I have finally visited Southern Egypt last spring; or the more geographically correct name, Upper Egypt. Although I missed Luxor, I did get to hop on a Nile Cruise for just 1 day from Edfu to Aswan, passing through Kom Ombo. But that’s another story. For now, I am more excited (and nostalgic) to write about a new favourite place in Egypt: Heisa Island.
I only went there by utter chance! And what a chance it was!! The calmness, the views, the culture, the art, the sunset, the people, the colourful houses, everything in that place was just breathtaking. Serenity. Period.
Heisa is one of the only two Nubian islands that survived after the High Dam in Aswan was built. This topic is causing a lot of controversy in my mind. On one hand, the Dam did save most of Egypt from the floods, but on the other hand it did drown most of the Egyptian Nubian culture. Around 50,000 Nubians were forced to leave their ancient villages and head to other places up north.
From this drowned culture remained Heisa Island (and another village called A’wad that I didn’t get the chance to see). Heisa Island still reserves the hospitable people of Nubia though. Who would have thought that just by visiting in an evening, the guy sailing with our boat to get from main land to the island across the river Nile would first invite us to the naturally growing guava trees he knows about in between the rocks on the sides of the Nile to pick up fresh guavas directly from the trees (organic!!). He then invited us to his (humble? – check photo below) house for tea and biscuits! Also sending his niece to take us for a walk around the island.
It is winter again in most of the Northern Hemisphere, and in Egypt it is getting a bit chillier now. This is now a great time to plan a winter holiday through the next couple of months to Aswan, and to visit Heisa Island as well. When I visited it was around March, it was getting too hot during the day (I actually got sun burnt), but it was still chilly at night. I would recommend, however, visiting earlier than March to avoid the extreme morning sun. But don’t worry, you will still be getting a warm retreat.