Family Egypt - Nile River Adventure Trip Notes

Family Egypt - Nile River Adventure

Last Modified: 10 Oct 2013
Family Egypt - Nile River Adventure
Trip code: FRA
Validity: 01 Oct 2012 to 31 Dec 2014
Egypt – the magnificent land of Pharaohs and lost civilisations. Holiday here with the family and watch its myths and legends come to life. Having travelled by sleeper train from Cairo down to Aswan, set sail on a classic three-night Nile cruise. Watch modern day life drift past and alight en route to visit the awe-inspiring temples of Edfu and Kom Ombo. Take time to explore the equally extravagant Valley of the Kings and Karnak Temple before returning to Cairo. Let Egypt’s charms take over on this truly memorable break.
This trip is operated by our trusted local partners, The Adventure Company.
Table of Contents
StyleDeparture taxEmergency contact
ThemesImportant notesEmergency funds
MapYour fellow travellersIssues on your trip
ItinerarySingle travellersWhat to take
Also available to purchaseAccommodationHealth
Itinerary disclaimerMealsSafety
Culture shock rating TransportTravel insurance
Physical ratingGroup leaderResponsible Travel
Included activitiesJoining point descriptionA couple of rules
Optional activitiesJoining point instructionsThe Intrepid Foundation
Money ExchangeArrival complicationsResponsible Travel projects
Spending moneyFinish point descriptionFeedback
TippingFinish point instructions
Awesome ancient wonders, endless golden sands and atmospheric local souqs make Egypt the ultimate travel destination. From the enigmatic aura of the Sphinx to the imposing glory of the Pyramids, step into the Land of the Pharaohs and discover the exotic charms of evocative Egypt.
  • Comfort is your style of travel if you want the whole grassroots experience with more inclusions, meals and creature comforts. While accommodation is predominantly tourist class (3-4 star), on some itineraries there is the opportunity to stay with a local family, spend the night on a train or camp out in exotic places (without putting up your own tent of course). Along the way, you'll really experience the destination up close. You'll mingle with locals, enjoy a taste of their way of life and gain special insights from your leader. This is not luxury travel, but real world experiences - just with a softer landing!
Family, Sailing
Family Egypt - Nile River Adventure
Day 1 Cairo
Salaam Aleikum! Welcome to Egypt.
The tour starts at the Cairo hotel.
You will receive full details of exactly where to meet your Group Leader on the Joining Instructions which will be sent to you 2-3 weeks before your trip starts. This family friendly hotel is close to the pyramids, so while it is a fair way from the airport, there is less distance to cover for the sightseeing the next day. The rooms are comfortable and spacious with air conditioning. The swimming pool is one of the largest in Cairo and if you fancy a stroll, why not go for a wander in the hotel's beautiful garden.
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.
Optional Activities
  • Pyramids sound & light (min 2 Pax) - EGP185
Day 2 Cairo/Overnight Train
With a population of around 18 million people, Cairo is Africa's largest city by far, yet, despite its size, it retains a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. At Giza, to the west of the city, the enigmatic Sphinx and great pyramids stand on the edge of the empty desert overlooking the city. More than 4000 years old, the pyramids are all that remain of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World - a testimony to the ingenuity and skill of their builders.
There are many thousands of exhibits in the famed Egyptian Museum, and your local guide will focus on the Tutankhamun collection - probably the world's greatest archaeological find.
You'll see the treasure found in the tomb of the boy-king: the jewel-encrusted golden mask, the golden sarcophagus and throne, plus many everyday articles, which were entombed with him to be used in the afterlife. Such a visit will bring together all the things the kids have been learning about at school and give you a taste for what's to come at the Valley of the Kings, the burial place of Tutankhamun. In the evening you board the overnight train to Aswan.
Travel to Aswan aboard a sleeper train with fold-out beds (approx 13 hrs). The two-berth cabins are comfortable and air-conditioned. All bedding is provided onboard by the porter. Western-style toilets are located in each carriage, but as toilet paper isn't always available it's advised to carry some of your own. Keep in mind general train cleanliness may not be to the same standards you are accustomed to. An included dinner and breakfast are served on board. You may want to purchase something extra beforehand to supplement your meal, particularly if you're a vegetarian as only a single type of meal is served for dinner, which always includes meat. In rare circumstances you may be paired in your cabin with a group member of the opposite sex, depending on the group configuration. On other occasions you might have the opportunity to share with another traveller of the same sex who may not be part of our group, again determined by the group configuration.
Included Activities
  • Egyptian Museum
  • Pyramids and Sphinx
Overnight sleeper train (1 nt)
Day 3 Aswan/Nile
Upon arrival in Aswan you board your riverboat, which serves as your accommodation for the next three nights.
Even in ancient times, Aswan was legendary as a frontier town - the entrance to the kingdom of Nubia.
As the place where Africa meets Arabia, its mixed population of Egyptians and Nubians makes it quite unlike any other town in Egypt. Hardly a drop of rain ever falls and the winter temperatures hover around a balmy 25°C. Nile Riverboats usually leave Aswan during the afternoon or evening, giving you time to explore Aswan and its surroundings. However sailing times are dictated by local authorities/river conditions and your Group Leader will confirm your sailing time on arrival in Aswan. They will also help you get the most out of your time here. No visit to Aswan would be complete without a visit to the packed bazaar where merchants display a wealth of exotic spices, carpets, leather and countless other goods. Alternatively, you can just relax and enjoy views of feluccas plying to and from the Nile.
Optional Activities
  • Abu Simbel by Air - USD290
  • Philae Temple, unfinished obelisk & High Dam - EGP250
Meals Included
1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Cruise ship (1 nt)
Days 4-5 Nile Riverboat
The Nile has a fascination of its own and is one of the principal reasons many people come to Egypt. In ancient legend it was considered the giver of life and, even in modern times, it still provides a livelihood for millions of people. The banks of the Nile slowly glide past - providing the perfect backdrop for whatever you choose to do on board the boat. Close to the river's edge you can glean an insight into ancient times - the agriculturist fellahin live and till the land along the riverbank, much as they have done for centuries.
As you sail north you pause to visit the great temples at Kom Ombo and Edfu.
Kom Ombo is a unique temple dedicated to two gods: Haroeris (Horus the elder) and the crocodile-headed Sobek, (god of the Nile). Kids and adults will cringe at the mummified crocs on display! On the east bank around Kom Ombo, reclaimed and 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. The following day you'll alight from the riverboat again to visit Edfu by calesh, which after Karnak, is the largest temple in Egypt.
NB: if the sailing schedule dictates, Edfu temple sightseeing may be done later on day four. As you sail closer to Luxor the river valley becomes increasingly open, and a landscape of cultivated fields stretches away from the river - a ribbon of green in the middle of a vast desert. This was once the floodplain where the combination of annual deposits of rich silt and ceaseless toil created a fertile market garden, which still supports Egypt's burgeoning population. Nowadays, of course, the variations in flow that created the occasional disaster are managed by the dams, which span the river. (Bx2, Lx2, Dx2)
NB: As with any boat trip, progress is wholly dependant on local operational conditions and the sailing schedules of the boat operators who have to time their journeys according to various factors, such as sailing times through the locks of the Nile. There are also certain times of the year - for example, in June and the first half of December when the Nile is cleaned and cruises must stop at Esna.
NB: Please note that this cruise may run in reverse starting at Luxor and ending at Aswan. The sites of Edfu and Kom Ombo will still be visited. If the cruise is reversed a revised itinerary will be sent to you detailing the day to day schedule.
Included Activities
  • Kom Ombo Temple
  • Edfu Temple
Meals Included
2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Cruise ship (2 nts)
Day 6 Luxor
It's an early start today as, having arrived in Luxor, you cross the Nile to visit the Valley of the Kings by charter bus. On reaching the Valley, hidden by the surrounding mountains, 63 Pharaohs were buried as part of their journey to the after-life. In the company of your guide, you can explore some of the exquisitely decorated tombs of these rulers of long ago. (You get to choose 3 out of 9 tombs). It is here that the burial site of the boy-king Tutankhamun, discovered by British archaeologist Howard Carter in 1922, can be found. (For his tomb displaying his mummie, there is an additional charge of EGP100 or approx £10). This visit to the Valley of the Kings brings to life much of what you saw in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. On your way back to the river, you can see the imposing funerary temple of Queen Hatshepsut, Egypt's first female ruler, after riding a donkey through the farmers field, a rather funny and memorable experience (please to stand behind them). You'll return to Luxor in time for lunch and to settle into your overnight hotel.
Known in ancient times as Thebes, Luxor was the capital of Egypt's New Kingdom for some 500 years.
This afternoon a unique experience for children (and adults!) as you take horse-drawn carriages, called caleshes locally, to the grandest of Egypt's historic temples, Karnak, which you explore with a local guide. Many architects and engineers contributed to its construction - a task that spanned the reign of successive pharaohs over a period of 1400 years.
The highlights of its many wonders are the great hypostyle hall, which contains 134 huge columns, and the beautifully carved obelisk of Queen Hatshepsut. The sheer scale and massive bulk of these monuments testify to the wealth and level of organisation of early Egyptian civilisation.
Included Activities
  • Hatshepsut Temple
  • Valley of the Kings (3 tombs)
  • Karnak Temple
Optional Activities
  • Karnak Sound & Lights (min 2 pax) - EGP180
  • Tomb of Tutankhamun - EGP100
Nile Valley Hotel (1 nt)
Days 7-8 Cairo
This morning you fly back to Cairo where there's time to explore Cairo's remarkable attractions.
On your last evening the Group Leader will no doubt organise a traditional 'last supper' where you can look back on the wonders you have seen. Your trip will end the next morning after breakfast.
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)
  • FRA - Nile River Adventure - Single supplement (FRA)
    Itinerary disclaimer
    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.
    Culture shock rating

    Expect some culture shock. You'll be exposed to signs of poverty and access to services may be sporadic. The food will be quite different to home and English speakers harder to find. Respecting the local culture will make it easier to fit in and really experience the location.
    Physical rating

    Some easy physical activities included in your trip. No physical preparation is required to make the most of the journey.
    Included activities
    With thousands of exhibits, it's easy to lose yourself in the Egyptian Museum's many corridors - but don't miss the Tutankhamun rooms, where the famous golden death mask of King Tut and his gilded sarcophagi are displayed.
    Explore the Pyramids up close: the Pyramid of Khufu (The Great Pyramid of Cheops), the Pyramid of Khafre (Chephren) and the Pyramid of Menkaure (Mycerinus). From a distance Khafre's pyramid looks larger than Khufu's, but this illusion is due to the structure being built on higher ground. When they were built they were covered in gleaming white limestone - now most of the casing stones have been removed but you can still see some on the apex of Khafre's pyramid.
    Continue on to the spectacular royal burial site of the Valley of the Kings to visit three of the most interesting tombs. Here your group leader will explain the history and legends of these remarkable people.
    Explore the magnificent Karnak Temple, perhaps the most impressive of all the ancient Pharoahs' monumental works.
    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.
    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.
    Optional activities
    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.
    Money Exchange
    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.
    Spending money
    The Middle East is often misjudged as being an inexpensive destination. With tourism booming and the influx of cheap flights from Europe, prices for some items are becoming more equivalent to prices you would be used to at home. Eating in local restaurants, roadside stalls and from markets can be inexpensive, but for nights out at tourist-friendly restaurants you can expect to pay much more. Budgets are a personal choice but please bear in mind that you shouldn't expect the Middle East to always be a budget destination.
    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.
    Departure tax
    All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.
    Important notes
    In 2013, the important month of Ramadan will be in progress from 9 July through until 7 August, 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.
    Age restrictions apply to this trip - minimum age 5.
    This trip is operated by our experienced local partner, The Adventure Company.
    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:
    Single travellers
    Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. On our Family Adventures, single relatives or friends are welcome to travel along with a family. These single travellers share with people of the same gender for the duration of the trip and in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Please note that 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 Comfort and Original style trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own room (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.
    Cruise ship (3 nts), Overnight sleeper train (1 nt), Nile Valley 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.
    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.
    7 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 4 Dinners
    Budget for meals not included:
    Overnight sleeper train, Horse-drawn carriage, Plane, River boat
    Group leader
    All Intrepid Family trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to assist your family take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for fun things to do and see- for both kids and parents, recommend great local eating venues that will even get the kids trying new things, 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.
    Our leaders are not babysitters on this trip - we leave that to you (the experts), but they will make sure that group members of all ages are able to explore their destination safely and with as much fun as possible. Our group leaders are not responsible for looking after children at any time and children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at all times throughout this itinerary.
    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.
    Arrival complications
    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.
    If you have pre-booked an airport transfer (where available) and have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the starting point hotel, following the Joining Instructions in these Trip Notes. Should this occur, please apply to your travel agent for a refund of the transfer cost on your return.
    No refund is available on missed transfers or portions of your trip owing to a different flight arrival or delayed flight arrival. Any additional cost incurred in order to meet up with your group is at your own expense.
    Finish 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.
    Finish point instructions
    Checkout time is 12 midday. Taxis can easily be hired from the street in front of the hotel. Bargain for the fare and aim to pay approx EGP120-150. Only the new White taxis have working meters. The drive can take between 45 minutes and 1 hour depending on the time of day and subsequent traffic conditions.
    We can offer a pre-arranged private transfer service. Inform your agent at the time of booking if you are interested.
    Emergency contact
    In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency only, The Adventure Company can be reached on Tel: +44 1420 593000. For further contact details please use the following page:
    Emergency funds
    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.
    Most nationalities require a visa to enter Egypt as a tourist. Visas are easily attainable on arrival at Cairo airport for most nationalities for US$15 paid in cash, but please check with your travel agent or embassy before departure. On arrival at Cairo airport you buy your visa at any of the banks before proceeding to immigration. You'll be given a stamp that you then need to put into your passport yourself. A single entry visa is valid for three months from date of issue and entitles the bearer to one month in Egypt. Multiple entry visas are not available at the airport or any border crossings.
    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
    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.
    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):
    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.
    Drinking water:
    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.
    Seat belts:
    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.
    Water safety:
    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
    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:
    Responsible Travel
    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.
    After your travels, we want to hear from you! This is so important to us that we'll give you 5% off the price of your next trip if your feedback is completed online within 4 weeks of finishing your trip.