Budget holiday in Egypt

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Departure information

This trip can be tailormade throughout the year and can be adapted to suit your interests, budget and requirements as necessary. Minimum 2 people
Holiday type

Travelling with a local operator

This holiday is operated by a company based in the holiday destination and they will be able to provide expert local knowledge. They will be able to tailor make your holiday to suit your requirements not only concerning the dates of travel but also typically the standard of accommodation, and thus price. It is rare for local operators to be able to help with the booking of your flights.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Budget holiday in Egypt

Part of the entree fees to all Egyptian historical sites contributes to local conservation. We encourage our clients to visit a local charity called Masr Al Mahrusa Baladi. Masr Al Mahrusa Baladi Organization (NGO) tries to improve the quality of Education in Egypt in government run schools, especially primary schools. The organization also helps to reduce illiteracy as well as bringing up and educating orphans.

Concerning the social and environmental responsibility of the cruise, first of all, all the staff employed on the cruises are local. There is a continuous check from the Egyptian ministry of environment on all cruises in Egypt concerning environmental responsibility and the conservation of the River Nile.

During your visit to the historical sites of Luxor and Aswan, there is a souk (Bazaar) where you can interact directly with local people and buy there wares with the help of our local guides.

Through our environmental responsibility, all historical places visited are to be left as we found them without touching the sites or dropping litter. We always advise guests to conserve the environment and not to smoke at the historical sites. Moreover; our local staff are prevented to smoke during work. All our modern air-conditioned minibuses are provided with bins for rubbish and have all been fitted with environmental filters to reduce carbon emissions. Our transportation manager regularly inspects the vehicles to ensure their cleanliness.

Our sightseeing tours are operated and led by local guides. We use local drivers and all tour arrangements are made by local staff. In addition we use locally owned hotels and restaurants and all their staff are employed locally. During the trip, we give a brief description of Egypt from Pharaonic time until the time of the revolution in 1952. We also give out information about the Arabic language, local religions and appropriate dress (particularly for women).

Reviews of Budget holiday in Egypt

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the holidays.

I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 08 Apr 2011 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The guides in Cairo and in Shram were of great help, involved and dedicated. They made the stay worth it.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Explain exactly what are your expectations and objectives for the trip. Have this validated with the field guides. I found some dichotomy between what I am told to expect from the booking agents and what is actually possible in the field. This said, the adjustments made in the field were very good.

And lastly, do no go to the resort that was selected for me in northern portion of the Red Sea (I do not have it available at this time) because they segregate breakfast and diners areas and type of food between -locals- and foreigners. A first in my world travelling and not appreciated. I gave notice to the guide and the resort manager.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes especially when the biggest industry in the area is tourism. For the environmental dimension , is building huge resort in the desert a sustainable industry. Will you be the judge of this?

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Excellent because the people that I met prove to be very interested, interesting and prepared to share their culture.

Read the operator's response here:

Dear valuable customer Louis,

I would like to thank you very much for your time and comments, We totally agree with you that sometimes we expect something that is not see on the ground or does not much our expectations, kindly note that Tour Guides in Egypt are based on free lance, work with different companies everyone with his/her separate licence.

Our tour guides are very well selected and they are all adapted to Memphis mentality in terms of Quality of Service of Guidance, that should be given to the customers such as not to rush during the visits, being helpful and knowledgeable in Egyptology, we have formulated a number of instructions applied on all our guides to ensure a high standard of Quality of service and assure the customer satisfaction which is our main objective.

As for the red sea resort, we have sent a delegation to evaluation the hotels (suppliers) that can match Memphis Norms and the international norms. And definitely we will not use a property that is not appreciated by our customers.

Our quality Control department is dedicated to get in direct contact with all our clients in search for their needs, comments, and or complaints aiming at living always up to our clients' expectations and at gaining their satisfaction.

Our Quality control team is an integral component of the Highest Management of the company since we consider customer service to be of paramount importance. Guest Comment Forms which we receive at the end of every guest’s stay are regularly monitored by the Quality control department. As far as possible we try to implement the improvements or suggested reforms with our suppliers as well.

These comments also give us an insight into customer satisfaction, and help us in planning future programs.

We thank you once again for your comments that are taken into a big consideration. We look forward having the chance to welcoming you soon to Egypt.

Best regards,

Gamal EL Hadary
Director of Customer care & Quality Control

Reviewed on 28 Dec 2009 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

We liked visiting the pyramids on the back of a camel and the Valley of the Kings very much. As one of our tour guides was so kind to invite us to his home we could meet his family and get an idea how people live in Egypt today. That was really very interesting although not something which can be put as an item in an itinerary list of course. :-)

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

There is so much to see in Egypt that one should take the time to prepare the holiday wisely. We stayed for nearly one week in Egypt and sometimes woke up at 6 am - but that still doesn't give you the time you need to see everything. Depending on what you prefer you should spend less time shopping (visiting bazaars, papyrus shops, perfume shops, alabaster factories etc.) and more time visiting historic places - or the other way round. Make up your mind as there is much more to do and to see than you'll probably have time.

As other reviewers have said tipping is important in Egypt. It's not obligatory but strongly recommended. It's like a "thank you" in Western countries - you never need to say "thank you" but it's impolite if you don't do. That said it's important to inform yourself to whom to give tips and how much. However don't be scared about this tipping issue. We tried our best to adapt to Egyptian behavior but probably made mistakes as other tourists have done before us and more will do in the future.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

As our tour operators, drivers, tour guides, hotel staff etc. were all Egyptians we hope that local people benefited from our holiday. We might have made mistakes with tipping but we passed our checks to them. :-)

About impacts on the environment: If you have seen Cairo this question doesn't make much sense. It is the most polluted city we've ever visited. After walking for half an hour through the city we could feel the pollution in our lungs. I guess you get used to it if you live in Cairo. As tourists from abroad we could "breath" the difference.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

The holiday was perfectly organized - everything worked smoothly. The five star boat we stayed on when we traveled from Aswan to Luxor was also very nice. While my girl friend didn't like the hotel in Cairo very much we knew it was a three star hotel only. Personally I liked the hotel though as it was run by locals (not one of the big international hotel chains) and another truly Egyptian experience. That said we can easily recommend both visiting Egypt and booking through our travel agency. In fact we will do as many of our friends are curious about our holiday and interested in visiting Egypt, too.

Reviewed on 27 Oct 2008 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The wonderful ancient monuments we visited - in particular Queen Hatshepsut's mortuary temple - but also Luxor temple, Kom Ombo and Karnak. Also the beautiful vistas on the Nile and sailing in a felucca.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Ensure you spend at least 2 hours in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo - it needs that amount of time as a minimum. Also add on an optional additional excursion to visit the wonderful mosques of old Cairo and the Citadel. Finally, the museum of antiquities in Luxor is definitely worth a visit as is Karnak at night.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Yes insofar as we used a local tour company and local guides etc. Also we hope that cruising was relatively green although having airconditioning on all the time is not at all good for the environment and we tried switching it off as much as we could. The option of travelling by train from Cairo to Luxor or Aswan and back again is something to be considered as a greener option than flying and we think this should be offered as an option.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Very very good - the local operators were truly excellent. All our arrangements worked smoothly and our tour leader Mohsen was great - nothing was too much trouble and he made sure everything we wanted to do was arranged calmly and efficiently - an ideal tour leader. We hope he goes far in his career! All the local guides were very knowledgeable with adequate English; however, occasionally one sensed one or two of them were rather bored with the job and weren't really enjoying it much. The ones we most appreciated were the cheerful enthusiastic guides who communicated their love of the history and architecture etc as well as their knowledge. Of course as all the guides in Egypt are freelance and are not employed - their livelihood is precarious and it would help if they had more security...

Reviewed on 11 Jun 2008 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

It was Egypt! It was a surreal, seeing these amazing things that we once only dreamed of seeing...and we were there! I enjoyed our time in Aswan. We were off the big boat we were on, and travelled by smaller boat on the Nile to see some sites. We were right there...I could touch the water. I could see the wildlife... mostly birds. I could see plants up close. I could feel the heat of the sun and the cool of the water. To me, it was fantastic.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Take matters into your own hands. There is a certain amount of flexibility in booking packages through this tour operator. We didn't do very much research. This was our first time to Egypt and didn't know what to expect. The tourism industry is both a blessing and a curse to the country... and I am afraid that in too many ways, it is more curse than blessing. It takes much more effort to have what I would consider to be a responsible vacation there.

In many ways, one almost has to turn the brain off for a while, otherwise it can be very overwhelming. On one hand, it feels that so many people are out to rip travellers off, while on the other hand we met so many generous and warm people. We were constantly bombarded by aggressive touts and people looking for money. But, at the same time, the need is there... but it's a far greater need than one traveller can ever hope to make a dent in. It was something that I wish I had remembered throughout the vacation.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

No. Not really, which was unfortunate. Local guides were used, and they were great. We did use local transportation, but often it was far from environmentally friendly. When we used small motorboats on the Nile, I'm quite positive that the billows of smoke and spewing fumes did little good to what is a very important lifeline to the people of Egypt. If anything, I feel that our presence and the way that we travelled only helps to make things worse.

We had an incident where the horse being used to pull a carriage we rode in at one point fell and became injured. They got the poor animal up and insisted that we would continue. I had to fight very hard to make sure that we didn't. The horse could not continue. When I took a closer look at him, he was quite old, and should not have been pulling us.

We took a cruise on the Nile, which was amazing. We travelled in a long caravan of boats, and from what I could see, they were not running very efficiently, and definitely were not helping the water. I don't know if any of the boats that the company that ran the fleet we were part of did this, but I saw several cruise boats pass by us, throwing their garbage into the river, which was upsetting.

On the cruise, we talked with some of the workers on board and felt very angry and disgusted at the conditions they were working under. The fellow who took care of our cabin worked 15, 16, 17 hours per day. He worked HARD, but we were told that he only makes the equivalent of 60 Euros per month! The entire crew seemed to work constantly. It was a full board accommodation. We would go for breakfast early in the morning, lunch at noon, and dinner at 8pm. Generally, the same people were working at all three meals. They put in very long hours, and after 4 days on the boat, they all looked so exhausted. It was a challenge as well to find a balance between having a vacation that we could afford while doing what we could to support local business.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

It was far from a guilt free vacation. The experience was eye opening. The people were interesting. The culture was fascinating. The sites were incredible. But, ethically, the type of trip we took left me feeling rather uneasy. To see such poverty around us while we travelled, slept and ate like kings was hard to deal with. To know that the people at the places we stayed were getting paid so little and working so hard for US did not leave me feeling very comfortable. I found it to be a difficult place to travel. That's not to say there weren't many things that I enjoyed. We saw amazing stuff. We learned so much. It really was a trip of a lifetime.

I do want to point out that, within the context of our trip, we were treated very well by the tour operator. They are good and I would recommend them to anyone!

Read the operator's response here:

Egypt is a poor country like other African countries. All the comments on that report, it is referring to the standard of living for people, infrastructure and others. Also, it is not true that guide are not well paid. We pay well for the guides.

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