The situation in Egypt has calmed down and was blown was out of focus by US media, of course, there is still talk of the demonstrations and overthrow of Mubarak but at no time did we feel that we were in danger or unwelcomed. In Luxor, the situation was called demonstrations, and in Cairo it was called a revolution. The only evidence we saw that anything happened was in Luxor, the police checkpoints did not happen every 1/2 km, like they used to. In Cairo, the only evidence was the burned out government building beside the Egyptian museum.
We spent a magical 7 days on board the MV EMPORER SUPERIOR, our Guides Sonia & Samar were gracious, welcoming, warm and knowledgeable. Great dive sites, incredible mix of Local foods with great staff all bundled with a friendly dose of humor and hospitality made for a trip that will not soon be forgotten.
The waters were warm and filled with fish and pelagic visitors, dive after dive we were greeted by Manta’s, Hammerheads, Thresher sharks, Reef Sharks, Large Turtles, schools of Jacks, Tuna’s and more Dolphins than we could count. Some of us even got up close and very very personal with some sharks and dolphins. If you have the chance to visit the Red Sea, don’t miss out on going ashore to the daedalus and big brother island Light houses and climb to the top for some absolutely breathtaking scenery, and a great glass of egyptian tea, make sure you pick up a couple of t-shirts as they are only sold at the light houses..
The overland transfer from Hurgada to Luxor is a really nice way to see some of the Red Sea mountains and slowly get your land legs back, but be warned...... AUGUST IN EGYPT IS HOT, HOT LIKE LICKING THE SURFACE OF THE SUN HOT !
We felt very safe, and were very well taken care of by our guides and drivers. Ahmed, our Luxor guide, was extremely informative, and was honest about what was fact, what was a theory, and when he was not sure of an answer, he gave us his theory – and was very careful to explain to us that it was only a theory. We had very limited time in Luxor, so Ahmed made sure that we got as much information as possible, and saw the best of every site so that we could leave Luxor knowing that we did see as much as we could possibly see. He also ensured that we got value for our money, when we went souvenir shopping. He did not let us get “taken” by the sellers outside of the sites that we went to. He brought us to a very reputable area, where the souvenirs were authentic and true to the Egyptian history.
Our guide Joseph in Cairo, provided us with a great overview of the history of the area. He also ensured that we saw the most important areas and artifacts, and as much as possible during our limited time. In the Khan El Khalili bazaar, he let us wander the streets and pointed out the historical shops and brought us to reputable shop owners, who did not try to “take us for all we had”. As well, he provided us with a great deal of information about the area, and then brought us to a restaurant that not only had history, but great food for a great price. No stop at a bazzar is complete without a visit to a spice merchant and there are some really cool shops that carry every spice on the planet. While at the giza pyramids and the sphynx, Joseph made sure that we got to see as much as possible, and also brought us to one of the free queen pyramids to enter. At the museum, Joseph knew that we were extremely limited on time there, so he made sure that we saw the important, and most interesting artifacts there. These were not always the same ones as other tour guides were showing, and both of us were appreciative that Joseph had learned enough about our interests that he took us to areas in the museum that would be of interest to us rather than to the other groups. Both Ahmed and Joseph were amazing, and we would not hesitate to recommend them in the future. They both know their history, they are both honest when it comes to their theories vs. facts, and they both made sure that we had the best time possible in our short time in Egypt.
Feel safe and secure in Egypt, relax and take in real life history, while diving the warm and abundant waters of the Red Sea.
Ted & Heather