Featured Photo: Chiese delegation.
For most people, visiting the sites on the Holy Family tour is an experience unlike any other. You will see parts of Egypt that most tourists never get near to and experience an intimacy with the Egyptian people that is at times both humbling and breathtaking – read what others have said about their experiences. The purpose of this page is to make it clear what you can expect if you go on a tour to Holy Family sites in Egypt.
The people who live in and around the sites that our tours visit are, for the most part, simple people with a simple faith (Christians or Muslims) co-existing peacefully in a way that many westerners will find strange – given what you often read in newspapers or see on television.
Our access to the Holy Family sites is graciously overseen by the Coptic Orthodox Church. You will have opportunities to meet with many of the priests, monks, nuns and bishops at the various locations – this is a very real privilege in itself.
If you decide to travel you should not expect too much luxury – just remember that the Holy Family didn’t have any!
Many locations on the route of the Holy Family have no good facilities. There are not many quality restaurants or cafes on the road in either the Delta or Upper Egypt and most sites have no proper restaurant or cafeteria. Hospitality is often provided by the churches and caretakers of the sites. You always should take bottled water and drinks with you on the road.
Most sites do have bathroom facilities (but be warned, some don’t!) and where they do they are often not to the standards that westerners are used to.
In Cairo there are plenty of excellent hotel facilities to suit all budgets. In Minia, four and three star hotels are found. Guesthouses of churches are comparable to youth hostels in Europe, although some are better than others. There are a few that could be compared to two or three star hotels.
Drs Cornelis (Kees) Hulsman is widely acknowledged as being a leading expert on the many traditions that have grown up in Egypt around the Holy Family and their travels through Egypt. He has spoken on this subject in Egypt, Europe and the USA, has led many tours to well known (and not so well known) Holy Family sites all over Egypt and has assisted print, photo and television journalists in their productions about the Holy Family tradition.
Originally from the Netherlands, Kees has spent most of his life since 1976 in Egypt. He studied development sociology at Leiden University, The Netherlands, and subsequently occupied several leading positions in Dutch emigration organizations during the period 1987 to 1994.
Kees has been active in Egypt and the Middle East for over 40 years, promoting the need for improved understanding between Arab-Western cultures. In 1997 he and his wife Sawsan set up the Religious News Service from the Arab World (RNSAW) which became the Arab West Report (AWR), a weekly digest of articles from Arab news media translated into English with expert commentaries. AWR (of which Kees is editor-in-chief) is widely acknowledged as a credible and reliable source of objective commentary on Arab-West issues reported in the Arab press.
We hope that these pages have whetted your appetite and you are now interested in coming and experiencing these unique opportunities for yourself. We hope the information below will help you, but if you have any queries or would like help or more information please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Most people who take part in a tour with our NGO come with a group. We can make logistical arrangements through an Egyptian travel agent including flights from your home country. Alternatively, we can arrange a special itinerary that suits your interests and needs.
Independent travelers are invited to contact us with the dates that they will be in Egypt and we will make every effort to link them to the agency that can offer them a planned tour.