Today on our Egyptian trip, we visited the Nubian Village of Nag`Gharb Siheil, near Aswan, on the edge of the West Bank of the Nile in southern Egypt. Nubian history predates ancient Egypt and there is evidence that direct descendants of the Nubians have been inhabiting this corner of Africa for over 300,000 years. 8,000 years ago the Nubians developed agriculture and began farming this area of the Nile. It was fascinating to visit this Nubian village and observe how much of their interesting culture survives from antiquity to today. They have their own unique language, as well as poetry, novels, storytelling, and music. To me, contemporary Nubian music sounds much like Reggae music, and Nubians, as evidenced by many red, yellow and green flags, with the likeness of Bob Marley on them, identify with Jamaican music as well, but I digress.
We got to the Nag`Gharb Siheil Nubian village on a comfortable motorboat. We passed Elephantine Island, the old border between Egypt and Nubia; the Tombs of the Nobles and the Aswan Botanical Gardens. Along the way, we crossed the shallow rapids known as the First Cataract of the Nile and just enjoyed the scenery of agricultural land, fishing shacks and indigenous camel herders on shore. It was relaxing and amazing to reflect on how much of the world’s civilization owes its past to this narrow strip of land along the life-giving Nile.
Upon arrival, we were welcomed into what we were told is a typical Nubian home. It was huge! We tried, karkade, or Hibiscus tea, a bright red drink brewed from hibiscus blossoms. It was tart with a nice floral scent, and with a little sugar, quite delicious. It was in this home that our guide Alam told us about life in a Nubian village, the ancient and modern Nubian Egyptian cultures and the intertwined histories of Nubia and Egypt. It was all exotic and fascinating, but the best part about visiting the Nubian village was just wandering the streets and observing the riot of colors, smelling the fresh spices, feeling the locally woven scarves in the shops and photographing the striking architecture of homes.
I was at the Nubian Village as a guest of On the Go Tours on the Abu Simbel Sun Festival Tour, which is an easy, and a very enjoyable way to experience Egypt. Also, On the Go is offering an exclusive deal for LifePart2 readers – save $100 off any Egypt tour with On The Go Tours! Head over to their website to find your perfect itinerary and get in touch, quoting “LifePart2” to get your discount.