I have to begin my feedback with comments on Haytham (Sam) Youssry. He is an exceptional guide, and made everyone in the group feel welcome and went out of his way to ensure that we had a memorable experience. He clearly enjoys his role as guide, and loves the sites and history he shared with us. I could not have asked for a better guide for this experience, and I highly recommend visiting Egypt. The sites in Egypt exceeded expectations. At each site, we were given information about the history and significance of the area, and had a sufficient amount of time to explore on our own to take photos and to just absorb our surroundings. I never felt rushed, but was also never bored. Sam's expert guidance was much appreciated and made for a memorable experience. During our visit, Sam also shared information on modern Egypt and current events, and always made sure we felt safe and comfortable in our surroundings. We were given the opportunity to try local foods, and made amble stops each day to get water and snacks. The hotels were adequate and safe.
The transportation was also adequate. Not fancy, but the AC worked and the drivers were experts at dealing with Egyptian traffic. The train was as described. Definitely not an opportunity for a good nights sleep, but it got us to and from our destination. I did the tour of the Old City on the first day, and really enjoyed that experience. My guide, Walid (not sure of spelling), was very knowledgeable and kept a good pace to the tour. I was concerned about going to this area, because of recent news stories, but I felt totally safe and I am glad I went. The churches, mosque and citadel were impressive. I did the Pyramids at night. It was commercial and touristy, but fun. A good introduction to the tour. I rode a camel at the Pyramids, and it was a lot of fun. I had not planned to do the hot air balloon, as I've done balloon rides before, but I am glad I booked it. It was a unique and beautiful view of the Valley of the Kings area, and a smooth ride on a beautiful morning. Luxor Temple at night, and the dinner that followed, were both very enjoyable. Sam accompanied us and did a great job walking us through the site. The one thing I should have skipped was the optional trip to Alexandria. It was not worth the time or the money. We were gone more than 13 hours and saw very little. We had a different guide for that day, and he did not engage with the group much at all. Only at the catacombs did he really share any information, and rushed us through the site and did not really talk about the items that were outside. The visit to the library was OK, but nothing exciting. Mostly they told us how to use the online library. We did not see the Palace that was listed in the itinerary. Not sure why. The stop at the lighthouse was also not impressive. The lunch that was included was the only food in Egypt that I did not enjoy. When we asked what it was that was served, no one could tell us. It was a fish, 2 shrimp, a pile of shells, and some rice, with 5 plates of mystery sauces. I would not recommend this optional excursion. I give a very high rating to the Pharaohs Adventure tour, and would recommend it as a great introduction to Egypt. I've travelled to the ends of the earth, and quite extensively through the middle, and Haytham was an exceptional guide and far exceeded expectations for his level of hospitality, knowledge, and passion for his homeland.
What an amazing tour! Just wanted to take a second to thank On The Go for such an amazing trip. I really did not know what to expect from Egypt other than the pyramids, but have been awakened to so much more. Sincerely thank you for this opportunity !
I also wanted to give some feedback for our tour guide Hytham Youssry. I can say in all honesty that Hyatham is the best tour guide that I have had on a trip yet and I have quite a few tours under my belt with some really great tour leaders. To say that Hytham was attentive would be a gross understatement and to say that Hytham was predictive and responsive when needed would be an understatement, to say that he was knowledgeable, well liked, informative, and sociable would be an understatement. This guy is the real deal!
Hytham from the very start did something that all tour leaders should do but rarely do, which is to provide information on what we should be paying for stuff and how to go about with our negotiations or deal with aggressive vendors. This information is extremely valuable and demonstrates an understanding of what skills and knowledge people will require on their trip. If anyone on this trip needed something then Hytham had a guy that could get it. His recommendations on which optional excursions to do, what to see, and where to eat were always right on and everyone in that group after 2 days had complete trust in him.
THIS is how good he is: One of the girls realized that she had lost her phone at a site that we had left in Aswan and were half way back to our hotel. Hytham jumped on the phone and started calling every tour guide he knew to see if there was anyone that was still there that could take a look. After about 20 minutes of calling friends and friends of friends he found someone that was there and miraculously found the phone half buried in the sand. The girl had already accepted that her phone was gone and she would never get it back, once it was heard that he had found it the whole bus erupted in a cheer and a legend was born! Somehow Hytham had coordinated it and had it brought back to Aswan and minutes before we sailed on the Felucca Hytham and I rode the support boat upriver to meet his friend and collect the phone. The guest got her phone back and Hytham was a hero from then on. I cannot give this guy enough credit and everyone in that group feels the same way!
Please be sure to let Hytham know that he has done an amazing job, I have no doubt in my mind that he gets this praise all the time but let him know from me that he really enhanced this trip beyond my expectations.