Usually we find our way around cities without any guides or organised tours, but I was worried about negotiating my way around Cairo in the current political climate, so I did the research and contacted a number of guides before we left the UK.
Rasha's responses were quick, friendly, and considered; she certainly seemed to take on board what we wanted to do, rather than offer a pre-designed tour and this, combined with her gender, made me think she'd be our best option. So we arranged meeting times and prices (she even offered to pick us up at the airport, but that was a service we didn't need) and ensured she had contact numbers.
When we were picked up at the airport by our company rep and he stopped talking to us once we explained we'd already engaged Rasha in advance as our tour guide, we began to wonder if we'd done the right thing. But this was clearly just about the competition for work in Cairo, which proved to be very quiet (apart from the local traffic, which means we were very grateful for the skill and patience of Rasha's driver). We had no issues with Rasha at all. She even let us know when the weight of traffic meant she'd be delayed by 5 minutes.
We spent 2 1/2 days with Rasha. She designed our itineraries with thought and her commentaries were peppered with humour. She never rushed us. And she always asked what sort of food establishment we'd prefer (never recommending anywhere that gave us an upset tummy). We covered the three major pyramid sites, in chronological order, which helped our understanding of the developing skills of the builders and designers and the economic and sociological drivers better than if we'd just tried to get to Giza early. She took the same approach to Islamic and Christian Cairo. And she was invaluable in helping negotiate the immensity of the Cairo museum.
Price wise, there doesn't seem to be much difference between guides; and since all guides have to be qualified (Rasha began as an archaeologist) it isn't easy to choose between guides in Egypt. But with nearly 20 years' experience, good English, and a wide appreciation of the history, culture and politics of her country, I would thoroughly and confidently recommend Rasha's services.
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