Last Modified: 03 Mar 2014
Egypt Family - Feluccas & Pharaohs
Trip code: XEFG
Validity: 01 Jan 2014 to 31 Dec 2014
Your trip starts in Cairo with a visit to the Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx – even the younger children are overcome with awe at the sight of these wonders of the ancient world! Next it’s the Egyptian Museum, where you’ll learn about the mysteries of the mummies, and marvel at the treasure of the boy-king, Tutankhamun. Catching the overnight sleeper train to Aswan, you have time to explore its colourful bazaar or ride camels within sight of the Nile and enjoy a visit to a Nubian village to take dinner with a local family. You sail down the Nile aboard feluccas – traditional Egyptian sailboats – stopping on your journey to visit the temple at Kom Ombo. You also drive to Luxor, home to the world’s greatest collection of antiquities. As well as exploring the monumental temple at Karnak, you visit the tombs of the Pharaohs, hidden away in the Valley of the Kings. Then, a brief stay at Hurghada gives you a chance to swim & snorkel in the Red Sea.
Table of Contents
- Original trips are classic Intrepid adventures. With a mix of included activities and free time, they offer plenty of opportunities to explore at your own pace and take part in activities that really get beneath the skin of a destination. While the occasional meal may be included, you'll have the freedom to seek out your own culinary adventures. Accommodation is generally budget or tourist class (2-3 star), but you're as likely to find yourself as a guest of a local family as staying in a hotel or camping. Transport will vary as well. Depending on the destination and the itinerary you could find yourself travelling on anything from a camel to a train or a private safari vehicle. It's all part of the adventure! Original travellers have a desire to make the most of their travel time and really get to know a place, its people and cultures.
Days 1-2 Cairo/Overnight Train
Today is the joining day of the tour and is free for you to settle in. The group flight will be arriving in the evening and you will be meeting the group and leader the next morning at approximately 8AM. You can arrive at any time today as there are no activities planned.
Salaam Aleikum! Welcome to Egypt.
Wonderfully chaotic and always colourful, Cairo is a fascinating mixture of modern city and ancient wonders.
There are plenty of things to see and do with free time in Cairo. Travel along the river by felucca, head out to explore the markets or If the crowds and the noise of the city are too much, catch the metro into the oldest part of the city, the Coptic Christian sector - with its narrow cobbled streets and ancient churches, it's a haven of peace and quiet.
Our hotel is close to the pyramids, so while it is a fair way from the airport, it means there is less distance to cover the next day.
The next morning meet your leader and the rest of the group and set out on a full-day sightseeing tour of two of the city's most famous sights - the pyramids of Giza, and the Egyptian Museum.
In the evening we board an overnight train to the southern city of Aswan.
- Egyptian Museum
- Pyramids and Sphinx
- Sound & Light Show at the Pyramids - EGP75
Grand Pyramids Hotel (1 nt), Overnight sleeper train (1 nt)
Day 3 Aswan
We arrive into Aswan in the morning, where the Nile runs deep and fast between granite rocks as the desert encroaches on the river.
Even to travellers in ancient times, Aswan was legendary as the entrance to the kingdom of Nubia. Today it is still something of a frontier town, where the Arab Middle East meets black Africa. With its mixed population of Egyptians and Nubians, Aswan is quite unlike any other town in the country. By virtue of its position on the old caravan route, it has always been a trading centre, and we thoroughly recommend a visit to the packed bazaar where merchants display a wealth of exotic spices, carpets, leather goods and countless other wares. Kids will be thrilled by the sight of donkey carts and men in flowing robes and turbans.
In the afternoon there may be time to take a taxi out to visit the temple of Isis at Philae.
A visit to Philae Temple is highly recommended. Dedicated to the goddess Isis, the temple was painstakingly moved and reassembled after the construction of Aswan High Dam flooded its original island location.
There are many other sites to be seen around Aswan and your leader should be able to organise some excursions, for example to the Unfinished Obelisk or a camel ride.
In the evening we take a trip across the river to a Nubian village where we can enjoy dinner at one of the local houses.
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 4 Nile Felucca
A very early start to the day usually allows for an optional excursion to Abu Simbel.
There's an option to travel to the magnificent temples of Abu Simbel. Built by Ramses II, it was the gateway to Egypt for Southern Africans and its imposing facade clearly delineated the line between what was the Pharaoh's land and what was not.
Alternatively, there is an optional camel ride to St Simeon's Monastery - a real desert experience.
Board feluccas to spend a day out on the river and then a night under the stars. Our Nubian sailing crew provides all the meals, which are hearty and delicious.
A felucca is a traditional wooden boat with broad canvas sails. The boat has a canopy that offers shade and protection from the elements, however there is no cabin or enclosed section. Please note that conditions are basic during our felucca trip but if you are prepared to rough it a bit you are sure to have the adventure of a lifetime.
Sleep outside on the deck of the felucca on mattresses. While blankets are provided, a sleeping sheet is recommended. During the colder months (October to March) it can get very cold at night (as low as 5C) so a sleeping bag is highly recommended for this period. Sleeping bag hire is not available.
There are no toilets on board our Nile felucca, but while sailing we'll stop at your request on the riverbank for toilet stops with nature. At the completion of the day's sailing we'll assemble a western-style toilet and tent close by on the riverbank. Any assistance from the group in building the toilet tent is always much appreciated.
Please note that we may need to make slight alterations to our Nile itinerary throughout the year, depending on winds and currents. As the felucca is a sailing craft without any outboard engine, if there's no wind - we won't travel very far.
Nonetheless, watching the sun setting across the Nile in the evening is a sight you'll remember. This is the absolute highlight of the trip for many of our travellers.
- Overnight felucca sailing trip
- Abu Simbel by Air - USD320
Overnight Felucca (1 nt)
Days 5-6 Luxor
This morning we will visit the temple at Kom Ombo. The temple is dedicated to two gods: Haroeris (Horus the elder) and the crocodile-headed Sobek, god of the Nile. There are many mummified crocs on display.
On the east bank around Kom Ombo, reclaimed land is fed by canals to keep the desert at bay. It supports not only crops of sugar cane but also a large Nubian community displaced from their homeland by the rising waters of Lake Nasser.
Travelling as part of a convoy, we will transfer by bus to Luxor (approx 4 hours), tracing the path of the Nile northwards.
From the spectacular temple complex of Karnak to the Valley of the Kings, Luxor is full of wonderfully preserved reminders of the Pharaohs.
Upon arrival there will be time to look around the town's monuments and museum, and it may be possible to visit Karnak temple to witness the memorable sound and light show (optional) which relates its history in dramatic fashion.
The following morning we will visit the ancient tombs of the Pharaohs in the Valley of the Kings.
Rising early, we will cross the Nile and drive to the secluded valley where 63 Pharaohs were buried as part of their journey to the after-life. In the company of a local guide we will explore some of the exquisitely decorated tombs of these rulers of long ago. It is here that the burial site of the boy-king, Tutankhamun, discovered by British archaeologist Howard Carter in 1922, can be found. This visit to the Valley of the Kings brings to life much of what we saw in the Egyptian Museum.
Please note that a visit to King Tutankhamen's tomb is not included in our visit, but can be arranged as an option with advance notice. Ask your leader for details if you're interested.
On our way back to the river we can see the imposing funerary temple of Queen Hatshepsut, Egypt's first female ruler.
This afternoon you are free to explore Luxor, or perhaps just relax by the hotel swimming pool.
- Kom Ombo Temple
- Hatshepsut Temple
- Valley of the Kings (3 tombs)
- Donkey ride
- Tomb of Tutankhamun - EGP100
Nile Valley Hotel (2 nts)
Days 7-8 Hurghada
Early this morning we will take horse-drawn carriages to the historic temple of Karnak, which we will explore with a local guide.
Explore the magnificent Karnak Temple, perhaps the most impressive of all the ancient Pharoahs' monumental works.
In the afternoon we farewell the Nile and drive east to Hurghada (approx 5 hours).
The green Nile valley is soon left behind as we head out into the barren Eastern Desert. Passing through rocky hills, the glittering waters of the Red Sea soon come into view and the rugged bulk of the Sinai Peninsula looms through the haze on the opposite shore. A vibrant beach resort, Hurghada is by no means a typical 'adventure destination', and enjoying the superb snorkelling on offer here is a great way to round off the trip.
The next morning we will take to the waves and head out to the offshore reefs where you can swim and snorkel to see the abundance of vividly coloured marine life that inhabit the warm water.
- Karnak Temple
- Snorkelling private trip in Hurghada
Diamond Resort (2 nts)
Day 9 Hurghada
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart our accommodation at any time. Please check the 'Finishing Point Hotel' section for checkout times and luggage storage possibilities.
Also available to purchase
For many of our trips we have other services or experiences that are also available to purchase to extend your trip or to make your holiday a little easier. Below is a list of other travel products you can purchase in conjunction with this trip.
- Abu Simbel by plane - Flight & guided visit (OTEG)
- Sleeping Bag Hire (to be paid for locally) (OTUK)
- XEFG Feluccas & Pharaohs - Single supplement (XEFG)
Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. For the latest updated Trip Notes please visit our website: www.intrepidtravel.com
Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route.
We've allowed plenty of room for freedom and flexibility in our trips. In fact, flexibility is one of the ingredients that makes each of our trips so exciting. This style of travel offers us some unexpected circumstances at times, for example, bad weather and road conditions, technical defects of transportation, inconveniences caused by local operators and authorities, and other circumstances beyond our control. Changes in the program may be required to make the best of the unique situations that we encounter.
Overnight stops and driving distances each day may vary to best suit the needs of the group. Our described itineraries are to be used as a general guide only.
You're really out there! You'll need to pay specific attention to health and hygiene. A large proportion of locals’ living conditions are a world away from standards you are used to at home. You may have difficulty finding an English speaker and there's little or no access to services. Paying heed to local customs is essential.
Some easy physical activities included in your trip. No physical preparation is required to make the most of the journey.
Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary, all other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not be refunded.
A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only and are subject to availabilities. For our families we have priced an all inclusive package including entrance fees, transport and local guide where relevant to assist you with budgeting the exact amount required on tour. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. The optional activities listed in your itinerary are activities that are available to you as a guideline and have been checked locally.
The decision to partake in any activity not listed above is entirely at your own discretion and risk. If you do have any complaint about or problem with, any such optional activity your claim should be directed to the activity provider and not to us.
The official currency of Egypt is Egyptian Pounds (EGP).
It's easy to get money when you arrive at the airport through money exchange or from the ATM. The most convenient and cheapest way to acquire money is via an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) which are plentiful throughout all the main cities. Check with your bank for information on international ATM fees.
When leaving home don't forget your PIN and make sure you know the telephone number for cancelling your card if it's stolen. Keep this in a safe place. When using your debit card, check your receipts and keep them to compare against your statement when you get home.
We recommend that you carry some foreign currency cash for when ATMs can not be accessed, have broken down or run out of cash. There are few problems changing money at the many banks and currency exchange facilities. Cash in USD, EUR and GBP are the easiest to exchange.
Occasionally banks will allow cash advances on your credit card, but it's not recommended to rely on this.
While some banks and five-star hotels will change travellers cheques, the process is time consuming, commissions can be high (up to 10%) and it can be difficult to change on weekends and public holidays. The easiest cheques to change are Thomas Cook or American Express in USD, EUR or GBP. Traveller's cheques are not recommended in the Middle East.
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
Known as 'baksheesh' in the Middle East, tipping is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry. If you are satisfied with the services provided, a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate and always appreciated. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels.
We recommend that any group tips are collected in a envelope and handed directly to the intended recipient as a collective 'thank you' by the group. The below amounts are suggested figures in USD for ease of calculating budgets, but should always be offered in local currency.
Restaurants: Local markets and basic restaurants - leave the loose change. More up-market restaurants, we suggest 5% to 10% of your bill.
Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest US$1-2 per person per day for local guides.
Drivers: You may have a range of private drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group however US$1-2 per person per day is generally appropriate.
Public toilet attendants: When using public toilets there will most likely be an attendant that will expect a tip. 20-50 cents is appropriate.
Felucca captains: If you are travelling in Upper Egypt many of our itineraries spend a night on a felucca. US$1-2 per person per day for felucca captains is appropriate.
Desert Camp hosts: If you have a night camping included on your itinerary, US$2-3 is appropriate for the camp hosts.
Your Group Leader: You may also consider tipping your leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline US$3-4 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.
Age restrictions apply to this trip - minimum age 5.
RAMADAN & THE EID UL-FITR FESTIVAL 2014:
In 2014, the important month of Ramadan will be in progress from 27 June through until 27 July, and the Eid ul-Fitr festival will be held directly at its conclusion for 3-4 days. Ramadan is a festival of sacrifice where the devout refrain from eating or drinking during daylight hours. During Ramadan, business hours are shortened, including opening hours at some tourist attractions. Alcohol is not permitted during daylight hours and many restaurants will be closed. While you should expect some delays and inconveniences during this period, the month is a fantastic opportunity to travel in a Muslim country and witness this unique period, particularly the nightly celebrations when the sun sets and the fast is broken. Please note that although the Eid ul-Fitr festival can also be a fascinating time to travel it's a period of national holiday. Most government offices and businesses will be closed and some tourist site opening hours may be affected.
Maximum of 16 travellers per group.
Your fellow travellers
As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part.
Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure. However you can download Intrepid's FREE Meet Up app to chat with your fellow travellers before your trip. Meet up, discuss your upcoming trip and share the excitement of planning for your adventure. For more information visit:
Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.
A single supplement is available on this trip, please refer to your booking agent for further information.
Nile Valley Hotel (2 nts), Diamond Resort (2 nts), Hotel (1 nt), Overnight Felucca (1 nt), Overnight sleeper train (1 nt), Grand Pyramids Hotel (1 nt)
The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in your selected accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.
GENERAL ROOMING CONFIGURATIONS:
Family of two - All family groupings of two will be put into a twin room.
Family of three - Wherever possible we will put you in a triple room. Please be aware that in some places triple rooms are in short supply. This means that, in practice, a triple room will often simply be a twin room with a mattress on the floor or a further bed squashed in. Where it is impossible to provide a triple room, you will have to decide which of your party takes the single room.
Family of four or more - You will most likely stay in two twin rooms. If and wherever possible we will aim put you in a quadruple room. Whilst we will do our very best to ensure that families are roomed close together (in some cases, we can arrange adjoining rooms), we can’t guarantee this. Most family holidays occur during peak season and we sometimes have little to no control over where you will be put. You need to come prepared for this.
While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. On our camping trips we often cook the region's specialities so you don't miss out. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.
8 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 5 Dinners
Budget for meals not included:
Overnight sleeper train, Horse-drawn carriage, Felucca, Minibus
SECURITY WHILE TRAVELLING:
Occasionally you may experience armed security and convoys between select towns or regions. Convoys are used to ensure all travellers are transported safely and, in many cases, tourists are only allowed to travel in scheduled convoys of buses and jeeps. On rare occasions you may have an armed guard in your vehicle. We want to warn you so you are not alarmed. This is a practice designed to keep tourists safe, although at times it can appear a little overboard.
All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader. However, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders. Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense, you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects.
At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit - and who better to hear it from than the locals themselves? If you're interested in delving deeper into the local culture then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations on your trip.
Grand Pyramids Hotel
53, Studio Misr Road - Mariottia , Giza, Egypt
Phone: +20 (2) 33881883
Fax: +20 (2) 33882022
Joining point description
The Grand Pyramids Hotel is located in the same district as the Great Pyramids, approximately 50 kilometres from the Cairo International airport. The hotel includes indoor and outdoor swimming pools, restaurants and coffee shops, a Kids Corner, shopping and hi speed internet. Nearby is the busy Pyramids Street with lots of shops, restaurants, banks, etc.
Joining point instructions
By far the easiest option from the airport is to take a taxi. Airport taxis shouldn't cost more than EGP120-150 (be prepared to bargain). The drive can take between 40 minutes and 1 hour depending on the time of day and subsequent traffic conditions.
Alternatively, Intrepid offer a pre-arranged private transfer service. Enquire with your agent on booking. If you have pre-purchased an arrival transfer you'll be met in the immigration area by a transfer officer from our local representative in Cairo. Look for the Intrepid logo and your name.
If for any reason you don't make contact with the transfer officer by the time you have cleared customs, as can occasionally occur as many flights tend to arrive at once.
Please call Ramadan Shedid on the following number:
(+20) 12 2100 5565
Give your exact location in the airport (find a landmark) and you'll be attended to promptly.
In the very unlikely event that this process fails, you can find taxis at the front of the airport to take you to your hotel. Please inform your group leader at the initial group meeting if this occurs.
If your flight is going to be early, delayed or cancelled please call ahead on the above numbers to explain the situation and advise alternative flight details.
If this is your first trip to Egypt a transfer is recommended.
Check-in time at our hotel is 2pm. Early check-in is not guaranteed, however if you arrive early, luggage storage is available. Speak to the hotel reception on arrival.
We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your group trip as scheduled, please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your group leader.
Please also make sure have a copy of the local operators Emergency phone numbers from our Emergency Contact section of these trip notes.
Finish point description
Located in the heart of Hurghada, this hotel is a great place to end your Egyptian adventure with a couple of days relaxing by the pool or snorkelling off the beach,
Finish point instructions
Our trip finishes after breakfast and for those of have pre-booked a transfer, we will return to the airport for our onward flight home. For those heading off elsewhere, the hotel will be able to arrange a taxi for you.
Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$400, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
Issues on your trip
While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.
You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
What to take
CLOTHING & CLIMATE:
Please note that as a desert region, the Middle East can have extreme weather. Temperatures are generally hot with little rain. This can become extreme during the summer months of June to August. In the months of December to March it can be very cold, particularly next to the river or the ocean and out in the desert where night temperatures can drop dramatically. Even in the hot months, it can get cold in the desert at night. Consider bringing a sleeping bag, thermals, scarf, gloves and a warm jacket for travel in this period, especially on itineraries which include camping such as on a felucca, in a desert camp, or at a Red Sea beach camp. A light water and windproof jacket is useful and a hat is essential.
What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes), we recommend keeping the weight under 10kg / 22lb.
Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.
You can find Intrepid's Ultimate Packing List on our website. It should be used as a guide only and isn't intended to be a complete packing list.
Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. We recommend at least a 1.5litre capacity. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. Please avoid the purchase of bottled water by using the chemically sterilized water stored in the purpose-built storage tank or in water jerry cans in your overland vehicle. You're free to refill your bottle as many times a day as you like.
CLOTHING, CLIMATE & EQUIPMENT:
Below is a suggestion of what you might find useful to take on this trip.
In summer (Apr-Oct), light cotton clothing is adequate for kids and adults alike, with a light sweater or sweatshirt, just in case. Remember long sleeved shirts and long trousers to guard against the sun! In winter (Nov-Mar), night-time temperatures are low – perhaps as cold as 4°C and it can be windy, making it feel even cooler. Given this you should pack accordingly - a windproof outer layer, a warm mid-layer (wool or fleece) is essential, as are long, warm, trousers. If you particularly feel the cold you may also wish to take a hat and gloves.
* Comfortable shoes or trainers
* Sandals/flip-flops for relaxing
* High-factor sunscreen & lipsalve
* Insect repellent
* Personal first aid kit
* Toilet paper for the felucca section of the trip
* Although there are not great numbers of mosquitoes, you may wish to bring a mosquito net for the felucca
* Waterproof bags for valuable items like passports, cameras etc
* A laundry service may be available in some hotels, but we recommend taking biodegradable travel detergent clothes can be washed as you wish.
Sleeping bag (Mar to Nov - 2-3 season; Dec to Feb – 4-season) Please note that in desert countries like Egypt, summer temperatures can fall to almost freezing point at night. Although you may not experience such low temperatures, it is the reason we strongly advise you to take a sleeping bag of a suitable rating. It is possible to hire a sleeping bag locally in Cairo at a cost of UK£10 (payable in cash to your Group Leader in Cairo) per person, per trip. Please advise us at the time of booking.
Please note: Although snorkeling equipment (mask, snorkel and fins) is provided, these are generally in adult sizes. We recommend that you bring these from home for children intending to snorkel. Alternatively, equipment can usually be purchased locally, though the price and quality may vary.
There are no specific health requirements for this trip. However, you should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations before departure. We recommend that you carry a First Aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained while on tour.
Intrepid is very aware of the issues raised by H1N1 (swine) flu and these have been taken into consideration for all aspects of the trip you are about to take. In reviewing this itinerary we have followed the guidelines set out by The World Health Organisation (WHO): http://www.who.int/en/
Intrepid reserve the right to make last minute changes to any itinerary in the very unlikely occurrence that an area should suddenly be deemed to be unsafe because of an outbreak of H1N1 flu.
As a rule we recommend you do not drink tap water, even in hotels, as it contains much higher levels of different minerals than the water you may have at home. For local people this is not a problem as their bodies are used to it and can cope, but for travellers from other places drinking the tap water can result in illness. Generally this is not serious, an upset stomach being the only symptom, but it's enough to spoil a day or two of your holiday. Bottled water is widely available. Water consumption should be about 3 litres a day (this should be easy for most!). Rehydration salts, motion sickness tablets, and diarrhoea blockers are available from many pharmacies.
Fire safety and balconies:
Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities may differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms. Not all balconies measure up to standard dimensions.
Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in the western world or from your home country and not all the transport which we use provides seat belts.
Petty theft and personal safety:
Although we feel that the Middle East & North Africa is a very safe region to travel in, please be aware that there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk in pairs or groups. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables will go missing.
Traffic conditions and driving on opposite sides of the road:
Traffic will no doubt be more chaotic than you are used to at home. Traffic rules are not always adhered to and the traffic can tend to move very fast. Be aware and alert! Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road.
Armed convoys and security while travelling:
Occasionally you may experience armed security and convoys between select towns or regions. Convoys are used to ensure all travellers are transported safely and, in many cases, tourists are only allowed to travel in scheduled convoys of buses and jeeps. On rare occasions you may have an armed guard in your vehicle. We want to warn you so you are not alarmed. This is a practice designed to keep tourists safe, although at time it can appear a little overkill.
Please take care when taking part in any activities in the ocean, rivers or open water where waves and currents can be unpredictable. It's expected that anyone taking part in water activities are able to swim and have experience in open water. All swimmers should seek local advice before entering the water.
Audits were carried out on balloon operators within Egypt to confirm the safety of their operations, unfortunately we were not able to ascertain the safety standards of these balloon operators- therefore, we are not able to recommend or assist in the booking of any balloon excursions.
Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
When travelling on a group trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.
If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
Please go to our website for links to various travel insurance providers:
We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller:
When packing be aware that dress standards can be conservative in some parts of Africa. To respect this and for your own comfort, we strongly recommend modest clothing. This means covering shoulders and no short shorts in culturally sensitive areas: Mosques, small villages, etc. We recommend a mixture of loose, lightweight clothing and warm clothing for the evenings. Topless sun bathing is unacceptable through out the whole of Africa.
A couple of rules
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
The Intrepid Foundation
Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.
The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$5,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your group leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:
Responsible Travel projects
Organisations and projects currently supported by The Intrepid Foundation in Egypt include:
* Animal Care in Egypt is a true friend to Egypt's mistreated animals. They provide free professional veterinary care, food and medication for some 4,000 injured, sick and mistreated animals each month. In addition to rehabilitating the mistreated, ACE also provides local people with education in appropriate animal care.
Donations of second-hand tack/dog collars and flea treatment are always welcomed.