You cannot step outside of your hotel in Luxor without hearing the shouts of the horse and carriage drivers (called caleches) heckling for a ride or seeing overburdened donkeys carrying carts of everything from bricks to gas bottles around town.  Away from the hotels and the main tourist trail, Luxor is still very much a working, farming community where families rely heavily on their animals to make a living.  Unfortunately many of the animals are in quite a poor condition, overloaded and overworked and it can be very upsetting to see the awful state of some of them.

Happily there is a place that is making a real difference and it is well worth a visit.  Animal Care in Egypt (ACE) is a fully functioning veterinary hospital with up to 200 animals visiting a day-most requiring some sort of medical attention.  There is room for over thirty inpatients if any animal needs to be kept in for treatment - it is usually full.  There are three full time Egyptian vets and one UK volunteer vet working at the centre.

ACE is trying to improve the lives of these animals not only by treatment but also by education and prevention.  The service provided is completely free to the poor owners who would not be able to afford it otherwise.  It is a Charity in Egypt with a registered supporting charity in the UK which is the main base for the funds.  ACE is completely funded by voluntary donation.

Visitors are welcomed and given a guided tour by the volunteers that work there who all have a real passion for the animals they care for.  It is a beautiful, clean and uplifting place to spend an hour or two of your day and well worth the short taxi ride (LE 25-30) from the Nile.  Local children come for lessons in animal welfare Mon-Thursday between 9-12pm so if you wish to see the education programme in action time your visit accordingly!  The centre is open 8-5pm daily.

There are refreshments and merchandise available, and the washroom facilities (like the rest of the centre) are spotlessly clean.  If you have any interest in animals and their welfare or are just ‘templed-out’ and want to visit a place that’s a bit different then this is the place to go.  It will definitely leave a lasting impression and is an excellent addition to anyone’s itinerary whilst in Luxor .

Check out their website www.ace-egypt.org.uk for information (updated with much more information 2010).  There are also details of current or recent cases on the blog.

 aceegypt.blogspot.com/