Hiring a Private Guide in Cairo

Oct 19th, 2005, 11:46 AM
  #1  
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Hiring a Private Guide in Cairo

We have several days on our own in Cairo before taking a Nile River Cruise.
What experiences have people had in hiring a private guide with a car for city touring as well as a day trip to Alexandria?
Do you advise booking in advance of USA departure or securing a recommendation thru the hotel?
Any comments about taking the train on our own to Alexandria?
Thank you for your help.
theoandlola is offline  
Oct 19th, 2005, 12:11 PM
  #2  
 
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I have been to Cairo three times and each time I have had the hotel concierge arrange for a private taxi -- its very inexpensive.

I may be in the distinct minority, but I didn't find Alexandria all that interesting, and would much prefer additional time in Cairo, one of the world's most interesting places.

thit_cho is offline  
Oct 19th, 2005, 11:50 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
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Last December, we were in Egypt for a week. Spent couple of days in Cairo. We had a private guide, Ahmed Shalaby. Very knowledgable and fluent in English.

http://fodors.com/forums/threadselec...4&tid=34547141
http://www.idiap.ch/~sivadas/Egypt/index.html
sunil_sivadas is offline  
Oct 21st, 2005, 01:11 PM
  #4  
 
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Just got back from Egypt after 18 days.

I came a day earlier and stayed a day later after out tour was done.

I booked a private guide to show me around Cairo to places that my tour did not include.
This was the best move I made.

Her driver met us at the airport and drove us to the Marriott and then next day at 9 AM our tour guide lady was in the lobby waiting for us with her driver.

We went to Mosques in Islamic Cairo and to the Coptic Cairo as well as the City of the Dead which was very interesting and I got to climb the Minaret of a Mosque( in the City of the Dead)..the one on the face on the Egyptian One Pound note.

Then she took us shopping at the famous Khan El Khalil Market,and she bargained for us and took us to the best places there.

The next day out tour took over and we again went to other places in Cairo..then flew to Luxor and did a 7 day cruise on the Nile to Aswan and back. (Flew to Abu Simble from Aswan)

When the tour was finished back in Cairo we had an extra day , so our tour guide took us to Alexandria by train.

I personally would not miss Alexandria if you have time.

With a private tour guide and driver we saw:

1.Their famous Library ( a must see)
2. Fort Quaitbey by the Sea
3. Pompey Pillar
4.The Catacombs
5.The Montazah Complex, this is a lovely Place over looking the Mediterranean Sea, then we walked the ground of this lovely place, with the sea splashing against the rocks,spraying a light mist on our faces!!!
6. A super meal at the Fish Market with floor lenght windows overlooking the lovely Mediterranean Sea.
7. Plus shopping places in Alexandria.

8. Then our tourguidecame back to Caro with us and got a taxi for us to goback to the Marriott.
What a super lady and guide she was.

She lives in Cairo( is an American so excellent English) , is in her mid forties and does only small group tours( there were four of us)

She bought our train tickets to Alexandria weeks ahead of the time we arrived...we met her at the train station on the morning of our last day and off we all went to Alexandria.

Do not take a train on your own to Alexandria,what are you going to do and where are you going to go when you get off the train!!??

If you want her e-mail in Cairo ,write to me at
[email protected]

You will not regret hiring this lady.

Percy




Percy is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2005, 06:08 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 42
We also used Debbie Senters for a trip to Alexandria last March and can recommend her highly. Her website: www.casualcairodetours.pyramids.net.
MariaL is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2005, 04:34 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 300
I was in Egypt in November with a group of friends and ahd the most wonderful guide in Cairo and Alexandria. His name is Amr Salem and his email is [email protected]. Amr is in his mid-30's, extremely well educated, very knowledgable, excellent English (1 of his cousins lives in CA and he's been to the States several times so he gets US humor). Amr is FABULOUS!!! I can't say enough nice things about him. Enjoy your trip...Egypt is a wonderful place!!
travelgirl_67 is offline  
Oct 25th, 2005, 06:24 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
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Looks like you have a lot of good choices. I used Ahmed Hammed [email protected] in August. We was our totally private guide. We were in Cairo and Nile Cruise and he accompanied us on the whole trip and it was only myself and husband. He had new clean minivans with ac, made absolutely all arrangements, hotels, restaurants, entrance fees, guide tours, train tickets, air tickets to Abu Simbel. It was like having a friend travel with you. He left us alone when we wanted also. He made last minute changes as we requested. He's in his early 30s and speaks English. He studied tourism at the university and loves his job. We enjoyed him immensely. He couldn't do enough to make sure our trip was perfect. I always make all of my own arrangements in all my travels, cambodia, vietnam, italy, china but I just didn't want to bother with all the logistics in Egypt and boy am I glad we did it this way. We had little time in Cairo 5 days and I didn't want to waste 1 minute. The Nile Cruise is different but he handled everything for us on our temple tours as well. Just another suggestion. Definitely hire a private guide.
Wanda1 is offline  
Nov 4th, 2005, 02:52 PM
  #8  
Rozinante
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fo66lane, How did you learn about Ahmed? His name appears in another post in this topic. I'd like to know more about him.
 
Nov 5th, 2005, 03:48 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 161
Rozinante, I'd like to respond to your question about how we found Ahmed Hamed Yousif. My husband is working in the middle east. Several of his colleagues have used Ahmed's private services and have recommended him highly. I emailed them to hear of their experiences and was convinced he would make our trip comfortable and memorable. He most definitely did. We've made a friend in Cairo. Don't hesitate to contact me for more detailed answers to your questions.
Wanda1 is offline  
Nov 5th, 2005, 10:21 AM
  #10  
Rozinante
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Thanks Wanda. I've seen your praise for Ahmed in other posts. I'm just looking for a second opinion. When I emailed him and ask what credit card he takes, he said cash only. I'm curious if that's the norm in Egypt. I've not had that experience elsewhere.
 
Nov 5th, 2005, 05:46 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 13,449
I used Debbie Senters as my priavet tour guide last month and paid her in cash only.

Debbie is at [email protected]

Terrific Lady

Percy
Percy is offline  
Nov 5th, 2005, 07:06 PM
  #12  
 
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Cash only is very normal in Egypt. My guide was Amr Salem and his email is [email protected] and he was fabulous.
travelgirl_67 is offline  
Nov 7th, 2005, 12:03 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
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are you sure you e-mailed him @ [email protected]

I asked him if he had received an e-mail but he didn't recognize your name Rosinante, but maybe that's not in your e-mail address. We did deal in cash; I asked the colleagues and they also said they dealt in cash and it was normal. Really, I didn't use a credit card at all in Egypt and that's the first time for me.
Wanda1 is offline  
Jul 30th, 2007, 08:26 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 4

Words cannot begin to explain what a blessing having Ahmed Hamed Yousif as our personal guide to Egypt was! As American parents of five children ( ages, 4, 9, 13,16 and 19) we had contemplated a family trip to Egypt for several years. We would get close to making firm plans to go and then I (the mom) would back out. I was really concerned about our safety in a country so close to the middle east. This year, as I once again looked into our much yearned for trip to Egypt, I stumbled onto a web page that wrote about a wonderful Egyptian guide. That page led me to other web pages and other travelers from all over the world who had also had the same fantastic guide. I finally got up the courage to contact Ahmed with all sorts of intricate, overwhelmingly neurotic questions about how he could help us, where he would guide us and most of all how he would keep us safe. Ahmed wrote me back with the most detailed answers to all of my questions….I know he wrote at least three pages.
After about a month of e-mails back and forth, my husband and I decided to have a leap of faith and go to Egypt trusting in all that Ahmed had promised to do. We landed in Cairo in the middle of the night, and there waiting for us with a sign and a big welcoming smile was Ahmed. Just as promised he had a large air conditioned van and a terrific, experienced driver (believe me in Cairo you need an experienced driver) waiting for us. Ahmed took us to our exceptional hotel , made sure that we were settled in . The next day, Ahmed not only showed us Cairo but he took us into the world of ancient Egypt. We came face to face with King Tut (at least his beautiful mask) and were surrounded by the treasures of the Egyptian museum. The children thought the mummies were awesome. We were taught how the ancient Egyptians made the papyrus that documented so much of their art and hieroglyphics. The children were able to “weave” some papyrus leaves themselves to make the ancient type of paper. We stood in absolute awe of the pyramids and the sphinx. We were able to journey to the innermost chamber of the pyramid and were taken for a ride on the hump of the Bedouin camels nearby. What and experience! At each stop Ahmed made sure that his driver was waiting for us with cold water bottles.
Ahmed planned lunches for our quirky family (six of the seven of us do not eat meat … not typical in Egypt) at a great air conditioned restaurants (one of which had huge windows over looking the great pyramid). There Ahmed came through for us again with not only a traditional Egyptian meal ( with meat) for my husband but with a traditional form of a “vegetarian meal” plus French fries for the rest of us. Ahmed ate with us and answered all questions that we had and became our true friend. At the end of the day we were able to visit a Bedouin family owned perfume shop that specializes in lotus fragrances. The owner was a treat in himself, he showed us so much hospitality. We left with a bottle of lotus perfume and to this day if I put any on the children say that they can smell Egypt…Egypt did smell like lotus blooms.
The remainder of our trip we toured the Citadel and had the opportunity to visit the inside of the the Mohammed Ali Mosque. As Christians, we had never been in such a place and it was breathtakingly beautiful. From the soft rugs under our bare feet to the tremendous chandeliers that hung from the huge domed ceiling… it was an unforgettable experience. Ahmed took us to Coptic Cairo and accompanied us to the ancient Christian churches and nunneries. He even showed us the underground cave that was reported to be the home of the holy family when they fled to Egypt. The Step Pyramid was out in the Egyptian countryside and we had the chance to see not only rural life but to get an up-close look at the dessert and see an actual oasis.
I could go on and on but words can’t begin to describe our family’s wonderful trip to Egypt with Ahmed. When we left Egypt, we traveled to Istanbul, Ephesus ,then onto Greece and Italy. If you were to ask any of our children what they liked best about our trip, they would all say Egypt…. And I know we loved Egypt because we had the world’s best tour guide to watch over and guide us. I would really like to encourage hesitant visitors to get in touch with our guide and friend Ahmed at [email protected]. I know that Ahmed guides travelers from the very casual tourist without a care in the world to large groups, to guests with specialized agendas that they want him to implement. Without hesitation, I would bet that I had to be the most nervous, neurotic, pain of a guest that he has ever had to deal with. Ahmed more than fulfilled our wildest dreams of what a trip to Egypt could be. He “caught us in his welcoming arms” at the airport, stayed with and protected us every step of our trip. He engulfed us with the sights, sounds , tastes , people, history and experiences of his beautiful country and left us with the most beautiful memories. Words cannot begin to show our gratitude for Ahmed Hamed Yousif for enriching not only our lives but the lives of our five children forever. Ahmed light heartedly calls himself the “Prince of Egypt” ... Our family fondly calls him the “Pharaoh of the Guides“!
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