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It has been a very long time since I have had an afternoon nap of any form, let alone a nap exceeding two hours! I have just woken, in my cabin on board the MS Miriam, a five star ship used by Insight Tours on the mighty Nile.

My father and I are on a nine day INSIGHT Wonders of Egypt tour and we are on Day ? I really do have to think hard to work out if it is Sunday (Mothers’ Day in New Zealand according to a text from my sons) and Day four of our tour. The hazed vista of Egypt is drifting by and the temperature is close to 40 degrees on deck. The boat seems to have slowed down for a moment and I hear “helloo!” “helloo!” from outside the cabin. Way down below on the river, boats swarm next to our boat laden with salesmen holding up long robes for sale. Always a potential sale wherever we go.

We have put in some big days since departing New Zealand a week ago. Today has been the first let up of pace combined with the heat, makes for a fairly testing schedule.  There are a couple of tips to take note of when considering an Egyptian Experience.

Water! We drank bottles of it. I do not even like water but Insight provides us with a continuous bottled supply and I would go through three to five a day.

The Heat! It is mid May and the temperatures are 35-40 degrees plus. Even with the breeze on the river it is still stifling.

A strong constitution! Because of the heat we start the days early, generally leaving for sightseeing by 7.30am at the latest, so it makes for long days. There is a lot of walking, you need to be fit.

To tour or not to tour? From a strongly independent spirit experiencing my first tour, I can highly recommend it in a place like Egypt. We have 26 people in our group, all nationalities and ranging in age from 25 to 75. Our tour guide Hatem is a scholarly soul, passionate about his country and full of facts and stories to prove it. We are looked after every step of the way.

Today amongst 50 tour coaches at the Temple of Hatshesput, our Insight coach was closest to the gate and we were let through a separate entrance, only due to Hatem’s contacts. The information we receive as part of our day is enormous.

My favourite sight – the poor, sad little overworked donkeys toiling away wherever we go.

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