Our first donkey ride – a Luxor experience

tourist on a donkey ride in Luxor

The donkey is a common means of transport in Egypt: you see five-year-old boys, old women and peasants riding donkeys with all sorts of luggage. And even tourists like us can give it a try on an organised donkey ride. We went on our first donkey ride in Luxor, Egypt, and had fun! Apart from experiencing life as the locals, we could also enjoy the sunset over pharaonic temples and the Egyptian desert!

How to ride a donkey

Mondy picks us up around 5 pm at the hotel for our sunset ride on the West Bank of Luxor. With him he has brought Sissi (whitish and nervous) and Minnihaha (grey and lazy). To mount the donkey the rider has to perform a considerable jump. Observing how Mondy is doing this, it reminds us of the vault practice during physical exercise lessons in school! Natascha robs undignified onto the back of Sissi, while Isa cheats by using a stepping stone. And off we ride!

Isa und Natascha on a donkey ride in Luxor

Exploring the Luxor West Bank on the back of a donkey

First we have to cross the only busy street on the the West Bank and even ride along it for a while. We would have expected the drivers to be considerate of some clumsy foreigners on donkeys. But no, it seems they are sufficiently occupied with the normal traffic chaos. Natascha and Sissy almost collide with a microbus, the passengers curiously watching and waving.

But once in the more quiet alleys, we start to enjoy the permanent rocking on the animal back. It is nice to to meet other donkey riders coming back from their fields on eye level. On the way we stop briefly to visit the village of New Gurna. Built by the Egyptian architect Hassan Fathy at the end of the 1940s, it still appears somewhat modern but at the same time nostalgic. The a simple track leads us through the sugar cane plantations following a disused railroad.

Pharaonic Grandeur seen from a donkey

Later on, we relish at the sunset at the Pharaonic temple of Medinet Habu. For our research of several Egypt guidebooks since 2011, we have visited this temple several times. Nevertheless, it is beautiful to see the huge blocks of sandstone in the evening light. Not least because of the reddish desert around us, the temple and the palms are acquiring a mystic, golden glow.

Eventually, it is getting dark, however, and we hurry to return to the Nile. Ok, we do have to fight the mosquitoes on the way back along a water channel. But we tremendously enjouyed our first donkey ride! So much so that we even consider briefly buying a donkey for our next trip to Egypt.

Hasan Fatih adobe mosque in Luxor New Gurna

By the way: No muscle soreness from our donkey ride the next day!

For an account of another (non-pharaonic) excursion from Luxor, read about our boat ride to Banana Island.

NB: Our donkey ride was not sponsored in any way. Our travel to Luxor was part of a guidebook research for which we did have some very limited sponsoring.

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  1. Hier ist Mitsue. Entschuldigung, dass ich mich lange nicht gemeldet habe.
    Ihr seid zur Zeit in Egypt!! Ich fliege nächste Woche nach Deutschland. Wenn ihr nach Japan kommt, sagt ihr mir bitte Bescheid. Ich bin jetzt Mutter eines Junges.
    Viel Spass weiter!

  2. The donkeys don’t look big enough!!! and I don’t believe the “no soreness on next day” bit at all! ;))) lovehxxx

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