The Luxor African Film Festival begins on Tuesday with a screening of Guinea-Bissau’s The Children’s Republic, starring Danny Glover
The third Luxor African Film Festival will begin on Tuesday.
The festival will open with a screening of Flora Gomes’s The Children’s Republic, a joint production between Portugal and Guinea-Bissau, about a small, fictional country in Africa where children rule after every adult abandons the place. The country prospers, but the children can no longer grow.
The film’s director, as well as its star, Danny Glover, will be present at the opening ceremony in Luxor’s famous temple. He will be receiving an honourary award for his long and fruitful career in film.
In the Long Narratives competition, Egypt is taking part with The Mice Room, while in the Short Narratives and Short Documentaries competition, Egypt’s contenders are El-Bostan El-Said Street, Sidhom and Erkie. In the Freedom Films competition, Egypt’s entry is Logical Revolt, while I Am the Film Director, another Egyptian film, will be screened in the out-of-competition selection.
Forty-one African countries are participating in the festival with more than 55 films, in addition to nine non-African countries taking part in the Freedom Films competition.
13 March 2014 – Arriving Cairo
Overseas participants arrive in Cairo. We will assist with hotel bookings and we will be delighted to assist and organize transfers to the hotels (only hotels listed as participating in Kamal Expedition).
14 March 2014 – Opening ceremony – Flight – Drive heading to Gilf Kebir
We will have a transfer organized from the hotels of our choice to the Kamal Expedition Opening Ceremony which will be held at the Automobile & Touring Club of Egypt in Cairo. You also have the choice of joining us independently at the Club if you wish. After a brunch and the ceremony we will be heading to the Cairo International Airport to catch a charter flight to Dakhla Oasis.
At the airport of Dakhla the packed 4×4 cars will be waiting for us and will bring us to have lunch. Meanwhile the last formalities will be finished with the government to have
a fast start to the desert after lunch. Divided into several groups, the participants will be leaving the Oasis heading south on the Asphalt Road. Leaving the road, our first visit will be the Balise of Saviem Trucks which traversed the entire Sahara from West to East in 1977 (from the Atlantic ocean to the Nile). In the area of G-Hills we will be looking for a camping place. In the evening we will have the chance to listen to an interesting lecture on a chosen topic related to the desert by one of our top speakers.
15 March 2014 – Wadi Eight Bells
After breakfast, we will be continuing in groups crossing different desert landscapes to approach the Gilf El Kebir plateau. We will find some relics from the Second World War: broken down Cars which were used by the British Special Forces, the Long Range Desert Group. We will also cross some dunes to reach the landing ground of 8 Bells where we will set up camps nearby. Like every night we will have the chance to listen to an interesting lecture on the desert by one of our top speakers.
16 March 2014 – Gilf Kebir – Wadi Wassa – Kamal El DIn Monument
We will be traveling through the Wadi Eight Bells to reach the Wadi Wassa and the Rock paintings of the Mararet el Qantara which was found in 1935 by a British explorer group under the leadership of Shaw. From here we will be heading south to the southern tip of the Gilf el Kebir Plateau where Almasy erected the Kamal El Din Monument 81 years ago. Nearby, we will find a set up prepared for the group. It will be on that occasion were all the groups will be gathered together and we would have a longer entertaining program for you that evening including the screening of a documentary film. If you do not feel like attending the screening, you could enjoy the calm evening weather some hundred metres away.
17 March 2014 – Camil Crater
After a late evening, the starting of the groups will be delayed. They will be heading to the south to reach the meteorite crater of Gebel Kamil, where they will be camping nearby. The evening will once again be filled with an interesting topic of one of the speakers.
18 March 2014 – Gebel Uweinat – Karkur Talh
The groups will be heading towards Gebel Uweinat to arrive there after a few kilometers looking for camping places in the Karkur Talh area and will be exploring the different sites of the Gebel Uweinat. In the evening there will be a chance of attending another interesting lecture.
19 March 2014 – Rock cave near Peter & Paul
There will be a chance to have a short hike in the mountain in the morning before heading back north to reach some interesting rock art caves near the mountain of Peter & Paul. In the evening another interesting lecture will be organized.
20 March 2014 – Gilf Kebir – Wadi Sura
We will be reaching the area of Wadi Sura (the Cave of Swimmers) which became famous through the 1997 film The English Patient. We will be visiting the Clayton Cave and the Chinati Camp site exploring some rock paintings nearby. Before that, we will have a second gathering in front of the Cave of the Beast. Here all the groups will unite for a second time to watch a short film about the life of the late Egyptian Father of Environment, Prof. Mohammed el Kassas, who died on that day (March 21st) one year ago in Cairo. Through different presentations and a film we will have a second longer night in that area.
21 March 2014 – Gilf Kebir Aqaba Pass
The groups will split up again to move over the Three Castles to the Aqaba Pass to drive on top of the Gilf Kebir Plateau and to cross some dunes which are on top of the plateau. Here we will be looking for different camping areas and have the chance to another interesting lecture.
22 March 2014 – Gilf Kebir – Wadi Hamra
We will reach the higher level of the Plateau and have a nice view at Belle Vue
onto the southern plane. Driving along the edge of the plateau we will reach a passage which will get us to the southern tip of Wadi Hamra. Here, we will be visiting different engraving sites and have a special look at the different Fauna of the Gilf el Kebir area. We will be camping at the northern exit of the Wadi Hamra where each group will get a chance to listen to an interesting lecture.
23 March and 24 March 2014 – Crossing Great Sand Sea
These 2 days we will be crossing the dunes of the Great Sand Sea having exciting passages crossing the dunes from west to east.
25 March 2014 – White Desert
We will be back near the Wadi Obaid and we will be entering the National Park of the White desert. Here a buffet will be waiting for all the participants. The groups will be spread in the National Park and a last evening with lectures will end our evenings in the desert.
26 March 2014 – Cairo – Closing Ceremony in Mena Hous
We will be leaving the White Desert National Park heading back to the road in a northerly direction reaching Baharya Oasis where a lunch will be prepared for everyone. After lunch, a 300 kilometre drive to Gizeh will bring us to the Mena House Hotel at the foot of the Pyramids. After a welcome coffee and cakes, the closing ceremony will be held in the hotel and will include a dinner. The anniversary of the Prince Kamal el Din monument will come to the end of its journey.
for more info visit : http://www.kamalexpedition.com
British tourists wishing to visit the Valley of the Kings, home to Tutankhamun’s famous tomb, can once again do so safe in the knowledge that they will be covered by travel insurance after the British government relaxed long-standing advisories.
The FCO is still warning against all but essential travel to a large part of the country including Cairo and the North Sinai but destinations such as Luxor, Aswan and the Abu Simbel temples in Nubia are back on the map.
“We have agreed on the intensive development of dialogue on tourism. This is an extremely important area of our relations and part of stabilization efforts in Egypt; as I understand, the lift of the state of emergency regime which occurred yesterday can restore the scale of tourism cooperation. I am absolutely positive about that,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told a press conference after his negotiations in Cairo.
Egypt will end its state of emergency and lift all curfews in the country by November 14, according to Egypt’s Minister of Tourism Hesham Zaazou Speaking at World Travel Market at London’s Excel, he said, ‘Over 18 countries have now lifted their negative travel advice to key regions of the Red Sea, Luxor and Aswan. Egypt’s compass is now pointing in the right direction.’
Apart from the Red Sea resorts, the UK government currently advises against all but essential travel to most of Egypt including Luxor and Aswan, but the Minister hopes this is reviewed and expects to meet with the Foreign Office in the coming days.
Following this summer’s revolution and subsequent protests, Egypt has seen a huge drop in tourist arrivals. ‘It’s been a challenging time as over 4 million Egyptians work in tourism,’ he said. ‘In the last week of September, we saw a drop of 90% compared to last year which is huge. However, while the media has focused on negative images of Cairo, I want to stress that not one single tourist has been targeted.’
As part of the mission to win back tourists, the tourist board has launched their ‘Egypt Now’ initiative with live streams of key tourist hot spots in Egypt available on their website, as well as an ‘Egypt Travel’ mobile application for visitors to plan their holiday.
‘One million British tourists visited Egypt last year and 1.46 million in 2010. We must be doing something right and we’re adamant we can retrieve these figures.’
During a press conference at World Travel Market (WTM) on Monday 4th November, Egypt’s Minister of Tourism, Mr. Hisham Zaazou, gave an update on the current situation in Egypt and the tourist authority’s plans for 2014. Mr. Zaazou stated, “More than 18 countries have lifted the travel advisory on Luxor and Aswan.” “Egypt ranks amongst the top destinations in the area; over a third of UK visitors have been to the country three times or more. Currently we are ranked as the top tourist destination across the Middle East and North Africa, accounting for up to 21.5% and 37.6% of tourism respectively. As soon as the FCO revises its travel advice for the UK, we will work tirelessly with our valued media, travel agent and tour operator partners to communicate that the whole of Egypt is open,” he continued. Looking ahead, Mr. Zaazou commented, “We’re embracing real-time online communications by utilising the latest visual technologies such as webcams and mobile apps to show exactly what is happening on the ground in Egypt now.
“2014 will bring a renewed and reinvigorated interest in Egypt as the ideal medium-haul historical, cultural and beach destination for British and Irish travellers. The destination’s abundance of world-class tourism attractions will again see travellers choosing Egypt for their holidays year-round,” he concluded.In 2014, the Egyptian Tourist Authority (ETA) will be undertaking a vigorous programme of education to ensure that the UK travel industry is kept up to date on all the latest tourism developments in Egypt. The UK team led by Omayma El Husseini, Director UK & Ireland, will develop and activate a strategic mix of tactical travel trade and consumer marketing campaigns to promote the destination’s abundance of world-class tourism attractions.
What’s new in 2014?
New developments in 2014 include:
- El Gouna Water sports Complex Set to be one of the world’s largest cable water parks, the new complex will combine world-class water sports facilities with a new leisure and entertainment venue.
- Ancient Sands Golf Resort, opening April 2014
- Orascom Development is opening a new five-star, luxury apartment hotel as part of the new Ancient Sands Golf Resort. The hotel complex will offer 261 apartments in total, with 114 apartments opening with the hotel in April 2014.
- Ritz-Carlton Hotel , Cairo will welcome a new Ritz Carlton Hotel in 2014.
Tourism Minister Hisham Zaazou said he is optimistic that tourist rates in Egypt will return to normal.Many nations have dropped their travel warnings against traveling to Egypt,” he said in a press conference held on the sideline of his participation in the World Travel Market 2013, which is held in London on Nov. 4-7 That will help in restoring the normal rates of tourism after many nations have issued their travel warnings in the wake of the June 30 revolution,” he said.He acknowledged the country has suffered from setbacks in tourism.
The tourist rates decreased by 35 percent in July compared to the same month last year, the minister said, adding the number of tourists continued to decrease till reaching 90 percent in September.The minister criticized the bleak and negative image that is being portrayed by some media outlets regarding the latest developments in Egypt.
My wife & I (both British Sub Aqua Club divers) have just returned home to Cyprus from Dahab where we enjoyed an eight day diving holiday with Desert Divers. Before travelling to Dahab we had been quite concerned regarding the civil unrest that had made up most of the media reporting relating to Egypt in the weeks prior to our departure. We need not have worried, as there was not a trace of tension in the air for the duration of our holiday. We felt safer walking through the streets of Dahab at night than we would have done on many streets in London.
We were met at Sharm El Sheikh airport by the shuttle bus from Blue Beach Club Hotel and transported to that hotel very efficiently despite the many police roadside checks en route. Setting aside a mix-up with our room on arrival, we enjoyed the first of many restful nights at the hotel. Our room mix-up was sorted out the very next morning with efficiency and courtesy and after a welcome breakfast, we went to along Desert Divers to deliver our dive kit and sort out the registration formalities with Tanis Newman, the proprietor.
The dive guides, Mahmoud (or Barracuda) and Khalid were helpful, efficient and accommodating. Of the dive sites 95% were everything we had been expecting and more, with the one exception being Bannerfish Bay. My wife, a keen underwater photographer, was in her element and I got to see some very impressive walls, the next best things to wrecks for me.
As always, we found the Egyptian people to be most friendly and helpful, although the restaurant “hustlers” and shopkeepers along the seafront were somewhat too persistent at times, but it was always good-natured banter. We sympathize with them for their predicament given that the resort in general was obviously suffering from a severe shortage of tourists and wish for them a return to normality as soon as possible.
Full marks to Egyptair, especially on our return trip to Cyprus. We left our hotel in Dahab at 10:00 hrs. and opened our own front door in Larnaka just eight hours later, with all our luggage accounted for and without having to worry about retrieving and re-checking it in at Cairo.
Our thanks also go to the civil and tourist police for their re-assuring presence during our holiday, we did not feel that it was in any way intrusive at any time.
Would we go back? You bet, in fact, the “return fixture” is already in the planning stages.
Andy (& Debbie) McKnight.Cyprus Sub Aqua Club.BSAC Branch 2496.