I am Megan Crane, aged 13, and in March last year my Mum, Dad, brother, sister and I went on an Explore family holiday to Egypt. It was amazing.
I was really excited about going to Egypt and had read through the tour itinerary and couldn’t wait to do the many activities. The only thing I was slightly apprehensive about was meeting and getting to know the other families that I had never met before but, as always on Explore holidays, this worry vanished as soon as we got out there.
There were nineteen (five families) of us on our tour, plus Marwa, the Egyptian tour leader. All the adults seemed to get on (if having a glass of wine together is getting on!) and all the children had lots of fun together. Everyone made friends straight away and no-one felt left out as we were all between seven and twelve which was great.
After we arrived, on our first full day we were warmly welcomed by Marwa which relaxed us all. She was such a good leader and great fun for the children: she was one of the gang!
We went to the pyramids first which really was the best way to start a holiday in Egypt as they are probably the most iconic thing. They were so big and it made us all wonder how on earth the ancient Egyptians built them. We also experienced the hassle from all the local traders which was new for us but Marwa taught us to say “La” (No) and get them to leave us alone!
We had a typical falafel sandwich for lunch which I wouldn’t say was the nicest food I’ve ever tasted… Followed by going to the Egyptian museum, which was so busy we had to listen to our guide through ear pieces. It was very interesting and was wonderful to see Tutankhamen’s room, you almost had to wear sunglasses, it was so bright because of the amount of gold! We caught the overnight sleeper train to Aswan, which was a nice way of bonding with the group and with Marwa by playing cards.
When we arrived in Aswan we all got to go on a camel ride to St Simeon’s monastery. It was amazing and we all loved ‘racing’ (even though we had no control over our speed or direction!).
In the evening we went in a boat across the Nile to have dinner with the family of one of the felucca sailors. We sat around in the open air courtyard and had local food as well as some oven chips! Also we got some henna from the women and felt very Egyptian.
A big highlight of the whole trip for me was the felucca trip from Aswan down the Nile. We were split into three feluccas and it was so peaceful going down the river. There was lots of ‘boat hopping’ to play games of cards and ‘Explore Top Trumps’ with each other and the crew as well. We moored up in the evening and had such a lovely time running down the sand dunes, enjoying magic tricks by the crew and singing and dancing around the campfire. The gentle rocking of the boat helped us all sleep really well.
As well as riding camels in Aswan we got the chance to ride donkeys in Luxor - which was a lot more comfortable. It was really fun naming them and I named mine Donald because for some reason he reminded me of a duck! We rode them to Hatshepsut’s temple where we had a very interesting but hot tour and then went to the Valley of the Kings which was amazing. Later we travelled by calash (a horse drawn carriage) to Karnak temple, which was huge!
It was my birthday while we were in Egypt (1st April) so on my birthday morning we had the option of waking up very early for a hot air balloon flight - which of course we did! It was amazing fun and there were stunning views looking down onto the temples and villages. Best of all, I was allowed to let the balloon down after we had landed, which was so cool. We got back to the hotel for breakfast where as an April Fool’s joke the waiters had made curry filled croissants which certainly fooled me! What a yummy birthday breakfast!
Then we went to Safaga, on the Red Sea. I thought the hotel here was definitely the best, it had everything - from yoga to a beach to its own restaurants to a bowling alley! We had a volleyball tournament (on the beach and in the pool) which was great fun. Then we had a meal out where Marwa gave me a birthday present which was lovely of her and they made me a fantastic cake.
My overall highlight and the thing I had most been looking forward to was the snorkelling and we did this on our last day. The whole group got our own boat and went out to the coral reefs to snorkel and see all the amazing fish. They were so colourful and it was so good because you could stay in for ages without being cold. We also got to explore lots of little islands after snorkelling around them and none of us wanted to get back on the boat!
Overall it was an amazing, 10/10 holiday with a fantastic group and fantastic activities and I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone who loves adventure!