For this week’s Stamped, Obbie Alintah, a UK-based Nigerian, walks us through her trip to Egypt with her husband and 5-month-old daughter. She talks about the challenges that come with travelling with an infant, but more importantly, the unbridled joy she gets from seeing her child have a great time.
This is her story as told to Chukwunonso Emelumadu, Writer at Backdrop.
My husband and I are really enthusiastic about travel, and luckily for us, we both have flexible jobs that allow us to take multiple trips every year. Since we’ve been together, we have visited places like Greece, Morocco, Barbados, Italy and a few others; we’re planning to visit many more.
We recently had a daughter and wondered when the best time to travel with her would be. I had read some things online about travelling with infants, in addition to what my friends told me, and the whole endeavour seemed quite daunting — there seemed to be a lot more negatives than positives.
My husband and I talked it over, decided it may be hard but it would be worth it, and made plans to take the leap of faith in December of last year and go with our 5-month-old to Egypt.
We live in the UK, and since it was Winter, we wanted to go somewhere warm. We wanted Kasarachi, our daughter, to have the best first travel experience possible. As we want her to experience as much of Africa as possible, Egypt seemed like the ideal place to start.
So we took the almost 6-hour flight from Heathrow airport to Hurghada International Airport; I was initially scared about the flight because it can’t be a pleasurable experience for the other passengers when a baby is crying the entire flight. To my surprise, Kasarachi enjoyed the flight and didn’t cry throughout the duration of the flight; I was relieved. We planned to spend eight nights in Egypt; the first four nights in Hurghada and the other four nights in a different city called El Gouna.
In Hurghada, we stayed at The Oberoi Sahl Hasheesh, which is a beach resort right on the Red Sea. This was very much unlike us as we would typically stay in town where we can experience the culture first hand from the locals, rather than at a resort which can be secluded. However, we decided to stay at this Resort because they offered the necessary services for our child; they even provided a babysitter which allowed us do some activities without Kasarachi, like playing tennis and having dinner.
In Hurghada, I got to see Kasarachi swim for the first time, which was an absolutely golden moment for my husband and I. Hurghada is effectively a water paradise in a predominantly desert country, and that’s what makes it so popular. Kasarachi is a summer baby who was born in a pandemic, so we had never really gotten to see her play outside or do any warm-weather activities, so watching her smile and have fun warmed my heart.
The majority of our time in Hurghada was spent watching our daughter try things for the first time, from playing in the sand to going on a boat ride.
After that, we took a road trip to El Gouna, a beautiful city in Egypt, where we spent the second half of our vacation. Our activities in this city were centred around food, and we spent most of our time going to unique restaurants and trying local wines.
I’ll start by talking about Bongoyo Restobar, a restaurant that I really can’t praise enough. I absolutely loved it here. It’s an African Restaurant with dishes from around the continent. We were able to experience food and culture from all over Africa without having to leave the building. My favourites from the menu were the Zulu bites, Kenyan ribs and Nigerian braised lamb shank; I recommend this restaurant to everyone that tells me they’re going to Hurghada.
Other noteworthy restaurants we went to in El Gouna were Malu’s Deli and Villa Coconut. Malu’s Deli had a fantastic avocado salad and delicious Eggs Benedict. Villa Coconut was memorable because of the decor and their Dutch veal tenderloin, truffle-marinated crispy salmon, whiskey sours and tasty homemade bread. The building itself was also stunning.
After four nights in El Gouna, it was time to say goodbye to Egypt. We took the hour drive to Hurghada international airport, and we flew back to the UK a few days before Christmas.
My husband and I had an amazing time in Egypt, and even though Kasarachi can’t talk yet, it was obvious throughout the trip that she was having a great time, too. Other than watching Kasarachi enjoy herself, my highlight of the trip was how nice and helpful everyone was, and I’m not talking about tour guides and people who are paid to be nice.
It wasn’t all rosy on our trip, though. There was a time we had a problem because Kasarachi didn’t like the formula they had at the hotel in Hurghada (the formula in Egypt is slightly thicker than the one in the UK). It was an easy fix because we just had to add a bit of water, but it had us panicking for a little bit. So if you’re travelling with your infant, these are the types of things you need to be aware of. We had to do a lot of research.
My message to anyone considering or holding off on a trip with their baby is to let go of the fear and go on that trip. It may be challenging at times, but it will give you more satisfaction than you ever hoped for.