Travelling in Egypt… a safe, quiet affair
Mr and Mrs Horsman travelled on a group tour with Cox & Kings, and found the holiday provided not only good value, but also unbelievable access to sites that would usually have been very crowded.
Abu SimbelThe four days on the cruise boat along the Nile was good fun, and the staff simply could not do enough to help you. It was a great shame to see many boats tied up at the harbours. Out of the original 400-plus cruise boats working the Nile before the 2011 troubles, less than 50 are working now. Thankfully it is slowly improving. Our guide while on the boat was Bassem Khames, a great young guy who lived in Luxor, but stayed on the boat to look after the group of us (six people) 24 / 7 regardless of what we needed. Just like in Cairo, for each tour we were collected and transported in an air-conditioned bus, and walked straight into the sites with pre-sorted tickets. Bassem was a wealth of knowledge on every site visited and also a good laugh that made the visits fun. Having kept all the entrance tickets to the 15 sites (not including all the shops, factories and demonstrations we were also taken to), I cannot believe the low cost of the holiday with the flights, tour guides, boat cruise and all the visits included.
Feluccas on the NileIf you are thinking of visiting Egypt, go now, as with the lack of tourists since the 2011 trouble you are really looked after well and the sites are quiet and empty. A good friend of mine visited the Cairo museum in 2007, and was really disappointed due to how busy it was. He was squeezed into the museum with thousands of tourists, and struggled to see the King Tut displays. When we had the guided tour of the museum there were only a hundred or so people in there. So my wife and I spent a good 10 minutes in the King Tut display room, shared with five other people.
Detail on the throne of Tutankhamen
Important points to note about a visit to EgyptI would never visit this country without a properly arranged tour guide. I love a good argument with the street sellers to get a bargain, but I found these sellers very pushy, in your face and relentless from the minute you arrive and leave the sites – as the sales / shop areas always lead into or out of the sites. There are many times I would have liked to stop and look at something to buy, but this is not possible without being surrounded by a group. The tour guide is a help as they can report the sellers if they hassle too much, but mostly it’s a case of continuously saying ‘no, thank you’ while walking back to the bus. Being in the Middle East, I found it a surprise to see airport body scanners at the entrance to hotels and shopping centres, operated by armed tourist police. This is to make sure everything is secure, and walking around the huge Star City shopping centre at night felt very safe. Additionally, nearly everyone in the shops can speak English. Everyone on the trip had an iffy belly, regardless of how careful we all were with the water and foods washed in water. As this is very common, tablets were handed out at reception. Thankfully, the stomach bugs did not cause pain so did not really spoil the trips. On the bright side, I have never returned from a week’s holiday 8lbs lighter – so that was a result. I could not fault the hotel and will not hesitate to use Cox & Kings again for my next fully managed holiday. See all Cox & Kings' holidays to Egypt >
First and last images courtesy of Mr Horsman.Share: