If you haven’t heard of it yet, you’ve been missing on a lot already. Egypt 52 is one of the greatest initiatives that started in 2014 and is still going strong. It encourages you to know your country better and fall in love with it all over again. Egypt 52’s aim is to visit a new place in Egypt every week of the year. Identity decided to interview Karim Morcos, the guy behind it, to learn all about it.
Tell us about yourself.
I’m a 25-year old Communication Engineering graduate who has a passion to travel and explore new places, goal-oriented and open to any kind of challenges; a member of a very supporting family who always had my back and did not stop showing faith in me. I have an endless passion for football and currently write for KingFut.com (an Egyptian football website) and work in Project Management at Mobinil by day.
Why did you start Egypt 52 and how?
It started on a Friday morning in February, 2014 when a friend of mine, Galal Amr, and I decided to visit Salah El-Din Citadel out of boredom. Luckily enough, we had fun and enjoyed the scenery of the Citadel and Mohamed Ali Mosque. We then decided to make these trips weekly, in order to cover Egypt every weekend in a year-long period. I decided to document the trips on Instagram to show the places that no one hears about or visits with just a smart phone camera.
What do you do exactly?
Well, first I took it as my own personal project, aiming to travel all around Egypt in the 52 weeks of the year, and hence the name Egypt 52. What I usually do is google some of the least commonly visited places in Egypt, go take some snaps and write a brief about the trip when posting them on Instagram. Thankfully, the project grew by time and many people decided to follow it. I received many requests to join the trips and so I decided to make them more organized. I also make early announcements so whoever wants to join can make it and bring as many friends and family members as he/she wishes.
Your trips aren’t always weekly now, right? Why is that?
Yes, due to many circumstances out of my hands honestly. Last year, I either had exams, sick days or holidays where I could not plan any trips, but so far we’re getting back on track with a good rate.
Where did you go so far?
We went of course to Cairo then Alexandria, Marsa Matrouh, Qaleyoubeya, Luxor, Siwa, Dahab, Nuweiba, st. Catherine, Aswan & El-Nuba. In Cairo, we visited El Mo3ez Street, El-Hussein, Geziret El Dahab, Blue Mosque, the religious complex and many other places. The best places we visited were Siwa, Dahab, Nuweiba, st. Catherine and the best of all was El-Nuba, a magical place where the Nile is too clear you can almost drink from it directly. The people there are very helpful; even the usual food had better taste.
How did the conference with the minister of tourism go?
It was one of the moments that I personally felt proud to be part of. The conference went really well; the minister showed nothing but belief in the young people he addressed that day. We felt that finally someone has started to do things our way. Unfortunately, it was only after the famous Russian air crash in Sinai that made the Ministry of Tourism move, but at least they did. Honestly, I’m optimistic about the whole campaign.
What do you think of the new #ThisIsEgypt campaign?
I think it’s brilliant, a campaign from the people to the people, from the youth to the youth and from Egyptians to the whole world. Nowadays, the easiest way to address anyone is through social media; no age category is excluded from any kind of social network channels. Kids, parents and grandparents all have at least one social network account so everyone can see and share the beauty of this country. I’m a complete supporter of the campaign; I participate on a volunteer basis like all the others.
What are you planning next for Egypt 52?
We’re now only 8 weeks away from finishing the first 52 weeks. It has been a very long journey and I’m not intending to end it; a new event management agency called Gondola has made a sponsorship deal. The trips will resume and some gorgeous places will be revisited in case new participants haven’t been there before. We plan to explore what we missed out on during the first 52 weeks.