15 March – Abu Simbel

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A bunch of our group are up at 3am to join the armed convoy to Abu Simbel. We get to sleep in a little as we’re getting picked up at 7:30 for our 9am flight. We arrive a the airport quite early but don’t even start to board the plane till 8:55am. When we finally get on (1/2 hour to board) the seating is really odd. Everyone has been loaded on the left side of the plane. I think we’re the youngest people on the plane by at least 30 years.  I swear these people have never flown before as they keep getting out of their seats and playing with their bags etc.  We finally leave at 9:25am.  It’s a really short flight to Abu Simbel but you do get to admire the enormity of Lake Nasser. Once we land we look for our bus to take us to the site.  We wonder outside and don’t see anything promising.  There’s bunch of taxi’s and vans in the carpark happy to take us but we have to pay.  Starting to have flashbacks to being stranded at the airport in Peru we start to worry a little and contemplate just taking a cab.  Eventually we find the bus..it’s at the very back of the carpark, past all the cabs with a small Egypt Air logo.

We finally make it to Abu Simbel at 10:30 and have to be back at the bus at 11:50 so we rush to the ticket window and skip the guided tour.  We run around and take a bunch of pictures before going inside where we aren’t allowed to take pictures.

The temple makes my jaw drop. There are a bunch of rooms all with chiselled inscriptions in such detail.  There are 8 huge statues inside the doorway acting like guards and a statue of kind and family at the back that are only lit by the sun on 2 days of the year.  It is truly amazing that they shifted this temple 60 km from it’s original location but I’m glad they did! It would truly be a tragedy to have left this to be flooded by the new dam.

I was quite disappointed by the flight as it was very expensive, only gave us 1 hr 20 mins at the temple and left us there in harsh sunlight.  The other group left in convoy arrived just on sunrise and got much better light and cost them 1/10 of what we paid. In hindsight I would have chosen the convoy.  I had tried asking for flight times when we booked to no avail and was told it was the best experience.


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