Tour guide rec for Cairo and Luxor

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May 9th, 2012, 04:14 PM
  #21
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,525
Sorry MD but Ahmed was way too expensive for our family two years ago compared to the same itinerary from Lady Egypt whom he uses.I think that a young kid wouldn't be able to afford him.
I think that Debbie aka Casual Cairo is perfect for what the poster was requesting.
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May 10th, 2012, 06:05 PM
  #22
MD
 
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I'm not sure I understand. CC's email to us quoted a price far higher than Ahmed or Lady Egypt seemed to work out to. Plus, she did not/does not do hotel bookings; and seemed to be pointing us in the direction of doing our own flight bookings.

Ahmed took care of everything. He followed up on details. He arranged for all airport transfers, for the hotels rooms, the flights; and the guides and transport. Yes, he uses an bigger existing company to do it as you will figure out from many posts, he is just a facilitator (and our guide in Cairo); but for example, he has his favourite guides for the south Nile too, so it's more than just luck of the draw who is the guide. We had a young fellow (27) as our hand-picked guide from Abu Simbel to Luxor, he was very knowledgeable and we enjoyed his company.

This is not to put down Debbie, since I'm responding to you, not her. She obviously does a good job or she would not be still in the business how many years later. There are plenty of choices and options in the marketplace, and I can't tell you what your price would be.

The standard answer is: this is how the marketplace works. Ahmed seemed competitive to us, and we liked the full service deal. I suggest if you have the time, get several quotes. Don't take a 3rd party's word (dutyfree) that someone is too expensive, or (my) word that he's not or someone else is. Find out for yourself. Every custom trip comes with its own price.

Whatever you settle on, maybe your son can report back how it turned out and how he liked his trip, to help the next person just as all these posts helped us. Good luck! Enjoy!
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May 12th, 2012, 12:37 PM
  #23
 
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Our travel agent used Sakarra tours.

I would like to make a suggestion that if your son doesn't want anything as 'organized', on our free days we privately hired a great young man, Fareed, through our Hotel, Grand Pyramid in Giza. He picked us up in the morning, and just did whatever we felt like but guided us since he knows the city so well and showed us things no one else would put in their tours. He stayed with us or gave us privacy as we wanted it. His driving was amazing considering the traffic. He is only 24 years old so I think he may be an excellent companion as well. I you are interested, call the hotel, ask for the taxi service and ask if you can hire Fareed. I'm not sure if that is the correct spelling for his name. You can tell him Elisabeth and Michael from Canada recommended him. This is just an alternative suggestion for Cairo
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May 12th, 2012, 12:48 PM
  #24
 
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I am sorry MD about commenting on Ahmed.I was just going on the planning of the exact same trip between Ahmed and Lady Egypt tours(who is the agency he uses) and it was almost an extra $2500 for the four of us using Ahmed. I have read glowing reports on him and his service but for our family we had a budget so we chose Lady Egypt instead.
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May 13th, 2012, 10:08 AM
  #25
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OK, whereas I liked the extra touches - Ahmed arranged for good hotel room with views, for example he called about 15 minutes after we got to our room to make sure we liked the room, had no complaints - he was still in the lobby, so he could help ask to have us moved if we found a problem... but in fact, his choices were superb. He and the guides he picked for us spoke very good English, were very well informed, friendly, etc. It's that personal touch - the bigger the company, the more you are a small fish in a big pond rather than the center of the business.

Actually, I found the entire trip not that much more expensive than some of the higher end bus tours listed by a local agent - for a completely private tour that went where we wanted to when we wanted to, without annoyances like the obligatory souvenir sales stops that large bus tours seem to make.

I remember at Petra (Wadi Musa) seeing the bus out the hotel window waiting to load - 45 minutes later when we were done breakfast, people were still milling about. We could not handle that sort of tour...

Plus, tourism is way down, business is tough and I think everyone is very competitive today.

For the best vacation we've been on, this was worth a lot more than what we actually paid.
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May 13th, 2012, 10:52 AM
  #26
 
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Although I'm sure Ahmed is excellent - there are many good reviews of his services on this forum - we too went straight to Lady Egypt and felt we had similar service. Our rep in each city also waited in the lobby in each hotel until he heard from us that we were satisfied with out rooms, for example. We had a completely private and custom tour with an excellent guide. I personally never understood why someone would pay for what is basically a second level of "planner".
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May 15th, 2012, 07:22 PM
  #27
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When we were planning our trip, we sent an email with a pretty good itinerary saying what we wanted to do. Of half a dozen responses, it appears only Ahmed read our email and responded to it point by point.

Lady Egypt responded with an email that said, for example, "be welcomed aboard your cruise ship" despite our request for no cruise. This appeared to be a result of bad editing, they mentioned the transfer by road next day, but still...

I'm sure all the players in the tour game are very good. In the age of the internet and Google, they have to be. I did not see the price difference you mention, and I still prefer to have direct personal attention rather than being one of many, a small fish in a big pond.

(Still the responses from the Egypt sources were better than the response from a co-worker's recommendation, a New York tour organizer, that responded to our detailed proposed itinerary with "We can arrange a trip. Tell us where you want to go...")
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May 16th, 2012, 06:05 PM
  #28
 
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We may have been on a tour with Lady Egypt but it was just the four of us in our family-no one else,no souvenir stops and always private mini vans which my adult kids enjoyed immensely.
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May 16th, 2012, 07:42 PM
  #29
 
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Ours was the same duty free - just us, our two adult kids and two of their friends.

Also, and I really don't want to belabor this, when we were planning our trip, I also sent an email to a few different agencies and tour arrangers, including Ahmed. I never heard from Ahmed.
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May 21st, 2012, 03:50 PM
  #30
 
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I just came back form Egypt, i had wonderful guide in Cairo names Mohamed i will try to find his email address for you
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May 27th, 2012, 07:45 PM
  #31
 
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MD-was your young guides name in Upper Egypt-Mohamed?? He was who Ahmed had arranged for us-He made that part of our trip. He had our backs. Did you have Bashir in Petra?? |He made our Jordan part of the trip. Again very fond memories. Chris
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May 28th, 2012, 05:53 PM
  #32
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Yes, we had a guide named Mohammed from Aswan for our guide in Abu Simbel, Aswan, and down to Luxor, and the road trip to Abydos and Dendera. Yes, he was amazing too, just like Ahmed. As well as being friendly and helpful, he certainly knew his Egyptian history. He was very good, like Ahmed, which is why Ahmed said he often picks him for that part of the trip.

For the information of those new to these discussions - Egyptian guides are licensed by the government, and this means a university degree in the topic - they know the details. Maybe in some other countries anyone can be a guide, maybe take a quick course on their subject - but not in Egypt. Licensed guides are allowed to accompany tourists into the sites.

Mohammed explained the architecture and the events from Egyptian history. I still can't keep straight all the different gods (except Hathor, the cow goddess). But Mohammed knew the different gods, could point them out from the way they were depicted in the temple reliefs, and what particular actions were being depicted; plus demonstrate the heiroglyphics andd show how the various pharoah names were sounded out in the cartouche carvings.

Bashir in Jordan was also our driver/guide; however, mainly we spent a whole day in Petra with a local guide. I guess we were kind of quiet, so we didn't talk a lot with him; we also didn't want to distract him from driving. (In Egypt we had a driver as well as a guide).
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Jul 10th, 2012, 03:30 PM
  #33
 
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USE Samir Abbass with Real egypt net!! He is excellent. We just returned from touring with him 10 days - it was like being treated like royalty. He and his staff of Egyptologists (notice I didn't say tour guides) were absolutly the best we've ever used. Feel free to message me with any questions
http://www.realegypt.net/
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Jul 13th, 2012, 09:29 AM
  #34
 
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Glad Samir has work!!! He is a gem.
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