“13 NIGHTS touring EGYPT with Mara”.  Visit Cairo, Luxor and Aswan.  Experience Egypt from Pharaonic times right through the Medieval and Islamic periods.   Travel in luxury on a 7 night Nile Cruise from Luxor – Aswan – Luxor.

The cost of these trips do not reflect the value of the experience you will have touring Egypt with me.  If Egypt is your dream trip or on your “bucket list” I advise early booking as the number of places on each trip is limited to 15 – 16.


Group trip FEB 10 – 23 SAVE $200 per person.  Pay your deposit by Nov 2018 Please contact me and ask for full details

All the trips and packages I offer are based on my own personal experience – not because I believe I know what is best for everyone else, but because I do believe everyone deserves a quality and hassle free holiday.  So, while I don’t personally know you, I do presume you would like a trip where

  • you know the full cost of what you are buying
  • that has no hidden extras
  • gives you a real feel for the country and customs
  • helps you avoid the tourist traps.
  • is hassle free
  • eliminates the need for decision making on subjects you have little or no knowledge what your choices may entail.

and those priorities are what my initial planning is based on.  After that I choose the best sites but leave other options open to your personal preferences, provide great guides I can trust and leave you some relaxation time on top of that.


  • Cairo – sites include Giza Plateau, Gt. Pyramid, Solar Boat, Gayer Anderson House, Ibn Tulun Mosque, Antiquities Museum at Tahrir Sq., Tutankhamun’s Treasures, Mummy Room at Museum, Medieval Cairo, Khan El Khalili, Islamic and Coptic Cairo etc.
  • Luxor  – sites include West Bank, Valley of the Kings, Hatshepsut Temple, Nobles Tombs, Workers Village and Tombs, Colossi of Memnon, Abydos Temple, Dendera Temple, Luxor and Karnak Temples.
  • 7 nights Nile Cruise – sites include Edfu, Kom Ombo, Philae, Nubian Village etc
  • The above is a brief summary of places included in trip package – please contact me for full itinerary, details and pricing

2018 Dates:

  • 2018 Sept 5 – 16
  • 2018 Oct 3 – 14
  • 2018 Nov 7 – 18 I have 2 places available due to a cancellation.

2019 Dates: Due to early requests I am now taking deposits for the following.

  • 2019 Feb 10 – 23 (6 places available)
  • 2019 April 7 – 20 (FULL)
  • 2019 May 19 – June 1 (8 places available)
  • 2019 Nov 10 – 23 (8 places available)
For full details and to check availability  – PLEASE CONTACT MARA


Owner at Mara House Hotel Luxor
Hi - I'm Mara (Marie Vaughan) from Ireland...my aim is to be the best at what I do - not the cheapest so please do not compare Mara House products with others based on price...compare us on quality of service.

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  1. Karen H 16/10/2018 at 12:05 am

    Amazing Egypt Tour for 11 days

    As a first time solo traveller, I must admit I was extremely nervous, but knowing I was being part of a group helped make me at ease.

    The Tour manager Ahmed was absolutely wonderful, no job was to small, his multitasking abilities are exceptional.

    The 2 Tour Guides whose names are both Mohammed were in my opinion fantastic, and the knowledge they have is unbelievable. I can honestly say I think I have input overload.

    To be in a group for the tour was also by far the best way to see and explore Egypt’s beautiful and fascinating history. It was just so breathtakingly stunning.

    Thank you very much for putting on these tours, I am truly grateful. I now have wonderful memories of a country that’s been on my bucket list my whole life.

    Reviewed on TripAdvisor – Traveled solo. October 11 night Group Tour

  2. lizdroberts, Seaside 15/10/2018 at 12:35 am

    Great value, fantastic staff.

    We recently completed a large group trip. Our group Manager Ahmed is very organized and super easy to communicate with. Both Egyptologists Mohammad A. and Mohammad H. were very knowledgeable and always willing to answer our questions and appeared to really enjoy their work. We had excellent drivers and saw so many more sites then expected and more then were promised. This trip is great for history buffs and the value you get for money spent is amazing. Egyptian culture, particularly the tipping and shopping were hard to get used to but Ahmed was very patient with us and gave us guidance whenever needed.

    Reviewed on TripAdvisor – Traveled as a couple October 11 Night Group Tour

  3. WanderingWayfarers, New York, USA 28/09/2018 at 8:28 pm

    Ten Days in Egypt
    We spent ten days in Egypt this month with Mara and her excellent staff which included Ahmed, who was on 24 hour call for anything we needed, and Amer, her delightful cook at Mara House.

    Our tour was great value for the money we paid and included all the sights promised, from Cairo to Luxor to Aswan. We saw many temples and tombs and Mara and her team did their best to keep us ahead of other tour groups by carefully coordinating our visit times. The hotel rooms were basic but good and breakfasts at the hotels and on the cruise were plentiful.

    We came away with a great understanding of Egypt’s history and culture – Ancient, Islamic, Christian and modern. The tour vibe was casual and comfortable.

    We always felt safe as Mara and her team coordinated with the security men assigned to us and always knew where we were. We learned an amazing amount in a relatively short period of time!

    Reviewed on TripAdvisor. Travelled with Mara’s Group Tour Sept 2018

  4. Jo A, Gorokan, Australia 21/09/2018 at 3:54 am

    Great value for Egypt

    We did our tour with this company. We were met at the airport at 4.30am by the smiling caring tour manager despite the fact that he’d been transferring people since midnight.

    Our hotel was amazing and Ahmed, our tour manager, arranged for us to get into our room by 7am! Not many places will do that for you. Mara, the owner of the tour company, met us all before the tour started to explain how things would be.

    We spent 4 days in Cairo and then a relaxing cruise on the Nile from Luxor to Aswen. Here we got to have dinner at Mara House which was amazing! The Egypologists, Mohammed and Mohammed, we’re both amazing. They had so much information to share and were so pleased to do so.

    Ahmed, what an amazing man! He was soooo helpful. I got a bit sick with an upset stomach and he regularly checked on me, making sure I was well hydrated and up to the next bit of the tour. He even escorted us back to the airport at a ridiculous hour of the morning! Nothing was a problem for him. Every request, he forefilled. He was waiting at our hotel about one hour before pick up every day! Apart for the history of Egypt, Ahmed is the jewel in the crown of this tour. Thank you Ahmed. Your professionalism was greatly appreciated!

    We thoroughly enjoyed the trip. The fact that the group is small is fantastic and would happily give it a 5* plus rating.
    Thanks Mara House Luxor

    Reviewed on TripAdvisor. Travelled with Mara’s Group Tour Sept 2018

  5. Lynda G Wollongong, Australia 17/09/2018 at 3:06 pm

    Touring Historic Egypt

    We toured with Mara and her amazing tour leader Ahmed and guides, both called Mohammed. The organisation of the tour was meticulous but allowed for minor variations to suit the group. Additional activities were added where possible including a felucca ride in Aswan.

    We especially enjoyed the temples in Abydos and Dendera which are seen by very few groups. We were also taken inside the pyramids and some rarely opened tombs in the valley of the kings which were amazing.

    The hotel accommodation was great, and a dinner in Mara House a highlight of the trip.

    Reviewed on TripAdvisor. Travelled with Mara’s Sept 2018 Group

  6. Sheridan 15/05/2018 at 1:05 pm

    The tour with Mara was a great way to experience Egypt!
    There’s no doubt we saw the most amazing number of extraordinary things – Mara’s view is we will only be here once so she puts in as much as possible. It was full on, with generally long days with lots in them but I really feel as though I’ve been immersed in experiencing Egyptian history and culture, put together by someone who does tours because she loves Egypt and wants others to love it too.
    The hotels have been outstanding, the cruise ship was fine (although about C grade by European cruise ship standards), the guides were great and I learnt a lot, and the organisation was generally good, except for a few times when things were derailed by the Egyptian way of doing things, and Mara stepped in and got them sorted out.
    The only thing we missed was Abu Simbel, but there were no flights at all from Aswan that day, and after all the temples we’d seen, no-one really wanted to do a seven hour round trip by minibus, getting up at 3 am, for an hour there.
    I would have preferred one less day in Cairo and an extra day in Aswan, so we could have done both the Philae/Nubian Village visits on one day and Abu Simbel either by plane or minibus on another.
    I’m really pleased I’ve seen Egypt and that I did it with Mara. It would be difficult, frustrating, uncertain, and scary to see Egypt without doing it with a good tour company. You would be driven insane, miss a lot and take ages to do it.
    I’m a solo female traveller and Mara and her team took out all the worry and the hassle and I had a great time.
    Thanks Mara!

  7. Andrew and Linda Fraser 14/05/2018 at 7:21 am

    Many thanks to Mara and her very friendly and professional team for an absolutely incredible egypt experience. The knowledge of her guides was first class and the way Mara and they explained the amazing history and stories of Egypt from the ancient pharaonic period through to the present day was very entertaining and easy to understand. The logistics of the trip from Cairo to Luxor to Aswan could not have gone more smoothly. We felt safe, secure and relaxed during the whole tour. The hotels we stayed in and the Nile cruise boat were of a very high standard.

    Mara bent over backwards to make sure that all our specific needs were catered for and the itinerary was flexible enough to ensure that we always came first. We really enjoyed the more personable approach from Mara and her team that was possible with a smaller tour group.

    Our trip to Egypt was unforgettable and exceeded all our expectations and then some. We highly recommend a Mara Egyptian tour.

    Linda and Andrew Fraser
    Melbourne Australia

  8. Bill and Karen Chernishoff 12/05/2018 at 4:29 pm

    A truly awesome experience!!
    Mara and her band of fantastic helpers made our trip to Egypt an unforgettable one!
    The history and architecture are truly beyond belief. No photo really really does the place justice. The chaos of Cairo just added to the appeal for us.
    Logistically a small tour is by far the best way to see this amazing place. The difference with Mara’s tour is that we visited no shops or places where the guides received commissions for us purchasing items.
    We found flexibility and friendliness were the norm from Ahmed, Amer and the two Mohameds.
    Karen and I thoroughly enjoyed our trip to Egypt and have no hesitation in recommending Mara’s tour!!
    Bill and Karen Chernishoff

  9. Kylee 12/05/2018 at 2:55 pm

    Couldn’t recommend Mara’s tours highly enough. From ancient temples to the streets of modern day Cairo, Mara’s team of expeirnced guides gave us an incredible expirence that fee could match. As a solo female traveler, I felt safe, included, and engaged throughout the entire trip-a quality which speaks both about Egypt as a country and the wonderful people I was allowed to meet along the way. Truly, I don’t believe there’s another, or better, way to experience Egypt!

    10/10 stars

  10. Julian Mathers 12/05/2018 at 11:00 am

    Mara and her guides provided a terrific, once in a life-time, experience of ancient Egypt and so much more insight into the country and it’s people past and present.

    Good hotels, transport (our trip included buses, horse & carriage, luxury Nike cruise, small Nile water taxis), security, and shopping. Exceeded my expectations.

  11. Maxine Barr 12/05/2018 at 5:27 am

    Could not recommend Mara’s tour highly enough.
    Loved all aspects, especially the friendly and knowledgeable guides: Ahmed, Haider and Mo.
    We considered making our own itinerary, but when we saw Mara’s, it was a no-brainer to choose hers. There is no way we could have covered the ground we did on our own.
    Mara has an affinity with Egypt that is contagious, if you are thinking of going to Egypt, look no further! Thanks for a brilliant experience Mara

  12. Eileen Weed 11/05/2018 at 6:43 pm

    For anyone wanting to fulfill their dream of visiting Egypt, I highly recommend Mara’s Group Tours for a safe and hassle-free experience. The tour went above and beyond my expectations!

    It totally makes a difference seeing everything in person vs just reading about Egypt from afar. Everything was taken care of and ran smoothly, and the Itinerary covered all the highlights of Egypt and more, from the Pyramids and the Valley of the Kings to lesser known wonders such as the Christian and Medieval Cairo communities.

    Mara’s attentive presence and the knowledge of her outstanding and personable manager Ahmed Hasanein let me fully be immersed in Egypt without juggling any tedious logistics. It really made a difference that we stuck with the same Egyptologists: Mohamed Haider (in Cairo) and Mohamed Ahmed (in Luxor), both were enthusiastic and eager to answer all the questions we had.

    NOW is the time to visit Egypt and booking through Mara is the best you can do!

  13. Chip and Wendy Morris 11/05/2018 at 3:45 pm

    We will never forget this tour of Egypt, and thank you, so much, Mara and Ahmed, for putting this all together and making it so easy for us to see and do it all. Despite being seasoned travellers, we felt beforehand that seeing Egypt via a small group tour with informed Egyptologists was really the best way to do it…. and now at the end, we are really glad we did it this way!

    The ancient sites were sublime and important to us both, aesthetically and spiritually and visually. That is really why we came. We loved the Pyramids, and for Wendy we had a special time re-enacting a much valued family photo of her grandfather in World War 2, riding camels in front of the Pyramids. At Luxor, both Karnak Temple and Luxor Temple were amazing to experience. A special dinner at Mara House was a real treat.

    We had a very long bus drive day from Luxor to enjoy visits to Dendera, and especially Abydos Temples, another favourite …. but the ride was a fantastic way to observe the daily life of rural Egypt….. ever revealing new surprises. We liked our visit to the Luxor West Bank Valley of the Kings tombs, though it happened on a very hot day that got up to 46 degrees C… even hot for us Australians! However for most of the tour we managed the dry heat with just a special soaked neck wrap… though Chip also sometimes used a soaked Hyper Cool vest.

    Life on the criuse boat was easy.. though we are not ‘cruise boat’ people, and we soon tired of the buffet food and poor coffee …. Loved the caleche ride to Edfu Temple, and were fascinated by the Kom Ombo Temple duality and the mummified crocodiles … though horrified at the huge congestion of diesel-belching cruise boats that all seemed to arrive there at the same time.

    At Aswan, Wendy found the Nubian Village a valuable and interesting remnant of a now destroyed culture, almost entirely flooded by the High Dam, but was sad to see it now just a tourist shopping trap. Though the retailers there, better than elsewhere, had got the message that not hassling visitors could get them better results. In fact, overall in Egypt, we did not find the sellers hassling of us too bad most of the time. At Aswan, Philae was our final temple, on its pretty little island. Then back to Cairo.

    Throughout, it was remarkable to experiece the excellent condition of these remaining Pharaonic temples and tombs. We had tried to get flights to Abu Simbal, but could not, and were not willing to do a six hour drive for a short visit. But on reflection, we were not disappointed with our substitute activities in Aswan.

    We were disgusted by Cairo’s filth and congestion on the roads, and the lack of pedestrian safety for those needing to cross the major streets. We understand there are ‘plans’ to re-create the ‘Parisian’ central Cairo of old. We hope that this work happens…. but first just fix the footpaths and add in more traffic lights for pedestrians!

    We were initially daunted by the high level of security, which presumably was needed. We felt safe but protected throughout. And gradually we got up our confidence up to wander out alone…. and were amazed by the warm and friendly welcome of many Egyptians… including the children smiling and saying ‘Welcome to Egypt!’ to us. We saw relatively few other Westerners in Egypt … most tourists seemed to be from Asia and other Middle Eastern countries.

    Chip did not enjoy anywhere near as much the tours of sites around Cairo itself, including the (too) many mosques and churches. And the long stints stuck in Cairo traffic. But the visit to Cairo’s Garbage City/Mountain was fascinating… both very impressive and horrifying at the same time!

    The interpretations of the ancient sites were very good (especially Mohammed’s in Luxor and beyond). We learnt so much. The logistics management on occasions was not as good in our view, but perhaps that is attributable in part to Egypt itself! Certainly things could go off schedule. But we did see everything in our program.

    Altogether, an amazing experience with a great group of compatible and friendly people…. it will take some time to digest!

  14. Mickey & John Williams 27/03/2018 at 2:59 am

    We just wanted to let everyone know about our amazing trip with Mara and Ahmed. We still can’t believe how much we saw of Egypt, and how wonderful the other people on our tour were. We travel a lot and have been to many phenomenal places, but Egypt really stands out for us. Mara and Ahmed have really come up with an incredible itinerary, a nice pace and first class accommodations everywhere we went. If there is something special that you want to do, or see, they will make it happen. The sites are unbelievable, and it was unimaginable that the next site was better than the previous one. The history is overwhelming, the treasures are staggering, the people are delightful and Mara and Ahmed are the perfect hosts for this marvelous adventure! Thank you both for our magnificent trip to Egypt!!

  15. Ling 03/03/2018 at 2:39 pm

    We had a trip of our life to Egypt from 2/13/18 -2/25/18. Mara and Ahmed are our tour leaders. They are superb, sweet and kind and organized. My husband just had a quadruple bypass and everyone take such a good care of him . We had a awesome,memorable trip.Both of our Egyptologist guides are so knowledgeable. It make our trip more fun and educational. Thank you very ….. much for our international ground members. You guys are the “Best”. You are sweet , thoughtful , kind and helpful. We sincerely appreciate it.
    Hopefully in the future, we will have a reunion.
    Missed you!! Take care!

  16. Michael Beeson 03/12/2017 at 4:54 pm

    We are a retired professor and a retired elementary school teacher, who were on the November, 2017 tour. This trip was everything we had hoped it would be, and then some. We are experienced travelers, but we chose to go on a guided tour in Egypt rather than on our own, and we are glad that we did. Our tour had 12 tourists, so we fit into a van, which was our typical mode of local transport. A tremendous amount of planning and local arrangements went into the “infrastructure” of this tour; I believe that Mara planned the overall structure of the trip, so that we saw absolutely as much of Egypt as possible in 10 days; but her right-hand-man Ahmed probably handled the details, of which there were MANY. Everything was flawlessly handled. Vans appeared out of nowhere when they were needed. Tickets were purchased. We were, for example, let into a theater a little early so we could all be seated together for a fabulous Sufi Dance exhibition in Cairo. Lunch appeared when required. Airport transfers went flawlessly; our luggage moved magically from airport to hotel, hotel to boat, etc. You could never in a million years plan your own Egypt trip so well. Don’t even think about trying.

    Mara is a native of Ireland, who fell in love with Egypt. In conducting this tour business, she wants to share her Egypt with others. She is not in this primarily for the money, as her prices should make absolutely clear. I don’t believe you would be able to see half of what she showed us, on your own, for the same price. Moreover, what we paid was just what she said we would pay. You can trust Mara.

    As for what she showed us, there was a tremendous variety, more than we would have known to arrange for ourselves. Our primary interest was the antiquities of the Pharaonic period (pyramids, tombs, temples). We were unaware of the Islamic, Graeco-Roman, and Coptic periods of Eqyptian history, and the resulting melting-pot nature of contemporary Egyptian society, but Mara and Ahmed made sure we saw everything.
    Nor was the focus always on history: we visited a kindergarten in the Nubian Village, and learned how garbage is collected in Cairo.

    I must also praise the talents and learning of the two Egyptologist guides that Mara and Ahmed hired to explain everything to us. (One in Cairo and another in Luxor and Aswan.) These two have many years of experience as tour guides and the erudition and knowledge you would expect from a professor. They answered every question (and without needing Google),
    and were absolutely helpful. We did see a lot of temples and as a result, at some point it came to life for me: I saw in my imagination what it was like thousands of years ago on one of their festival days, when the god of the temple would be taken out in his boat by the priests and carried across the Nile to visit the god of the temple over there, in the middle of a celebrating throng of the whole local population, with music, dancing, eating, and drinking. The oracle would speak from the back of the temple to answer the people’s questions.

    Finally I note that our group had one thing in common: each of us had been told by some friends and relatives, “You’re crazy to go to Egypt”,
    and had concluded “Let’s go anyway!” Well, we are glad that we did.
    If you’re worried about it, take up your concerns by email with Mara.

  17. Daryl and Maureen from Canada 01/12/2017 at 4:44 pm

    We are a retired couple who like to travel. After reading the intinaries and reviews of a variety of Egyptian tours we decided on Mara’s November 2017, and are extreamly happy we did. We were on the same tour as Weldon, whose comments will be below. We whole heartedly agree with all his comments. The tour was fantastic!

    Along with the great selection of sites we visited – with excellent guides – we wish to emphasize how well organized the tour was. Transportation and rooms just happened with little or no wait for us. Lunch was organized so as to minimize wasted time. (Be it back to the boat, to a restaurant or great Egyptian fast food on the bus.) Breakfast and dinner was (usually) back at the accomodation. Cairo’s streets are packed and slow moving (although often interesting). A well thought out plan for the day was essential.

    One highlight for us was the bus drive from Luxor to Abydos, and back. For a while we travelled along an irrigation canal. There were lots of people to watch. as they started their day. People were heading to school and work. Some had already loaded there vehicle (small truck or donkey cart) with agriculture products (sugar cane, corn, etc). They were dressed in a variety of ways, from western type clothes to traditional Egyptian. Later we drove through desert where we could see modern irrigation projects and new cities. VERY interesting.

    Other highlights we had not anticipated: two exceptional Egyptian meals, and an amazing Sufi drum and dance performance.

    If you are considering a trip to Egypt, then we strongly recommend a tour with Mara!

  18. Weldon Casey 25/11/2017 at 8:22 pm

    Our family’s November 2017 Group tour with Mara just ended, and here I sit at the classy piano bar at the Ramses Hilton in Cairo reflecting on one of the most extraordinary adventures our family has taken… the full Egypt tour with Mara House.

    I would highly recommend this trip to anyone that wants a meaningful and comprehensive experience of this diverse and amazing country!

    From an historical perspective, we delved into ancient, Pharonic Egypt in unexpected ways… visits to the ‘mainstream’ sites like Giza were complemented with visits to lessor known and often even more extraordinary sites like Abydos, Dendara, and sites of nobles tombs and workers tombs that provided a spectrum of insight into ancient Egyptian civilization from the mundane and essential to the mysterious and divine. On many occasions our small group had sites entirely to ourselves… that’s due entirely to Mara House planning using their knowledge of local environments from Cairo all the way to Aswan.

    This tour also included historical views of the Greek/Roman period in Egypt as well as ‘Coptic Egypt’ and the impact of 1400 years of Islamic evolution, all the while giving us an experiential grounding in contemporary Egyptian life today. It is impossible to imagine a better way to experience… in a single trip… the enormity of Egyptian history and culture than the experience Mara House provided.

    The guides and Egyptologists that accompanied us brought it all to life with astounding depth and clarity. Our tour guide general manager, Ahmed, managed the complex logistics of this nearly two-week trip with precision that left our group with little to do but be educated, be mystified, and enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!

    A word about Egypt: not once on this entire trip did we ever feel ‘not safe.’ The Egyptian people are brilliant… cheerful, friendly and positive… and uniformly welcoming and warm and eager to share a hello… it is really a joy to meet and interact in Egypt. The street hawkers can be a little annoying at times, but that goes with the territory in most heavily touristed sites around the world. Egypt has been through a lot in the last decade and is really receptive and accessible to tourists and cross-cultural exchange… if you’re thinking of coming to Egypt this is a great time… and if you want a fabulous tour, Mara House has it all.

    Thank you Mara, Ahmed and team for sharing your love of Egypt with us… it was a trip of a lifetime and sincerely: may we meet again!

  19. JM C 04/05/2017 at 11:06 pm

    I took the Mara House Luxor group tour in November 2016. Over five months later, I am still in awe of the experience. If you are looking for a trip that is forgettable the next month, you don’t want to use Mara House. However, if you are looking for a trip that you will fondly remember long after the journey has ended, Mara’s House is such a destination.

    As a single female traveler, I was hesitant about safety. Prior to the trip, Mara quickly got back to me on every question that I emailed her. I wondered if she ever slept since I never had to wait long for her replies. Booking that trip was one of the best things I have ever done. Our small group was a joy to travel with on the daily adventures Mara planned out for us. On the first night meetup, she had us go around the group to not only introduce ourselves but ask what we wanted to accomplish for this trip. I was impressed that over the next 10 days, she worked to make each of our dreams a reality.

    There were opportunities some of us took such as a side trip to Abu Simbel and touring the recently opened tombs such as Sety I. For the extra money and the expectation that this would be a once in a lifetime trip, I did it all and have no regrets. The days were busy but not hectic.

    Mara is passionate about what she does and it shows in the exceptional staff that she has assembled to make your stay a pleasurable one. It was also educational not only learning about Egypt’s past but the present hopes and future dreams of its people. I cannot sing enough praises for the staff. They were remarkable! After all, that is what travel should include in being able to get a taste of the culture of the country that you visit.

    Speaking of taste, you will not get any better food than what is prepared at Mara House. The stairs to the various room levels may be a little challenging for some, but I found it not an issue. The room was clean and I had fun using the shower in the bathroom. After all, travel is about new experiences. It is located on a side street and if you are lucky you might get to see the camel right down the road.

    If you are thinking about visiting Egypt, don’t let this opportunity pass to experience the hospitality at Mara House Luxor. You won’t forget it (in a good way)!

  20. Kevin and Fiona Gordon 05/04/2017 at 6:29 pm

    If Egypt is on your bucket list, as it was on ours, then hesitate no longer because Mara and her wonderful crew are here to make your visit to the Land of the Pharaohs all that you dreamed of and more. All the glowing accolades you’ve read about “Egypt with Mara” are true. We’ll give you a few highlights.

    – Pre-trip communication: Before our trip, Mara answered each and every question we had, no matter how niggly, via email promptly and in great detail. We were as prepared as we could be having taken Mara’s advice on what to bring and what to expect. (And for those who wonder “Is Egypt safe?”, the answer is yes. Never once did we feel otherwise. And just to make sure, there was an armed security guard on our van,as well as a military escort.)

    -Welcome to Egypt: Mara’s right-hand woman is Fatma,a lovely young Egyptian whose smile brightened our time in Cairo. She greeted us at the airport, escorted us to the hotel and made sure we felt like part of the family. Fatma is a gifted multi-media artist, intelligent and insightful, and it was delight to learn about the life of contemporary Egyptian Muslims through her.

    -Hit the ground running: From the moment we arrived, our days were packed from morning to night with visits to the major sites up and down the Nile. Mara’s guides were knowledgeable, friendly and patient. We had a succession of Mohammeds, but the one we spent the most time with was with us from Luxor to Aswan. He looked remarkably like Barack Obama and good-naturedly crammed as much information as would fit into our whirling heads. He rounded up the stragglers, kept things moving and made sure all questions were answered.

    -Go with the flow: While we did everything that Mara promised we would do, the sequence of events sometimes had to be rearranged because Egyptian schedules can be somewhat vague.
    She advised early on that we’d have a much better time if we simply went with the flow, and that occasionally things worked out even better than planned. That being said, if someone in the group had something special in mind to do, Mara was delighted to make every effort to see that it was done.

    -Shopping: Mara is strictly about making you happy.. We were there to see the wonders of ancient and modern Egypt, not to spend time in souvenir shops or alabaster and papyrus factories. However, Mara understood that most visitors like to bring something home with them, and there is an afternoon devoted to the market Khan Al-Khalili, where guests are not directed to any shop in particular for the commission, but pointed toward the section of the market where you’ll find what you want.

    -Conclusion: Of course, a written description can never convey the experience of actually being there, but you can expect a well-organized, thoughtful, fun, and memorable experience if you throw in your lot with Mara. Her delightful Irish wit kept things light and enjoyable. She also has a deep grasp of the esoteric side of the temples, tombs and monuments of ancient Egypt and understood when I unexpectedly had what she called “a moment” in the Temple at Abydos.
    We recommend without reservation “Egypt with Mara” for your visit to the land of the Pharaohs
    Fiona and Kevin Gordon

  21. stephanie 03/04/2017 at 10:35 pm

    LITERALLY AN EXPERIENCE OF A LIFETIME!!! I honestly cant wait to go back and intend to see Mara and her wonderful staff again. She covered all the basis and made she everyone got to see everything they wished during our stay whether it was on the itinerary or not. her tour opens you up to other parts of Egypt you wouldnt get on a large tour group package. You really get to know the people and the culture and visit some less obvious places that are equally important. I cant say enough about her staff as well. Her guides are incredibly knowledgeable about anything and everything you could imagine making the experience that much greater. Also very attentive to your needs and comforts. Love love loved Maras house in Luxor. It was located locally, so you really experienced the “everyday life” aspect of the people. The interior was beautiful and the food, incredible every night. I wanted to explore the town and go to local spots so her staff offered to take me around, which was a real added treat that i truly appreciated. would recommended this trip for anyone. I also traveled solo as a female and had no concerns what so ever.

  22. Nesa Gonzalez 03/04/2017 at 7:01 am

    OH MY! Where to start!!!!
    I joined the Mara House 11 day tour back in November 2016. It was THE.BEST. DECISION. EVER!!!
    To start off with, I had originally contacted Mara to do a solo tour for a few days (4-5) and then return home but after speaking to her and finding out more details and her honest opinion about a solo trip there, I weighed my options and decided it would be best to join in on her 11 day tour (and for the price-how could I turn it down). She was ALWAYS super fast on responding to my emails and very professional.
    As time got closer to the trip, she kept me in the loop about new sites that were open to tourism and offered the opportunity to be able to go see them, if I wanted to, along with estimate prices.
    Now, a few days before I took off, my flights had shifted (by a day!) and I would then be arriving the day that everyone else was having their first day of sight-seeing. I was so disappointed. However, keeping in touch with Mara she assured me that I would still be able to see what I had missed on the first day (Giza Plateau) and that we would talk about it when I landed.
    When I landed I had a driver waiting for me outside, he did not speak much English but he was very polite and professional. He drove me to the restaurant where the group was headed to eat and spoke to the “reception” desk, so they knew who I was waiting on.
    Once everyone arrived, I felt so welcomed!
    Everyday I was blown away by the knowledge that was passed to us by her tour guides, they were all so very knowledgeable and friendly. We got to see so many things! I didn’t even realize how much we saw until I got home and sorted through all of my tickets. We were on the go everyday but it didn’t feel like too much.
    The stay at Mara’s House Luxor was by far the best experience of Egypt! You can tell her and her employees have great relationships. The food at the Mara house was phenomenal!!!! Her cook takes great pride in his skill. The rooms were beautiful and comfortable. It felt like a home and not just another room to sleep in. Mara and her team made sure to accommodate everyone, even with the smallest requests. Everyone knows that in groups it’s hard to please everyone but I think Mara and her team did a superb job in fulfilling people’s requests.
    I was able to get to the Giza Plateau on the last day of my trip, and for me that really pulled the entire trip together.
    Mara really goes above and beyond what is expected from a tour experience. I felt completely safe the entire trip and I am looking forward to going back, hopefully with my son!

  23. Barry Fitzsimmons 01/04/2017 at 8:56 pm

    Having just finished a tour, here are some thoughts on why you should choose to travel in Egypt with Mara on one of her small group tours.
    Firstly, her hand-picked local staff and guides are exceptional, both in their abilities and consideration of the needs of each group member.
    Things like airport departures & arrivals, luggage handling, transport, hotel check-in, etc. are all simplified.
    Airline boarding passes and entry tickets to the various Houses, Tombs, Museums, Pyramids, Monuments, Mosques, Churches, etc. all seem to appear as if by magic.
    Mara’s people also seem to make buses and small boats appear at will.
    Because it is a small group, you easily get to know each member of the group. The inevitable question “where is Jack/Jill” is usually answered quickly.
    Some of the areas in the places you visit are small in size and can only comfortably accommodate a small group plus a guide.
    You may get access to some normally closed areas (like our group did).
    You can help to shape the tour in terms of what to see or do and how long to spend at a site.
    You will get to see Mara House in Luxor – a wonderful oasis in the rustic streets of an ancient city.
    Mara herself has a great understanding of old and recent Egyptian history and culture – most importantly she is willing to share her thoughts and knowledge.
    You might wonder how you get to see so much in a relatively short time. Part of the answer is that you don’t spend any group time in places like perfume houses or fabric shops. That’s where the big tour companies will probably want to take you.
    You will get time to shop in a big market and also at places where there is no bargaining or pressure.
    If you would like to improve your bargaining skills then the Egyptians are ready to teach you a few things.
    You will get to see what Mara promises and probably more.
    Finally, please don’t even think of coming to Egypt, renting a car and driving yourself to see the sights. The traffic in Cairo is crazy – I imagine you would not last 5 minutes before becoming lost, mentally unhinged or both.

  24. Mrs. Jimmie Fisher 30/03/2017 at 9:30 pm

    My husband and I were with Marie in November, 2016. We had been to Egypt several times before but hesitated to go back alone as we had in the past. We decided to try to see how Egypt was now and I came across Marie’s site, Mara House. Marie organizes small groups so everyone has an opportunity to see what they came to Egypt for. She is the only person I have met that although there was an itinerary, she wanted to know personally was there something you wanted to see in particular. She made every effort to accommodate your wishes. At Mara House, the food was the best and her staff seemed to love all of us personally. That is the Egyptians for you. All of the sites were fantastic, but Mohamed and Marie knew additional facts that made it all the more interesting. We are planning to go back soon and plan to stay in Luxor more, as we have stayed all over Egypt but very little in this area. I cannot say enough about how hard Fatma and Marie works to make sure you do not feel unsafe. I never had one concern and we went off on our own several times after our tours. Thanks so much Fatma and Marie and Amir, we will be back. Mohamed, stay on top of the Egyptology, things are being discovered every day.

  25. Surrealbox, Los Angeles. 11/12/2016 at 2:39 pm

    Ok so am not really much of a writer but I wanted to review an incredible trip I just took with Mara House. I have never travelled overseas before and had always dreamed of going to Egypt and was fortunate enough to find Mara’s Egyptian adventure online which was a 10 day journey including Cairo and Luxor as well as a cruise to Aswan.

    From the beginning Mara was absolutely super speedy getting back to e with details about the trip. The itinerary was well packaged with many sightseeng advetures. On this trip I made some incredible new friends and got to explore many destinations that Mara organised. In addition, we also got to spend a few nights at Mara House in Luxor which was a splendid cozy and decorative bed and breakfast where we were treated to several authentic Egyptian Feasts.

    The 10 days I spent with Mara and our group were so wonderful and I really appreciate all of the great details she added to the trip which truly made it a great adventure. I am more of a photographer than a writer but in closing I want to say that if you’re considering coming to Egypt please give Mara House a shout, you won’t be disappointed.


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