Jan 10th, 2011, 03:29 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 53

Egypt/Jordan trip

I know there has been a backlash against writing about specific tour guides- but sorry I must do so as I have to give credit where credit is due!
I recently finished a private trip with Ahmed Hamed Yousif to Egypt and Jordan. I was of course influenced by the many good reports I had read about him here on this site and that helped me make the final decision about whether or not to use him or a bigger agency. I have to say I am really pleased with our decision to go with him.

I’m afraid this is not going to be a normal trip report because this particular trip was not exactly ‘normal’ due to some unforeseen circumstances.
We did all the important sites that I’m sure every first time traveler hits when going to Egypt and Jordan and everything was planned and managed smoothly by Ahmed. I have to say, this was the first time I was more ‘hands off’ on the planning since I had been very busy with work beforehand. Usually I’m fanatical about checking up on all the hotels and such, but this time I left it in the hands of our guide. I wasn’t disappointed. Ahmed delivered everything he promised and more as he went above and beyond the call of duty to get us beautiful hotel rooms with great views and, most importantly, fantastic guides along the way. The sites are breathtaking, but the people make the trip! From Cairo where we began down to Aswan, Abu Simbel, and along the Nile to Luxor, we always felt we were being personally cared for by Ahmed as he checked up on us throughout the entire trip. And to be honest, in our unique situation, we needed to be. What began as a 2 person trip became 3 when a relative was adamant about joining along. To make a very long (and stressful) story short- our 3rd party member was not in any condition to be in a country like Egypt. We were unaware of this fact until we met at the airport on our way over and things got worse with their ‘condition’ as the trip went on. To our dismay, our relative had fallen a number of times and was in real danger of getting seriously hurt. I can’t say enough about how much we appreciate what Ahmed, his chosen reps, drivers, and guides…especially Hazem who was with us for so much of the trip!...did for us. We were in an upsetting situation and they all went out of their way to make sure our relative was given the required support they needed – which was a lot of stress for them as well. On top of that, they were always concerned about our well-being in terms of trying to make the best of a difficult situation and not letting it ruin our trip-of-a-lifetime to Egypt! And I have to say, they gave us some beautiful memories of the place. I cannot thank them enough for helping us along and saving our trip. I don’t believe we ever would have gotten this kind of attention and care had we been on a group tour. Ahmed and his chosen guides were put to the test with us- and they passed brilliantly!

So yes, although it is frowned upon, I am writing because of Ahmed and his services and I highly recommend him for anyone’s trip to Egypt!

Anything else I can say about Egypt I’m afraid has already been said by far more eloquent people than I so let me just leave it at these little tidbits I recommend:

-Absolutely see Abu Simbel – it was a highlight!
-Drive there, don’t fly (Ahmed was so right about this as Egypt Air screwed us up on both flights from Cairo to Aswan and Luxor to Cairo!!)
-Absolutely check out Abydos and Dendera!!! They were so fascinating and such a special experience for us with the beauty of the colors and the solitude of the place!
-Make sure you know what you’re getting into for the Nile Cruise- this is the one area I should have researched more carefully! Our ship was good by most standards and Ahmed made sure we were given great rooms on it- but it wasn’t the experience I had been looking for. My fault I have to say for not learning more about it…Silly me, I thought I was going to be on a cruise like in Death on the Nile ☺ In any case, Ahmed will arrange whatever you want so just research and know what you want. (I’m sure the high end ships come with an incredible price tag…sadly, we were trying to stay in a budget.)
-If it’s your first time there- it is good to have a guide along the way- it can be a very aggressive place and Ahmed was great at teaching us how to deal and how to bargain.

So if you have any specific questions I’m happy to answer them! I will write more on the Jordan portion with my thoughts/impressions. Ahmed hooked us up with the most wonderful guide/driver there : Bashar Herzalla. We loved him so much and he deserves a ton of praise as well!!! For now I will leave you with this info in case you would like to use our guides:
Ahmed Hamed Yousif can be reached at [email protected] for Egypt and he can hook you up with Jordan as well.
You can get in touch directly with Bashar at [email protected] -- for Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon!
I am planning to see more of the Middle East with Bashar!!!

Once again- huge thanks to Ahmed, Hazem, all the guides, reps and drivers in Egypt and dearest Bashar in Jordan!

Wanderfilms is offline  
Jan 10th, 2011, 10:06 PM
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 3,902
I loved my Egyptian guides but may have enjoyed Jordan more if had Bashar to guide me. You're last minute travel partner was a bit of an issue did throw a spanner in the works. You're obviously kind to let them come along at the last minute. Great report
MissGreen is offline  
Jan 12th, 2011, 01:32 PM
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 396
Wanderfilms, thank you for your "report." We are heading to Egypt in a couple of months and have hired Ahmed--I did a lot of research and contacted a slew of agencies before I made the decision--so am glad to hear about your very positive experience. We are going to Abu Simbel and Abydos and Dendera--very excited about those two sights!

I would love to hear more about your Nile Cruise. We are to be on the Sonesta St. George. I've never seen Death on the Nile, maybe I should rent it! Hubby was a little reluctant for the cruise but I insisted. Did you do any Sound and Light shows? Any other specific tips or suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks.
nola77382 is offline  
Jan 14th, 2011, 04:33 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 53
Hi Nola,
I'm not sure if you've done any kind of cruise before. I've always avoided them, but for some reason thought it would be different on the Nile. It's very touristy and I felt like I was trapped on board with a bunch of tourists that all have to eat at the same time...UGH. Not my cup of tea. But it may be fun for others so I suppose it depends on what you're looking for.
It also wasn't in my opinion on the same level as the land hotels- but I was informed that 5* on sea is not the same as 5* on land and when I did express my disappointment they did upgrade us immediately to suites which were must better...but still not the experience I had expected. Not to be a snob but I had paid what i felt was a lot of money for a 5* trip and this didn't seem to fit the bill. I just looked at the Sonesta online and it looks pretty fabulous. But also, I believe, much more than what we had paid. So live and learn on my part! I should have researched much more beforehand.

As for the sound and light shows- I didn't do any so I can't really comment.

I'm so glad you are going to Abydos! I really think you will love these sites.

If I can think of any other suggestions or tips I will let you know, but Ahmed will take very good care of you!
Wanderfilms is offline  
Jan 15th, 2011, 09:21 PM
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 396
Wanderfilms, we have never done a cruise before, nor have ever wanted to, because of the "confined to a boat at sea for days problem." This will be our first and it may well be our last! Hopefully the Sonesta St. George will live up to its reputation. I wanted the Oberoi Phillae but that was way out of the budget...

We are to stay at the Cairo Marriott, Movenpick in Aswan and Jolieville in Luxor. Did you stay at any of those? Thoughts? Can you tell me how you handled the tipping? Any other suggestions? If you want to PM me, I'm on TripAdvisor--NOLA44.

Between your and BeniciaChris's recent reports, I am feeling more and more comfortable with the decision to go with Ahmed!

BTW: I think it's interesting that you felt reluctant to praise Ahmed when so many recent reports have come out praising Lady Egypt. Good work should be praised, whether it was provided by an individual or an agency. At least that's my view.

nola77382 is offline  
Jan 16th, 2011, 02:07 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 53
Hi NOla- I think you are going to be very happy with the Sonesta St. George. If you are going to try a cruise once in your life, it should be along the Nile, shouldn't it?

As I said, I left the hotel arrangements to Ahmed, and I was very pleased. (And I'm very picky

The Cairo Marriott was in a perfect location and in a great old Egyptian palace. The neighborhood is safe and so convenient! You will be quite happy.

We also stayed in the Movenpick in ASwan and I loved it! The view was so amazing! And I loved the location on Elephantine island. If I had more time I would have stayed an extra day there It's so peaceful and the food was great there!

I didn't stay in the Jolieville in Luxor, but if Ahmed says it's good- I would trust him. Also, another great thing about going with Ahmed is that he is always working hard to get you the room with the view - which I never even asked for!! He seemed to go to great lengths to make sure we had a beautiful experience and the best views and rooms. And he's constantly checking in to make sure you are happy! It's great service!

I agree with you about praising good work! I'm not sure why it's ok to do it with a big company but when people write about individuals there seems to be a bit of a backlash and I'm not sure why. I think we are all here to get recommends on each other's individual experiences!
Wanderfilms is offline  
Jan 16th, 2011, 06:20 PM
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 396
Thanks for the first hand info about the two hotels. I will trust Ahmed, thanks for reminding me that we are in good hands! We've just never before turned over a trip to someone else so it's hard for me to relinquish the control...I'm steadily getting more excited--it's only 2.5 months to go now!

nola77382 is offline  
Jan 17th, 2011, 10:42 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,352
Hi Wanderfilms! Great report and so glad you enjoyed Egypt!
Elizabeth_S is offline  
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