I travelled to Egypt with my partner for a well deserved holiday that we both needed. Everything about the holiday was fabulous. We had a great hotel, fantastic weather and the tour operator was faultless. Then the trauma started.
We booked an excursion through one of the small independent Egyptian operators in our hotel. We wanted to go horse riding in the desert, with drinks and snacks waiting for us at the end, and just generally have fun. Only I didn’t want a horse, I wanted to trek on a camel, seeing as though we were in Egypt and going to the desert. What a mistake that was!!
There were 7 of us in a group, 6 on horses and me on a camel. We set off and after about an hour we were well into it. The only problem was that my camel couldn’t keep up with the horses, and it was very uncomfortable sitting in-between the humps. I lost sight of all the others and was left behind on my camel with my Egyptian guide and a really sore bottom. My partner was worried and came back to find us on her horse. It was dark by this time, with no one to be seen. I was so scared and so sore by this point. Our guide told us to get into this desolate tent we had stumbled upon, so we didn’t get cold. I felt really uncomfortable with this, especially as we didn’t know or trust these strangers. As we did he started ringing people and gabbling in foreign tongue, and we had no idea what they were talking about. I started to panic more as this was happening and my imagination went wild wondering what was going to happen to us here in this tent.
After a time, the guide said we needed to head back to the start point of the trip, where we a lift back to the hotel would be waiting. We walked and walked with such soreness, as I couldn’t face going back onto the camel – it was so uncomfortable, until we arrived back at base camp.
From there we were taken back to the hotel, and were met by the operator who sold us this trip. We told him what had happened, and he was not sympathetic at all. In fact, he said “Welcome to Egypt” and that was basically it. I was so annoyed I didn’t even bother trying to get our money back because I couldn’t bear to even look at this man.
I spent the next 2 or 3 days trying to sooth my backside from the soreness. The moral of the story is to book trips with big name operators with a good reputation, preferably UK based, who have lots of experience. You will get a better service and a better trip all round, and where a good time is promised you will more than likely get that good time!!
My bottom has now recovered but I now, unfortunately, have a great fear of camels.
By Claire Barnard