small group travel/responsible travel to Egypt

Oct 21st, 2007, 02:56 PM
  #1  
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small group travel/responsible travel to Egypt

We're looking for a small group tour to Egypt and I've seen several companies that look good. Fodors never steers me wrong (and I won't post to Thorntree because they'll tell me not to take a tour)...so, advice?

We looked at Imaginative Traveller, but my wife is concerned that it will be a budget tour.

She likes the looks of Peregrine Adventures.

Then we found this place, claiming to be all 5* hotels, like the Mena House, and not that much more expensive. But when I searched on them, I found some people complaining about their business. but all those pertained to their sub-saharan african operations, which are outsourced.
http://www.onthegotours.com/jewel-of-the-nile-itinerary
It sounds amazing especially that there is a special festival going on during the time I wanted to visit anyway down at Abu simbel. Anyone heard of them?

I wish Tripadvisor reviewed tour agencies. And it's bizarre how many companies resell eachother's tours. It makes it hard to tell what you're really buying and who from.

The whole responsible travel angle is important to me.
nypintha is offline  
Oct 21st, 2007, 03:01 PM
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Take a look at Maupintour. I know two other groups who have taken their tour (the longer one) and all agreed it was great. When we went there were only 5 other people and it was wonderful with first class facilities everywhere.
Louise is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2007, 01:25 AM
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These are some UK operators that are pretty good.

Explore
The Adventure Company
Exodus
Lynneb is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2007, 06:40 AM
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Check out:
Adventures-Abroad.com
MarthaT is offline  
Oct 26th, 2007, 05:52 AM
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Well, we wrote to both companies - to On-The-Go about group sizes - and Peregrine about hotels.
Peregrine doesn't use the big international chain hotels, so they don't get to say they use 5 star hotels, but they responded that they look for small, locally-run, hopefully family-run hotels. And that sounded really good to me. I decided that since they took teh time to write a long response to me in email (and On-The-Go hasn't responded) that Peregrine should get my business.
nypintha is offline  
Oct 26th, 2007, 06:05 AM
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The Sun Festival at Abu Simbel is one of 2/days each year that the sun shines directly into the temple.

Small family run can be good, but be sure you have private bathrooms and plenty of hot water for baths or showers. B&Bs are nice, but if a pipe breaks, the toilet doesn't work, they often don't have extra rooms at which to place guests.

A tour operator doesn't always have to offer 5* hotels (besides every country rates their hotels differently), 4* can be just fine.

And, which 5* boat will they be using? There are many boats cruising the Nile, it would be nice to get more details from the TO. Also, check how many meals are actually included, and the sites you actually visit and not just pass by and wave. What are the exclusions (food or tours) you'll have to pay extra.

We all have our own level of comfort and services, so ask questions for the answers that will provide you with what you want.


sandi is offline  
Oct 26th, 2007, 12:59 PM
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Cairo doesn't have many family run, non-chain small hotels. I'd ask them for specific names of hotels -- they won't promise to give you a spcific hotel, but they should be able to give a few names. Then, ask back here again.

This isn't as true outside of Cairo. In the desert there are some clean, comfortable places that I would stay in again which are only rated 3 star.

sunshine007 is offline  
Oct 28th, 2007, 11:53 AM
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The hotel Peregrine uses in Cairo is called the Grand Pyramids. Mixed reviews on tripadvisor. Location is convenient for the sites on the tour (Saqqara, Giza Pyramids), not so much for going into the city. Most of the tripadvisor complaints were about service levels and my expectation levels are pretty low in that area. All I really need is a clean bathroom and a comfortable bed.

I also looked at Gap Adventures - a "Comfort" level tour, which stays at "Hotel Cosmopolitan" in central Cairo. Its reviews on tripadvisor were that it was an old grand hotel but fairly dirty and not well-maintained.
nypintha is offline  
Oct 28th, 2007, 05:42 PM
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nypintha, not sure if you've made your decision yet, but I've escorted a group of students to Egypt in 2005 and will again in 2009. We were wonderfully happy with our tour company. They are based in both Egypt and Canada and have what amounts to a large number of employees in Egypt. Their name is A-Z Travel and it is very easy to find them on the internet. The owners are Avril and Khaled. A quick email to Avril will let you know if they are able to help you. Best wishes on your travels
teacherCanada is offline  
Oct 31st, 2007, 06:06 AM
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Try Y'alla Tours in Portland Oregan.
I have gone with A&K, and Y'alla Tours. Y'alla's Egypt program is on a private basis-so you can customize the hotels. Ask to use Joseph as your guide in Cairo. And if you have the time and the budget do the Western Deserts with Siwa Oasis-it is absolutely the best.
borntraveler is offline  
Oct 31st, 2007, 06:32 AM
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Has anyone ever used Delta Tours? They have a great looking itinerary that includes Cairo, two nights on the sleeper train and a three night cruise on the Nile. It's exactly what we're looking for, but I want to make sure they are reputable.
jcasale is offline  
Nov 1st, 2007, 01:34 AM
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"Try Y'alla Tours in Portland Oregan."

It's just my opinion, but don't you think it would be nice if you used a local company and left a little of the money in Egypt? Leaving the bulk of it in Oregon doesn't quite seem fair.
Casual_Cairo is offline  
Nov 1st, 2007, 07:23 AM
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You're right, Casual Cairo, and that's why I picked a company that uses local businesses and family-run hotels.

On this topic...when I went to India, I did use a local company and I was somewhat happy with them. However, there were problems in expectation levels. What they thought was a very nice hotel vs. what I thought. They thought a nice hotel was a new property on the edge of the city with a pool. I thought a nice hotel was a old haveli in the center of the city with a view of the temples. But the bigger reason why I didn't choose a local company again is that we decided we didn't want a private guide - we wanted the cameraderie of a small group.
nypintha is offline  
Nov 1st, 2007, 07:46 AM
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nypintha

Why don't you use a private tour guide in Cairo.

I used Debbie Senters who lives in Cairo but is originally from the USA....so her English is Perfect.!

her e-mail is

[email protected]

Debbie had her driver meet us at the airport , he drove us to our hotel and then the next morning Debbie was there to tour us all over Cairo..

She even arranged for a train ride and all day tour to Alexandria.

I would certainly e-mail her for sure.

Percy

Percy is online now  
Nov 1st, 2007, 08:37 AM
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That's one of the things that appealed to me with Delta Tours. They are specifically based in Egypt and specialize just in travel in Egypt. I'd just feel better if I could find someone who has used them and can give them a thumbs up or down.
jcasale is offline  
Nov 1st, 2007, 07:12 PM
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bump
hills27 is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2007, 01:12 PM
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trip overbooked and cancelled......one week prior to departure. Overseas Adventure Travel has dropped this on me today and I would like to hear from others. My Nov. trip to Egypt was booked in April, paid completely and I received airline tickets. Yes, an overbooking clause is in the small print of the contract. Buyer beware of OAT !!! JKR
jkr2006 is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2007, 10:51 PM
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Thanks for the nice words Percy, but nypintha specifically says she does NOT want a private guide and tour. She wants a group, and unless, like you, she comes with her own group, I can't help her. I don't put groups together except in very unusual circumstances.

Debbie
Casual_Cairo is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2007, 11:14 PM
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I want to second using Casual Cairo Detours. Debbie is knowledgable of Cairo and is an excellent networker - she has contacts all over that help her get to see things you might usually get to see.
Her Egyptologist was outstanding too taking us to see Pyramids that were less crowded and giving us excellent historical background.

Dependable and enjoyable!
adrianbob is offline  
Nov 4th, 2007, 09:21 AM
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Hi Nypintha,

We're taking one of Wilderness Travel's Private Journeys tours. Used Wilderness for a trip to Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia earlier this year. They subcontract, but chose an excellent provider for our Indochina tour. So, I am hoping they'll deliver for our Egypt/Jordan jaunt this coming January. Located in Berekely, CA, they've been in business since 1978.

www.wildernesstravel.com

What I like is that the Private Journeys are just for your own group of two or more.

Sass
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