Our trip to Egypt planned and executed working with our travel planner of this travel company was outstanding. We spent 11 days in Egypt and our trip exceeded our expectations. All of our hotels were top notch with beautiful large clean rooms and bathrooms. Our boat was also beautiful with great rooms and outstanding service. Our itinerary included everything that we wanted to see and had time for. We had a tour guide for the two days at the beginning and one day at the end. She was knowledgeable, interesting and fun to be with. She quickly learned about our preferences and worked to accommodate our needs. Our guide for the next 8 days of our trip was terrific. His knowledge of Ancient Egypt, of the gods and goddesses, the history of the dynasties, and hieroglyphs was impressive. By the end of the eight days we knew so much more about ancient Egypt (and contemporary Egypt) than we did at the beginning - both guides were excellent teachers, making each pyramid, temple and tomb come to life. Our travel planner modified the the trip as needed to meet our needs. He was flexible, willing to give advice but to also follow our lead! Both made sure that we arrived at the different sights at the right time so as to avoid crowds and so we were able to enjoy the atmosphere of the sights. Because we were a small group of four, we had plenty of time for questions and discussion.
This travel company put together for us a trip of a lifetime with attention to detail. We had excellent value for the dollars spent. While there were some small changes to our itinerary (our rooms on the boat ended up not on the promenade deck but on the bridge - same rooms, different location), this was irrelevant in light of how wonderful everything else was. We highly recommend this travel company and give especial praise to our guides!! Visit Egypt now! It's not to be missed!
We began our trip with a half day at the Egyptian Museum where our guide guided us to a selection of many of the most outstanding artifacts, setting the stage for our visits to the pyramids and tombs. We started in Dahsur where we visited the Red and Bent pyramids, followed the next day with the pyramids at Giza including the Great Sphinx and the Solar Boat exhibit followed by a visit to Saqqara to the Step pyramid and the Imhotep museum ( which we loved) and then to Memphis. It's hard to describe how beautiful and awe inspiring each of the sites were. We climbed inside the Bent pyramid which was quite an adventure. Because so few people were there (zero once we climbed down the 100+ steps) we were able to absorb the impact of the amazing construction at a leisurely pace and avoid the crowds trying to experience the same thing at the Great Pyramid.
In Luxor, we visited Luxor and Karnak temples, the Mortuary Temple of Ramesses III at Medinet Habu (one of our favorites), Dendera Temple. the Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut (female pharoah!), the Valley of the Kings where we paid for special visits to the tombs of Sety I, Ramses VI, and Tutankhamun and were not disappointed. The decorations on the inside walls of the tombs are so beautiful and well preserved. While on the Nile, we stopped in Esna, Edfu, and Kom Ombo to see the temples in each place and learn from our guide! In Kom Ombo, we finished the day with a visit to a local coffee shop near the site where there was live Egyptian music, hookah, tea and coffee. We ended the boat trip in Aswan where we visited Philae Temple, the unfinished Obelisk, the Nubian museum, sailed in a Felucca, took a lovely boat ride to a Nubian village (the village seemed very touristy) , and visited the Aswan Dam. Each sight brought greater insignt into ancient and modern Egypt.
We ended our trip to the south in Abu Simbel where we visited the mortuary temples of Ramses II and Nefatari. How lucky we are that these were preserved when the Aswan Dam and Lake Nasser were constructed. The flight to Aswan was short and easy and we had plenty of time to explore the temples.
We ended our trip with a final day spent exploring Old Cairo including the Ben Ezra Synagogue, the Hanging Church, the Citidel and the Muhamed Ali Mosque Judaism, - Christianity and Islam.
There is nothing that I would do differently. The Egyptian people were open and friendly. Both guides protected us from aggressive vendors (who afterall were only doing their job) but also helped us to locate the best vendors when we wanted to buy something. The only downside to the trip was the trash, smog and traffic in Cairo (and only Cairo) - but this was expected from a city with a population density of 50,000 per square mile. We were glad that our time in Cairo was limited.
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