It didn’t bother me too much before I headed away. When I was offered the opportunity to travel with Dennis, Sacha, Marion and Frank Bunnik on an Egypt travel agent trip, I was truly honoured but I won’t lie and say it didn’t give me pause.
However, the chance to travel to a much-loved Bunnik destination with the Bunniks (!!) was one that I couldn’t pass up. Helping my decision was the raft of positive feedback we’d received from each person who had travelled with us in recent years. Here, more often than not, our clients specifically mentioned how safe they felt and that now is the time to go.
Outside the Egyptian Museum
Welcome to Egypt
I’m naturally a cautious person, perhaps you might even call me a big, old scaredy-cat but any vague, lingering concerns fled my mind when we arrived in Cairo and were greeted by the effervescent Saeed.
Standing with his red Bunnik Tours sign he guided our group effortlessly to the visa counter, through Immigration, to the luggage carousel and to our bus.
Saeed, our local representative, with Dennis & Austin
As we drove through Cairo to our hotel, Le Meridien Pyramids, I struggled to take in the size of Cairo, a city permanently under construction for its growing 20 million+ population. That’s more or less Australia’s population living in the greater Cairo district. Mind-boggling! (A word that came to be used frequently throughout the tour).
The Le Meridien Pyramid, hotel with a view!
The Great Pyramids!
We travelled to the Pyramids, then flew to Aswan to embark on a 3-night Nile Cruise to Luxor, before returning to Cairo to explore the Egyptian Museum, the Citadel of Cairo and the Khan el-Khalili. The journey was seamless with so many highlights, I’ll write more on these soon.
Nile Cruise Fun
Meet the locals
My mum’s comment on my photos was that I looked “relaxed and happy”. I was! I made my decision to go and without a doubt it was the best holiday I’ve ever had. It was the definition of stress-free, I just had to pack my bag and passport and check in at the airport on time. With no logistics to negotiate as I was travelling in a small group, I could focus my attention on enjoying myself and soaking in the incredible history that Egypt has to offer. I had the caring and knowledgeable guidance of our expert Egyptologist, Moufid, and I felt welcomed.
Walk like an Egyptian
Men, women and children waved at us everywhere we went, they called out “welcome to Egypt”, they thanked us for returning to their beloved country.
This is where it stings. In a country where so many have so little, the positive impact we can have is immense. It’s here that question about being safe, that question that everyone will ask quite innocently, is actually damaging.
Making friends at the Egyptian Museum
To borrow from a talk Dennis gave while we were away, I don’t want to convince you to go.
Things can happen to you anywhere you go in the world, afar or at home. An organised small group tour with a reputable company that has strong, long term ties with its on-the-ground operator is a different consideration to independent travel altogether. I travelled with the Bunniks and undoubtedly they are experts on Egypt, having travelled to the country on many occasions. You need to do your own research and make your own decision on where you want to travel to.
Meeting our local operators who helped make an incredible holiday!
So, once more, is it safe?
For me, I absolutely felt safe. In fact, it was more than that. I felt safe and welcomed into a country that has so much heart. A country that has a true passion for its historical achievements.
I join the chorus of feedback singing the praises of Egypt and its beautiful people. Everything went as smoothly as that first encounter with Saeed at Cairo Airport.
I arrived in Egypt welcomed by his big smile and left it with his warm hug for farewell.
If you’re yearning to explore Egypt, why not try it yourself in the comfort and safety of a small group.
Moufid, our expert Egyptologist, sharing his wealth of knowledge
Fun in Cairo
All photos by Catherine Kelly