Most Inspirational Moment
Seeing the pyramids poking up on the horizon from the hotel balcony actually made me quite emotional....I think a mix of finally, finally being able to travel again and it being a long-held dream to go to Egypt (and maybe a touch of not much sleep!). We'd gone to bed at about midnight (the group flight arrives in the evening and it takes a while to exit the airport) and just by chance I checked the view as the sun rose the next morning. And Abu Simbel is just awe-inspiring but then so are all of the other temples and things you get to see and do on this trip.
Thoughts on Group Leader
Andrew was an excellent leader. He was very organised and very knowledgeable on all things Egyptian. He also had a great sense of humour......the Egyptians invented EVERYTHING.....and made sure everyone was aware of how to deal with the aspects of the trip that we weren't accustomed to such as the hawkers and needing small change for the toilets. He guided us around the temples giving us details of the where/why/when, building up a picture of the history of Egypt as we went south. He gave us ample time to wander around once he'd given us our bearings. We will remember his "Habibis, this way" for a long time.
Advice for Potential Travellers
We went in early February which we found ideal weather-wise. Fleeces were needed in the early mornings until the sun came into its own at about 10am and then the temperatures were in the low to mid 20's. Although sunny in Aswan, the constant wind took the temperature down quite considerably. We took mainly UK£ with us and changed some up at the airport (the exchange rate is fixed in Egypt so you don't get ripped off), we also took some US$ left over from a previous holiday. We paid for excursions in ££/US$/credit card. When working out expenses for the trip, factor-in paying for the optional excursions as otherwise you'll miss out on seeing things such as Abu Simbel.....well worth doing, don't be put off by the time it takes to get there. We did every excursion apart from the monastery and the light shows but others in the group said the light show at Philae was very good. The Nubian village trip was cancelled due to the water level being too low for the boats to negotiate the river so we had a morning off while in Aswan so we went for lunch at the Old Cataract Hotel. I would recommend to do this if possible as it's just a 5 minute walk down the road from the Basma Hotel..... obviously a slightly pricey lunch as you're paying for the view/history but a good way to finish of the holiday (and there's no dress code at lunch so don't worry if you've only got jeans to wear). The Nubian museum opposite the Basma Hotel is also worth a visit, you can spend anywhere from 30mins to 1.5 hrs there and can pop in on the way back from your fancy lunch. The new Egyptian museum isn't open yet (expected Nov 2022 but factor in Egyptian time!) but King Tut's mask is still in the old museum. The new museum looks spectacular from the outside (it's opposite the hotel in Cairo) so it would have been great to have gone there.....c'est la vie!
Great trip, if you're considering a weeks holiday in Egypt then this is the way to do it. We felt safe while in Egypt and had an armed security guard with us at all times in Cairo. Security is tight in hotels and museums. We wore masks in indoor settings as covid rules were still in force and also we felt it was better to wear a mask anywhere crowded such as in the tombs in the Valley of the Kings. We had to show our covid passes on numerous occasions in the airports so make sure you have them on your phone or printed out. Don't worry about the early starts, you can sleep when you get home!