Hello. My sister and I (both in our 50s and adventurous by not stupid travelers) would like to take a safe, short tour of Egypt (basically just to see the pyramids, which we know is a touristy thing to do, but we'd like to nonetheless). Does anyone know of a good, reliable, but most importantly safe tour that we could take, since there are no Rick Steves tours there? Any advice would be appreciated. We plan to fly into Cairo, take a brief tour of the pyramids (if we can find a safe and reliable tour operator) and then head out to Istanbul and possibly Budapest. Thank you!
If you're looking for a short tour, archaeological tours, headquartered in New York, is quite good. Also, any tours associated with the American research center in Egypt (ARCE) would be good.
If you're looking for a day trip – fly in, taxi to Giza, fly out – I would suggest looking for a private guide via the Thorntree forums. It does seem very sad to be in Cairo without stopping at the Egyptian and Coptic museums, Saqqara, old Cairo, etc.
My only other thought is that no one can guarantee safety anywhere. However, it is my opinion that I'm safer with one or two other people than in a very large noticeable group of tourists.
Thank you very much for your response. I've sent an inquiry to the ARCE. My sister and I really are intrepid travelers, and are not afraid generally, and we know there can be danger anywhere, but that hasn't stopped us from traveling. But honestly the stories of the attitudes regarding women and the treatment of women, especially women travelling alone, coming out of the Middle East and Africa are bit alarming. Perhaps they are unfair, but it still causes us to be concerned. However, it's long been a dream of ours to see the pyramids, so we'd like to get in, see them, and get out safely, understanding that there are a lot of other amazing things to see in Egypt that we'll have to forgo. Thank you again for the advice.
You might check the Road Scholar tours to Egypt. I did not check the length to see how long they are, though. You might be on the younger end of the age group. I've done 2 Road Scholar tours to Europe and 2 activity based tours in the US. The activity based ones generally had a younger and if not young, more fit group than the 2 I did to London and Wales. My guess is that the fitter, more adventurous people would be on a trip to Egypt.
Here is a link to the Egypt tours.
I also did not look to see what the group size might be. If it is in the 40+ size I would probably skip. If it is like Rick's tours and in the 20 or range then it would be a possibility. The Road Scholar hiking tour I did was 40+ people and that was too big. The Birding tour was around 18 which was perfect and the London and Wales tours were around 20-25 which was fine as well.
We just returned late November from a fabulous tour to Egypt with an extension in Jordan. www.odysseys-unlimited.com I'm so glad we got there. I wrote this on our Christmas letter:
"We have just returned from our most amazing trip yet!! It was an Odysseys trip to Egypt and Jordan. Some were worried about us, but we felt safe. A wonderful guide, armed guards and police escort helped! Ancient Egypt has unbelievable sites that go back to over 3000BC. We spent a total of 5 days in Cairo, 3 day cruise on Lake Nasser, a 4 day cruise on the Nile, and 1 night in Luxor. So many magnificent tombs and temples. They are still finding more tombs and treasures. The street scenes and the people were so interesting. Tourism is down 90%, so people were so glad to see us. Our post trip was 4 days in Jordan. Some of the highlights were The Rose City of Petra and the Roman city of Jerash. The events going on in the world at the time made things a little eerie though."
If it's any consultation single male travelers are treated poorly in much of the Middle East also. Single male travelers get the "give me money or I'll kick you" kind of abuse, unsavory in a different way.
Go,go,go. I was in Egypt earlier this year. I was the baby at 48, the rest were 61/62, a group of 4 ladies. We used Memphis tours, which you can arrange for online. Had a blast. 2 of the 3 large pyramids are usually open, with the 3rd down for restoration/repairs, on rotation. Judy mentioned armed guards, they were everywhere, Tahrir Square, antiquities and sometimes in the van with us. I never felt unsafe. Tourist are their bread and butter, and they were very careful with us. Some people are put off by such an open display. You will see tanks parked along the streets, and your hotel may have a drug sniffing dog as well as metal detector.
A guide will show you great places to take photos with best view, act as camera person (no cameras in pyramids) and hold your camera or jacket as you go inside. They will also haggle for good price on camel ride, etc. we had great guide, Muhamad, and would recommend him. A local knows and can expedite the experience. Beat the crowds(they are smaller but still there) and get there early. Winter is best time, cooler. I live near Phoenix AZ, the weather is the same (though we are getting a jump on summer ahead of the rest of the world it seems).
We had a terrific time. Went to an ARCE talk in Cairo one night even, two of my group were members.
Dress conservative casual. You don't want to be the ugly and clueless tourist, but at Giza, tourists are expected. If you go outside of town, or in a mosque, have a scarf to throw over your head and easy to remove shoes. We toured 3 weeks, always had a guide. It was a trip of a lifetime.
"If it's any consolation single male travelers are treated poorly in much of the Middle East also."
That's not very encouraging to hear. I guess I can scratch Egypt or other middle east destinations off my list.
I don't know if these tours would interest you, but doesn't hurt to have a look.....
I think Blackwater offers one. 😈