As part of her journey in Egypt, travel expert, video journalist and contributor to, Kelley Ferro was taken on a luxury cruise on The Nile by USTOA member Abercrombie & Kent, a highlight of her experience. The vessels are equipped with an ever-accommodating staff as well as modern amenities, chic design and floor-to-ceiling windows to take in the breath-taking views as you cruise The Nile. Stops along the way include the Temple of Dendara, the Luxor Temple, the Karnak temple and more. View the highlights from Kelley’s cruise here:

For more up close and personal looks at the people and experiences of Egypt, check out these specialized videos from Kelley Ferro on Egyptologists, shopping, food and touring like a local.

Kelley Ferro is a travel expert & video journalist living in NYC. She films her show, Get Lost, around the world–hopping on a plane at least twice a month She is also the executive producer for For more on her travels, follow Kelley’s Facebook page.

by Alison Cornford-Matheson, AFAR Ambassador

For me, there’s no better way to explore a country’s culture than to explore its food scene. Wherever you travel in the world, you can find passionate foodies, and Egypt is no exception. While visiting Cairo with Abercrombie & Kent tours, I had two food experiences that left me feeling as if I was local.

I love falafel. It’s one of my go to weekend foods in my current home city, Brussels. So when Fiby, my local expert from A&K, mentioned she knew where I could get the best falafel in Cairo and I could watch them being made, I jumped at the chance.

We pulled up outside Felfela restaurant, a local institution, since 1959. Stepping through the door, I knew this was my kind of place. The first thing I saw was a chef, dressed in his whites, tossing fresh made falafel in boiling oil.

Felfela Chef - Local Food Experiences in Cairo

Felfela Chef

Another chef appeared behind the first, with a huge bowl of dough. He showed me how Egyptian falafel differs from the better-known Lebanese version. Instead of chickpeas, Felfela’s falafels are made with fava beans and a variety of herbs. The dough is lighter, making for a fluffier centre. Pair that with a crunchy, crispy crust and you have falafel heaven.

There are several dining options for enjoying your Felfela falafel. Pass by the falafel chefs and enter the quirky dining room, for a sit-down falafel experience. The restaurant has a jungle theme with tables made of tree trunks and greenery everywhere. There are even a few songbirds to add to the atmosphere. Along with your falafel, you can also enjoy a variety of Egyptian specialities and grilled treats.

Felfela Restaurant - Local Food Experiences in Cairo

Felfela Restaurant

If you need a falafel on the go, just pop around the corner to Felfela’s take-away location. Here, your falafel is served inside a flatbread and topped, as you like, with plenty of tahini and fresh vegetables. It’s the perfect stop for a quick snack on the run.

I arrived at my next local foodie destination to find a cloud of smoke. Rather than make me cough, this particular smoke made my mouth water.  As I stepped through the gate of the Andrea Restaurant, I was greeted by row after row of rotisserie chickens, turning lazily in the charcoal haze.

Andrea chickens - Local Food Experiences in Cairo

Andrea chickens

A man shoveling coals in a series of clay ovens stoked the outdoor grill. Dozens of chickens were cooking in various states of doneness. It takes 24 hours of marinating in a secret blend of local herbs and spices, followed by more hours on the spit, before these birds are ready for your plate.

Andrea chickens - Local Food Experiences in Cairo

Andrea chickens

The result is well worth the wait. The chicken is meltingly tender and the herby flavour permeates all the way through. Heavenly.

But chicken isn’t the only thing the charcoal fires lend their flavours to, at Andrea Restaurant.

Just beyond the turning spits, sit a cluster of women. While they sit chatting and laughing, their hands rhythmically pat and shape dough into small, round, disks. They slap the disks on the inside of the ovens and seconds later, tiny flatbreads emerge, puffed full of hot air. The hot, smoky bread is the perfect complement to the juicy chicken.

Andrea Bread baker - Local Food Experiences in Cairo

Andrea bread baker

Inside the restaurant, the succulent chicken and toasty bread is served with a variety of Egyptian mezze: delicately spiced meatballs, stuffed grape leaves, chunky hummus and more, round out the meal. It’s Egypt on a plate.

Andrea bread - Local Food Experiences in Cairo

Andrea bread

Both of these local food experiences in Cairo revealed a side of Egypt I wasn’t expecting. The local passion for food is deeply ingrained in the culture. Discovering the food of Egypt helped me relate to the people who create it and relating to locals is what travel is all about.

Alison Cornford-Matheson is a Canadian freelance writer and travel photographer and the founder of, a resource for expats, locals, and travellers in Belgium. She landed in Belgium in 2005 and became passionate about this quirky little country. She is an AFAR Ambassador and founding member of the PTBA. She is obsessed with travel, food, and local experiences. You can follow her on Google+, on Twitter as @Acornn, on Pintrest or check out her Facebook Page. See more highlights from Alison’s trip at

by Kelley Ferro

When the travel bug hits and I daydream about about traveling to far off lands, one of the first images to pop in my head has always been the temples and pyramids of Egypt. Ancient Egypt was not only intricate, advanced, and impressive, it’s one of the few historic cultures that still has such a global presence even today. I am willing to bet that the majority of “bucket lists” in the world list a visit to Egypt.

Meeting with a local taxi. Image: Kelley Ferro

Saying hello to one of the local ‘taxis’. Image: Kelley Ferro

Luckily, Egypt was our first destination for our Living Local, Traveling Global series, and flying over, I had all sorts of ideas about what Egypt would be like from classes, movies, news and stories–but it was nothing like what I had imagined.

Photographing the Great Sphinx of Giza. Image: Justin Weiler

Photographing the Great Sphinx of Giza. Image: Justin Weiler

I felt like I had entered a lucid dream. One minute I was dozing in plane seat and the next I was mouth agape, staring at the MASSIVE Pyramids of Giza. I wasn’t sure if it was my jetlag but I almost thought these world renowned sites were mirages. This complete wonderment only continued throughout the trip–from the glittering treasures of King Tut’s tomb at the Egyptian museum to the perfectly preserved hieroglyphs deep in the underground chambers. But something else amazed me that I hadn’t anticipated.

Meeting Local Egyptian Women. Image: Kelley Ferro

Meeting Local Egyptian Women. Image: Kelley Ferro

The people of Egypt were so gracious and eager to share their country with us. Everyone met us with smiles and warmth. From the moment I landed, I felt like I was taken in by Egypt, under its hospitable arm. The guides on our Abercrombie & Kent tour were great ambassadors as well, they treated us like family and were so open about their daily lives.

Making friends with the locals. Image: Justin Weiler

Making lots of new friends. Image: Justin Weiler

Of course, I looked obviously like a tourist and had a camera on me, but that only made the locals want to chat with me more.

“Where are you from?”

“How do you like Egypt?”

These phrases were common no matter what street corner, temple or restaurant we visited.

But most of all, “thank you for coming to our country.” This one truly got me. Egypt is more than just its ancient wonders. Those are truly spectacular, don’t get me wrong, but there’s an even richer beauty found within the locals.

Sampling some of the local cuisine. Image: Kelley Ferro

Sampling some of the local cuisine. Image: Kelley Ferro

Our purpose was to travel deeper, experience a destination through its people. In this case, it was to see the Egyptians living their day-to-day lives. Because we had a reason to go deeper, ask more questions and get more involved with the locals, we were able to capture these little golden moments of connection. The Sphinx is great, but learning about spices from a shopkeeper in the Luxor market or joking with a young girl speedily weaving a rug made an even more lasting impression on me.

Kelley Ferro is a travel expert & video journalist living in NYC. She films her show, Get Lost, around the world–hopping on a plane at least twice a month She is also the executive producer for For more on her travels, follow Kelley’s Facebook page.