|Subject: Re: Egypt|
My husband and I went to Egypt in 2000. Arrangements for us were made by a local agent so we really out lined our own tour. The usual in Cairo plus a day at the Canal and the Sinai, and a day at Alexandra, both of those after our cruise. Did the Nile cruise on an alleged 4* boat (more like a 3* but certainly ok) with a bunch of French and Spanish tourist. There were six English speakers and one was a Thai whose English was marginal. But we had our own guide! Then several days at Aswan with a flight to Al Simbol before we returned to Cairo. Hotels were more 2* than 3* but ok. In aswan, we were the only Westerners except a European backpacking couple who wanted out ASAP to return to Cairo. Had felleca cruises, went over to the new dam - they really did well by us.
In Cairo, we were at the King Hotel in Dokki, next to small neighborhood markets as well as several Embassies. Hotel in Aswan was the Ramses - which is on the cusp; the Cleopatra was nearby, a genuine 3* place with a good cafe. We made arrangements through Salah Modammed Hafiez, who had been recommended in several guide books. Website was: http://www.deploytec.com/salah Email: One problem we had with him: he was not always prompt in responding to Emails. However, he was at the hotel shortly after our arrival to firm up the itinerery and excepting one screwup at the Valley of the Kings, his people were on top of it.
The entire two weeks cost us $5000 for accommodations, meals, tours and guides.
There are several British tour companies that operate on a budget basis: http://www.Exploreworldwide.com and http://www.imaginative-traveller.com Info on both can be obtained through http://www.Adventurecenter.com
I think Exodus and Peregrine also do Egypt - they are also affiliated with The Adventure Center. I've used Explore and The Imaginative Traveler and have been well satisfied with both. Will be using Peregrine this Xmas on a Vietname trip - they are an Aussie group.
And you can certainly do Egypt on the fly, make it up as you go. Use Rough Guide or Lonely Planet and put it together yourselves. That was our original plan, but when we ran into Salah, it was just too easy.
If you would like more info, contact me and I'll send my write-up from the trip.
Cheers! jo, in Sunnyvale!