Flying High

Every man on the street in Luxor asks if you either want a ride on a felucca (anywhere) or want to go to Banana Island. In the end we decided to go there on a felucca. Ragabs (part owner) son, Mamoud came with us with 2 people for crew.

The crew - Travellingminstrel #
The crew – Travellingminstrel #1

Since I had learned the basics at Crosby of how to sail (with the sea cadets) I had an idea of what they were doing even though it was miles bigger. We didn’t get the large one but the medium sized one but it was way more than enough for just a day trip.

TUT - Travellingminstrel #
TUT – Travellingminstrel #2

We set off at about 1 and came back at sun set. One thing to remember if you go is that it’s not an island at all but it was good all the same. On the way there, there was always a different bird waiting to get it’s picture taken by me. I am very fond of wildlife and birds so I clicked away until my fingers ached.

Squaco heron,

Squaco heron - Travellingminstrel #
Squaco heron – Travellingminstrel #3
Squaco heron - Travellingminstrel #
Squaco heron – Travellingminstrel #4

Moorhen,

Moorhen - Travellingminstrel #
Moorhen – Travellingminstrel #5

Spur winged Plover,

Spur Winged Plover - Travellingminstrel #
Spur Winged Plover – Travellingminstrel #6

Heron,

Heron - Travellingminstrel #
Heron – Travellingminstrel #7

Unidentified bird,

Travellingminstrel #
Travellingminstrel #8

If it wasn’t for all the wildlife I probably wouldn’t have recommended it as much. If you are not fond or interested in wildlife and were thinking of going it probably wouldn’t be great.

Banana island - Travellingminstrel #
Banana island – Travellingminstrel #9

We reached “the island” and Mamoud walked us down a couple of paths not far into the island.

The Nile - Travellingminsrel #
The Nile – Travellingminstrel #10

There was a small crocodile in a tiny cage and I felt really sorry for it so I don’t think I will put a picture on. I got a few great shots on the way both of views and wildlife.

Pied Kingfisher,

PIed Kingfisher - Travellingminstrel #
Pied Kingfisher – Travellingminstrel #11
Pied Kingfisher - Travellingminstrel #
Pied Kingfisher – Travellingminstrel #12
Pied Kingfishers - Travellingminstrel #
Pied Kingfishers – Travellingminstrel #13

We came back to the main part and sat on a bench eating bananas (you might have guessed that they grow a lot of them here) and drinking tea. They also gave us a few oranges.

2 monkeys - Travellngminstrel #
2 monkeys – Travellngminstrel #14

We all wanted to go (mainly me) to Bird island which was just a 100 meters from “Banana island”. They said yes but you could tell they wouldn’t if we hadn’t asked.

Our felucca - Travellingminstrel #
Our felucca – Travellingminstrel #15

Now Bird island WAS definitely an island. It was full of birds and I had my best shot so far of a Hoopoe that I first mentioned in my “Exploring in Ancient Thebes” blog.

Hoopoe,

Hoopoe - Travellingminstrel #
Hoopoe – Travellingminstrel #16

After the “2” islands we rode home with the setting sun behind us.

Sun set - Travellingminstrel #
Sun set – Travellingminstrel #17

Here are some more pictures:

Black-Winged Stilt,

Black Winged Stilt - Travellingminstrel #
Black Winged Stilt – Travellingminstrel #18

Clamorous Reed Warbler,

Clamorous Reed Warbler - Travellingminstrel #
Clamorous Reed Warbler – Travellingminstrel #19

Little egret,

Little Egret - Travellingminstrel #
Little Egret – Travellingminstrel #20

and a few others.

Before you go I have another day you NEED to read.

This story is about me and my family going in our first hot air balloon. I’m not the best person to contain my fear of high-high heights but I can manage. I was a bit scared of going in a hot air balloon and PLUS it was in Egypt where things are not always exactly 100% safe (but where is). But I went on and I’m glad I did apart from when I found out about something at the end that I was so glad I didn’t hear before.

We had to wake up at 4:30 am to be ready at 5:20. We only got Jed out of bed because he was over excited about going in a balloon as he loves them too much.

We picked a few people up along the way and drove to the “parking” area of the balloons in the dark. When we arrived they went through some safety rules and walked over to watch the people set all the balloons up.

Set up - Travellingminstrel #
Set up – Travellingminstrel #21

There were 5 compartments. 1 was for the pilot which was in the center and the other 4 for the passengers. There was 18 people on board including the pilot and the video man. We soon lifted off the ground and we were off.

We could see Hatsepshut’s temple and the Valley of the Queens.

View - Travellingminstrel #
View – Travellingminstrel #22

It wasn’t long after that we were heading towards the sugar canes. I thought we were going to crash and tip over but luckily we had a pilot that knew exactly what he was doing. Before we could land we were floating upwards again. Here are some of the spectacular views we saw along the way-.

The Nile - Travellingminstrel #
The Nile – Travellingminstrel #23
View - Travellingminstrel #
View – Travellingminstrel #24
View - Travellingminstrel #
View – Travellingminstrel #25
Houses - Travellingminstrel #
Houses – Travellingminstrel #26

As we were crossing the Nile the sun was just rising so that was great on it’s own.

Sun Rise - Travellingminstrel #
Sun Rise – Travellingminstrel #27

We were up in the air for about 45 minutes.

View - Travellingminstrel #
View – Travellingminstrel #28

Once it was time to land we got into our landing position that we were shown before we got on-board (it involved squatting down and holding onto some rope handles facing in a certain direction which was marked out by some ropes) and landed with a bit of a thump (that made it better) but perfectly into a field of grass and sugar cane.

Fire - Travellingminstrel #
Fire – Travellingminstrel #29

The children living nearby rushed out to come and see us and some men came to help put the balloon down. The pilot and “video man” told us it’s very rare to cross the Nile and we were lucky. The good thing was we got a certificate to prove ourselves as well as photos. The mini bus follows the balloon so he was here pretty soon to pick us up and drive us home. It was fab.

Travellingminstrel #
Travellingminstrel #30

On the way home The Ultimate Traveller decided to tell me something. He told me that a few years ago there was an accident with a balloon (he went through all the details) and that a couple of dozen people died and lots were injured, to be honest I probably would of refused to go on one if he had told me that before so I’m grateful, thanks TUT!

Congratulate me!

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7 thoughts on “Flying High

  1. Hi Jasmine got your post card today that was nice and jusr read your blog ,,loved the birds out of this world..The hot air balloon WOW congratulations ..awesome and it will take some beating i guess..you still having the time of your lives what next i wonder..love to all,, missing you xx grandad..

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