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Egypt trip report: Private tour expertly arranged by Ahmed Hamed Yousif

Egypt trip report: Private tour expertly arranged by Ahmed Hamed Yousif

Old May 26th, 2009, 02:04 PM
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Egypt trip report: Private tour expertly arranged by Ahmed Hamed Yousif

We were in Egypt from May 1st to May 18th, 2009. It was a dream vacation that came true. We really felt safe in Egypt. Our trip was arranged by Ahmed Hamed Yousif (email: [email protected]). Now that we are back from a trouble free trip, we can certainly confirm that he is very professional and the trip was arranged as per our request. Ahmed was also very flexible and accommodated us with our requests while in Egypt. We taught that we would write a report to reassure all travelers who are thinking about using his services for their travel plan to Egypt…and for those that dream of an amazing trip without any surprises to the beautiful land of Egypt. All you need is King Ahmed. Michel’s sister and her husband have already confirmed their trip with Ahmed for December. We know they will be in good hands.

How it all started
This trip was Michel’s dream vacation. Each time we talked about a destination for vacation, he would always bring up “I would go to Egypt”. I was always a bit reluctant for the Egypt destination. Now that I am back, I don’t know why I waited that long to make this trip (I would return to Egypt anytime now). It all started last August. We had just returned form Italy, where we had an amazing time and summer weather, but the weather in Canada was rainy and miserable. Just a week after returning, I was already thinking about our future trip. There was only one destination I could choose to convince him to go on vacation… of course Egypt! Just like that, I decided to plan for an Egyptian vacation.

How we decided on a private tour with Ahmed Hamed Yousif (email: [email protected] ).
We were looking at different organized group tour when we realized that it was not quite what we wanted. Most group tours did not offer to visit Abydos and Dandera, 2 places that Michel really wanted to see (something about his pilgrimage to Abydos). I started looking at Fodor for some ideas how to do get started. Ahmed’s name came up very often and he was highly recommended for private tour of Egypt. I verified his references from 2 posters on Fodor, Elizabeth and Azeb. They both confirmed the excellent and professional service provided by Ahmed. Ahmed Hamed Yousif had so many positive reviews that we decided to go with him. That was our best decision. We made a few specific requests and he made a few suggestions. After a few exchange of emails, we finally agreed on an itinerary and the cost.

Payment for the private tour
Once we agreed on an itinerary and the cost, Ahmed needed a deposit to secure our reservation. Because he does not have his own company, he deals with Lady Egypt. Before sending a deposit by wire transfer, I did send an email to Lady Egypt to verify if they knew Ahmed and if this was an acceptable procedure. They reply positively so we sent a 30% deposit by a wire transfer to that company. It was safe and we did not have any problem. They received payment within a few days and Ahmed was good to start bookings for our trip. We paid the balance due in Cairo. Again, a representative from Lady Egypt came to the Mena House Hotel to settle our final balance payment for the trip. We paid the balance by credit card. The representative was very professional, he did show me the cost in Egyptian Pound as we had agreed on and the balance to be paid, he did re-informed me of the 3% charge for using the credit card (we already knew about this charge). There is no charge if you pay cash.

Our Itinerary:
May 1st: Leaving Canada
May 2nd: Arrival in Cairo at 2h30 pm
We were greeted inside the Cairo airport by a Lady Egypt representative holding a sign with our names. He took care of the entry visa, and after passing through the passport checkpoint, he helped us with our bags. The arrival at the Cairo airport is very very very chaotic to say the least, but with the very polite and helpful Lady Egypt representative everything went smooth without any problem. We then made our way through the Cairo traffic in our air-conditioned minivan and reach the Mena House Hotel in Giza. The representative helped us checked into the Mena House and, as we requested, made sure we got a room with a nice Pyramid view. He left the hotel only after we assured him that we were satisfied with the room. We had the same service from Lady Egypt representatives at every location during the entire trip.

May 3rd, 4th, 5th: Cairo
We finally met Ahmed Hamed Yousif. Yes he does exist and he is even more amazing as a guide and a private tour organizer than the positive comments that we read in travel sites. He is the King (and more importantly a great person). Ahmed made all the arrangements for us to purchase a phone that would work in Egypt to stay in contact with him. Ahmed was our guide for our first 3 days in the Cairo area. We went at our own pace, did ask a lot of questions and went, with Ahmed, to good Egyptian restaurants. Also, the driver always had nice cold water bottles each time we returned to the mini van. The first day we visited the Cairo Museum, the Great Pyramids of the Giza (ride camels on the plateau), papyrus museum and the Sphinx. The second day we visited the Red Pyramid of Dahshsur (viewed the Bend Pyramid) and in the afternoon visited the Step Pyramid and the Pyramid of Teti (including the funeral chambers inside). The last day, we visited the old Cairo (Islamic and Coptic) including Khan al-Khalili souk, an all day experience.

May 6th: Aswan
In the morning, we flew from Cairo to Aswan. We met Mahmoud (the Prince of Aswan) that was our private guide for the next 7 days. In most of our visit with Mahmoud we were alone in the Temples (except Karnak and Luxor) and he was exceptional as a guide to explain all the temples. We were impressed with his knowledge of the cartouches. Once again, we went at our own pace, did ask a lot of questions and had a lot of time to take photos (over 900). At the airport we were greeted by a Lady Egypt representative that helped us checked into the Basma Hotel, as we requested, made sure we got a room with a nice view of the Nile and the Sahara Desert. We visited the High Dam, the Aswan Dam and Philae Temple.

May 7th: Abu Simbel
Flew (round trip) to Abu Simbel. Back in Aswan we followed Mahmoud to the souk to buy great spices.

May 8th: Aswan
Transfer from the Basma Hotel to the Nile Cruise aboard the Al Farida and late in the afternoon a sightseeing sail by Felucca on the Nile. We also visited the Kitchener Island. The Al Farida is a small (only 40 suites) and very peaceful boat as we requested.

May 9th: Cruising the Nile
The boat left Aswan during the night. During the day we visited Kom Ombo and Edfu with our private guide, and went through the Esna Lock on the Nile later that day. We arrived in Luxor very early the next mourning.

May 10th, 11th: Luxor
The first day in Luxor we visited the Temples at Karnak and Luxor. The second day we visited the Valley of the Kings, Valley of the Queens, Queen Hatshepsut Temple, the Colossi of Memnon. We transferred from the Al Farida to the Nile Palace Hotel. That 5 stars hotel was an upgrade from the Maritim Jolie Ville Hotel courtesy of Ahmed Hamed Yousif.

May 12th: Luxor
Like many ancient Egyptians we made a pilgrimage to the sacred land of Abydos. An all day trip with air-conditioned minivan (an amazing drive through the Egyptian countryside) and professional and safe driver and Private Egyptologist tour guide to visit the most colorful Egyptian Temple at Abydos and the most mysterious Egyptian Temple at Dendera and then back to Luxor. This was an amazing day.

May 13th: Luxor
Free day-we relaxed by the pool.

May 14th: Luxor – Sharm El Sheikh
Ahmed Hamed Yousif arranged for us to stay at the hotel until 8pm to catch our flight to Sharm El Sheikh later. In the morning, we visited the Luxor Museum, small but impressive with a collection of statutes, artifact from Akhenaten and two mummies. We arrived at Sharm El Sheikh Marriott Beach Resort. As always, the Lady Egypt representative that picked us at the airport helped us checked into the Marriott Beach Resort and, as we requested, made sure we got a room directly on the beach.

May 15th, 16th, 17th: Sharm El Sheik
At Sharm El Sheikh we turned into two beach bums with snorkeling intermissions. Thanks Ahmed for arranging the accommodation at this little paradise. We flew from paradise to Cairo in the afternoon. We requested to stay near the airport in Cairo (Ahmed arranged the Novotel) to catch our flight home early the next day. This hotel was really convenient.

Thank you Ahmed for arranging this vacation. All the arrangements for the pick-up service, the Lady Egypt Representatives, the drivers, the hotel rooms with the pyramid view, the Nile-Sahara view and the beach view were perfect. Thank you King Ahmed and your Prince from Aswan Mahmoud for your professionalism during the private guided tours of museum, pyramids and temples throughout Egypt.

Farwell and see you soon,

Your Canadian Friends.

Martine and Michel
godin is offline  
Old May 27th, 2009, 03:09 AM
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Sounds like you had a fantastic trip,that's great. I agree that Egypt is a fascinating place to visit.
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Old May 27th, 2009, 09:10 AM
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godin, we took a trip to Egypt last summer that was planned through LadyEgypt. Our guide was also named Mahmoud. I wonder if it was the same one. Our guide Mahmoud lives in Aswan. He just got married last fall. Sound familiar?
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Old May 29th, 2009, 12:08 PM
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Hi sf7307, in regards to Mahmoud, he did live in Aswan. Our Mahmoud, was supose to get married, he was engaged, but the weddding never took place. He is now single again.
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Old May 29th, 2009, 01:32 PM
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Oh, no, I'm sorry to hear that. Send me an email to [email protected] (that's my public email address) and I'll send you a picture with him. Then you can confirm if it's the same guy. (More detail: they were going to take a Nile Cruise as their honeymoon -- he was going to "work" on the cruise so they could go for free)
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Old May 29th, 2009, 02:02 PM
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What a strange title for a trip report. With such emphasis on the guide. I was sure I was opening a posting advertising a TA, but . . . .

regards - tom
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Old May 29th, 2009, 06:47 PM
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Yikes, too weird, another trip report on this forum that emphasizes A.H. Yousif in the trip title. Wonder if this guy also does safari guiding?

regards - tom
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Old May 29th, 2009, 09:56 PM
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What's even odder is that it seems the only actual guiding he does is in Cairo, and this Lady Egypt outfit does most of the work.
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Old May 30th, 2009, 05:11 AM
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thanks carry999............I was feeling so alone!!!! Altho I did get support from sf7307 and thursdaysd!!!!
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Old May 30th, 2009, 10:30 PM
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Grcxx3 - I support you in almost everything you post, but have to stay away from these threads for reasons you are aware of.
CCd
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Old May 31st, 2009, 06:29 AM
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Not a problem CC - I completely understand!
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