2017-08-23 15:53:26date was

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  • 7 Essential Tips for the Perfect Winter Holiday in Aswan

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    If your newsfeed has been flooded lately with stunning photos of the beautiful, sunny Egyptian South, you’re not alone: it seems that Aswan is on the top of everyone’s list as their favourite new holiday destination. And who can blame them when it’s this cold and grey in Cairo? Aswan is the perfect destination: it’s got the summer sun, clear Nile waters, Pharaonic temples, tasty food and some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. Here are my tips on how to make the most of this gorgeous destination:

    1. Try Their Coffee

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    You simply can’t visit Aswan without a taste of Gabana; a slow-brewed coffee mixed with spices like ginger and cardamom and full of sugar. You’ll find this coffee also served in Marsa Alam and other parts of the South, and if you’re a coffee fan, you’ll be raving about it for weeks. You’d better watch out, though; there’s a tradition to serving it. You can only drink Gabana in odd numbers, so either one, three or five rounds, etc. They’ll keep serving you until you turn your coffee cup over, so stay alert or else you’ll end up a wired mess on the floor (speaking from experience).

    2. Forget the Hotels, Stay in the Nubian Villages

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    Whether it’s on the island of Heissa or the village of Gharb Soheil, local lodges are cheaper, more fun and definitely more authentic than any big hotel chain on the mainland. You’ll end up eating the delicious local cuisine – the Nubian breakfasts are packed with samna and deliciousness, so bring your sweatpants – enjoying spontaneous live music gatherings and make friends with the very hospitable and kind locals. I recommend Kenzi’s Nubian Lodge on Heissa Island and Nubian Dream in Gharb Soheil. They’ll hook you up with transfers, food and anything else you’ll need at very affordable prices. If you’re feeling adventurous, Heissa locals often open their homes to tourists at a lower fee, but you’ll need to make friends first.

    3. Don’t Leave Without Their Spices & Nuts

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    All self-respecting foodies know that Aswan is where it’s at when it comes to karkadeh, dom and peanuts, but their other spices like cumin, cinnamon and ginger are also heavenly thanks to the dry, sunny weather and fertile Nile lands. Be sure to visit the local market in Gharb Soheil for some spice shopping, and don’t forget to try their dry mint tea or apple tea.

    4. Visit Philae

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    5. Pack Sunscreen

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    I can hear you laughing hysterically right now given the single digit temperatures in Cairo these days, but trust me: it’s summer in Aswan, so be sure to pack the swimwear and sunscreen or you’ll be frying like an egg in a pan. At sunset, the mosquitos will descend like vampires on a virgin, so make sure to bring OFF or lemon eucalyptus oil from Nefertari.

    6. Book Your Flights in Advance

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    If you’re ok with roughing it on a train for fourteen hours, I recommend you book a carriage in the sleeper train for 600LE per cabin (fits two). If, however, you’d rather spend that time actually in Aswan, I recommend you book your flight in advance. Given the floating of the EGP, Egypt Air flights can be quite insane (2500LE for Aswan? HOW? WHY?), but you can bypass this by scouting for cheaper flights advertised on Sky Scanner and Opodo, or book on Nile Air months in advance – it’s like the Ryan Air of Egypt and cheaper than Egypt Air.

    7. Turn Off Your Phone

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    If you’re a fan of Nuweiba, you’ll like Nubia: it’s a chance to disconnect and escape from the noise and pollution of the big city with Aswan incredible landscapes and super relaxed vibes. But if you’re addicted to your phone and looking for loud parties and active days, this may not be your cup of the tea. The only activities you’ll get up to here are climbing sand dunes, swimming in the Nile, taking boat rides and island hopping. Your phone simply doesn’t belong here – unless it’s to take gorgeous photos, of course.
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    By @SuzeeOutOfTheCity

    Read more about Aswan on Suzeeoutofthecity’s blog and follow her Instagram journeys here.

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