Can anyone recommend a good tour company for a 3 week or so Egypt tour? TIA. Also, any tips/advice would be much appreciated!
I’ve been to Egypt, but way back in the 1980’s. That’s so long ago, that I can’t recommend a tour company, and the one we used is long out of business.
Two tips, though: I’d certainly go visit the new archaeological museum in Cairo - sounds like it’s a huge improvement to what was there previously.
And, the street food looked creepy 30+ years ago. Maybe this has changed, but I wouldn’t get anything that wasn’t from a proper restaurant.
I would be surprised to find a 3 week tour. Why not do Cairo and Luxor on your own then add a 2 week tour? Or do a 2 week tour with an additional one week Lake Nasar cruise. You would certainly have tome to also include Alexandria which isn't on every itinerary. I used Trafalgar, but that was only due to them being first tour company in the country after Arab Spring.
Also read the other Egypt posts here for some tips and company recommendations.
Learn how to not make eye contact with street vendors! They are persistent and aggressive at times and “ no thank you” means nothing to a lot of them. My husband and I were followed a great distance by a very aggressive man. Once we got to the bus, I had had it. I turned around and told him NO THANK YOU! He left. I surprised myself.
Yes I’ve been. Very Interesting and the history was overwhelming for me. I think I took a Globus tour - typical stuff. It included 3 days on the Nile where I earned the reputation “crazy yellow hair” for my skills in bargaining with the River vendors. I was in awe of the great pyramid and Sphinx. The first night hotel was in Giza - I walked across (actually I dodged many cars trying to cross the street) the street to a rooftop restaurant and watched the light show over the pyramids. Just stunning stuff.
Mirrored sunglasses make eye contact difficult. I definitely use them in certain countries
We used Djed Travel in March 2017 and really enjoyed it. They have some standard tours, that you can make changes to, or you can have the whole tour tailor made.
Me and 3 others went for 2 weeks about 10 years ago. We were just using a Lonely Planet travel guide book and had our hotel in Cairo arrange a tour from Cairo to Luxor to Aswan to Abu Simbel and back. It is lot cheaper to arrange a tour with the hotel when you get there versus from the USA but that is not an approach for everyone. Generally the aggressive touts Diane referred to above will leave you alone if you have a local guide already. But we also like not having guide all the time just to go somewhere.
Imprint Tours (fun by former RS guides) has a combo 14-day Egypt/Jordan tour with a 5-day Jerusalem extension.
There is one scheduled for Nov of this year and also March & Oct for 2022. The 22 dates are sold out but get on the wait list.
We traveled with Djed in March 2020, and they were excellent. Sadly, Covid interrupted the trip, and we had to return to US when airports started shutting down. We are working with Djed to return to Egypt in October. The only drawback is that they can be very slow to return emails during the planning process. Once in Egypt, though, everything was flawless. All of our guides and accommodations were terrific.
A few things that I especially like about Djed:
They specialize in custom travel, and so you can tailor the itinerary and accommodations to your wishes.
They have a fleet of four dahabiyas, sailing vessels with a maximum of ten passengers. If you are interested in cruising the Nile, a dahabiya is the way to go. It's calm and quiet. As they said in their itinerary, "no flashing disco here."
I did a pretty extensive review of our experience with Djed about a month ago: https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/beyond-europe/experience-in-egypt
We completed a fabulous tour to Egypt and Jordan just before COVID arrived. We went with Odysseys Unlimited and our guide was Hassan Latif ,an archeologist. Everything on the trip was wonderful and we all enjoyed being on a boat on Lake Nasser, pulling up to antiquities every day including Abu Simbel. We also did a Nile cruise but the Lake Nasser cruise was incredible with few other tourists in sight. Our four day extension in Jordan was also wonderful and filled with antiquities.
Most tours include a Nile cruise but not Lake Nasser which we especially enjoyed.
We went with Scenic USA and it was fabulous. I highly recommend them. We have traveled with them before to Cambodia and Vietnam and have only high praise for this company. We added their Jordan tour onto our Egypt tour and that was great as well. We stayed at wonderful hotels and had our own boutique cruise ship on the Nile. Their groups are small (under 24 people?). Odysseys is another great company to travel with. If you want a personalized private tour High End Journeys is a good company run by my friend Aziz.
We went in Oct 19. Probably our best trip ever. We did 2 weeks with Roads Scholar, all meals included and airfare included. We typically travel on our own , rent a car, etc.,so we were a little apprehensive about a “canned” tour. We didn’t speak or read the language so we knew it would be difficult to navigate on our own. After seeing the traffic it was smart to take a tour. It was fabulous. Very educational with daily lectures with local professors. Small group, 19 plus our guide and armed guard. Don’t worry, every tour has an armed guard. We always felt safe.
I recommend going to Alexandria and do not miss Abu Simbel.
I have a tour to Egypt booked for this October with Mike of Go Luxor Tours. So far, communications have been excellent via What’s App and email. We have a private tour with Egyptologist guide.
I used Memphis Tours. No complaints.
I am in the process of arranging my itinerary for January 2022 with Djed Tours. I have been VERY impressed with their responsiveness, clarity, and personalized attention as I make and adjust the plans for my trip. I am starting with the outline that they give for their "Classic Egypt" tour, and am adding on some places that I also want to go and deleting a couple of others. Djed can easily expand the itinerary to three weeks, working with you regarding what you want to see and where you want to go. Every review that I've read by people who have traveled to Egypt with them has described a fabulous experience. For example: they do not use the larger Nile cruise ships (for +100 passengers) that many larger companies use. They use smaller boats, with all of the expected comforts, carrying just 10-12 guests, max, thus with very personalized service and the ability to dock at less frequented towns and temples along the way. Also: Their prices for a personalized tour are right in line with the prices for tours with larger groups offered by some other companies that I investigated.
Thank you all SO much! Super helpful
Jill, please come back to the forum and let us know what you decide!
I worked in Saudi Arabia during the early 80s and visited Egypt twice. The second time in 85 doing Cairo and a Nile cruise in southern Egypt.
At that time, most of the cruises were offered by hotel chains like Hilton, Marriott and Sheraton. We did one with Marriott or Sheraton, I can't remember which.
Now options are many. Best to compare and closely review exactly what is in your tour with the river cruise and land portion as well.
Compare the many cruise lines, Viking, Vantage World Travel, Scenic, Avalon, AMA Waterways, Uniworld, and Gate 1.
If you are budget minded consider Gate 1, their prices are great. We are looking at doing one with Gate 1, since my wife has never been to Egypt.
I’ve just finalized our trip in late October to Egypt with Djed Egypt. We don’t like organized tours with lots of participants, so Djed seems perfect for us. Thus far, communication with Djed has been excellent. We’ve arranged our itinerary according to our preferences and Djed is more than willing to work with us. Our 14 day trip includes a four day Nile cruise on a small sailing ship (10-12 people.)
We are looking forward to this adventure!
Dunno, but maybe look into whether the Brit outfit 'Explore' are still doing tours there. Their variety of itineraries, plus the sheer excellence of their guides (yo Richard!) were once outstanding.
One oft overlooked 'Beyond the Pyramids' option is to include visiting the oases: Farfara, Siwa, Bawiti, Dakhla et al---fantastic adventure travel. Security issues may have compromised or cancelled some of that, coz the oases approach the Libyan border.
I am done. the end.
I booked an Intrepid tour for 2 weeks then will spend an extra week in Cairo on my own. Tour starts New years Eve this year. Going to be an adventure for sure. Thank you all for the great tips!
In June, we returned from 2 weeks in Egypt. Tips: 1. I would not recommend A&K. Even on sale, it was not a good value. 2. In Cairo, visit the new Museum of Civilization as well as the 'old' Egyptian Museum of Antiquities. 3. In Giza, visit the new G.E.M (if open to the public then) & Saqqara as well as the Pyramids. While the interior of the King's Chamber has little to see, the climb inside the Pyramid is a once-in-a-lifetime. In Giza, be sure you have a local guide to give context. Otherwise, you're just looking at stones. 4. Have lunch in the touristy restaurant overlooking/across from the pyramids. The view is worth it. 5. As recently as June, there were no flights to Abu Simbel. The overland drive is 3-4 hrs ea. way from Aswan, but go anyway. 6. Assume you're doing a Nile Cruise - a definite must. 7. If you dive/snorkel, the Red Sea has some of the best dive sites on the planet. 8. Wear comfortable shoes (not sports sandels), especially in Cairo which doesn't have the cleanest streets. 9. The Egyptian people are very warm & friendly. 10. You will likely see military presence in towns along the Nile (e.g. military vehicles with roof-mounted guns), but we had no security concerns/ issues. 11. In Valley of the Kings, see every available tomb. Pay extra for the ones not covered in general admission. It just doesn't get old. Pay the tomb attendants the small tip ($3-5) to walk with you inside & give you small tidbits of info. They will point out details & tell you things you otherwise miss. 12. If vendors follow you & become aggressive, hold up your palm (as in "stop") while saying the Egyptian phrase for No Thankyou. The palm gesture is not quite rude, but comes close to the equivalent of the European 'evil eye.' 13. If I could have a do-over, my 2-week itinerary would start with Alexandria, flight to Abu Simbel, Nile cruise from Aswan to Luxor, then onto Cairo. Since you have 3 weeks, the Red Sea & Jordan sounds terrific to add on. Enjoy your trip!
Also, any tips/advice would be much appreciated!
It's always useful to take advantage of the State Department's travel advisories -
2018 back packed Egypt to Namibia overland 9 months.No tours, consider using latest L.P.books for info.Very easy,and cheap to go pyramids using public transport ,as well to view Suez Canal ,Alexandria, western desert near Libya, Tivi Oasis,purchase train ticket to Aswan,walk down to river .ots of huge tour boats to choose from ,bargain hard as they want to fill those empty rooms for almost any offer .Check out temple on lake Nasser by public bus ,guest houses near-by cheap then return next day to Aswan.Found barbecue street food everywhere good,low cost.Coffee ,tea on side walks vendors also good.Don,t expect large cups like we have at home.Do homework before with travel books,as they have good maps and you shall be fine.Also found more English than anticipated. Enjoy.
I lived in Saudi Arabia for five years and worked with several Egyptians. Prior to my visits to Egypt, they warned me about a few things.
1) Don't eat street food or drink unless you open the bottle. Don't drink the water. Preferably dine in equivalent of four star hotel restaurant of equivalent.
2) Don't wander into the city without knowing the area, some areas are not safe. Best to take tours.
3) Best to use taxis that your hotel calls up so there is a record of where you are going. There were cases of tourists being taken by taxis into the desert, being robbed or worse and left there.
Egypt is a fantastic country to visit and full of ancient history and the people are friendly. However, all tourist busses etc. are protected by armed guards since over 20 years ago, terrorists attacked a tour bus the the Tomb of Queen Hatchetp in the Luxor area.
I had a Polish guide married to an Norwegian that took us on two great tours in Norway a couple of years ago. She actually traveled on her own from Honduras in Central America through Guatemala and Mexico to the USA and made her way home. She had her wallet and purse stolen early in the trip and hitchhiked to the USA border (she had a visa in there passport that was not stolen).
I was amazed that she managed this trip safely. That doesn't mean that her trip wasn't highly risky. Travel in Central America and parts of Mexico are very dangerous. Egypt is different, but also it is not like going to Europe.
This was originally posted back in May. She has already taken the trip as she stated it would be in October with Intrepid. I hope she sees this and gives us a trip report!
I'm going in 6 weeks; haven't been yet! I can't wait, going to be an adventure for sure. I thank everyone for really helpful responses. I will report back after my 3 week trip. Oh boy, I can't wait!!!!!
Thanks Jill, we just got back from Egypt. You will love it! I cant wait to hear about it. What is your itinerary?
We used Gap Adventures and it was an incredible trip. After the tour we continued on for 2 months in Israel and Turkey. Egypt has incredible sights. Don't miss Abu Simbel on the shores of Lake Nasser.