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Egypt and Jordan Travel Report March 2023

For this trip, I hired “Egypt and Beyond”, which turned out to be a very good choice!
The tour started in Cairo, visiting the Egyptian museum and the pyramids of Giza on the first day, continuing with Sakkara and the Mosque of Mohamed Ali on the second day. My guide was Ali and he was very helpful and had a great wealth of knowledge. My driver was Mohamed, and he was very professional and always smiling and dressed properly with a blazer. I was lucky to have Ali just to myself as my private guide.
On the third day, I flew from Cairo to Luxor, to start a 4 day cruise through the Nile from Luxor to Aswan. The sites visited were just spectacular, and our guide for this part of the tour was Ahmad. Ahmad turned out to be a very people friendly person, with tons of knowledge, and he was very good at taking us to visit the most relevant places of the sites, before the crowds from other tours arrived. He was also very helpful at negotiating with the merchants when we wanted to buy some souvenirs. During this part of the trip, I was joined by two Australians who were doing the same tour. I really enjoyed their company and we actually got along very well, so I’m hoping to visit them in Australia in the future.
The journey in Egypt ended with an add-on visit to Abu Simbel, where the monuments are just wonderful. Our guide in Abu Simbel was good too, but I still take Ali and Ahmad over him. The visit to Abu Simbel is done by boarding a plane in Aswan, and then returning to Cairo to spend the night. This makes it a very long day, mostly spent on airplanes, but Abu Simbel is worth the effort. The boat was Ok, but both my Australian friends and I found that some of the crew members were rude, and the food was average.
The next day, we flew from Cairo to Amman. The Jordan part of the tour, we visited several different places (A crusader castle, several byzantine sites) but the real jewel is the visit to Petra. Petra is just amazing and no matter how many books and pictures I had seen before, I could never imagine how impressive is to see it in person. My guide in Petra was also good and very protective of me in face of all the Bedouins who approached me to sell me stuff.
At Petra, I said goodbye to my Australian friends and stayed on my own for one more day, when I visited some roman ruins in Amman to end my day at a resort by the Dead Sea. My guide for Amman was good, but I didn’t like that he kept trying to set me up with vendors to buy stuff, getting to the point of handing my phone to a vendor to take me pictures and, of course, the vendor tried to sell me stuff. I didn’t like this and reported it to the agency in my final evaluation.
Some advice that I got is to stay away from the vendors, and always negotiate the price.
Tipping is expected at all places, and Egypt and beyond gives you some guidance before the trip. Here, I found that the guidance I received was different than the ones my Australian friends received (both from the same agency). The suggested tips for Americans were double the ones given to the Australians, and not sure why the difference.
Overall, the trip was very good and it was up to my expectations. I definitely recommend using Egypt and Beyond as your travel agency for Egypt and Jordan.

Posted by
9036 posts

Thanks for the great trip report.
Have just begun to think about a trip to Egypt and wasn't sure if I wanted to do it alone or find someone else. Was there a single supplement to pay on the ship or at the hotels? Which ship were you on?
Egypt is a dream, but hadn't really thought about Jordan. May have to add this on. Petra always looks amazing.

Your details are good to know. Will look more at this agency. Interesting notes about the tipping difference.

Posted by
3355 posts

Egypt and Beyond always pushes flying to Abu Simbel, but IMHO, the best way is to drive. We had a private driver and Egyptologist guide with Go Luxor tours. The road is very good and I found the desert scenery fascinating. It’s 3 hour drive each way and like the OP said, very much worth the effort.

Posted by
5 posts

@Ms. Jo. I traveled solo and had a great time, I also went in off season, so I had pretty much private guide to myself all the time.

Posted by
4326 posts

I am just going to say that, as a solo female traveler with no guide, I had some really delightful conversations with the Bedouins in Petra trying to sell me stuff. There was nothing scary about them and yes, they were all persistent, but they were all charming and extremely polite and interesting and ok with my “no” even if it took a while. The memories still make me smile.