Ride a camel to St. Simeon’s Monastery on a private, 3.5-hour tour on Aswan's Elephantine Island. Glimpse faint traces of fresco paintings as you explore the 7th-century site, and take in stark views from the fortified walls. Learn the story of the monks that used Elephantine Island as a basecamp for missionary trips into Nubia, and find graffiti left by Islamic pilgrims during their long journeys to Mecca.
While visiting Aswan by way of Uniworld River Cruises. We decided to take a break from the normal
schedule and hired a Viator Guide for a private tour to St. Simeons Monastery.
This turned out to be a very great decision! Ramez Saber and a representative of Viator met us at the
ships front desk, we walked a short 50 yards to another small boat and set out to cross the Nile. During the short sail we got to know our guide Ramez. He had deep knowledge of the area, articulate and delightful charm. Once docked, we were met by 3 guys and 3 camels. For about 40 minutes we rode
camels, led by the young guys to St Simeon Monastery. It was a beautiful, 85 degree, low humidity day. The sun was definitely intense so I was grateful to have worn long sleeves and a scarf Early February.
If you have ever watched Queen of the Desert with Nicole Kidman, you will have a sense of what this
short journey was like. It is a landscape that takes your breath away!
We stopped at The Monastery and Ramez began with exciting stories of how the Monastery came to be
and why it was used. We spent an hour weaving in and out of its many rooms, thankful for Ramez as I would have surely been lost. The fortress-like 7th-century Monastery of St Simeon was first dedicated to the local saint Anba Hedra, who renounced the world on his wedding day. It was rebuilt in the 10th century and dedicated to St Simeon. From here the monks travelled into Nubia.
Afterward, we saddled up once more for a short trip to another docking area. A boat was waiting to take us back to the ship via a longer scenic ride through the Nile. Ramez took great care to make certain we were entertained and at ease the entire 3.5 hour trip.
I enthusiastically recommend this private excursion to The Saint Simeon Monastery with Viator Tours and Ramez Saber!
Sean F Canada
Joanne D United Kingdom
Janet H USA
Camel ride was fresh experience for us but the whole tour was not so special and a bit boring to be honest. The tour guide was wonderful though, with very good English knowledge and very friendly.
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