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Caleche (horse drawn carriage - hantour)

calesh

Caleche

Caleches, also known locally as 'hantours' are plentiful. You will be offered rides by drivers and touts - constantly. They will even drive beside you as you walk down the road, trying to persuade you to buy a ride. They will offer to take you to the market and give the impression that it is a special market or that the market is only open that day (the main big market is open every day, all day).

Despite the efforts of local animal charities, and although the position has improved in recent years and is still improving, few of the horses appear to be well looked after. The drivers tend to gallop the horses and use their whips unnecessarily. Rarely do you see a horse in the shade or drinking.

If you really must ride in one, please choose carefully. Select one that looks well looked after and not too thin. Do be careful what you pay. Initially you will offered a ride for, say, ten pounds. If you accept quickly, without clarifying the cost, you may be charged ten English pounds per person. Resist for a while and the cost will drop and will become Egyptian pounds. Ultimately, you should not pay more than the taxi fare. Make sure you do not pay more for the ride than the price they enticed you with.

Don't get caught

We have seen people agree a ride for, say 10 pounds, expect to pay 10 Egyptian pounds for the group but at the end of the ride get charged 10 English pounds per person.

We have also heard many, many times of people who are offered a 'round town' ride for 'ten' and are charged £40 (English pounds) when they return. The driver says that the tour was longer, or some such reason.

Make it clear that the agreed price for a caleche ride is in Egyptian pounds and for all of you. Make it clear, too, that you do not want an 'extra' tour - just what he has quoted for. If the tour is getting longer than you want, ask to be dropped off and get a taxi!

 

If you do take a ride, drivers will often try to persuade you to stop off at various shops or restaurants, typically owned by their 'cousin', where they will earn a substantial commission on your purchases. Even if you say you do not want to go, they will often stop outside anyway. If you say you are not going in they will sometimes go in themselves and leave you in the caleche, hoping you will follow them.

Drivers can make more from the commissions than from driving, so they may be quite keen to get you into a shop. Their commission, typically 50%, does not come off the shop owners profit - it is added to your purchase cost. So if you do want something it can be better, and cost you half as much, if you return later without a local 'escort' and haggle a better price.

Ace

A charity called 'Ace' (Animal Care in Egypt) helps donkeys and horses in Luxor, providing a hospital, grazing and other medical, welfare and education requirements. Their premises are a little bit out of town, on the back roads towards the airport, but most people (including taxi drivers) know it well. You can visit Ace and see their work. Click the logo to see their web site.

AWOL logo

As well as the work to help horses and donkeys in the tourist areas, there is even more need for these kinds of services away from the tourist parts, where ignorance of animal welfare is even greater.

Animal Welfare of Luxor is working in residential areas on the West bank, especially around El Marise, just south of Luxor Bridge, to care for animals both directly and by educating local people.

If you want to know more about their work, or to help, click the logo to go to their web site.

Updated November 2014


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