Ioana

Memorable multi-day trip to Luxor and Cairo to learn about Egyptian civilization - Sep 30 - Oct 4, 2020

Traveler: Ioana T. - Local specialist: Ibrahim Elaref

Ibrahim and his team organized a custom 4 day trip for our family of 5 (myself, husband and children ages 17, 10, 10)--pick-up from Hurghada, then Luxor 2 days, flight to Cairo where we stayed 2 days. Great care and excellent organization throughout the trip. What we liked the best:
• Very knowledgeable and friendly guides---both Ahmed and Nour were excellent, really enjoyed their stories & description of sites visited.
• Drivers & cars were also very good and felt safe driving with them throughout the 4 days.
• Luxor sites selection was excellent—we liked everything—the tombs, the temples and the museum.
• The Sofitel Winter palace hotel was a very memorable experience, I had a very special feeling after staying at that hotel.
• In Cairo---the pyramides and the Sphinx tours were great as well
• The addition of the park / botanical garden on Sunday was really nice---we enjoyed very much spending the Sunday afternoon there.
• I liked the visits to stone and perfume shops in Luxor and Papyrus shop in Cairo----in the future, would be great the guides to mention these upfront as well as coach against vendors over selling at the historic sites prior to us arriving there

What I did not like so much:
• The trip to Fayoum was not worth the time---when you present it as the offer it would be helpful in the future to say how long the drive would be, as I thought much shorter distance based on no. of km. While it was quite nice to see the waterfall in the desert, it was not worth the drive.
• The cruise on the river Nile in the last night----atmosphere was OK, but we were the only tourists with the rest of the boat local people. The biggest challenge was covid risk---if I knew the boat was indoors with many people we would have not done it.

What should be done differently next time:
• Might be good to include some of the dinners in the organized package, otherwise, we would be forced to only eat in the evening at the hotel, which is not so interesting. So offering the meal add-ons as a choice might be taken up by many people
• It would have been good to know ahead of time that you have this very strict bureaucracy of reporting the trip to the tourism police and thus no changes can be made---if we knew that, we maybe have spent more time before finalizing the schedule to confirm exactly what we want and what we did not want in the trip (eg visit of the citadel or mosques etc)
• It was a bit scary and unnerving to have the armed security in the car with the police car following us everywhere. Again, learning this before the trip would have been helpful---in the first night went travelling from Hurghada to Luxor I was quite scared whether a terrorist attack warning was issued as I did not expect all the security. Later we got used to it and felt quite good to have all this security attention on us.