Need advice about Egypt.

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Oct 25th, 2004, 09:23 AM
  #1
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Need advice about Egypt.

Hello, I am in the planning stages of a trip to Egypt with by 12 year old daughter in March. I had looked at Trafalgar but it is just too structured and I had quite a few questions about the trip and when I called Trafalgar direct, they could not even answer my questions so I definately have decided against that.

I am now looking at Egyptian Connections. They seem to be able to book all the air, hotels, transfers at a discounted price and then add in optional sightseeing that I want. I will be in Cairo for 1 night, overnight train to Aswan, 3 night Nile cruise, 1 day in Luxor then overnight train back to Cairo, 2 nights in Cairo and then home. I have booked 2 full days of sightseeing with Egyptian Connections in Cairo. I also plan on going to Abu Simbel from Aswan.

Where I need help from the wonderful Fodorites is whether to go ahead and book things like sound and light show, and other smaller sightseeing before I go or is it easy to book all that when you get there? Our last day is completely free at this point. I was even thinking of maybe getting a private driver to take us to the Red Sea for a couple of hours and then back to Cairo. I just don't know how easy it is to get side tours and private drivers etc, when you are already there.

Now that I have talked your ears off I look forward to any and all advice you can give me about the feasibilities of waiting till I get there to plan other things. One other thing my daughter really wants to ride a camel and get her picture taken on the camel with the pyramids behind her. Is it easy to find these "camel rentals"?

Thanks in advance for all your help. The hotel in Cairo I am thinking about is the Cataract and the cruise in on the African Queen. If anyone has any experience with either of these please advise.

AprilA
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Oct 25th, 2004, 09:50 AM
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AprilA....Sounds like a good trip. As for booking the sound and light shows before you go there is no need to do that. it's just as easy to do it when you get there. just make sure to find out ahead of time which language you want as they have different versions at different times each night. We had everything done through a tour and they just picked us up and bought our tickets right in front of us, so even they don't buy tickets ahead of time, so no worries.

As for the camels you won't have a problem finding a camel to ride or take pictures of at Giza. they are everywhere. if anything you will have a hard time not getting them to bother you. but make sure to negotiate. I heard that they can really try and take advantage of people and overprice it. You can always ask at the front desk of your hotel how much it should cost. I wish I culd tell you how much it cost but the camels freaked me out so I didn't want to ride them ;-)

If you want to go to the red sea consider flying I think it's rather a far drive. We went but flew both ways but our tour guide drove and i want to say he said it was a 7-8 hour drive. So you may want to verify that. Might be a long trip you only want to spend a few hours there. Just something to consider.

Although we had everything arranged before we left t looked like no problem getting drives and guides once you are there. every hotel we were in had a travel person that could help arrange it. if nothing else I'm sure the concierge could help.

You and your daughter will have a wonderful time. Hopes this helps a tad. good luck!
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Oct 25th, 2004, 07:49 PM
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Hello AprilA,

The Camel ride will cost you around 20 egyptian pounds (Around A$5.00) They will try and sting you for 40 though. Just start walking away and they soon have a change of heart!
Be sure to only give them the money after the ride has finished. If you give them the money prior, halfway through the ride they might try and get some more money off you.(Didn't happen to me but heard that from others in a group I was in)

We had a picture taken at Giza with the three pyramids in the background which was great. I was on a tour and the problem you might find is meeting up with the photographer. It was not a polaroid shot. He went away, developed them and met our tour group at the Cairo museum.
I am sure you could come to some arrangement though. As with the camel ride, don't give them any cash until you have the photo. (Around 30 egyptian pounds for the shot but I think you could get them for 20)

Have a good 1!
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Oct 25th, 2004, 08:17 PM
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Somebody once posted this and I thought it was interesting:

http://www.casualcairodetours.pyramids.net/

It might give you the flexibility you want yet with the efficiency of a tour.

Also, if there's a way, I *highly* recommend you spending more than one day in Luxor. There is so much to see and do there (Luxor and Karnak Temples, Valley of the Kings/Queens, Tombs of the Nobles, Temple of Hatshepsut, and on and on).

Have a great trip. Egypt is amazing and I hope your daughter appreciates the wonderful opportunity!

Regards, Bruce
Egypt Travel Photos -- http://www.brucegcollier.com/galleri...level2_all.htm
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Oct 26th, 2004, 06:12 PM
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A word of encouragement - our daughter was 12 when we went to Egypt (she is now 14). She did some reading on Egypt before we went, and recognized many of the historic areas from studies in school.

She now speaks glowingly of our trip, has many photos, and is the wonder of all her friends that she has actually been to Egypt. We found Egyptians to be wonderful to our very blond daughter - including some school children we encountered. We were also on a tour and were surprised to find several other teenagers on the trip - also in the spring (school vacations).

As far as "camel rentals" - there were many camel owners at the Pyramids just waiting to give rides. Be prepared to both pay a fee and then an additional tip. One of our funniest experiences was of tipping the camel guy for a variety of photos, and then turning my back to find him walking off into the desert with our daughter on the camel. (Maybe I did not tip him enough - maybe too much). I ran yelling at him to bring her back and he kept saying "Just a leetle ride" - a small additional tip and a lot of yelling on my part brought her back. I do not think he was trying to abduct her - just to get an additional payment from me.
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Oct 26th, 2004, 09:42 PM
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About camel rides - be prepared for the camel owner to offer to let your daughter get on a sitting camel for a photo - for no charge. Then, he gets the camel to stand and you have to pay to get the camel (and your daughter) back down.

To really see the Red Sea, you need to go to either Sharm el Sheikh or Hurgada. Both are a 5-6 hour drive from Cairo or a 1 hour flight.

Since you'll be doing a Nile cruise, that should include the major sites in Luxor on the day you arrive. So, if you're staying an extra day, you can fit in anything you missed. The Luxor museum is small, but quite nice. But I think Nefertari's tomb may be closed these days. The Valley of the Nobles and Valley of the Artisans are also nice. You should be able to arrange guides through your hotel.

Have a great trip!
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Oct 29th, 2004, 08:21 AM
  #7
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Thanks everyone for all your valuable info!! I really feel better now about doing this independently than with a group. I just wanted to make sure the BIG wishes of a 12 year old could be fullfilled. I am used to the "getting an extra tip" routines and I am a very good tipper so that is no problem.

We are actually in Luxor 2 days. One day with the cruise and 1 day on our own so I hope to see most of the main sights and also maybe get off the highly beaten tourist path for an hour or two.

Thanks also for the tips on the prices of the camel rides, that really helps in budget planning. I am a pretty good photographer (I think anyway) so I feel I should be able to get a good shot or two of my daughter on the camel with the pyramids in the background myself and with, of course, a good tip!

Thanks again for you info, I'm sure you will hear from me again while I attempt to completely plan my trip.

April [email protected]
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