Traveling to Egypt is on most people’s Bucket List. Who wouldn’t want to cruise the Nile River? See the famous landmarks in Cairo and Luxor? Or view the treasures of Tutankhamen in his own land? Unfortunately, turmoil in this country has made travel to this area a risky proposition. Your friends and family are concerned, asking you “Is it safe to travel to Egypt? to the Middle East?” So, how to fulfill your travel dreams and still feel safe in Egypt? Our experience is that you feel more secure in your travel if you go with a reliable tour group, like Abercrombie and Kent. This luxury small group tour allowed us to feel confident and safe as we explored Cairo, the great pyramid of Giza, and sailed down the Nile.
Though we took advantage of a sale, our trip was not sponsored. This post includes affiliate links. We may earn revenue if you buy something or take an action after clicking on one of these links. This is how we are able to run this website. DISCLOSURE.
We traveled to Egypt with Abercrombie and Kent on a luxury small group journey. This trip remains one of our most memorable trips ever. Our tour included a week on the Nile as well as 4 days in Cairo. We looked at competitive luxury 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, entry into several tombs in the Valley of the Kings, and, most exceptionally, a visit to Queen Nefertari’s tomb in the Valley of the Queens.
A few weeks before the trip a package came from Abercrombie & Kent. So exciting, even if it was just luggage tags and a leather folder containing our personalized itinerary! What I really appreciated was that the travel folder included sheets of information to share with our worrying family. I copied the pages, sent them to Mom & Dad, and began packing.
Tips for Worry Free Travel – ideas for peace of mind for you and your family
An easy arrival in Cairo
We flew into Cairo from Jordan. We’d added a week to our trip so we’d have a chance to see Petra and Wadi Rum! The time in Jordan was great but a bit stressful as we navigated the country on our own. When we arrived in Cairo International Airport to find a smiling Abercrombie and Kent Egypt representative who helped with luggage retrieval and customs technicalities we immediately relaxed.
From the airport we were delivered to the Four Season First Residence in Cairo, undoubtedly one of the best places we have ever stayed on our travels. Our room was as large as my daughters NYC apartment!
We met our Egypt tour group that evening for drinks. Our guide, Hesham Abdullah, introduced himself and got the conversation started. There were 20 of us in the tour 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 Egyptian museum where we enjoyed an uncrowded viewing of the mask and treasures of Tutankhamun. We had a full day on the Giza plateau seeing the Egyptian pyramids (the pyramids of Giza are the last of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World!), the great Sphinx of Giza, and had the opportunity to explore the Solar boat museum. Dave went inside the great pyramid of Khufu, the largest pyramid, but I opted to enjoy the site from the outside.
We had a day in Memphis, another UNESCO world heritage site, (Egypt has 6 sites currently inscribed on the list.) and had an opportunity to see the step pyramid of Djoser. Our Abercrombie and Kent tour leader Hesham was outstanding, with a deep knowledge of archaeology and the history of the ancient Egyptians. 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.
Abercrombie and Kent Egypt security arrangements
During the time in Cairo, we became aware that our group was well-guarded. Heavily armed men accompanied us at a distance at all the landmarks. Though initially startled, we were comforted knowing that our security was a priority to Abercrombie & Kent. 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 the Abu Simbel temples and the Aswan high dam before arriving at our Nile cruise boat, the Sun Boat III.
Cruising the Nile on a luxury tour of Egypt
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.
The days on the river were a nice break from constant touring. We left the boat every day to visit a great temple but returned to comfortable surroundings in the evening. One day we toured Karnak temple in the afternoon and Luxor temple in the evening. A magical day! Each day’s explorations exceeded our expectations. We were thrilled to see the temple of Kom Ombo, and tour the tombs in the Valley of the Kings and Queens.
On our final day on the Nile we stopped in Qena. It was election day and there was unrest in the town. Our tour was delayed until a military escort could lead us to the historic sites. We were hesitant to leave the ship but appreciated the effort being made by the Egyptian government to keep us safe. Eventually we were off to visit Dendera Temple, the most beautiful and intricate of the great temples we explored. We were so glad we’d made the trip!
Return to Cairo, and more historic landmarks of Egypt
Back in Cairo for a few days to tour the Islamic and Coptic Christian parts of the city. Again Hesham added to our experience with his knowledge and insight. We spent an afternoon shopping at Khan el-Khalili, a dazzling bazaar and one of the most popular tourist attractions in Cairo.
For these days in the city we stayed at the equally sumptuous Four Seasons Nile. Too soon it was time to say our goodbyes and head home. We wished we’d had time to see the Sinai peninsula where some of the oldest monasteries can be found. But that will have to wait for another trip…
This was our first trip with Abercrombie & Kent. We had high expectations and the company exceeded them. The accommodations in Cairo and on the Nile were excellent, our tour leader was knowledgeable, kind, and easy to be with. Traveling with a fun Egypt tour group added to our enjoyment! We highly recommend Abercrombie & Kent for your Egyptian travel.
Is a luxury small group tour worth the money?
This is a decision every traveler has to make. In most situations Dave and I prefer to travel on our own, and usually opt for less expensive trips. But seeing Egypt landmarks with a great guide AND feeling safe during a turbulent time made the expense of this luxury small group tour well worth it.
We were fortunate in having a great group of travelers on this trip. Before you book a small group tour, consider how you’ll feel if you are not as fortunate. Are you able to be patient if the guide is monopolized by a difficult member of your group?
And of course, consider the price. Abercrombie and Kent is one of the more expensive tour operators. We took advantage of a sale to book this tour. If the price of an A&K tour is out of reach, there are many other less expensive tour operators that might offer service just as good. Read reviews on TripAdvisor to see how people enjoyed their small group tours with these companies.
Next year we will take another luxury small group tour in South America. Though we’re hesitant to spend a lot on a tour, some trips are worth it. It’s been a difficult year and having all arrangements booked for us will be a help. AND we’ll have a dedicated naturalist on the tour!
Interested in Traveling to Egypt? Read more!
Recommended reading before traveling to Egypt
|MYSTERY – easy read||He Shall Thunder in the Sky by Elizabeth Peters An easy introduction to Egypt starring the ever-popularAmelia Peabody in a pre-WW2 mystery. |
Kindle copy available
|FICTION – literature||Palace Walk by Naguib Mahfouz Family saga set in Cairo during the British occupation. [Mahfouz was the winner of the 1988 Nobel Prize for Literature.]|
Down the Nile: Alone in a Fisherman’s Skiff by Rosemary Mahoney
|FICTION – easy read||
The Heretic Queen by Michelle Moran