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Trip Report Trip Report -- Morocco, Egypt and Jordan

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Just returned from a three week trip to Morocco, Egypt and Jordan. We had an outstanding time. I'll link the pics for each destination. We used two different travel companies, one for Morocco and another for Egypt, Jordan. Here's the itinerary:

Flew US to Casablanca via Paris and drove straight to Marrakech
2 nights in Marrakech, exploring this fascinating city
1 night at the Kasbah du Toubkal in the High Atlas
1 night in Ourzazate
1 night in the Sahara at the Merzouga Dunes
drive back to Ourzazate fro flight to Casablanca, overnight
early flight next morning for Cairo

3 night in Cairo
early flight to Luxor, 1 night
early balloon flight and touring, drive to Esna for dahabiya
5 nights aboard a sailboat/dahabiya to Aswan
fly morning to Abu Simbel for overnight
flight to Cairo via Aswan and onward to Amman, Jordan
drive to Petra, two nights
up to Dead Sea for a night
full day up to Jordan River and then Jerash before late night flight home

One thing that I'd say is that we tried to use a couple US companies to arrange Egypt and Jordan and with one, we were told all dahabiya's were sold out (we really wanted to do this) and another had a dahabiya connection but were were told we'd have to take the whole boat (there were only three of us) which was cost prohibitive. With a little trepidation, we used Gateway to Egypt which is Egypt-based and easily found on the internet. They were able to do for us everything we wanted and at a significant cost difference. Great english-speaking guides/Egpytologists, a Nile dahabiya which was outstanding, and great hotels (Mena House in Cairo, Winter Palace in Luxor, etc...). The cost savings were about a third from the US-based groups. The only thing I can figure is that they are local and therefore can do things that can't be done from afar.

Opinions about Nile cruises would be varied according to personal tastes, but we LOVED the slow sail along the Nile. As we would drop anchor on a Nile Island for the evening, a parade of monster cruise ships one after the other plied the river. With a big fun group maybe that wouldn't matter and it would be fun, but it just seemed too canned and cookie cutter and crowded to us. The dahabiya is a good option and we appreciated the pace as well as the off times we would hit the temples along the way. We even visited a couple villages as well. Bring some good books along and enjoy! pS the cook aboard was fantastic and we ate like kings!

Pictures say a 1000 words so, enjoy!
Morocco:

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=97552&id=610038487&l=d8dc7c3b1f

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=97567&id=610038487&l=4c34a893a2

Egypt/Jordan:

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=97599&id=610038487&l=c3ac4c443f

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=97608&id=610038487&l=3b2e1275e9

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=97753&id=610038487&l=2762b51aae

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=97762&id=610038487&l=bb2ab7dbec

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