The pyramids of Giza are the last remaining Wonder of the World. Traveling to this ancient land is on most people’s Bucket List. Who wouldn’t want to cruise the Nile? To walk among the ruins of Luxor? Or to view the treasures of Tutankhamen in his own land? Unfortunately, turmoil in this country has made travel to this area a frightening proposition. You can feel more secure in your travel if you go with a reliable tour group. And you will feel especially at ease if you travel with a company as well run as Abercrombie & Kent.
We had the opportunity to travel with Abercrombie & Kent on a Small Group Tour. This trip will remain one of our most memorable ever. Our tour included a week on the Nile as well as 4 days in Cairo. We looked at competitive travel companies, but decided on this tour based on several of the opportunities only A&K offered – a morning in the Egyptian Museum before it opened to the public, and, most exceptional, a visit to Queen Nefertari’s tomb in the Valley of the Queens.
A few weeks before the trip we received a package with luggage tags and a leather travel folder containing a personalized itinerary. The folder included information that we could share with family who would inevitably worry about us. We copied that page, sent it to Mom & Dad, and began packing.
We flew into Cairo from Jordan where we’d spent five days exploring that country. A smiling A&K representative met us at the airport and helped us navigate the luggage retrieval and other customs technicalities before delivering us to our hotel – the Four Season First Residence.
The Four Seasons was lovely. Our room was as large as my daughters NYC apartment!
We met our group that evening for drinks. Our guide, Hesham Abdullah, introduced himself and got the conversation started. There were 20 of us in the group, most from the US, and most retired or almost retired people. It was immediately apparent that we’d enjoy the group.
In the days that followed we had our early morning visit to the museum, a day in Giza at the pyramids, and a day in Memphis. Hesham was outstanding, with a deep knowledge of history and archaeology. But what mostly impressed us (besides his good humor!) was how open he was to discussing the unrest in Egypt. He didn’t shy away from discussing politics or his personal hopes for the future of Egypt.
During the time in Cairo, we became aware that our group was well-guarded. When we saw heavily armed men accompanying us, we were at once startled and comforted. It was great to see that our security was a priority to A&K. There was never a time that these men had to step up to protect us, but it was good to know that they were there.
And then we were off to the Nile! We flew a commercial plane to Aswan. Then on to Abu Simbel and the Aswan high dam before arriving at our boat, the Sun Boat III.
The boat was beautifully appointed. Our stateroom, though small, had a canopied bed and well designed storage areas. The service on the Sun Boat III was first class and the food excellent. The top deck featured cabanas surrounding a plunge pool. Perfect for whiling away the day as we cruised the Nile.
Each morning Hesham would give us an introduction to the sights we’d be seeing that day. And each day this would include a description of Hesham’s “favorite temple!” We teased him about how every temple was his favorite but couldn’t escape his enthusiasm.
There is no question but that a guide can make or break a trip. We were very lucky to have Hesham. One of our fellow travelers, a woman traveling alone, was a bit out of sorts in the beginning of the journey. Hesham made an effort to sit with her at meals and draw her into the conversation. By the end of the trip she was greatly enjoying herself.
Back in Cairo for a few days to tour the Islamic and Coptic Christian parts of the city. This time we stayed at the equally sumptuous Four Seasons Nile. Soon it was time to say our goodbyes and head home.
This was our first trip with A&K. We had high expectations and the company exceeded them. The accommodations in Cairo and on the Nile were excellent, our guide was knowledgeable, kind, and easy to be with. We highly recommend Abercrombie & Kent for your Egyptian travel.