Some recommendations and thoughts for other travellers, Egypt

Cruise: we were on Da Vinci, one of the African Safari cruises, and found it very good value for money. We had a discount coupon from the (UK) Daily Telegraph. We also booked one of the cheaper weeks, if I was doing it again I would try to travel during the (Northern) winter – the heat was extreme, one day it was 48C, which makes it difficult to fully appreciate the temples etc. On the ship you can’t choose your guide but we had Golden and he was wonderful. The cruise ship staff are wonderful. Ladies: if it’s not your thing to belly dance in front of 200 strangers, don’t volunteer for the women’s only game at the galabia party (and yes, I found this out the hard way!)

Temples: the one absolutely not to miss is Karnak. Abu Simbel is worth the additional travel/expense. The people in the temples and tombs will stop at nothing to get a tip out of you – we asked our guide about this and there’s not need to tip apparently, it’s their job to be there etc. Having said that, not tipping is easier said than done – my suggestion is to not accept for example the loan of a torch, the offer to take your photo, or to take a photo of them. Further than that: you don’t have to tip – ignore all that good upbringing: just say “no (thank you)” and walk away or keep a few small coins handy. Tour guides etc do expect tips and if they’re good I think they really earn them.

Other: the Valley of the Kings is amazing, if you are doing both the Valley of Kings and the Queens consider doing the Queens first, otherwise it may be an anticlimax as it is smaller (i.e. more modest in what you can see with a general admission ticket).

And: sunscreen, hat, sunglasses…


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