Desert walkers in the Western Desert - Fathi Abdullah Benghar
CAIRO – 6 June 2017: Walking is an innate human ability. The tradition of walking nature trails is as old as the human race itself. The reasons for walking on the land of Egypt varied from the early migrations in search of food to a pilgrimage towards enlightenment.
Walking undergoes a renaissance in modern times, and while it takes different forms and varies in distances, there is certainly something special about walking in a desert. The distinctive image of a camel caravan moving through the dunes is not just a postcard or an exotic movie scene. Desert walks in Egypt are an attraction enjoyed by visitors from across the globe.
Fathi Abdullah Benghar, a Siwan desert guide, walked with visitors from across the globe including French, German, Canadian, Malaysian and Chinese visitors. Coming from the Far East to walk on the dunes for a few days or weeks seems like a dream journey.
Siwan guide Fathi Abdullah Benghar on Siwan sand dunes – Egypt Today
Could Egypt be the original capital and a kingdom of walking?
There is no surprise that walking in a desert and mountain trekking attracts visitors from afar. Egypt not only has a long history of ancient pilgrimage trails, but it is also a place of discovery of what could possibly be the oldest human footprint, dating 2-3 million years back, according to the outline found in the Western Desert’s Siwa Oasis in 2007. Could Egypt be the original capital and a kingdom of walking?
Footprints imprinted on a rock in Siwa - Fathi Abdullah Benghar
Ancient footprints discovered in Siwa - Fathi Abdullah Benghar
Walk for life solo or together
For those who are just starting to walk daily, an American trekking author and journalist Joel Stratte McClure can be of an inspiration to aim for.
While many Americans report the benefits of walking for weight loss and wellbeing, McClure has been on a walking Mediterranean quest for almost 20 years.
Joel Stratte McClure at Agiba beach, Marsa Matrouh - Monika Sleszynska
McClure, 68 has recently walked the northern Egyptian coast during the months of November and March following the footsteps of Alexander the Great, and has visited Siwa Oasis during the Spring Equinox.
Joel Stratte McClure in Siwa - Monika Sleszynska
Although the distance towards the oasis was not walking, he had proudly reached the desert just like the Spanish character from the famous book “The Alchemist.” The Guinness Record sold book by Brazilian writer Paolo Coelho tells a story of dreams and journeying through the desert. The numbers tell that the story has won readers’ hearts, but what could be better to discover the secrets of the magical journey than a direct experience of the walking in Egyptian desert?
Benghar, the Siwan guide who has been walking with visitors since 2001, reveals the secrets of walking in a desert.
“Through walking in a desert people feel free to discover more than when passing in a car safari. They feel healthier and the blood runs better in the body. It is a soothing experience. At the end of the trip, all body parts have been moved,” he told Egypt Today.
“It is kind of treatment. Everybody says different things at the end. Those who do it for the first time or are not fit report this to be challenging, but not too much,” said Benghar from Siwa Astro Camp.
Fathi Abdullah Benghar - Egypt Today
Walking desert therapy
Egypt offers great options for walking. The programs range from a few hours walk to weeks long trekking expeditions.
Since walking could be an answer to slimmer and happier life, why not to do it in the magical nature locations of Egyptian desert and mountains?
Although the summer is a difficult time and few decide to do so, it is worth to plan in advance and get fit. The walk can be tailored to last for three days to two weeks. It usually starts with a sunrise walk for 2 hours followed by breakfast. For beginners, the first day is scheduled to walk five kilometers, followed by two extra kilometers added each day.
“I do it from my heart, I learnt it from an old person. When you are walking, you see everything differently. I feel a lot of things coming into my body. I eat dates and olive oil, water and lemon. At the end, I feel like a new person,” Benghar said.
Walk and cruise from the Red Sea to the Nile
Dahab-based Khaled Amin Eissa, who is from the Sinai desert expedition team, has been running trekking trips for over 20 years. The participants who come are mainly from England, Switzerland, Germany and Austria take on 20 kilometers in daily trails in South Sinai and the Western Desert. In winters, the walks are in low latitude due the cold temperatures.
Eissa chose trekking for the quality of life. Being in the nature and mountains provides an experience of challenges to transform the outlook on life.
Walking in a desert does not have to be solemnly dry. The innovative “Walk and Cruise” November program offers 160 kilometers of walking from the Red Sea through the Eastern Desert, culminating with two days sailing on the Nile.
Take your first 1001 steps in a desert under millions of stars
Could the famous song “Walk like an Egyptian” (released in 1986 by an American band The Bangles) get a new fashion of walking in a desert? If you are visiting the Egyptian desert make sure to get the “Walk like an Egyptian” pose and send a photo to firstname.lastname@example.org, and then the best picture will be announced.
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