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-   -   First trip to Egypt- private guide/ahmed or company/lady egypt? (https://www.fodors.com/community/africa-and-the-middle-east/first-trip-to-egypt-private-guide-ahmed-or-company-lady-egypt-837859/)

Wanderfilms Apr 28th, 2010 05:27 PM

First trip to Egypt- private guide/ahmed or company/lady egypt?
 
Hello!
Hoping to get some advice. I posted here before my first safari and everyone was so helpful! I'm now planning my first trip to egypt and have been reading through all of the message boards. 2 names that tend to come up with glowing reviews are a private guide who can plan everything named Ahmed and a company called Lady Egypt. I'm having a tough time deciding between the 2 and hope to hear your opinions. Is Ahmed with you throughout the entire trip? Isn't it safer to deal with a company when it comes to things like payment and insurance? Will one give me a less 'touristy' look at the culture?
Is there anyone who has used Ahmed that would be willing to talk to me about their experience?

thanks much in advance!

Elizabeth_S Apr 29th, 2010 04:17 AM

We booked with Ahmed in January 2008 and had a wonderful experience. Have you seen our blog?

http://lizandrichardsa.typepad.com/l...8_adv/b_cairo/

When you book with Ahmed, you are in fact also booking with Lady Egypt as Ahmed uses them for the hotel/cruise/ground portion. You deal with Ahmed for the travel planning portion (which can be quite detailed if you are like me!) and then he is your guide in Cairo. In addition he is available 24/7 during your stay.

The financial transaction is all with Lady Egypt.

Ahmed brought a great deal to our trip - both during the planning stage and the trip itself and we highly recommend him.

Happy to answer any questions.

Axel2DP Apr 29th, 2010 07:00 PM

You can arrange for private tour with Lady Egypt also.

Grcxx3 Apr 30th, 2010 09:24 AM

You can also arrange for private tours with Casual Cairo Detours.

raelond Apr 30th, 2010 02:13 PM

I got a quote from Ahmed and I then decided to get a quote from Lady Egypt. The exact same trip booked directly with Lady Egypt was $1,000.00 per person less. That's a hugh savings for the same itinerary. I suspect Ahmed takes a nice cut for himself. Our trip with Lady Egypt was wonderful.

BeniciaChris May 1st, 2010 07:28 PM

raelond-I wish I had seen your E-mail earlier. I am booked with Ahmed and pay to Lady Egypt. I thought it was a little high. Live and learn-I'm sure we will have a wonderful trip,but since it is that much per person more does that mean we tip less since he seems to get his tip up front?? Chris

raelond May 1st, 2010 10:12 PM

Chris I really don't know how to answer that, except that be assured that he is making a lot more money than a guide who is paid directly by Lady Egypt would make.

MissGreen May 2nd, 2010 02:01 PM

I am sure he wants his tip too!

Yukon_XL May 3rd, 2010 05:36 AM

We (5 of us) travelled to Egypt in February and made our arrangements through Lady Egypt. I worked with Mohamed Kamel at Lady Egypt to make our reservations. Our tour guide was Aamer Ibrahim (from Luxor) and he made the trip. He was very knowledgable and had a great sense of humor. We still remember him fondly. Lady Egypt handled everything for us and we were very happy with the trip and arrangements.

I don't know how many days you plan on being in Egypt, but one thing that we would have liked (but time did not permit) was to have a day or two at the end of the trip to just chill at the Mena House in Cairo. We ended our trip there and it would have been nice to relax for a couple of days before heading home. But, like I said, our schedule did not permit.

Good luck with your planning.

sf7307 May 3rd, 2010 07:17 PM

We also planned our trip with Mohammed Kamel at Lady Egypt and his service was excellent. We emailed many many times to fine tune the itinerary, hotels, etc. (about 70 emails). Our guide in Cairo, Aswan and Luxor was named Mahmoud and he was great (sorry, can't remember his last name). Lady Egypt is so detail-oriented that when part of our group had a connecting flight in Cairo, they were picked up at the airport and driven from one terminal to the other!

Wanderfilms May 4th, 2010 12:27 PM

Thank you everyone for your replies.
So, my understanding is you basically pay more for Ahmed because he is your personal guide as well BUT that is only for part of the trip. Once you head down to the Nile, he sets you up with a different guide.
Essentially, the itineraries from Lady Egypt and Ahmed would be similar, the only difference is the guides attached? And the price of course :-)

MissGreen May 6th, 2010 04:33 AM

Wanderfilms.. you can have a personal guide and driver, as I am getting from Lady Egypt. Not sure how many guides I will get as I go through Cairo, Luxor, Aswan, Alexandra... but it doesn't matter... so long as I am not in a huge tour group it is all good to me.

I suppose the itineraries would be very similar as most of us tourists are there to see all the same "big ticket items"... !

mmc923 Jul 2nd, 2010 09:57 AM

Hi Wanderfilms! What did you decide? I, too, had been debating between Ahmed and Lady Egypt. I have been dealing with Amanda, who has been very solicitous at answering my myriad questions, and changinging my proposed itinerary to fit my every changing plans. I decided to go with Lady Egypt because of the price difference between them and Ahmed (as someone else mentioned, about $1000 per person!), since the air fare is pretty steep (for us anyway - traveling from Tampa, FL). When are you planning to travel? We are planning to go the weeek between Christmas and New Year's. This will also be our first trip to Egypt and we are very excited.

Elizabeth_S: Your trip blog is amazing! It is one of the things that convinced me that Egypt was where we needed to visit next! Thanks for sharing this with everyone! :)

Axel2DP Jul 2nd, 2010 10:13 AM

<<I suppose the itineraries would be very similar as most of us tourists are there to see all the same "big ticket items"... !>>

Yes, but since you're doing a private tour you can also select or request non-touristy sites if you know what you want to see. I visited the Birqest Camel Market outside of Cairo and enjoyed the experience very much. My guide and driver have never even heard of it, so it was a new experience for them also and they seemed to enjoy it too.

Casual_Cairo Jul 2nd, 2010 10:30 PM

<<My guide and driver have never even heard of it, so it was a new experience for them also and they seemed to enjoy it too.>>

Really? Where were they from? LOL Too Funny! I can see them never having been there before, but to never have heard of it?

Ramara Jul 3rd, 2010 12:07 AM

I found Ahmed WAY more expensive than Lady Egypt too. We are now doing everything independently and the overall price including private guides, Oberoi Philea cruise and hotels like the Fairmont Nile City & Hilton Luxor is even cheaper than the quote we recd. from Lady Egypt! Plus, apart from the Cruise and some early saver deals in some hotels, we do not need to make any large payments in advance. The difference bet. Ahmeds quote & our present cost is a whopping 2500usd per person!! You can imagine the margins involved considering locals get better rates!!

If you dont have the time to research & plan independently then Lady Egypt would be the way to go. Their response to emails & specific requests was way more professional than Ahmeds and I did feel a wee bit guilty about not going with them after my long correspondence with Amanda.

Grcxx3 Jul 3rd, 2010 06:21 AM

<<Really? Where were they from? LOL Too Funny! I can see them never having been there before, but to never have heard of it?>>

I agree. That's something we never got around to doing - but EVERYONE knew about it.

Axel2DP Jul 3rd, 2010 10:35 AM

Yes, I thought it was kind of strange that the guide and driver never heard of the Cairo camel market. I'm not sure what part of Egypt they're from. The night before the guide had left me a note suggesting that we leave for the market at noon. I spoke to him later that night and said that the guide books said we need to get there early in the morning so we should leave at around 7am instead. In the car ride the driver and guide asked me to show them the section in my guide book describing the camel market. The guide read it and then translated it back in Arabic to the driver :). They had to ask for directions a couple of times once we got close to the market area.

I think in a way it was good that the guide didn't know anything about the market, because once we got there he just let me off into the market by myself while he and the driver waited in the parking area. Since I like to wander around and do photography anyway, it really worked out for the best. Both the driver and guide did come into the market a little bit later to watch the action ... and I think probably also to give me a hint that it was time to go :)

----

Ramara,

How are you able to book private guides doing everything independently?

Ramara Jul 4th, 2010 05:19 AM

Axel,

Actually the Jordan portion is not really independant. I booked with Desert Horizons - the same agency used by Ahmed & Lady Egypt.
Have booked the guides in Egypt directly via email. Quite a few of them apparently freelance for several large agencies.

dutyfree Jul 4th, 2010 04:52 PM

Be sure and request Youseff for your driver/guide at Desert Horizons in Jordan-wonderful experience with him.

When we used Lady Egypt we had guides EVERYWHERE with us which quite honestly I wish we hadn't had. The guide we had on our Nile Cruise was such a sweetie that I told him that he should just relax and we would meet him for either dinner or the tour.Lady Egypt has you covered from the time you land in Cairo till you leave if thats what you want.


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