My partner and I booked a 2 day trip to Cairo with Sharm excursions, although the overall trip was a positive experience, I would like the reader to read the whole review as it certainly wasn't perfect.
We went on this trip in February 2013.
The trip started well, we were collected from our hotel at 0525 which was only about 10 minutes later than advertised and still left us plenty of time for the flight to Cairo.
We set out in a minibus, there were a total of 3 of us on the trip so we felt we were getting a very personal service from our guide Maya. She provided commentary throughout the drive, although she did stop to take phone calls (which were not brief), so I am not sure whether we missed anything important.
When we got to Cairo centre, Maya got the driver to stop the bus and she went to get us all breakfast, it was a delicious falafel in some flat bread.
We continued our journey to our first destination the Egyptian museum. Maya really knew her stuff here and rushed us to important pieces and described them well to us. We were then told that if we wanted to see the mummies we would need to pay an extra 100 Egyptian pounds (£10). Which we did, and it was money well spent.
We then returned to the bus, for our next destination a Nile 'cruise'. We had been told this would cost us an extra £10, but when we got there Maya said we had to pay an extra £5 because there was so few of us. All 3 of us paid this, and that's all I can say is that it was a total waste of money, we were told about all the hotels that we were passing and how many stars each of them had, we were told about the poor who lived on rowing boats, but other than that there was little of interest or excitement.
The boat took us to our next stop, which was a buffet lunch, the food was good but not special.
Our next trip was to the papyrus museum, where we had an excellent demonstration of how papyrus was made and it’s history. We were then asked to have a look around the gallery. We had intentionally taken only £200 with us on this trip and left our cards in our hotel so that we would not be tempted to overspend, had we travelled with more we would have been tempted to spend a fortune. Whilst at the papyrus museum, Mohamed of Sharm Excursions appeared and we discussed organising another trip this time to Jerusalem and Petra, he quoted us £460 and we asked him to email us the full trip itinerary. He also said that if we wanted some pieces from the Papyrus he would collect the money from us from our hotel and that he would meet us at Cairo airport to review this trip and to discuss the next.
We went from the Papyrus museum to the Pyramids which were breath taking, but then we told that if we wanted to take good photos we needed to pay £15 for a camel ride, I told Maya our guide that I didn’t want the ride as I was concerned for the animal’s welfare. I was told that I wouldn’t be able to walk the route and that the camels were government run and that their welfare was looked after much better than other camels in the city reluctantly I took the ride and was then asked by the camel ride operator for more money. We finished off at the sphinx with Maya insisting we pose for some stupid pictures.
Next stop was the perfume factory / store and more opportunity to spend money, it was a very interesting talk but we had now reached the point of the day where we were totally fed up with being parted of our cash so we told them that we wanted to do our own thing in the evening rather than pay the £30 for the pyramids light show.
We were then taken to our hotel, which is in an amazing location but was basic to say the least and incredibly noisy. (See my review of the Tiba Pyramid Hotel)
Maya told us to be at the hotel reception at 8am ready to start day 2. We started our journey to the Citadel without our guide, a driver who spoke no English and a crazy German woman who asked us to take her teddy bear back to Sharm on the plane whilst she caught the bus. The bus stopped at the Egyptian museum, we tried to explain that we supposed to be going to the Citadel and then the Crazy German woman told us she was supposed to be going there but had changed her mind and decided to spend the day with us. The driver went berserk (we later found out because he had wasted an hour driving her to the museum). We then continued our journey to the Citadel when we arrived there and there was still no guide and we had to hang around a car park. The driver then came looking for us, handed us a mobile phone, it was Maya telling us she would be 5 minutes. 20 minutes later we were told to get back on the bus we were taken to a mosque, still no guide, and of course no explanation about why we were there. After 15 minutes the guide showed up (by this point 2 hours late). We expressed our anger and she tried bluffing us by saying she wasn’t late, we then said that we should go into the mosque and she told us weren’t going in and that we were only there to take photo’s. We expressed more anger and she told us that it was always on the plan to take photo’s at this mosque and that we were then to return to the Citadel. By this point we had lost all confidence in Maya and wanted to cancel our second day. We decided against it and continued reluctantly.
The Citadel was great and Maya really redeemed herself, she knew her stuff answering all our questions, she took us into the mosque and spent about an hour being a very good guide.
Next we stopped for lunch, we were taken to a traditional café where they served the Egyptian dish of Kushari followed by Rice Pudding, although I was concerned about the appearance of the café, the food was absolutely delicious, and it was good to have some local dishes.
Our next excursion was to the Coptic church and to a synagogue, again Maya was very knowledgeable and spent a lot of time explaining their roles in modern and historic Egypt.
The last destination of the trip was the Khan El Khalili Bazaar, this is an exciting market where you could buy literally anything and get a good price if you are prepared to haggle.
We were then taken back to the airport for another delayed flight, we were supposed to be met by Mohammed but there was no sign of him, nor explanation for his non-show. He did send an email providing details of the Jerusalem and Petra trip but he had put the price up to £475.
He did contact us a day or two later without mentioning the problems we had had, so we replied stating that we wouldn’t be booking because, of the problems we had on the tour, the fact he had increased the price in his email. He said that he wanted to reduce the price to £445 as way of apology.
I don’t want to grade this trip because overall it is very good. If we hadn’t had the delays and the attitude to the delays there is no doubt we would be giving it 5 stars. I totally understand that things go wrong but it is the way that problems are dealt with.
Maya is an excellent knowledgeable guide. If she had apologized for her delay instead of trying to cover her mistakes there would be no problem.
Sharm Excursions offered a good trip, more expensive than most but it covered a lot. I suspect a lot of the visits were organized on a commission basis, but I imagine most of the tour operators work in a similar manner.
The trip cost £480 with a discount making it £456 extras were £20 for Mummy Exhibition, £30 for river trip, £50 in Papyrus Shop, £40 Camel Ride. Making it a total of £596 for two people. Plus they wanted us to spend more in Perfume shops, Laser Shows and some village.
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.