Safari. Racing across the sand dunes in 4X4s they would slide sideways down the dune. Both Emily and Ashley say this was an incredibly exciting experience. Then that night they attended a dinner in the desert complete with belly dancers and even a Swirling Dervish with his great gown swirling around. The hem caught on fire so the dancer removed it to put it out. It was of course all just part of the act.

Now they flew to Johannesburg in South Africa and spent two nights at the Kruger National Park game driving. They saw the big five; lion, elephant, hippo, leopard and buffalo. They camped in small tents during their time in Kruger. They were in an enclosure away from the animals but you still felt you were out there with them as the animals made noises in the night.

Next was Zimbabwe and the Matobo National Park. More game drives, more wild animal sightings and a visit to a village where the people were so friendly they did not want to leave.

Finally they arrived at Victoria Falls. It was the dry season but the falls still put on a great show. Known locally as the smoke that thunders the falls were truly a beautiful experience.

It was time to fly home but what wonderful experiences they had along the way; memories that will remain with them.

Both Emily and Ashley would like to thank Grace Townsend from Helloworld Travel in Shepparton for arranging everything.

Until next time,

Safe Travel’n.

Geoff Vallance.