Donkey Kong with the locals in Nubian Egypt

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Borrowing donkeys from the locals on the Nile, Egypt

Sailing down the Nile on a Feluca is not just about the river. You have the oportunity to visit with the local Nubian people and if you are fortunate participate in a Nubian meal. What we didn't expect however was a more “interesting” interactions.

While you are on the river the boat ties up to shore each night and being so quiet in Egypt, the second night we berthed we had the little beach all to ourselves.


Just on dusk some local lads arrived and hung back on the bank with their donkey's watching us from a distance. Being the gregarious person I am, I headed over to say hello. I of course can't speak Arabic and they can't speak English but they immediately put their hands out to shake mine and the smiles alone were enough to light up the dusk. Haytham came over to help with communications and before long we were all gathered around chatting through Haythams skilled interpretation.

Brad asked Haytham if they would let him ride a donkey (horse person that he is) and to his delight they immediately agreed. So up hops Brad and then Les and then not to be outdone, Haytham himself. Brad turns his ass around (the one he is sitting on ) and heads off into the ever dwindling light.

This is it I thought.

This is going to be one of those travel insurance stories. Brad has ridden off in to the Egyptian Interior on some poor farmers donkey never to be seen again. Just as I'm thinking this Les and Haytham follow suit.

The stick which I initially thought might be to beat the donkey is actually used like a divining rod. They move the stick into the donkey's line of sight and he will instinctively move away from it and turn which ever way you want him to go. Brad was wanting to teach them how to do it with their legs but Haytham considered that would get lost in translation.

I swear it was like watching jelly in a jug.

They were bobbing around like corks and the little donkeys were at full trot. Thankfully in about 2 minutes they returned triumphant, Brad even working out how the joy stick worked and had managed to steer his donkey, and luckily the others followed suit.

These local lads were hysterical at the boys lack of donkey riding skills and once again – the local interaction made our night. It was so great to meet some local people who's generosity with what must be their major asset (no pun intended) knew no bounds.

​I'm sure they went home full of the stories of the weird whities who couldn't ride an ass for love nor money. We still talk about this today and I'm sad that somehow I lost my notes with their names.

Thank you guys – you made our night!

Brad, Haytham and Les on the donkeys.
Brad, Haytham and Les on the donkeys.

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