- For me, it was how looked after I felt throughout the whole process. I was nervous about arriving in a strange country at 4am and having to navigate visa, transfer and booking into a hotel, but we were met and taken care right from the start - really important with tired kids. This care was continued throughout the whole holiday. Tour highlights were Kom Ombo temple, getting a boat through the nature reserve at Aswan, snorkelling in the Red Sea and the optional trip to the lesser-visited pyramids at Saqqara and Dahshur. And St Simeon's monastery by camel. And the lunch-stops with beautiful, simple food. And the awesome knowledge and passion of our guide. And the overnight train ride. Just loads really!Mohamed was simply one of the loveliest people I've ever met. He was a joy to spend time with. I was particularly impressed with how he managed to impart such a large amount of information about Ancient Egypt with such a passion - with his theories, interpretations and versions of events, he really brought it alive. Mohamed did an excellent job of keeping things running smoothly - he made it look easy. However, the amount of time he spent on the phone sorting and organising showed how much work it was taking to give us a hitch-free holiday. By the end of the trip, he was obviously exhausted but was still always cheerfully on the go, organising games for the children or enthusiastically leading them in a beach volleyball match, when a less dedicated tour leader would have been getting some much-needed down-time. I also particularly liked the amount of information he gave us about modern Egyptian life, especially while we were touring Cairo. Arranging visits to local supermarkets was helpful, as we were on a tight budget and this really helped. He always went the extra mile for us, for instance in one hotel where we were all paying for the buffet, he felt that the hotel hadn't put on enough choice of food for what we were paying, so he had a stern word with them in Arabic and extra dishes quickly materialised. Nobody had complained - he just thought it wasn't good enough and took action to make sure things met his standard. Whilst encouraging us to buy souvenirs from reputable traders, he dealt with persistent hasslers assertively, which helped us to enjoy the excursions without too much hassle. I always felt looked after, entertained, informed and fully aware of what was happening when. In short, he was just excellent.
Published on: 08 March 2016