30 Apr 2016 - 07 May 2016
Everyone has Egypt on their bucket list but I can actually say I have ticketed it off. You can be the same!!
I am a travel agent and even I was nervous to do this trip at first because it is very had to ignore what is being shown in the media. As soon as I stepped of the plane I felt completely safe. The Contiki representative was there waiting at my arrival gate with a sign and helped me with my tourist visa, he even carried my bag. The Egyptian people are so friendly. You may get a few hisses and stares because you are different but nothing you can't handle.
I have read the reviews about Sherif and expected him to be a great tour guide but this man is an angel. Every question I asked he knew the answer, he honestly couldn’t do enough for us, and everywhere we went he made sure we were safe and were enjoying our selves. Tourism in Egypt is really low at the moment. It was so sad arriving to these amazing sights the car parks areas are huge and only a handful of tour buses. This is also the best time to go because your photos have no tourists in them. You can have a selfie with no one photo bombing your pict.
- Money: You can pay your optional excursions with USD, Egyptian Pound, Credit Cards. I found Egyptian pound the easiest to use because the local rate had better conversion. I spent more on optional activities then I did on souvenirs etc
- Optional Excursions/ Must Dos:
Village tour (Meet and experience the local side of Egypt) , Hot Air Balloon ride ( Another bucket list- Views are amazing ) , Abu Simbel( One word: Breath taking, Early start as we drove about 4 hours oneway but so worth it), Camel Riding through the Pyramids of Giza ( My camel was Bob Marley)
- Best time to travel: I went in April – May I thought this was a great time to travel. Weather was still nice and hot. It was even 40 degrees in some areas. I love the heat but visiting temples & ruins daily I don’t think I would have enjoyed it as much if it was in the height of summer.
- Women: I stressed a lot about what to wear. I took some ¾ pants & t’shirts that’s all I really needed. Sherif will tell you when you need to cover up and when it’s ok to wear summer clothes.
- Food: There was so much food included and also really healthy options. The food on the Nile Cruise was amazing huge buffets with plenty of choice. No one on our tour was sick!!
- Toilets: I took tissues, Wet Wipes the works. I used them but you do have opportunities to buy these in Egypt if you forget. They are all pretty cheap.
- Take a selfie stick!!
Review written Jun 2016event 0.3
26 Dec 2015 - 02 Jan 2016
Of course there were some concerns when booking the trip, but I didn't hesitate at all. I'm so glad I did it, and the timing was 100% perfect. I went during Christmas break/NYE, and WOW that was the best experience I've ever had. The temperature was a nice 70 degrees fahrenheit on average, cooler at night. And going inside the tombs it was so muggy at that time, I can't imagine it in the summer. The pictures and itinerary should speak for themselves, but if you need some convincing...let me just tell you...Abu Simbel was mind blowing, the Pyramids were breath-taking, and my camel named Michael Jackson was a doll.
The group was the largest he had had in months-there were 40 of us, and I think he said they usually have like 12. By "he", I mean Sherif aka tour manager aka the best. He had the best sayings...."Wakey wakey!" or "We go inside this tomb and take a sneaky tiki picture". So knowledgeable and sincere. Please, don't forget to tip your tm. On top of all of that, I'd say the highlight of the trip was the optional $140ish hot air balloon ride. We saw the last sunrise of 2015 that morning in Egypt overlooking the Valley of the Kings and I don't know a person in that damn basket who wasn't moved.
I know it's corny, but my soul felt better after visiting one of the most ancient and historic places on Earth. The food was good, the Egyptians were respectful, and I didn't get a thing stolen or lost or anything bad! Honestly. I made some awesome life-long friends to say the least. A few of us already planned and paid for our next NYE contiki together in Asia. What are you waiting for?!
Review written May 2016event 0.3
12 Mar 2016 - 19 Mar 2016
Egypt & the Nile was such a great trip. I HIGHLY recommend it. I booked the trip for my 30th birthday and my sister and brother decided to come too. We were nervous at first because of the turmoil going on in the middle east right now. It was nothing like we expected. There wasn't one time where we felt unsafe. It was nothing like we expected from what they show in the media. In fact, the people were so friendly and welcoming. They were glad to see tourists again. Tourism is down there, but it is to your benefit to go now. There are no crowds... anywhere. Most of pictures are of us individually, no other tourists!
Sherif, our guide, was outstanding. Not only was he knowledgeable about so many things, but he genuinely wanted to make the trip amazing for everyone. He definitely made the entire experience memorable and made sure we were all learning and enjoying ourselves.
We saw so different temples and sites. It is a fast-paced trip. Each morning we started off around 6 or 7am. But each day was worth it. My favorite excursion was to Abu Simbel. I HIGHLY recommend doing that add on. The balloon ride in Luxor was breath taking as well! Hurghada was beautiful. The yacht ride was so relaxing and nice change of pace. In general, I highly recommend doing all of the add ons. The only one that was a little dull was the light show at the temple of Karnak.
We stayed 2 extra nights (you really only need to stay 1 extra night) and we hired Sherif to take us to Alexandria. It was definitely worth it. Alexandria was completely different than anything we had seen before the trip. Sherif does a great job of showing you the culture and the sites. It was $115 USD to add this... and worth every dollar. We booked our extra nights through Contiki too.
My advice to women booking the trip, definitely bring lightweight pants (linen worked great). It is a different culture there, so dress more conservatively than you normally would. I also had a button down shirt to wear if that was long sleeved and covered me up. I didn't wear it all of the time... but it was nice to have as an option. Sherif was very good about telling us what we should wear at each location.
I converted 200 US dollars to Egyptian pounds once I got there. I also had a lot of small US bills... $50 in $1 bills and $5 dollar bills. Between the souvenirs and excursions, I spent around $500USD additional to the trip cost. You can also use your credit card at a lot of places... just not the markets or souvenir stands.
Suncscreen is a must, the sun didn't ever feel hot... but a lot of people had sunburns. I also recommend a good hat. This is a jam packed tour. You travel by plane, bus and van... so pack lightly. On the riverboat, we had laundry service available.
This trip was the trip of a lifetime. Not only were the sites amazing, but the country and the people were too. If you love to sight-see and see what the world is outside of your own comfort zone, this is definitely the trip for you you.
Review written Apr 2016event 0.3
08 Aug 2015 - 15 Aug 2015
Egypt was absolutely beautiful, if you're thinking about booking this trip…book it now!
I arrived the day the tour started, early in the morning; so I was lucky enough to be offered to do a day trip to Alexandria (for an extra $100USD), it is totally worth the views and places you get to visit.
The first hotel you stay in isn't exactly the best, either is the breakfast provided, but thats all apart of the experience.
On the first full day, you get to see the pyramids of giza and if you're lucky enough you'll get to ride a camel through the desert with the pyramids in the background - this is a must!
It was quite hot whilst I was there (around 44-48 degrees celsius) although it is only humid in Cairo, as you journey your way to Luxor the humidity drops and its just hot!
Basically, all the food is provided for, you'll only have to buy meals maybe once or twice.
The tour guide, is amazing, he is so indulged in the culture and has knowledge on literally everything ancient egypt.
The highlight of the tour is cruising down the nile (best accom!) as well as seeing mummies and viewing the tombs and temples as well!
This is the perfect tour for someone who just wants to relax and see the world. The groups are small (mine had about 10 people, everyone was aged 20+) and you'll make friendships that will last a lifetime!
Review written Apr 2016event 0.3
26 Dec 2015 - 02 Jan 2016
...because of a terrorist attack at the Temple of Kanaak. And my flight was cancelled... so things came together. I can still write a review here. Nice. Maybe another time. When the middle east becomes calmer. CU folks
Review written Mar 2016event 0.3
21 Nov 2015 - 28 Nov 2015
I've wanted to go to Egypt for a long time, because it has the last ancient wonder of the world, because it's very different from everywhere else, and because it is packed with history.
You can watch an in depth 3 part travel vlog I made here, https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL54jadu9qqk49i67zO0foqOmcOMxgb7MF, which will show you how amazing this place really is. We were taken from one jaw dropping place to the next. The tour guide Sherif is a master storyteller, and even after reading the reviews and having high expectations of him, I was still amazed at how good he is.
Like many people have said this is a historical tour, it's not about getting wasted, it's about enjoying the sites and experiences. This was actually an attraction for me being a non-drinker.
I did/got all the extras but skipped the Sound and Light show, Group Photo (Just take one with your phone), and the High Damn. I suggest budgeting to do everything and some more because there are extras not mentioned like adding a day in Alexandria (Approx $159), or a hot air balloon ride (was a bit too expensive for me). Most of our group did most of the extras so it felt like we were just continuing with the tour. If you're on a tight budget make sure you see Abu Simble (See video 2), and if you want to experience riding through an Egyptian town do the Temple of Horus (Start of video 3). There is also an opportunity to buy jewelry on the ship. (If you know you want to buy, go there first thing when on the boat and they'll give you a discount for being first).
Despite being careful about what I ate and drank, I was one of the unlucky people who got a stomach bug on the trip - I think I got it from my roommate :P. It definitely takes away from the magic. So stock up on toilet paper, small change for toilets and I would ask Sheriff for some advice to get medicine in Egypt because it's the only thing that actually helped.
We stayed a few extra days in Cairo at "Le Meridien Pyramids Hotel & Spa." This was definitely worth it because it gave us a few days to chill, explore Cairo using the culture tips we learnt on the trip and Sherif gave us some tips on places to see.
I felt safe on this trip, although there was a noticeable army presence around, and the hotel with issues mentioned in earlier reviews has now been changed.
This trip was not what I expected, it was better. Book your trip to Egypt now while the crowds are small, and you can enjoy these majestic places in peace.
Review written Feb 2016event 0.3
21 Nov 2015 - 28 Nov 2015
I definitely recommend this tour especially for a country like Egypt where you may not know the language and need to be mindful of safety. This is not a party tour, it really is about the history and culture. There were some fun times, but overall you don't really get much time on your own or to be out at night.
The best part of the trip was probably our tour guide Sherif. He was amazing and the love he has for egyptian history and sharing that passion was truly great to experience. He was both our tour manger and tour guide. If you arrive a day before or stay a day after, Sherif is around and can take you on a day trip to Alexandria. I wasn't sure about how to arrange this so I didnt do it but if you just show up he'll be there. Safest bet is probably staying a day after the tour so you can arrange with him while on the trip.
All of the sites had so much history. If you want to visit Abu Simbel, the reason for the high cost is because you need to take a plane to the site since it was elevated above the Nile. It was massive and great, but if you are on a budget you can find value in other temples/sites.
Everything was an experience especially the camel riding, overnight train, sailing the Nile, going to the markets, hearing the history behind the temples/tombs. When we went to the tombs in the Valley of the Kings, Sherif says our group lucked out because 2 of the best tombs that were closed for many years opened up. They were really cool to enter. In Luxor you will have an option to hot air balloon before dawn. DO IT. It was amazing. You have to get up at 4am, and there is a lot on the itinerary for that day, but it is so worth it. I think the downside for me was that I didn't feel like I had authentic Egyptian food or time to just roam the streets particularly in Luxor which seemed like a nice, safe place to at least eat dinner on our own. I believe Contiki is mindful of our safety which is why we mostly ate on the cruise ship (for stomach issues) and didn't roam the streets alone at night. The night at Luxor temple felt rushed and that was a bit disappointing. I did all the tours/optionals with the exception of the unfinished Obelisk and the sound and light show - didn't seem exciting. The day at sea in Hurghada was awesome. Though a few weeks after our trip there were some terrorist happenings at the same hotel which was quite scary to hear. Overall, I felt safe in Egypt, though I would say I went at a time when situations were escalating due to the plane crash and such. Still felt very safe especially once you leave Cairo. One upside of going now is that most sites are EMPTY. Sherif told us that before the Revolution it was difficult to even enter some of these temples. The weather in November was mild - high 70sF. I appreciated that when we had to go into the pyramids, tombs or temples. The hotel in Cairo was changed for my tour, so we didn't experience any bugs and such.
Overall great trip, great people, great memories.
Review written Feb 2016event 0.3
05 Dec 2015 - 12 Dec 2015
Two points I need to make clear before continuing: The hotel in Cairo has CHANGED. The contract with the previous hotel (with the bad reviews) has ended, and you will be staying a nice hotel outside of downtown Cairo. The change went into effect right before my trip started. I was very happy with the accommodations at the new hotel--clean rooms, hot water and nice bathrooms, relaxing pool/bar/restaurant area.
If you hear something happened in Chicago, it's not going to prevent you from visiting New York City; same with Canberra and Sydney. The media does a great job in blanketing "the Middle East" with problems. Don't let your relatives or friends deter you from going on this trip because of what they have been led to believe is happening through media exposure. Egypt is very peaceful and their economy is seriously suffering from tourists (especially Australians and Americans) being deterred from visiting.
QUICK TIPS: Egyptian pounds and American dollars are accepted everywhere. If you bring American dollars, get all of your money in $1 and $5 notes before you go. It's easier for tipping and buying small things. If you are comfortable with using a debit/bank card and you bank does not have ridiculous fees, there are ATMs in all places. HANG ON TO YOUR SMALL EGYPTIAN NOTES. There is a shortage on circulating 5 l.e. (pounds) and the 1 l.e. coins. A few of the small travel-size packs of Kleenex tissues are great for toilet paper (yes, you will need these). Buy your water and be careful if you get ice in drinks.
Ahem... I personally selected this trip because I have always been interested in ancient history. It was also my 30th birthday, and what better way to celebrate than being in Egypt? I am for sure an 'in-depth explorer' and I love history. I did every Optional with the exception of one--the Unfinished Obelisk & High Dam. (You can see the obelisk when you drive past and it's really not that powerful or exciting.)
THIS IS NOT A PARTY TOUR. Unlike a lot of other Contikis, you need to understand that you are in a religiously conservative country, a place where gender and family roles are still very well defined. The only time we ladies went to a club was the one inside the hotel in Hurghada.
There is one key component of this trip that I would not have appreciated without having a prior Contiki experience, and that is the tour manager/guide, Sherif. Sherif is Egyptian, lives there, and has been working with Contiki for 15 YEARS! To my knowledge, there are no other Contiki tours where one person has been doing the same tour for that long. The vendors and staff at all stops know him. 'Mister Sherif!' You can ask him anything about history, culture, religion, life in Egypt, and he will tell you all you would like to know. He has an undying love for the work he is doing, to show people like us the beauty of his country, and he does with it real passion. (And he does this solo, as he is the tour manager and local guide in one.)
If you have any questions at all about little specifics of cities or optionals, please feel free to send me a message.
Review written Dec 2015event 0.3
19 Sep 2015 - 26 Sep 2015
I have wanted to go to Egypt my whole life, I have always been fascinated by Egyptian mythology and Ancient Egypt. This was the best thing I have ever done and visiting this culturally and historical country has been on the top of my bucket list for a long time. Everyday me, along with everyone else on the tour were just astonished by our sights everyday that it was just so surreal. I highly recommend this trip.
The tour guide Sherif is absolutely amazing, very kind, funny, knowledgeable and a genuine great person to be around. He made everyone feel so comfortable everyday. His little "history lessons" were very interesting and great to listen to. Sherif always told us what to wear for the next day (this was especially helpful for girls as he told us what days we could wear shorts and singlets and what days we had to cover up, I got to wear shorts and singlets on 3 days), what to bring, took us to the best places to get photos and even hung out with us and had some drinks. Everyone I met on this tour was awesome, a great bunch of people to spend this trip with. We all had a blast and look forward to seeing each other on another contiki trip.
highs: the sights are absolutely amazing!! All the temples are just jaw dropping and each day is just so jam packed and full of things to do; I recommend doing next to all of the extras. The cruise ship is awesome, the highlight of the trip, sunbaking on the top while cruising down the Nile and seeing Abu Simbel (it's massive)!!!
VISA: as soon as you get to Cairo Airport, before you walk into immigration (which is around the corner) walk straight ahead to the booths, there will be someone there who will give you a visa no questions asked for $25US. Easy.
TRANSFERS: Make sure you let contiki know of your flights times so that you can take advantage of the free airport transfers to the hotel.
OTHER: Dettol hand sanitation + wipes, toilet paper (there will be none anywhere and if there is you have to pay for it), hydrolytes, buscapan or any other stomach pain tablets for when you get an upset stomach from the food, this happened to most the people on my trip.
MONEY: Make sure you carry SMALL denomination of money. You will need both Egyptian pound (EGP) and US dollars. I got $500US before I left to take with me and had a travel card with $500US on it. Then at the Cairo museum I converted $100US to EGP which got me around $700EGP. My extras I paid by card and my drinks bill from the cruise. This covered me the entire trip.
Victoria Hotel: it is honestly the worse hotel I have ever stayed in. I was warned (from other contiki reviews about bed bugs) so I wore bedsocks, didn't work though, I woke up the next day with 4 bites on my feet. The Victoria hotel has no hot running water, my sheets were dirty and the air con in our room didn't work so we had to get a room change. So I definitely recommend sleeping on top of the bed and having a blanket with you to avoid this, and have the water running for about 5mins before you get into the shower so that it will be "luke warm". On day 1 make sure you eat plenty of breakfast as you won't get food for a couple of hours. Definitely stock up when you get to the service station later on in the day. Make sure you stock up on bottles of water (that is sealed by plastic) as you can not drink any water here that is not bottled for safety reasons - even to brush your teeth. The breakfast offered by the Victoria is truly dreadful; there was mouldy pastries (like actually green in the inside), off meats/cheeses - not a good experience. Apparently this hotel is chosen for it's location only.
Extras: The sound and light show was pretty bad, very boring and not worth seeing at all. You see this temple during the day anyway, so not worth paying extra money to see it at night.
Review written Oct 2015event 0.3
22 Aug 2015 - 29 Aug 2015
Had an absolutely amazing time on this tour! Saw all the major tourist sites - the Pyramids, the Sphinx, Abu Simbel, Luxor and Karnak - and some of the lesser known sites - Kom Ombo, the Unfinished Obelisk - but the highlight has to be the Valley of the Kings! Just absolutely inspiring!
The Red Sea was just spectacular - it would have been fantastic to spend more time there.
The guide we had - Sherif - was just so knowledgeable and made the whole trip just so wonderful. Literally the only things that could have made this trip even better would be to make it longer so we can spend more time at the red sea and maybe even visit Alexandria!
The hotel in Cairo is nice - but it would have been nicer to be in an area that is maybe slightly more touristy.
Review written Sep 2015event 0.3
11 Jul 2015 - 18 Jul 2015
Everyone should visit Egypt at least once in their lifetime! Despite what's on the news on TV, Contiki really went out of their way to make us feel safe. We had a security guard at some sites, and security with us when crossing the Sahara dessert on our way to Abu Simbel! our own entourage, how cool is that!? :) Over all, the trip was amazing, we had a very small group (13 of us), and Sherif, our amazing tour guide! He really made us feel taken care of and safe. Our accommodations were for the most part very good, but this is the reason why I can't give this trip 5 stars. The hotel in Cairo where you stay the first and last night, is just not a good place . By no means am I bashing it, because I know that this is budget traveling, but the place had bed bugs! Two of the rooms had bed bugs, and two of us woke up with our bodies covered in bites :( I talked to the tour guide manager and on the last night they moved me to a different room, but I feel that they should have booked a different hotel for us altogether. I strongly feel that Contiki should look for a different accommodation while in Cairo, so that there aren't any more incidents with bedbugs. The cruise accommodation was amazing, and the one in Hurgada with a beautiful view!! Overall, I have NO REGRETS having gone on this trip, which was my first with contiki, and I am already thinking about where to go next! :)
Review written Jul 2015event 0.3
30 May 2015 - 06 Jun 2015
I had such a fantastic experience on the Egypt & the Nile tour. Our tour leader Sheriff honestly made this trip fantastic, he went above and beyond to ensure that we had the trip of a lifetime; from organising extra activities such as day trips to Alexandria as well as organising diving experiences for some of our group in Hurghada. He truly made the effort to showcase the beautiful sites Egypt has to offer. I definitely recommend doing as many of the optionals as you can. Egypt has so much incredible history I honestly was blown away each day of the tour. My personal highlights were Abu Simbel as well as the Valley of the Kings.
Accommodation wise I will admit the Victoria hotel definitely wasn't a highlight but was manageable, the overnight train isn't anything fancy but was decent for what it was considering where in Egypt but the Nile cruise accommodation was fantastic as well as Hotel in Hurghada. I really wish we had an extra night in Hurghada or even ended the trip there. I always felt safe wherever we went and security was always very present to reassure me of my safety. I only really felt uncomfortable in Cairo but not unsafe. I really was lucky with my tour group I couldn't of asked for a better bunch of people to share this experience with.
Some Random advice for this trip:
+ US dollar is accepted most places.
+ If you need Egyptian pounds before you tour starts there is an atm right near the hotel, just a few doors down.
+ You can exchange money at the Victoria Hotel.
+ Always aim for smaller notes and also try to have exact money or as close to the amount as possible in a few of the markets I spent a bit of time having to argue to get my change back.
+ Before and after the tour if your there extra time, remember that Egypt runs on tips. So remember to tip the people that carry your bags or do extra things to help you out.
+ A few of my tour members weren't aware but if you let Contiki know of your arrival times you can catch a free transfer bus to and from the airport.
+ Always have tissues or toilet paper chances are the toilets won't have it even in the museums.
+ Stock up on water if it's cheap generally around 5 Egyptian pounds for 1.5L you'll go through it faster than you think.
+ Clothing wise, Cairo was really the only place where we were told to be mindful to cover up. After that it's up to you however you will draw more attention the less covered you are. I found loose clothing to be best. Things like harem pants and tanks tops with a lightweight loose bolero or maxi dresses.
Hope this helps, like I said Egypt is an incredible place with such an interesting history. It's definitely worth the visit.
Review written Jun 2015event 0.3
30 May 2015 - 06 Jun 2015
This was my very first Contiki, but I guarantee that it won't be my last. The famous Sherif was everything the reviews say and took such good care of us. Of course, the people made it so worthwhile! The sites are absolutely amazing and there really isn't anything like them. My only complaint with the trip is the cost. You really will want to do almost all of the excursions, so add about $300 to the trip cost to get a feel for the real price. If there is one excursion that I'd say you absolutely can't miss, it's the Red Sea. AMAZING!
Review written Jun 2015event 0.3
02 May 2015 - 09 May 2015
Egypt&Nile is a trip like taking a time machine back to 5000 years ago with the magnificent ancient Egyptian monuments right in front of your eyes while listening to Sheriff tell you all the grand and glorious stories. (It is definitely not a party trip, but you do get to party on the Egyptian dress up night and the Red Sea farewell night.) I did all the optionals except the high dam and the light show, Abu Simbel is definitely worth of waking up 3am and 3 hours bus ride to see. Also, you are gonna see a lot of temples so it is a good idea to take pictures and make some simple notes to remember later which is which, some people are over temples at the end of the trip but remember you will probably never see them again and you did sign up because of the amazing Egyptian historical sights/monuments/temples.
Our tour guide, Sheriff is very knowledgeable, personal, fun and humble. He is the key that your Egypt trip will be guaranteed once a life time experience. You can ask him about anything, the ancient sights, Egypt culture/politics, extra history lessons/stories (while everyone was asleep on the bus, a few girls and me were up and listen to him telling the hidden stories of Cleopatra and Mark Anthony.) At the end of the trip I tried to ask him the appropriate amount of tips to give and he wouldn't tell me and said that anything is ok because he understood that us young people are traveling on budgets. I found out he now works 75% less due to the decline in the Egypt tourisms n yet he is still so considerate, genuine and humble. So if you are taking this trip, please be kind to save some good tips at the end of the tour for him :)
Now about the accommodations, I was happy with everything even though the Victoria hotel and the overnight train were not the best, but hey we are in Egypt to experience the real Egypt, not the Western luxury everyday life.Yes, you will probably encounter pushy sales or get rippled off on a few souvenirs on the first day, but you can learn, I did, and I haggled for the rest of my shopping trips and got the lowest prices for everything. If by the end of the trip, you understand Egypt a little more and can appreciate the good and the bad, and able to empathized with its current undesirable economical/political circumstances, and it's culture and people, then you did it right. This is the reason why we travel. You see, you learn, you understand, and you empathize. This is how you become a more open minded person with a bigger heart.
Tips: get the Egypt visa on arrival for $25, break your money into smaller Egyptian bills for easier tipping ( I exchanged approx $200 into 10s & 20s only, most places take US dollars so you can also prepare some $1,$5,$10 for back up, Google Egypt tipping for guidances too), the selfie stick my best friend gave me for the trip was so so handy, bring toilet paper at all times, bring wet wipes for instant shower(dusty everywhere because you are in the desert), power converter/adapter ($6 from Amazon,) external batteries for phones, small empty water bottle that can fit your day bag (all the bottle water you end up buying are big ones,) snack bars for in between meals, small sunscreen for your day bag,
Things I wish I had done:
get to know all my Contiki friends on day 1, since it was a short trip and can be tiring and I was tired to social at the end and didn't get to connect to some friends that I wish I had.
Extend 1-2days at the end of the trip and sign up with at least 2 people in order to to a one day Alexandria tour with Sheriff, I would of totally done it if I d know earlier.
Sorry for the mom like lengthy review, but I do hope you will be well prepared and have the time of your life on this trip! If you have any other questions about the trip feel free to email me email@example.com
Review written May 2015event 0.3
04 Apr 2015 - 11 Apr 2015
Wow! What an amazing trip!!! An experience of a life time.
Sherif, our tour guide, was nothing short of amazing. He was so helpful in giving us tips and pointers where ever we went, talked us through the trip, and was so friendly, personable and comical! He is so knowledgeable of the history of the sights we toured and shows such passion in his countries history.
The food was good, surprising to me because I can be picky, everyone we met was very friendly and helpful. I never felt anything but safe while on this trip. Sherif really helped with that.
The first night in the Alexandria Hotel was a bit shocking-a little dirty and in a very busy area of Cairo. But everyone was friendly. The overnight train was a shock as well-no showers! and I highly suggest you BUY TOILET PAPER for the train, and rest of the trip. They don't seem to use any or stock bathrooms with it, and you have to pay a pound for most bathrooms. The Nile Cruise was nothing short of simply beautiful. The scenery, breathtaking. The rooms, bathrooms, and restaurant was really nice. The crew was phenomenal! Everyone is so nice and eager to help. We even partied with them on the 'egyptian dress up night". Very fun. We traveled by tour bus inbetween and to different tours. The buses are pretty nice and air conditioned. (We had one bus for a long ride that was cramped though). The Hurghada Hotel is great too, though I wish we were there for longer. I hear the snorkeling is a must, but it was too windy.
All the extras I would suggest doing, except for the light show. Very dated and not very interesting.
It is definitely a culture shock, especially being female. But I always felt safe with Sherif and while on the tour.
I hope all tour guides are like him!
Review written Apr 2015event 0.3
04 Apr 2015 - 11 Apr 2015
This was an amazing trip. You really do get to see and experience the best parts of Egypt. So much history and the tour guide is extremely knowledgable. I felt 100% safe on this tour; Go to Egypt you will not regret it. This tour would have gotten 5 stars but I wasn't 100% happy with the accommodations. The Victoria Hotel is dirty and seems to be in a rough part of town. I saw roaches while on my stay. The cruise ship was beautiful and seemed clean but once again I saw roaches in my room. I had a nice surprise when I unpacked my bag in Hurghada... yup there was a live roach in my backpack... scared the crap out of me. Other than that the tour was amazing.
Review written Apr 2015event 0.3
14 Feb 2015 - 21 Feb 2015
Egypt is hands down the BEST trip I've taken yet! No words or pictures will do it justice, you have to go and feel for yourself. It's way more than just pyramids, it's stepping back in time, it's magic! A great tour manager makes all the difference on Contiki trips, and Egypt is lucky to have Sheriff. He's incredibly knowledgeable and funny, every site, every structure, every rock has a story and Sheriff will explain it to you in a way that you'll remember forever. Keep in mind that Egypt is a historical tour, not a party tour, although with the right group of people partying like an Egyptian is right up there. The hotel in Cairo is not the best, but the Nile cruise is amazing, and the Red Sea resorts are pretty good too.
Review written Mar 2015event 0.3
17 Jan 2015 - 24 Jan 2015
Absolutely amazing! Highly recommended. Egypt is safe to travel, and one of the coolest places I've ever been to. Some of the places we stayed weren't as nice as the others, but that didn't matter too much once we got where we needed. The cruise was a highlight, the staff were so nice, and our tour leader Sherif was amazing! He was so kind & helpful and is so excited to share his Egypt with everyone.
Review written Jan 2015event 0.3
20 Dec 2014 - 27 Dec 2014
This trip was a blast. There was so much to see and do over the 8 days. Tour manager Sherif was so knowledgeable on all the sites and local history. Egypt used to have over 12 million tourists a year. After the revolution tourists have decided to vacation elsewhere, and now there are only 2-3 million tourists a year. We had the river cruise boat, as well as the tourist sites all to ourselves. At no time did I feel unsafe in Egypt. Now is the time to go!
We spent Christmas on the Nile river cruise. The staff went above and beyond to provide a special Christmas Eve dinner for everyone. The Egyptian party was silly, but it was fun to roam the markets to find the best deal on the Egyptian clothing. It was also fun to take pictures and dance in the clothing.
The optionals, such as Abu Simbel, the Crocodile temple, and snorkeling the Red Sea or taking a 4 wheeler in the desert were all worth the extra money. I would recommend coming in a day early or leaving a day late to explore Alexandria. Sherif took a group of us up for the day. We saw 5 sites, local markets, stopped for lunch, and made it home in time for dinner. Well worth $110USD.
Remember to buy your $25USD visa at the currency exchange in the airport before you get in the immigration line. There are no signs directing you to do this.
Book this tour before millions of tourists flock back to Egypt!
Review written Jan 2015event 0.3
06 Dec 2014 - 13 Dec 2014
I would HIGHLY recommend the Egypt tour to anyone. I felt safe and taken care of the entire time and think it's time tourism come back to Egypt (the negative media attention is really overblown I found after visiting myself).
Contiki does it right with visits to the pyramids, camel rides, train rides, a nice cruise boat, and time spent at the beach on the Red Sea (snorkeling was amazing).
I can't say enough about how excellent the guide Sherif is and he has 15 years experiences; he's also a genuine person who just adds to the fun of the group. The people I was lucky enough to travel with also made the trip.
Would highly recommend the village tour (opt for the camel, not the donkey in my opinion).
Dendera, an addition to the tour, was one of the main highlights-it was so well preserved.
THANKS for the trip of a lifetime!!
Review written Dec 2014event 0.3