Great Egypt Luxury Private Tour Guide

Jun 6th, 2008, 03:15 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2008
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Great Egypt Luxury Private Tour Guide

We just returned to the U.S. on May 20 from a 19 day private trip of Egypt and Jordan, organized by Egyptologist Ahmed Hamed Yousif who lives in the greater Cairo city of Giza. Since I found him on Fodor's Talk forum via other traveler reviews, I wanted to report on my experience with his services.

I can give him an unqualified recommendation for the excellent results of our trip. Ahmed delivered more than we expected and was unfailingly reliable. We contacted him through his email address found on Fodor's trip report by ElizabethS of Toronto: [email protected]

Ahmed booked a 5 Star Luxury trip for my party of 4 (2 couples), which included a 6 night stay in Cairo (3 nights at the Mena House Oberoi and 3 at the Four Seasons Nile Plaza), 1 night at Abu Simbel at the Seti Hotel, 2 nights at Aswan at the Basma Hotel, a 3-night Nile Cruise on the Sonesta Star Goddess (first night in port in Aswan and last night in port in Luxor), 3 nights in Luxor at the Al Moudira, 2 nights at Petra at the Movenpick Hotel and 2 nights in Amman at the Four Seasons.

We vetted 2 other major companies who specialize in Egypt and are based in the U.S. before choosing Ahmed. His recommendations were more on target as he lives in Egypt. He made very important recommendations on hotels, dates and times to visit the most important sites for efficiency, eased our transition into the country and our transportation throughout, and became a trusted advisor, guide and friend.

It originally seemed like a leap of faith to book with someone outside the U.S. whom we only knew from reviews on this and other travel websites, but we are so very glad we did. We saved 20-30% by booking with him directly, and we had the luxury trip of our dreams.

All along our trip me met travelers who were complaining that their tour guides spent more time taking them shopping (for commissions) than showing them the Egypt they had come to see. But not Ahmed. He told us what not to buy, only took us shopping when we requested something, and helped us negotiate a fair price and identify a good value.

Ahmed's English is great, he's very focused on safe travel, and his knowledge as an Egyptologist far exceeds simply reciting mind numbing facts and figures, and he's got a great sense of humor. It's easy to get "templed out" in Egypt, because there is so much to see and absorb. He told us what was unique, important and special about each place he took us to. We never got burned out.

Give him enough time to give you the trip of your dreams. Since he is a very popular Egyptologist, he leads some groups as well as books all the travel arrangements, so be reasonable about the time required to put together the arrangements. Also, start planning your trip early. We were surprised at how busy Egypt was in May, which we had read was the "shoulder season".

Tips on cruising the Nile:

-There are about hundreds of ships that traverse the Nile, but only about 10 of them are luxury ships.

-If you start in Luxor, you are going upstream as the Nile flows south to north and it takes 4 nights minimum and you don't see any more than on the 3 night cruise.

-In May (and maybe other months as well) the schedule required us to wait until a Friday for the departure. They don't depart daily.

-The first night was spent in Aswan in dock and the last night was spent in Luxor in dock. There is only 1 full day of cruising.

-Since there are so many boats, they link up to each other, so if you are on a lower priced cruise, you may end up the first at the dock, with your window looking at the dock or at another ship that is linked to you. We were the outside boat in a link of 4, so we enjoyed a Nile view the entire time at dock.

-Not all ships have a balcony for each room. We really enjoyed being able to step out on our private balcony when we weren't up on the top deck.

-The only 2 stops on the route were Kom Ombo and Edfu, as the other stops were in dock at Aswan and at Luxor.

-It was a great relaxing break with excellent food and service on the all-suite ship we took.
AZEBS is offline  
Jun 6th, 2008, 09:08 PM
Join Date: Sep 2004
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I'm glad you had a good time, and am happy you found someone in Eygpt to book through that made you happy.

If you can find someone in Egypt to book through, that you like, you can go home feeling a little better that the money you spent on your trip is being left in Egypt too. After being here, you probably understand that they need it and it will be used well.

Casual_Cairo is offline  
Jun 7th, 2008, 11:17 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,343
Hi Beth and Tim - great advice/tips for traveling to Egypt and obviously we agree with your recommendation for Ahmed!

For those who would like to view our blog with a detailed view of the itinerary Ahmed Hamed Yousif created for us - here's a link

I also really like the notion that Debbie (Casual Cairo) raises - doing business directly with someone in Egypt means the money stays there - which is important to growing their economy.

Elizabeth_S is offline  
Jun 11th, 2008, 07:19 AM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 153
We've booked Ahmed for our upcoming trip in September 2008 and he was excellent with all of the planning. We are even more excited for our trip with the great review above!! Liz of Toronto was very helpful for our trip planning as well.

lorib1 is offline  
Jun 11th, 2008, 05:02 PM
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Here's a link to the pictures from our trip.
AZEBS is offline  
Feb 9th, 2009, 08:36 AM
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Can you tell me how much should I tip

him with a driver per day for one

person ?

star88 is offline  
Feb 10th, 2009, 09:46 AM
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Posts: 12,918
What is the approximate cost of such a 19-day trip(on the ground excluding airfare)and how much does he charge for his services? Happy Travels!
Guenmai is offline  
Feb 10th, 2009, 09:51 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Hi Guenmai - how are you?

I think AZEBS (Beth) might be away right now - if you email me I can give you an idea of costs.....hesitate to do so here because our trip was a year ago and costs might be out of trip was similar to Beth's - here's my email

eseibertca AT yahoo DOT ca
Elizabeth_S is offline  
Feb 10th, 2009, 12:06 PM
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Thanks. Happy Travels!
Guenmai is offline  
Feb 11th, 2009, 10:06 AM
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Great blog Liz!
Femi is offline  
Feb 11th, 2009, 02:36 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
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Hi Liz-I can't remember if I told you Ahmed got back to me. Since we are not going till Sept/Oct 2010 we have lots of time to plan. I'm trying to get 1 buz seat American(Codeshare British Airways) Then with flight in hand I can work out itenary with Ahmed)
Also I just popped over to theThailand site & you were there with Tong-she was our guide in Thailand-loved the Tigers. Happy travels and thanks Fodors for allthe helpful information-Chris
BeniciaChris is offline  
Feb 12th, 2009, 11:15 AM
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I used Tong when I was in Bangkok too. She is definately (if I can say this) the Casual Cairo of Bangkok!!!! She's GRRRREAT! as Tony would say.
Casual_Cairo is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2009, 06:52 AM
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 1
I am planning a family trip to Egypt. How long it took Ahmed to contact you? I sent him a e-mail week ago and haven't heard from him. Could you also tell me how much did you pay for your trip~~~thanks a lot
cchang is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2009, 08:52 AM
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cchang - I also used Ahmed to plan our trip and highly recommend him as AZEBS does - he is very responsive to emails so I would resend - also occasionally he is gone for a few days on a tour to Aswan or Luxor.

Here's a link to our trip report and blog if you want another recommendation for Ahmed
Elizabeth_S is offline  
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