Egypt Trip Report

Feb 19th, 2019, 02:24 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 100
Egypt Trip Report

Less than a month ago we returned from an exceptional twelve days in Egypt. Despite many comments about how easy it is to travel independently in Egypt we opted for a full-fledged tour that was offered by the USA based company Odysseys Unlimited. Since retiring about 15 years ago we have traveled extensively to more than 50 countries and using all types of travel: We cruised on big ships in Europe using private guides for many port calls; we sailed on expedition-type small ships to Galapagos and Alaska; we traveled independently to India, Peru, Chile, New Zealand and Australia, three times on African Safaris. We also traveled six times on organized tours in Europe, Israel and Jordan. When we traveled independently we sometimes used in-country agents to arrange transfers, private guides and accommodations; on other independent trips we made all of the arrangements ourselves. Sometimes we traveled with friends and other times as a couple. We feel like we have tried all available options, but for Egypt we decided for the full-fledged organized tour with 21 participants; it was the best decision for us. Others may choose another option.

Our itinerary was pretty standard. The strongest advantage of our trip was having a tour director who was our knowledgeable guide throughout the entire tour. We began with three nights in Cairo at the Fairmont Nile City Hotel when we visited the Egyptian Museum, the Citadel, spent a day at the Giza Plateau including the Great Pyramid, the Solar Boat Museum, and the Sphinx, Old Cairo, and saw a bit of Islamic Cairo. We then flew to Aswan and embarked on the Movenpick Prince Abba for four nights on Lake Nasser where we visited ten temples and tombs that were mover and rescued from the waters of Lake Nasser when the High Dam was built. We culminated that cruise at the magnificent temples at Abu Simbel were we toured and explored for about four hours. We were awed by the temples and their decorations and we were amazed at the effort made to save these ancient sites. The pace was perfect – busy mornings visiting sites and then usually, relaxed afternoons on the boat. We really liked the idea of cruising the lake, eating delicious meals onboard, and having time to relax most days. We then drove by coach back to Aswan where we went to the Nubia Museum and enjoyed a felucca boat ride. We then switched to the Movenpick Royal Lily for three nights cruising north to Luxor on the Nile River, visiting temples in Kom Ombo and Edu along the way.

Once we arrived in Luxor we were busy with an optional hot air balloon adventure, four temples at the Valley of the Kings and Hatshepsut’s temple, a local home visit for a delicious home-made lunch, and Luxor Temple at sunset; this was a long day, but flawless in every way. The following day we spent more than three hours exploring the gigantic Karnak Temple and ended our time on the Nile with a one night stay at the Steigenberger Nile Palace Hotel. We then flew back to Cairo for two nights where we stopped at the Sadat Memorial, and wandered through the Khan el-Khalili bazaar. The second day was spent a day at Memphis, Saqqara’s noble tombs, and the Step Pyramid. We never felt rushed and never felt we needed more time at any one site. Yes, we had the typical stops at a carpet school and a papyrus institute, but the demonstrations were interesting and the shoppers in the group were delighted to buy things. All in all, it was great. The logistics were smooth, the security was very apparent, and the pace was perfect. We encourage people to visit Egypt, but do it according to your preference, not based on an expert’s opinion of the only way to experience its wonders from ancient times.
jeep61 is offline  
Feb 19th, 2019, 06:31 PM
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 2,283
Thank you for a wonderful report. How were the crowds at the major sights?
tripplanner001 is offline  
Feb 19th, 2019, 08:22 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 100
Crowds varied, but never a problem

The crowd sizes at major sites like Giza, Abu Simel, Valley of the Kings, etc. were not an issue. Our tour director made sure we arrived at each site as early as possible to avoid possible crowds. We saw larger crowds as we were leaving sites compared to our early arrivals. We saw the most people at Hatshepsut's temple - we think they were mostly students on school vacation. We never really waited in any long lines even with the multiple security checks at each site. Unfortunately the lack of crowds reflects the diminished level of tourism in Egypt over the last several years. Egypt needs tourists.
jeep61 is offline  
Feb 21st, 2019, 05:01 PM
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 2,283
Thanks for the feedback. Seems like the recovery is still slow. I’ve been reading recent travel articles on Egypt that seem to suggest things were bouncing back and was just curious.
tripplanner001 is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2019, 06:12 AM
Join Date: Feb 2019
Posts: 8
I Agree With Everything You Said

In reading your report, I have a strong feeling we were on the same trip. Even if we weren't, I agree with everything you said. My husband and I usually travel on our own also, although we have taken ocean and river cruises and an occasional organized tour. In other words we have experienced all different travel styles. In this case, I'm very, very glad we chose an organized tour for a variety of reasons. Egypt had been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember, and this trip was everything I had hoped for and then some. I would like to say that I thought the crowds at the Valley of the Kings were excessive, but that was the only place I felt that way. If I had it to do all over again, I would not change a thing.
vatraveler46 is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2019, 02:33 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 5,662
That's a great itinerary. We'll be using Odysseys Unlimited in the Fall for a couple of tours. Sounds like you were impressed with them. Thanks for the report.
dcd is offline  
Mar 8th, 2019, 11:09 AM
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 1,639
I am glad you enjoyed Egypt too. Being on a tour or doing it on your own , either way Egypt is a fantastic place to visit.
live42day is offline  
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