25 Nov 2011 - 03 Dec 2011
I travel frequently for both business and pleasure. Of all the places I've visited, Egypt has been, by far, one of the best experiences of my life!
Prior to my departure, I cannot express to you the amount of people around me who were worried and feared for my safety and well-being, for planning to travel to a country where a political revolution was going on. As for myself, having been used to traveling solo for a long time, it was never really a worry that crossed my mind. When we arrived in Egypt, the riot was just in one part/center of the city. Everywhere else was fine and and status quo. In terms of safety, we walked outside the city in groups and did not feel we were in danger. Further, I knew that Contiki was a well-respected travel company, and that they wouldn't take us travelers towards a place that would jeopardize our safety. Basically, everything was cool. It just makes sense that as long as you stay with the group, follow instructions, and don't go towards any chaos, then you won't attract any unwarranted danger towards yourself.
The tour of Egypt was marvelous for a multitude of reasons, one of them being that we had an amazing tour manager/guide/guardian/and friend named Sherif. I believe that a huge part of a successful tour is to have a great tour guide. If it weren't for Sherif's guidance, Egypt might not have been the same for us. He really took care of the group, made sure everyone felt safe and comfortable, and guided us in our journey throughout Egypt. He exuded so much passion in all of his stories and the history lessons he provided us at each location we visited. He was always happy, positive, patient, and energetic, and these attributes really contributed to the overall quality and experience of the entire tour.
Another reason for the tour being fantastic was the people we met along the way. It may sound cliche, but it's true that the effort and energy you put into something, is what you obtain out of it. By the end of our tour, we built good friendships, and future travel buddies via Contiki.
We also met all the different local people in the towns and villages along the way. People in general were friendly. We were informed in advance of all the hustlers in the marketplaces and how aggressive and pushy they could be. It's true, they will follow you to make a sale; fib about prices; etc. All you have to do is say 'no' and just walk away, if you're not interested. Yet, still, you will definitely come across a lot of hustling from young and old sellers for money, and if you're not careful, you could easily be swindled and then lose something valuable. Just like anywhere else you travel to, not everyone trying to sell you something is going to be bad. If you have an unfortunate experience, you might get a bad seller and then get swindled. As a traveler, you are immediately exposing yourself to areas where there is a lot of tourist attraction, so naturally, you will be amongst people and stores that will target you to buy something, so there is no way to go around this. As a traveler, this too is common sense: make sure you are aware of your surroundings, and don't wear or carry anything flashy, don't carry around a lot of money, and don't trust someone you don't know to hold something valuable for you. Don't worry, your guide will inform you of all the marketplace information.
In regards to the layout of the entire tour, opinions may differ from person to person, as some people wanted to do less, and some people wanted to spend a day longer here and there. There really is no way to foretell which person would or would not like a certain place for what amount of time. In that case, they should just do a private tour. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed and loved every single thing that was planned out in the tour itinerary. In my opinion, this is the best way to see and experience everything. We even rode every single method of transportation: bus, camel, train, cruise ship, taxi, car, plane, and atv's (due to the weather, snorkeling was replaced with atv's, and it was so awesome riding through the Arabian Desert in Hurghada)! As for the overnight sleeper train experience, it was a small space, but who cares (it's just one night), and it was so much fun. On the cruise ship, it was roomy and luxurious, and we had amazing chefs on-board who cooked fabulous meals everyday. At night, the group had drinks on the top-deck and chatted and played games. On the last night on the ship, there was an Egyptian Night where everyone dressed up in Egyptian clothing and danced and had a good time (participation is optional).
There were also the optional excursion tours available for those who wanted to experience more. I did everything on the optionals, except the Luxor Light Show. We were told to just do one of the light shows if we wanted to experience that, so we chose the Karnak Show, which was supposed to be the better of the two. Please note that the light show is not the temple being lit up and being flashy like fireworks. It was a walkabout tour, where you would walk through the temple and a projector would emit light and images against the backdrop of the temple walls (images were blurry and not in focus), and a sound system would play a recording of a story that went along with each image. It sounds cool, but in reality, the Karnak Show was sub-par and very outdated. I'd suggest this one as a pass, until there is one day a major update to the show. As for the other optional tours, you must do Abu Simbel. That alone is worth your trip. It is something you have to see in person to experience everything that is magnificent and wondrous. Trust. All of the other optional tours to the different temples is also worth every penny in my book. Each temple is amazing in its own right, and should be seen with your own eye, especially because you cannot take pictures inside most of the temples itself, and pictures do not do any justice.
The only thing left to discuss would be the food. I ate everything that was provided to me without any worries (bread, cheese, falafels, fruits, veggies, hummus, yogurt, etc) and was fine for the duration of the trip. No sickness. Although, this also varies from person to person, and the sensitivity of your stomach. I'd say 90-95% of our group were fine. Sherif will let you know in advance that it is okay to eat everything at a certain restaurant. Basically, any restaurant that you're taken to during the tour is approved. The only thing that you'll be reminded of is to not drink any tap water. You should only drink bottled water. You'll also be informed to not eat the peel of certain fruits, and certain leafy vegetables. Once again, your tour manager will inform you of all of this.
I hope everything above explains in detail, and answers any questions you may have had about the tour. I would highly recommend Egypt & The Nile tour to any one of you. As long as Contiki is providing it on their site, I would be confident that it is all good and safe to travel there. Should you have any further questions, I'd be happy to answer them.
Happy travels to you all!!!
Review written Dec 2011event 0.3
15 Oct 2011 - 22 Oct 2011
Just do it. Its the cheapest contiki, best value, highlights everday, more than just the pyramids (which are amazing!). Do the flight to abu simbel, enjoy the overnight train and the cruise is so good. the food is nice everywhere. dont drink tap water or have food from street vendors - we werent tummy sick but it happens. pharmacies will sell you any medicine you want - if you get sick (i got tonsilitis - just bad luck) go to a pharmacy, if one doesnt have the meds you need another will. it was about 30 degrees each day - very comfortable. last year there were 15 million tourists - this year not quite 1 million so with the trouble theyve had there (of which we saw none) be prepared to be hassled to buy things. girls keep shoulders and knees covered in some places - the guide will advise you and dont go to markets without a male. the guide sharif is so good (too good for contiki - sorry contiki but its true) he knows everything and is super nice too. our bus was comfortable and air conditioned. the victoria hotel is basic and old and in an interesting area - i wouldnt walk around outside on my own, but its where the tour starts and finishes and the staff are fantastic - tip them! and tip sharif too - he deserves it! our tour mates were a diverse group - lots of fun. order a necklace on the first day of the cruise with your name in hyrogliphics - its cool! try to rest in between the early mornings and late nights. dont trust all atms - a girls card was swallowed by a machine and had to be canx - have a backup. expect dessert and lots of palm trees on the edge of the nile. we snorkled in the red sea (not on the itinerary - but do it, sharif arranged it for us - its just like the barrier reef!) take lots of photos - we had most temples and pyramids to ourselves. be prepared to bargain for something you like in a market - sharif will give you an idea of how much to pay. i would go again.
(by Samantha Regan)
Review written Oct 2011event 0.3
08 Jul 2011 - 16 Jul 2011
This tour well exceeded my expectations. I knew we would see a ton of sights, but there was a lot packed into just 8 days. Your guide is knowledgeable and makes sure everything is running smooth and has a wealth of background information on the sights, history, and culture of Egypt. The boat trip was really cool and added that WOW factor to the whole trip. You can't beat taking this trip and coming back to say you actually floated the Nile. Egypt is a whole other place, so take a tour to ease any troubles in travel in this beautiful country. If possible arrive a day or two early or stay a day or two extra to take in additional sites in Cairo and Alexandria. Don't be afraid to take this trip in the summer, it wouldn't be Egypt if it wasn't hot. All lodging is air conditioned and the tour is set up to where you aren't dying from the heat. Do save your money and go on the Abu Simbel excursion, so worth the money if you are really into Egyptian history. It was one of the best parts of the whole trip. Do see King Tut's tomb in Valley of the Kings; if you don't see his mummy then, you never will. I had been dreaming of going to Egyprt since I was twelve years old, so I went on every excursion possible as not to miss a thing. I gave it four stars only because I wish we had a bit more time at each site to explore on our own, the only downside to this trip. If you are even thinking about seeing Egypt, GO!
Review written Sep 2011event 0.3
I returned from Cairo three weeks ago and never before has a trip lingered in my thoughts so vividly. It was an amazing experience. I am so thankful to have finally visited the ancient sites I've studied since childhood, to have met such an upbeat group of people, and to have had our way lit by the learned torch of such a passionate tour leader. I would without a doubt recommend this trip to anyone who has the desire to encounter the culture of Egypt, past and present. This was my first time in Egypt but I don't care how long I have to wait, it was not my last. Go.
Review written Jan 2011event 0.3
26 Nov 2010 - 04 Dec 2010
This was my first Contiki trip and it was so wonderful. I don't know if the rest of the trips are as well done as this one but if you are worried about visiting a country with different customs and language this trip is the way to go. Sherif our tour guide and tour planner took care of everything for us and also taught us how to shop in the markets and also taught us some arabic so we converse (on a very small level) with the locals. He was so knowledgeable about all the sites we visited and we really felt that the trip was worth much more than what we paid for it. This was the best tour I have ever taken and probably ever will take. If you have the opportunity to go don't hesitate, go as soon as you can! Especially because every year they are closing more and more sites to tourists. I want to go back! Cheers to Sherif and Contiki for making this trip so memorable!
Review written Dec 2010event 0.3
01 Oct 2010 - 09 Oct 2010
I went on the Contiki Tour egypt & the Nile Oct 1st. It was the most amazing trip of my life :) I had so much fun with everyone. Our group was alot of fun with no drama at all. The sites were so beautiful words cannot describe. The pyramids and the temples are breath taking. The tour was so organized there were never any problems. Sharif our tour guide was so smart and had alot of experience in egyptology. He gave a history "lesson" on each site and would describe what the meanings of ancient egyptian hieroglyphics. I would do this tour all over again and again and would recommend this to anyone who is easy going and looking for an adventure. Not the type of trip for people who want to relax and stay at 5* hotels.
Review written Oct 2010event 0.3
12 Jun 2010 - 19 Jun 2010
WOW. Egypt and what it has to offer is fantastic. My 8 day tour showed me so much of what Egypt had to offer, but this is only just the beginning. Pyramids, Temples and more Temples, and not to forget the Nile. Amazing This trip of mine was 10 years in the planning, and i finally decided to go. If anyone is interested in going, then don't hesitate, just go. You will not regret it.
Only eight days, but i made good friends that i will never forget, and the experience was one of a kind.
Review written Jun 2010event 0.3