Sorry readers but here’s another Monkey Location report from sunny Egypt!
At some unearthly hour in the middle of the night Mr Monkey was woken by loud voices and revving engines. A peek out of the cabin window revealed that the boat was about to come to a standstill at the Ensa Lock so that we could be lifted around 8 meters from one part of the Nile to another.
Camera in hand Mr Monkey decided to find out more.
Although the Nile is very wide at this point all river traffic gets shunted to one side and has to moor up in kind of a holding area before it negotiates one of the two locks. Both locks are narrow and the cruise boats are obviously designed to fit the lock rather than the other way round. Each lock can take two cruise boats and once you enter the lock it takes around 20 minutes for the process to be completed.
At peak times, usually during daylight hours, it can take up to 24 hours to get through the lock due to the volume of river traffic. Apparently this is why the ‘Monkey boat’ travelled at night to ensure we didn’t have to wait too long and so that we could beat the crowds to the Temple of Horus, better known as Edfu Temple.
Mr Monkey has since learned that most Captain’s will not travel at night for fear of running aground on one of the many shifting sand banks, but Captain Mustafa (yes that’s his real name) has no such fears apparently he’s only been sailing this stretch of the Nile as man and boy for 65 years!
Once the lock was safely negotiated the boat engines rapidly hit full throttle and we continued South towards Edfu for our first close encounter with ancient and modern Egypt and what an encounter it turned out to be!
Further reports will follow shortly.