Our experience with the Aswan Individual team from the moment I contacted them to the end of our... read more
Our experience with the Aswan Individual team from the moment I contacted them to the end of our... read more
Rachel is outstanding!!! On the professional side she is very 'professional'. I informed her of... read more
This was our second visit to Aswan, and though we didn't need so much help this time in orientating ourselves, our previous experience with Aswan Individual had been so good that we used their services again when we needed it. They didn't disappoint. Aswan Individual is a small operation which sets a lot of store by good service and customer satisfaction, both of which I can vouch that they reliably deliver. Waleed instills confidence from the start: he is punctual, caring, friendly, flexible and completely reliable. He acts as agent for local people, and everyone booked through him has shown the same qualities. Previous reviews comment that the service is expensive, which I think is rather unfair. Yes, you can probably get slightly cheaper elsewhere (though their prices are very competitive) but the difference is more than justified by more comfortable transport, careful drivers (there are plenty of cheap taxis around if the white knuckle ride is more to your taste: I prefer to feel safe!), expert guides and flexibility. Waleed keeps in close touch with you by mobile phone, and takes the stress out of organising your own trip. I would wholeheartedly recommend their services, and their website, though basic, gives lots of practical tips on planning your trip.
We have just arrived back in the UK after spending 6 weeks travelling around Jordan and Egypt. We used Aswan individual for the Aswan & Luxor part of our trip. We organised everything else independently.
We travel quite a lot, usually around 6 weeks at a time over the British winter and have visited countries such as India, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, Nepal and more, so we are quite seasoned travellers. We usually just book our flights, the first couple of nights in a hotel and then just go from there, booking as we go along.
The main reason we decided to book in advance this time with Aswan individual was that we were finding it very difficult to book a couple of nights on a Nile cruise from the UK and had a fairly tight schedule of where we needed to be and when.
Firstly it must be made clear that Aswan individual do not operate any of their own vehicles, boats, guides etc., Waleed just sub contracts this out to local firms, at a premium of course.
On contacting Aswan individual Petra was very helpful and we had our schedule sorted out pretty quickly, which was... Pick up from Aswan airport, Philae, High Dam and Obelisk half day tour. Next day 2nd convoy to Abu Simbel. Next day 2 day/night cruise from Aswan to Luxor. Half day West bank tour in Luxor and finally the following day, a full day trip to Abydos and Dendera. Finally a road transfer to El Gouna on the Red Sea.
We were told in order to guarantee the Nile cruise (which was the main reason for booking with Aswan individual in the first place) we would have to bank transfer a deposit of $150. I don't know what the problem was, but it took weeks for the money to arrive in Waleed's account in Egypt and a lot of emails, phone calls to the company transferring the money and finally having to get proof of the transfer from the company sending the money, so that was a load of hassle, before even leaving the UK.
Waleed picked us up from the airport, we handed over the full balance for all the trips (approximately £500). Aswan is only 10 to 15 minutes from the airport, so the charge of 150 EGP is very expensive. To put this in perspective, the taxi from Giza (Pyramids) in Cairo to the airport was 120 EGP and it was an hour's taxi ride at high speed.
I'm not going to go into all the other costs for tours around Aswan individually, but to put it in perspective, we hired a taxi and driver for a full day in Cairo for 200 EGP and there are always guides on hand at all the tourist attractions at 20 EGP an hour or less. It's very easy to find a Taxi and driver on arrival. Make your own mind up.
We were disappointed with the free time given at Philae, just 15 minutes and for us the dam is a waste of time. Yes I'm sure the Egyptians are very proud of it, but it is just a dam, a very large dam, but still just a dam. We would have much preferred more time at Philae.
Next day we took the 2nd convoy to Abu Simbel. We were told we would arrive at 1pm, we arrived at 2pm. We were originally told we would need to be back at the car for 3:50 for the return journey. When we actually arrived at Abu Simbel, we were told to be back at the car for 3:30. By the time we very quickly ate something, bought tickets and taking into account the walk to the monument and back, we had less than 1 hour. Really not enough. 1 hour 30 minutes would have been enough, but we didn't get that. An independently booked trip to Abu Simbel would cost around 400-500 EGP.
Next day, we were picked up and taken to our boat for the Nile cruise. Before I go any further, I quote from the Aswan Individual bumf “Waleed is in this business for more than 10 years now and knows all boats very well. So - when he hears which boats really will travel, which rooms are offered on which boat - he is experienced enough to choose the best one for you.'
To describe the boat we were on as 5 star deluxe was a farce (Semiramis II). At best it was a very tired 3 star. Waleed asked us to check the room before he left and it was ok, but not 5 star. On closer inspection, it was quite tired and not particularly clean. The hair dryer in the bathroom was held together with electrical tape. The rest of the boat was tired and needed refurbishment. The worst bit is yet to come. Our room was at the back of the boat above the engines. We just assumed when we had docked for the night, this would be switched off. It was switched off but a very noisy generator was switched on. The whole room was vibrating that's how bad it was. We complained and asked to be moved, but there were no other rooms free. Needless to say we hardly slept that night. We also texted Waleed the same night, saying it was unacceptable but didn't receive a reply until the next morning. Whatever happened, we had already decided to leave the boat the next evening when we reached Luxor and stay in a hotel. To cut a long story short, Waleed put us up in a hotel for the night free of charge. Our cruise was still ruined. Also the time you get at the stops at Komombo and Edfu is very limited. 30 minutes at Komombo and 1 hour including 15 minutes each way to get to Edfu and back. Nowhere near enough time.
Our experience in and around Luxor was much better. Our guide was excellent and didn't rush us. Same applies to our day trip to Abydos and Dendera. Our only criticism is that our transportation for the whole time including a 5 hour trip to El Gouna was in a private mini bus, not private car. No matter how many people are in a minibus, it's not comfortable on long trips.
Again though these trips were relatively expensive. We were given a price of 400 EGP locally for the Abydos and Dendera trip including a guide. Same price for the transfer to El Gouna.
I can't really recommend Aswan Individual. It wasn't hassle free for us which is what you expect to pay the large premium for. You really don't get anything extra for your money. Waleed just books transport and guides for you, which I'm sure most people are more than capable of doing themselves. There is no shortage of either in Egypt right now with the general downturn in tourism. It has certainly put us off booking this type of thing in advance in the future.
My sister and I used Aswan Individual in September to tour Abu Simbel. I forget where I found them but their website looked kind of sketchy so I wasn't really sure about this tour. Boy was I surprised! Not only are all their tours the cheapest I found in Aswan (bummed I didn't book more with them) but they were very professional and great! The driver picks you up at the hotel lobby and takes you to a stop where everyone drives together at the same time. I slept the entire drive there. The driver I don't think spoke very well English but enough to get by. Besides, drivers aren't supposed to talk while driving that is why you have to pay for a tour guide if you want one. Anyways, he got us there and back safely. The driver was actually one of the better drives in Egypt that I took! He told us what time he was picking us up from Abu Simbel and he wasn't a minute late! I believe he even had water for us! The communication prior to my arrival in Egypt with Waleed and his associates were great! They answered any questions I had and were very informative as to what the costs were! I was truly impressed with my tour.
To start with, Aswan Individual provided very good services and travel experiences. Petra was very responsive to all my inquiries and prepared detailed itinerary for us in PDF. Waleed was professional and arranged everything as planned. Our guide, Abdul Wahab, is the best guide we had during our 9-day trip in Egypt. Both the felucca and the motor boat we rented through Waleed were in excellent condition and operator (Mido) was a very nice guy. That being said, the price is not cheap by Egyptian standard especially if you only have 2-3 people. This is also the reason why I gave 4 stars not 5 stars to Aswan Individual. For the trip to Abu Simbel, you can take bus which is probably half the price comparing to Aswan Individual's price (assuming 4 people). Since the guides are not allowed to enter into the temples in Abu Simbel, all you really need is just the transaportation. But, for the felucca ride, Aswan Individual's price is very reasonable (EGP30/hour) and it saves you the time to bargain. I actually recommend taking both felucca and motor boat on the Nile if you have time, because motor boat can take you much further upstream where there're much fewer boats and it is much quiter.
We booked a tour to Edfu and Kom Ombo and Alaa, our guide, was knowledgable, friendly and we enjoyed some lively conversations together. We also booked another tour to Philae with a felucca tour of the islands and trip to Elephantine. For this tour, Abdul was our guide and he was knowledgable, friendly and fun. We also used Aswan Individual to arrange airport transfers and that worked well also. Petra and Waleed made sure that everything went smoothly.
We booked a trip to Abu Simbel and a car transfer from Aswan to Luxor (via Kom Ombo and Edfu) before arriving in Egypt. Petra deals with all emails and was very helpful and informative always responding promptly. Once in Aswan, Waleed takes over and met us at our hotel two days before our Abu Simbel trip to reconfirm the details of both our bookings. Both drivers were good, one spoke more English than the other and so we had some fun conversation with him that broke up the 3 hour drive to Abu Simbel.