Published on : Wednesday, May 5, 2021
Tourists coming to the famous pyramids of Egypt may rarely wander away from the beaten track. However, a project aimed on villages adjacent to the prehistoric sites now promotes them to do so.
The scheme takes visitors to a fertile strip of farmland that is covered with palm trees. It runs south of the Giza pyramids, between the lesser known pyramids of Saqqara and Dahshur and the western bank of the Nile.
After reaching there, visitors can get a sight of local communities as part of Visit Badrashin!, a sustainable tourism project supported by the European Union.
To quote Heba Ragab, a tourism expert who works on the project, “When a tourist visits, they can pass by a farmer here and have a cup of tea in the fields, buy handicrafts from a woman selling them or eat traditional food from the area.”
The project comprises the villages of Saqqara, Abu Sir and Dahshur, all in the district of Badrashin, and provides training to the local community with an aim to help them in making the use of tourism revenues and safeguard their livelihoods.
“They trained me on how to deal with clients; we never had any tourists come to this area,” said Mohamed Hamdy, 31. “So now, I’ve become a local tour guide.”
The pandemic has decreased the arrivals of tourists in Egypt to a fraction of the level that was seen earlier and the activities of the project have been scaled back, but visits have continued.
A small group of tourists, on one recent outing, were taken on a tour of the Saqqara complex before being taken for a traditional fast-breaking evening meal nearby during the holy month of Ramadan. The women from that village rolled vine leaves, baked bread and grilled chicken, ending the meal with a few cups of mint-infused tea, sipped around an open fire.