Egyptian Highlights/Orbit Tours Update?

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Jun 18th, 2005, 10:40 AM
  #21
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Thanks for all the opinions expressed on this thread. I, too, agree with Thyra's description and have checked back with people who told me about it many months ago. Now to fine-tune the plans...
One of our options is a 3 day desert safari - one night at a hotel in the Bahariya Oasis; the other visiting the black desert, crystal mountain, and the white desert, etc. Has anyone done this?
I am going to post the question as a separate post; forgive the duplication.
Again, my appreciation for setting my mind at ease.
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Jun 18th, 2005, 02:41 PM
  #22
 
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I wrote to about 15 persons on the guest list at EH. I have received about 5 respones back so far. I am confident that EH is a legitimate business. The persons that wrote me back wrote me long e-mails about their experiences with EH. All were glowing reports. I have contacted EH and am going ahead with my plans to use them for my trip. Thyra, can't wait to read your report when your return in September.
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Jun 19th, 2005, 08:48 AM
  #23
 
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Anitas, I am very happy to hear that. I feel pretty easy about things at this point. But in any event, I believe you said you were planning this trip for December. You can contact me at any time in advance of that,.Once we return, I will let you know the skinny on everything. I have an email address I use for this board, [email protected]. Feel free to contact me directly should you desire. On a previous trip to Kenya, I corresponded with a lady who was taking her trip at the same time and we were able to swap tips as we went through the process of planning , shots packing etc. I found it helpful to say the least.
BTW are you planning on a cruise, if so, which one?
Now, I am getting rather excited.. King Tut just arrived last week here in LA and I have tickets to go see the exhibit.. frankly the tickets at LACMA cost more then 3 days journey TO Egypt.. lol... but hopefully it will get us all juiced up for our September excursion! Happy travels..
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Jun 19th, 2005, 10:33 PM
  #24
 
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Conlet

I've done the desert safari to the Western desert on my first trip to Egypt (with Orbit Tours). We shortened our camping trip to a 2-day overnight trip instead as we wanted to fit Jordan in our 2-week trip - we skipped the night in the hotel in the oasis.

The drive from Cairo to Bahariya Oasis is a fairly long one, about 4 to 5 hours, depending on how early you're picked up. We were the first but that worked out the best as we managed to get the best seats in the van - it get quite uncomfortable if the van is full.

Bring some snacks and drinks along for the trip as there's only one stop along the way. Snacks and drinks are sold at the stop. The toilets at the stop are not pleasant but I guess you have to go when you have to go.

Per the suggested itinerary, one is supposed to stay-over at the hotel at the oasis for the first night and then go on the camping trip the next day. That wasn't applicable to us since we were on the one-day trip. But the camping guide suggested to others on the 2 day trip that it was best if they go camping first and end with the stay at the hotel as it would allow them to have a rest and shower before the trip back to Cairo.

You leave the oasis hotel for the camping trip proper in hardy 30-year old Toyota Landcruisers (it's part of the adventure!) with a simple lunch stop on the way.

The black dessert is basically an old volcano where there are lots of flower shaped lava rocks scattered all over the ground.

You'll spend the night camping under the stars in the eerily beautiful white desert - the area was previously lakes as there are lots of large funny shaped rocks and fossils on the ground.

The Western Desert trip was one of the highlights of our Egypt trip (the other was Karnak Temple).

In my opinion, if you like camping, try and ask whether there is a 2-night camping option instead of spending one-night in the oasis hotel.
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Jun 20th, 2005, 10:15 AM
  #25
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Susumiki - thanks for the more specific info. My husband is not a camper, nor really am I, but I am working at convincing him that this is part of the adventure! EH indicated that you slept on mattresses and blankets while camping and that kind of made him pause.
This will probably be our only trip to Egypt, and I don't want to have regrets about adventures passed up.
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Jun 20th, 2005, 06:29 PM
  #26
 
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Don't miss the desert!!!

It is quiet & peaceful & otherworldly. It is as quiet as Cairo is chaotic.

When I went to the Western Desert in January, I stayed in hotels which were clean & served very fresh Egyptian food. I would have no hesitation staying at any of them again.

As an aside, the attached bathrooms/showers were funny. In one, the enclosed tile bathroom had a shower head sticking out of the wall. There was no shower curtain & no tub, and it was a few feet from the toilet, so as you showered, your toilet was also showered with water.

Another one had a big, big tub with a shower head sticking out of the wall over the tub, but no shower curtains. The bathroom was huge & the shower water got all over the place. Both of these places had tile floors, so it was a little slippery.

All of them had lots of hot water in the water heaters -- which is more than I can say for a couple of the 5 star hotels I stayed in.

Throughout the trip I was very tired by bedtime due to being so busy, so I fell asleep the instant my head touched the pillow. I don't think that an air mattress would have made a difference.

BUT, when I was sitting around the campfire at night in the White Desert, it was so wonderful that I decided that on my next trip to the desert I would camp. So when I return in November I'm camping. I am not a camper, I am not in shape, & I do like my creature comforts, but this is an adventure. Short of some serious health problems, 1 or 2 nights on an air mattress should be OK.


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Jun 20th, 2005, 07:35 PM
  #27
 
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Hi Conlet

I went on my camping trip in my earlier Egypt trip with Orbit Tours not EH.

I too was apprehensive about the camping bit when we were planning trip - I am not the camping type either ... I like my own bathroom. However, my friends were keen on it and so I went along and I was definitely glad I did.

We slept on mattresses with blankets on our trip too. We went in 2 4WD vehicles and they parked them together to form a sort of semi-circle to which they hung some colourful local tent material. The mattresses were placed in front of this.

The mattresses and blankets were carried on the top of the 4WD vehicles so they were dusty. If your husband is concerned about this, you may want to bring your own sleeping bag along. We went in Oct and though the temperatures were hot during the day, it drops very quickly at night in the desert.

Toilet amentities are ...uhm.. very basic ... you make your own. But hey it's a camping trip.

The camping guide whipped up a dinner of vegetable soup, grilled chicken, rice and lots of hot tea by the campfire. Later a Bedoiun entertainer came by from another camp and they sang by the campfire.

Though we didn't stay in the hotel in the oasis, it (Palma Village) looked quite nice. The public restrooms were clean and I was very impressed that the staff had kept my sungalsses for me when I left them behind while waiting to set off for the desert.

Do ask which hotel you'll be staying at in the oasis (and elsewhere) and do your own independent checking of the place if you can to make sure that you'll be happy with it. Another friend who went to Egypt around the same time we did last year with another tour company wasn't so happy with his hotel and transport arrangements.

If you like I could send you some photos I took of the camping trip ... well at least the ones I could take with my dinky digital camera before it got too dark.
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Jun 24th, 2005, 07:16 AM
  #28
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
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Hello all! I am also planning to book with EH for next year. Please do post your experience with the company after your trip. EH has been responsive to my emails. I actually spoke to Walaa as well. She's been very helpful and understanding.I am just a bit scared now referring to the other posts. I know that they want 50% wired to them as a downpayment. I just want to make sure I will not loose my money once I book with them.
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Jun 24th, 2005, 08:40 AM
  #29
 
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Dear Italy '05, we are taking our trip in September. I have an extremely high level of confidence in EH, despite all of the posts. I will be sure to post a good bad ugly report as soon as we arrive home. I also posted my email address, there are two other people planning trips with EH at this time and I plan to email everone as soon as i arrive in Cairo to give the skinny (our trip is the first of the lot) my email for this board is [email protected].
Happy travels! T
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Jun 24th, 2005, 10:00 AM
  #30
 
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I have a tour booked with EH that begins in two weeks. I'll do my best to post my experience here. So far I have been favorably impressed and have heard/read only positive comments from others who have used them. Stay tuned . . .

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Jun 24th, 2005, 10:08 AM
  #31
 
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Alright Jojo, you've moved to the front of the line! Can't wait to read your return posts. Which tour are you taking? Have a safe, wonderful trip!
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Jun 24th, 2005, 10:30 AM
  #32
 
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Re: Western Desert trip. I stayed in the Palma in Bahariya Oasis (Bawiti is the town.) It's spacious, clean with a nice restaurant serving basic & good Egyptian food. Nice design.

The staff was very nice & helpful. In the morning, the 3 of us sat outside in a spot of sun (it was winter) &, upon our request, the staff brought out breakfast to us.

It had a lot of hot water & heat which is quite helpful if you are there in the winter when the nights are quite cold.

Thyra -- I used your trip to spell check. Thanks!
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Jun 24th, 2005, 11:15 AM
  #33
 
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I emailed a few people that was on EH guestbook. I have gotten a few replies and they were all positive feeback. PHEW!!! I think everything will be ok. Please do post your experience after the trip. I am interested in doing the Classic and Red Sea tour.
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Jun 25th, 2005, 04:46 AM
  #34
 
Join Date: May 2003
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Does Egyptian Highlights have a website I can look at?
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Jun 26th, 2005, 03:33 PM
  #36
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Well, I booked with EH and sent them $1600 before I saw these messages so I hope they are really ledgit. I leave Aug 1 for Jordan and Egypt. Once you book shouldnt they send you some sort of confirmation number or something? I asked but I havent heard back from Walla.
 
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Jun 27th, 2005, 05:39 AM
  #37
 
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Maybe you should give her a call to make sure she received the money. When did you wire the money to them? Let us know how your trip goes.
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Jun 27th, 2005, 04:07 PM
  #38
 
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Dear Sugar Fire,
I emailed Walaa after I wired the money (to be sure they got it). FYI It takes a few days to hit their bank. About 5 days later I got an official receipt on bank letter head (from Bourak Tours) . I don't think you will have any problems, I am sure they are legit, Hostel World uses them as a travel provider which I doubt they would do if after the first few times people were left stranded. Susumiki went with them and had no problems. It's just weird to wire money in advance. Some people are not comfortable doing this. We didn't send the entire amount just 50% and will pay the balance upon arrival. Happy Travels!
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Jul 3rd, 2005, 05:03 PM
  #39
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Hello, I talked to Walla and she did recieve our money- I will pay the other half in Egypt when we get there. 28 days till we leave, I am still trying to finalize the last 6 days i Greece but am happy with our Jordan/Egypt part. Cari
 
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Jul 21st, 2005, 03:57 PM
  #40
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
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Just returned from Egypt a few days ago. We used Egypt Highlights (their 10-day classic Egypt Highlights tour). Our trip was absolutely wonderful and I did not want it to end. The Nile cruise boat was the Royal Ruby. We did the sunrise camel ride, day-trip to Alexandria, sleeping trains, Abu Simbel, Nubian Village tour.

The most enjoyable part to me was meeting and talking to the Egyptian people. They were genuinely nice. People would ask where we were from and would ALWAYS give us an enthusiastic welcome. I can hardly wait to go back. I want to see more of Cairo - as well as other parts of Egypt.

Egypt Highlights took very good care of us. I will certainly use them again.
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