Our trip to Luxor, Egypt this year was one for the books! This horse riding holiday is incredibly special to me, and by far the most unique trip I’ve ever done.
This year’s equestrian meet-up in Luxor started on the 10th of May, but some of us started our travels through Egypt a few days before! Two of the girls traveled to Cairo and Aswan before coming to Luxor, and one of the girls and I met in Cairo to visit the pyramids together! We met at the Méridien hotel at the airport, in the middle of the night as my flight arrived late. We immediately got to chatting, got a few hours of sleep, and headed to Giza the next morning!
We arranged for a taxi to take us from the Méridien airport hotel to our hotel in Giza. The driver asked us if we wanted to go to a bazaar, so we asked him if he could take us to a real outdoor market! He certainly understood, but took us to an indoor shop instead, where you get a ‘tour’ and you’re expected to buy something at the end. We managed to leave without buying anything, but if you’re easily convinced, try to avoid these places! We arrived at our hotel in Giza in the early afternoon, and when we wanted to check in we were actually sent to the hotel next door, only to be sent back to find our rooms in the hotel we arrived at. It might be a bit of a chaotic check-in, but it was a lovely hotel, with views of the pyramids right from our balcony, and a rooftop terrace! We walked around the area for a while, and eventually sat down at a great restaurant on a rooftop right next to the pyramids. We had drinks and dinner as we watched the sun set.
Also read: Why Egypt has something for everyone
The next day we went on a tour, where we really got to know Cairo and Giza! We immediately crashed into a motorbike on the busy streets of Giza. We were going really slow though, and all that happened was the license plate fell off, but still quite the experience. We rode camels in the desert to see the pyramids up close (I was terrified, I’m not a big fan of camels…), and the boy who came with us took about 10 minutes to get the perfect photos of us. We saw the sphinx, and went into one of the pyramids. Afterwards, we had some very spicy Kossery, which was incredible, but burned a bit too much for us! As the Egyptian music blasted in our taxi, we drove to Cairo to visit the National museum of Egyptian civilisation, where we got to see all the mummies. Then we were dropped off at the Méridien hotel again, where we met another one of the girls! We chatted and had some drinks on our balcony, and the next morning we finally went to Luxor on an early flight!
Then it was finally time to explore Luxor on horseback! We all arrived around lunchtime, were shown to our rooms at the Sheharazade hotel, and got settled. In the afternoon, we got to meet the incredible horses, which are crosses between Arabians, Thoroughbreds, and the Egyptian Baladi breed. We covered 175 kilometers on horseback during this trip, and the horses did incredibly well! Our first trail ride was to make sure we all clicked with our horses, and it turned out to be a bit chaotic! Only two of us kept our horses we were matched with, everyone else switched to another horse. This is exactly why we do these short tryout trails, and this way we all ended up with our heart horses. Everyone fell head over heels in love with their chosen ponies! The girls ended up riding Alarma, Zena, Sharifa, and Shams. I got to ride the lovely Fayrouz again! After our ride, we had dinner and drinks at the hotel and we chatted about our first day.
Everyone brought their own fanny packs, phone chords, and riding hats. One of our guides, Mamdoh, brought saddle bags with him on some of the longer rides to keep water bottles with him.
Also read: Beginner horse riding experience in Egypt
The second day of our horse riding holiday started really early in the morning, to beat the heat and spot the hot air balloons from horseback. We started our trail at 4am, and it was so worth it! We saw the hot air balloons at sunrise, rode past incredible statues and temples, and had lots of long canters on the dirt roads between the banana and sugarcane fields.
After our incredible trail ride, we took the boat over the Nile to the east bank to see Karnak temple. We had a lovely local lunch at the Nile, and visited Luxor temple at sunset before going for drinks at the Winter Palace hotel. We took a boat back to the west bank, and bought some snacks for the horses on our way to the hotel for a good night's sleep!
The next day of our horse riding holiday was also an early start. We made our way to the hot air balloons at 4am, only to find out they were not flying today! Oops! On this trail ride we did get to go for lots of long canters again, and not stopping for the hot air balloons meant heading into the desert to watch the sunrise, which was absolutely incredible. Riding horses through the desert and mountains of Luxor is spectacular, and the canters go on forever. The horses start getting excited as soon as their hooves touch the first desert sand! We stopped in front of Habu temple, just on the edge of the desert. Both us and our horses enjoyed a lovely breakfast there, and then we headed on out to the part of the desert with lots of sand dunes! We galloped down the trails, and walked back over the dunes to do it all over again.
The horses had a blast, and raced their hearts out! Just before one of our last gallops, one of our guides found a puppy. This year’s guides were Mamdoh, who we also rode with last year, and Ahmed. The puppy was all alone and looked like it hadn’t eaten in at least a couple of days. Ahmed picked up the puppy and we galloped back to the restaurant we had breakfast at. The puppy was so cute and seemed to actually enjoy the full speed gallop and his ears flapping in the wind. The woman who runs the breakfast restaurant also takes care of street dogs in Luxor, and she happily took the puppy and is still taking care of it now.
After this amazing day of trail riding, we visited the temple of Hatshepsut. On our way back we bought some watermelons for dinner (it’s too hot to eat anything warm!). We relaxed at the Sheharazade hotel, had quite a few drinks, and talked about all our adventures!
The next day we were not really feeling it to wake up at 3.30am again, so we decided to do a short morning ride, starting at 8am. With Nobi, we are incredibly free to make up our own itinerary as we go, which is great! We cantered around the temples of the west bank, and even got to ride just in front of the temple of Hatshepsut, what a sight!!
We took a boat to the east bank to enjoy a lovely lunch at Pizza Roma, which serves incredible Italian food. Egyptian food is lovely (at our host’s house it’s incredible, but at the hotel it’s not the best), but it’s nice to enjoy a pizza or pasta once in a while. When we got back to the west bank, we got to go for a sunset ride in the desert. Galloping our horses down the desert track as the sun was setting behind the dunes and mountains was spectacular! That night we were invited to have dinner with Nobi and his family, so when we returned from the ride we were immediately greeted by the amazing smells of dinner! We chatted to the family, played with the kids, and ate so much amazing food, we felt like we were going to explode.
The trail ride the next day started at 5am, and we were headed towards the mountains for sunrise. I must say, this was one of the most impressive sunrises I’ve seen. The valley we rode through is right next to valley of the kings, and you won’t see anyone else here! We climbed up some of the lower mountains, rode along the top, and galloped on the trails in the valley. We saw caves, and experienced the silence of the valley while the sun slowly came out. We stopped for breakfast at Habu temple again, and checked in on the puppy, who was now eating and playing loads!
We enjoyed lovely long canters on our way back to the stables, and then it was time to say goodbye to two of the girls. We brought the horses back to the paddock, and lots of tears were shed as the girls said goodbye to their amazing horses. The horses got loads of alfalfa, and we headed back to the hotel to enjoy some more watermelon! The two girls made their way over the Nile to a hotel on the east bank as they were flying out early in the morning, and wanted to enjoy a night of luxury at the Winter Palace hotel. Some of us toured the valley of the kings in the afternoon, and we all met at the Winter Palace that night for a goodbye dinner.
Two of the girls, and myself stayed for a few more days of horse riding and sight seeing. The next day one of the girls visited the local ACE hospital and learned all about the lovely people that take care of the animals in Luxor. Nobi went with her, and truly stands up for what he believes in. If he sees any of the horses in the street being mistreated, he says something! We met up again at the Sheharazade hotel, and went for lunch at the Winter Palace on the east bank. We had a relaxing afternoon by the pool before our sunset ride.
We rode the horses through the village to banana island, where we had a little photoshoot in the fields, and enjoyed a drink at the restaurant on the Nile. When we arrived back at the stables, Nobi came with us to the east bank so we could shop for souvenirs.
The next morning we started our trail ride at 8am, rode past lots of temples again, and visited the market with the horses. We later looked for a nice spot to swim in the Nile. As we cantered through the banana fields, we finally found an island where we could swim with the horses.
The girls went over to the island by boat, and the horses swam across! Alarma and Aziza both really enjoyed their swim. Especially Aziza had the time of her life, I’ve never seen any horse that enjoys swimming and playing in the water this much!! It was quite a view, the girls and the horses swimming off an island in the Nile, surrounded by water buffalo.
In the afternoon, the girls got to ride camels through the streets of Luxor, along the Nile, and through the banana fields. I decided to join on foot… Nobi’s camels are incredibly well behaved (I’m just terrified) and the girls had a lovely time before being dropped off by the boats to head to the east bank again for an evening of shopping and watching the sound and light show at Karnak temple.
The next morning one of the girls and myself started our horse ride at 5am to go for a few more gallops in the desert. We got to see the hot air balloons in the distance, and the horses had a blast galloping in the desert while the sun rose. We said goodbye to the desert puppy, and headed back to the stables. The three of us took a boat to the east bank, had a lovely lunch at the Sonesta St George Hotel, and said our goodbyes.
Now it was just myself and one of the girls, and we stayed in the Sonesta hotel for a few more nights! We got to enjoy some luxury, and lounge by the pool. We also explored the east side of Luxor a bit more, and found someone to show us around.
We randomly met this guy in the streets, and the lovely and friendly Egyptian guy showed us the local markets (actually local, without any tourists!). We bought saffron, followed him blindly when we crossed the train tracks as a train was coming, and drank beer in a local taxi bus. It was an hilarious and fantastic day. He even took us to a great shop that sold souvenirs for a set and good price, which meant no haggling! For lunch, he took us to Al Captain’s Seafood, on Luxor Mansheya street, beside Ahbab El Mostafa Herbs. We had some of the best fish we ever had, and for a great price too!
The rest of our stay in Luxor we enjoyed the luxury, pool and great food at the hotel. We however couldn’t resist going for one last sunset ride. The horses were extremely excited to ride after a few days off, and we had a blast galloping through the deserts and the fields. It truly was the perfect ending to the perfect trip.
I can’t thank the girls who came with me enough, you were incredible and I’m so grateful to have met you all. Next year’s equestrian meet-up for experienced riders in Luxor, Egypt is from 5 to 12 February 2024! You can contact me to book. Also have a look on my Instagram highlights to see more photos and videos of our trip this year.
Subscribe to our newsletter