If you have been to any European capital, you know where to find most Egyptians: next to a big department store. Gazef, literally meaning “take a risk”, dares Egyptians to think more in terms of going to Antarctica to see penguins for a holiday than go to Selfridges and buy shoes.
“We started Gazef because we saw people do a lot of travelling where they would book a hotel and go shopping and come home, and we wanted to offer a new kind of travel and turn it into an adventure. We think of ourselves less as a travel agency and more of adventure consultancy,” said co-founder Omar Galal.
Gazef’s soft opening was on 29 November and the first trip is planned for South Africa on 26 December with two more planned to Tanzania and Thailand shortly after; however, Galal said they offer trips to the “seven continents”. Co-founders Mohamed Shabrawy, Ayten Wahba and Yasmine Rashidi all worked in the tourism sector before graduating from the American University in Cairo.
For its South Africa trip, Gazef is taking 27 people under the guidance of three chaperons. “We start with Cape Town and take the Garden Route. Our activities will include cage shark diving and doing the highest bungie jump in the world [260 metres]. We will see African Penguins, swim with seals and go on a safari,” Galal said.
He added that Gazef requires clients to pay the airfare separately; however, all events mentioned in the itinerary above – including transportation, accommodation and daily meals for 10 days – will cost $1,375. The trip, however, may not be for everyone; it is geared toward backpackers and accommodation will mainly be in hostels, camps and lodges, according to Galal.
Gazef’s website will be up and running sometime this month and through it, customers will be able to pick and choose their desired vacations from Gazef’s individual travelling options. “The difference between individual travel and feature travel is that feature trips are done less often, are cheaper and we include chaperons. They are usually organised for holidays like winter or spring break and are constrained by time of year,” said Galal.
To give an example, Gazef intends to plan an activity to see the migration of animals through a safari, something that can only be done at a certain time of the year.
For an individual trip, Gazef said that despite not having chaperones accompanying the customers, they still do not have to worry about the small details because Gazef will have everything worked out in the country of destination.
The tempting offers which will soon be on their website include island hopping in Croatia, seeing the Northern Lights, igloo camps, dog sledging and ice hotels in Norway, volunteering to help kids in Kenya and going around Cuba on a vespa.
“We also do activities that are more culture-oriented like meeting with tribes in Thailand and experiencing a different way of life,” said Galal.
We are excited to see how Gazef’s ambitious ideas will pan out and we hope that their imaginative activities will dissuade you from visiting London for the third time… for spring sales.