YALLA! YALLA! …Bedouins and an Egyptian Desert Jeep Safari

DSC_0468Having done a cultural trip to soak up some of the history of Egypt, we also opted for the ‘Badawya excursion’.  This was an action packed itinerary that promised to excite and thrill, including a Desert Jeep Safari, a trip to a Bedouin camp, Dune Buggying in off-road spider cars, quad-biking, camel riding and horse riding by day, followed by a barbecue and belly-dancing and whirling dervishes to entertain us by night.  I will cover the first two parts in this post.

We were collected from our hotel by jeep in the late morning and taken to Badawya camp just outside Hurghada.  We were told to cover our legs and buy scarves for this trip which I did in advance, but in truth, they sold the scarves there, and it wasn’t necessary to cover my legs-as long as I didn’t mind getting sandy.  To be honest, if you do mind getting sandy-this is the wrong bloody trip for you any way!

A Bedouin Family with my 5 year old daughter

A Bedouin Family with my 5 year old daughter

DSC_0493Once scarfed up, we were herded back into the Jeeps, and bounced across the Egyptian Eastern desert for about 45 minutes to the Bedouin Camp.  Bedouins are nomadic desert-dwelling arabs, rather like gypsy people.  They tend flocks of goats, sheep and camels and tend to live in places in which the land is too dry to farm crops and travel to find forage for their animals..  They have few land rights, and although the Egyptian government allow them to travel and reside in Egypt, they must set up camp at least 50km from large towns, which made the Jeep safari a necessity as well as a fun component of the day.

A Bedouin woman making flat bread

A Bedouin woman making flat bread

The jeep safari was absolutely brilliant from the word go, well, actually from the word ‘yalla’… The children and I all spent our time laughing like hyenas as we were encouraged to shout 

“YALLA! YALLA!” 

which we were told meant ‘Faster! Faster!’  This was the source of much amusement.  It was brilliant to race the other Jeeps across the desert to the mountains ahead of us. 

Once there, we were told about the Bedouin people, who live very traditionally, without modern technology.  They are only allowed to marry within the Beduin tribes unless they are prepared to cut ties with their Bedouin lives and identity.  Any children born in marriages that are with non-Bedouins are not considered to be Bedouins.  Girls are generally married off at the age of 14 or 15!  

Traditionally, marriages are been between the closest relatives permitted by Muslim law. Cousin marriages are common, ideally between a man and his father’s brother’s daughter. Traditionally, a father’s brother’s son has first dibs on his female cousin, who has the right of refusal but needs permission of that son to marry anyone else. Although marriages to first cousins are desired, most marriages are between second and third cousins.

A Bedouin Well. Bedouins favour traditional tools

A Bedouin Well.
Bedouins favour traditional tools

Marriages outside the extended family have traditionally been rare, unless a tribal alliances was established; and women (girls if we’re honest) are expected to be virgins when they were married. In a marriage it is important for the families to be of the same status. Having lots of children is considered a duty for Bedouins because the more members a tribe has the stronger it is.  As such, if a woman is unable to bear children, the husband will likely take another wife, and can have upto three wives. This is acceptable since in Bedouin culture it strengthens you family’s tribe and increases your status.  

I was fascinated by the marriage traditions, girls start to cover their faces from a young age, and a man will not want to marry a girl who is unattractive… In order to find a suitable wife, he will either need to catch a glimpse of her face at a Bedouin wedding, when the single girls are permitted to leave their faces uncovered… Or, when the girl reaches 14, her parents will hang a flag outside the tent that indicates there is a girl ready to be married.  His mother will first go and approve the girl by having a look at her, and if she is deemed suitable, her son will go for tea at the family’s house… If the girl likes the man, she will add lots of sugar to his tea.  She will briefly unveil to let him glimpse her face, and if he likes what he sees he will drink the tea and the couple will get married if he was able to drink sugared tea… If he doesn’t fancy the look of her-he will make his excuses not to drink the tea! YIKES!

Oscar the Camel, Chugging on a water bottle

Oscar the Camel, Chugging on a water bottle

Quick tyre change after we popped one of these bad boys!

Quick tyre change after we popped one of these bad boys!

In order to find water wells in the desert, the Bedouins will deprive a camel of water for several weeks, and once they are extremely thirsty, the camels will be released into the desert with a Bedouin man.  When the camel starts pawing its hoof at the ground-this is an indication that there is water beneath. We were then introduced to Oscar, a baby camel who’s party trick was to chug on bottles of water that any tourists in the group were prepared to part with.

After our talk, we were offered Bedouin tea, which was fairly grim (in my opinion), and then allowed to look around at the camp, try freshly made flat bread prepared by some of the Bedouin woman and purchase Bedouin jewellery or natural home-made remedies that ranged from headache cures to aphrodisiacs. 

Finally, we were bounced back across the desert to Hurghada, stopping briefly to repair a tyre that we burst on the way

Quick tyre change after we popped one of these bad boys!

Quick tyre change after we popped one of these bad boys!

Apparently this doesn’t happen as often as I would have thought during the tourist Jeep safaris.  That said-they changed the tyre with lightening speed-so I have my suspicions they get through a lot of tyres.

While the tyre was being changed, we took the opportunity to have a quick family photo taken

While the tyre was being changed, we took the opportunity to have a quick family photo taken

Other posts you might Like:

Egypt (Part 1) – Hurghada, Makadi, Snorkelling and Kissing a Cobra

Egypt (Part 1) – Hurghada, Makadi, Snorkelling and Kissing a Cobra

Egypt (Part 2) – Temple of Karnak, Valley of the Kings, Tutankhamen’s Tomb and Queen Hatshepsut’s Temple

Egypt (Part 2) – Temple of Karnak, Valley of the Kings, Tutankhamen’s Tomb and Queen Hatshepsut’s Temple

Egypt (Part 4) Dune Buggies, Quad Bikes and Camels

Egypt (Part 4) Dune Buggies, Quad Bikes and Camels

Thailand (Part 2) The Big Buddha, Phuket

Visit Maldives for the 1st Time

Thailand (part 1)… Evason & Bon Island, Ruwai and the South tip of Phuket

Bungee Jump – PHUKET!

The TOP of the Run Saariselkä, Finland's Longest Toboggan Run

The TOP of the Run
Saariselkä, Finland’s Longest Toboggan Run

Visit the Real Santa in Lapland!

Visit the Real Santa in Lapland!

Advertisements

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Categories: Bucket List Item Achieved, Extreme Experience Goals, Sight-seeing Goals, Travel Goals

FOLLOW ME!

Subscribe to our RSS feed and social profiles to receive updates.

6 Comments on “YALLA! YALLA! …Bedouins and an Egyptian Desert Jeep Safari”

  1. January 22, 2013 at 11:59 am #

    You should try a desert tour of the oasis, you can camp out and party with some real bedouin guys. Try this website egyptoffroad.com, this guy that runs this tour knows every inch of the desert and he’s fun. Also you have to see Dahab and Sharm el Sheik, they are beautiful red sea resort areas full of naked sun-bathing europeans and hippies from around the world. When in Cairo you definitely have to see the Khan il Kalili, it’s a historical large market place where you can buy anything. Some nice places to stay are The Flamenco Hotel in Zamalek, Cairo, and also the Windsor Hotel in Cairo. You must see the beautiful sahara desert though, alot of people going to Egypt over look this and think it would be rough and dull. The desert has so much to discover and it’s so pristine and beautiful. If you do go to the desert, the oasis Siwa is farthest west and is where the Oracle Temple of Ammon is said to have claimed Alexander the Great as a divine personnage and a legitimate pharoah of Egypt. There’s the roman -era -necropolis featuring dozens of rock cut tombs, and Cleopatra’s Bath a natural sulphur spring. There’s also Abu Simbel which is south of Aswan on the western bank of the nile. After the pyramids it represents one of the most firmiliar images of ancient Egypt, it’s Ramssess the 2nd rock cut temple and it is massive. You can also find many mummies while out in the desert in small caves and cubby holes in the rocks. My sister has a website where she put a movie of one of the times we were in Egypt threewebe.typepad.com, you will have to scroll down until you see a video with some palm trees in the desert, and then choose to watch from google video.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Egypt (Part 1) – Hurghada, Makadi, Snorkelling and Kissing a Cobra | Emma's Bucket List - January 2, 2013

    […] YALLA! YALLA! …Bedouins and an Egyptian Desert Jeep Safari | Emma's Bucket List – January 2, 2013 […]

  2. Egypt (Part 2) – Temple of Karnak, Valley of the Kings, Tutankhamen’s Tomb and Queen Hatshepsut’s Temple | Emma's Bucket List - January 2, 2013

    […] YALLA! YALLA! …Bedouins and an Egyptian Desert Jeep Safari | Emma's Bucket List – January 2, 2013 […]

  3. 2013 Bucket List | Emma's Bucket List - January 2, 2013

    […] Go on a Desert Jeep Safari […]

  4. Dune Buggies, Quad Bikes and Camels | Emma's Bucket List - January 8, 2013

    […] we had returned to Badawya from visiting the Bedouin camp by Jeep Safari (see earlier post), earlier in the day, the children were taken to see reptiles, a tortoise and […]

  5. Visit the Real Santa in Lapland! | Emma's Bucket List - January 19, 2013

    […] YALLA! YALLA! …Bedouins and an Egyptian Desert Jeep Safari | Emma's Bucket List – January 18, 2013 […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: