In Arabic, fekra means thought or idea – and the lakeside Fekra Culture Centre (w fekraculture.com) near Shallal is brimming with both. Founded by film-maker Ahmed Abdel Mohsen, it’s affiliated to Cairo’s Townhouse Gallery and Makan club, Zad al-Mostafer in the Fayoum and other art networks abroad, collaborating on projects to share and enrich Nubian culture. Their mud-brick compound of Bedouin tents, chic little rooms and Gaudi-esque toilets open to the sky comes with recording equipment, views of the First Cataract and Philae Temple, birdlife and river bathing. Film-makers, dancers, painters and performers are welcome to apply, but their work must suit the project’s theme. The cost of staying (with meals) ranges from €100 a night down to nothing, depending on your affluence or poverty. Over summer, rooms or houses might be rented out to tourists if no workshops are scheduled. The back-road that leads here begins near the Sculpture Park.