It was in December 2003 that we had a chance meeting with Khyry on the corniche by the Nile. He had just returned from military service in the north of Egypt to his West Bank village, where his family have a sugar plantation and a small farm. Within a short time a bond of friendship and trust was formed between us and when an opportunity arose, we were able to purchase some land in a wonderful position by the Nile.
This was the foundation of a collaboration to build our two beautiful large villas, employing only local labour and craftsmanship. We had together studied some of the designs of Hassan Fahty, the Egyptian architect famed for his domed buildings and we were able to engage the son of one of his team, who had learned the craft from his father. We also visited a number of older local buildings for inspiration on internal floor patterns and other features. Most of the brickwork, all the ornamental ironwork and the woodwork, including doors and furniture were made locally.
Khyry has a wealth of local knowledge and contacts, and this joint enterprise could never have been achieved without him. The association between us has extended to members of our families and this has been an interesting and very rewarding meeting of cultures. Together, we now have a team which excels in providing an individualised and memorable holiday experience.
Khyry will be there to meet you at the airport and he and his team will ensure that you are looked after throughout your stay. They will offer you a full Egyptian breakfast your first morning, during which you can discuss how you might want to spend your time. The choices are wide: there is so much to see in this unique World Heritage Site, said to be the greatest open-air museum in the World.
As well as the Valleys of the Kings, Queens and Nobles, (all easily reached by road from your villa) our motor launch can take you to the East Bank to the stupendous temple at Karnak, with an English, French or German speaking guide if you wish, perhaps stopping off on the way back at the exquisite Luxor Museum or Luxor Temple.
You will also have opportunities to visit local villages (by donkey, camel, car or on foot) and see something of life unchanged for centuries and to experience sunsets from the desert or from a felucca on the Nile; visit the house of Howard Carter, who discovered the tomb of Tutenkamun, as well as other monuments off the beaten track, where discoveries are still being made today.
After an active day there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy a meal at a number of local restaurants. You may, of course, just want to relax in the sunshine and gaze at the views from the roof terrace, and perhaps end the day with a barbecue under the stars. You can even spend part of your holiday in the luxurious two-masted Dahabya, Queen Ti, ranging from an overnight stay at its mooring on the West Bank to a five-day sail along the Nile.
Whatever you decide, we promise you an unforgettable time free from the constraints of a package tour.
Pamela and Christopher, London
Khyry, West Bank, Egypt