young lady on a camel waving a long scarve behind her head. Beside her on a young man on a camel. In the desert with 3 pyramids in the background

Egypt is opening locked doors!

The year 2024 brings exciting new opportunities for visitors to Egypt.  That is PRIVATE TIME – PRIVATE VISITS to closed spaces!

Having offered similar experiences to some of my groups in the past and being personally enthralled by exploring these closed spaces, I am thrilled that the authorities are expanding the scope of what we can now show you.  We can take you to sites and specific areas within sites that were previously closed or off-limits to visitors. I strongly recommend taking advantage of these opportunities, as I suspect they may not remain available indefinitely.


2 days tours in Cairo

  • Giza Plateau, Great Pyramid, Sphinx, Valley Temple in the morning.
    • Please see full details on my Giza page here
    • Private time is available inside the Great Pyramid and inside the Sphinx enclosure at an extra cost
    • Antiquities Museum at Tahrir Sq after lunch
  • Saqqara Complex
    • Please see the Saqqara page here for full details of the normal tour and a video of the new discoveries you can visit in private time
    • Private visits to the following sites on the Saqqara Plateau may be worked into your itinerary for an extra cost.  
      • Private visit to the Osiris Well
      • Private visit to tomb of Wahty
      • Private visit to the burial chamber from the northern entrance
      • Private visit to the Serapium, either in the morning or at night.

3 nights at Mara House in Luxor incl 3 days tours

  • West Bank – 5 sites – full details here
  • Abydos and Dendera – the first of many of my articles on these temples is here
    • Private time option – I recommend private time in the Osirion and Initiation Chamber.  I haven’t written on my website about the Osirion as it has been strictly off limits in the last few years.  But many years ago I was able to secure access for some of my groups.  I am so glad the option of private time there is now possible
  • Karnak and Luxor Temple – some information here

3 days tours in Aswan

  • Esna, Edfu and Kom Ombo
  • Philae
  • Overland to Abu Simbel


By “Limited Time” we mean that if you are among the first people to book your required dates with us, this is the price

As booking numbers rise, so does the price – so check with me now to see if your chosen dates are available for the early bird price offer.

The early bird booking offer is likely to end by 2 March 2024

  • OFFER A: This 8-day tour package (not including hotel accommodation) is currently bookable for only  US$1250 per person based on a minimum of two people booking together.  A saving of US$200 per person. Normal price US$1450 per person
  • OFFER B: This 8-day tour package, including 9 nights of hotel accommodation, is bookable for only US$2150 per person based on two people sharing. A saving of US$200 per person.  Normal price US$2350
  • OFFER C: NILE CRUISE OPTION: A minimum of two people travelling together and sharing a cabin can substitute 4 hotel nights in Offer B for a four-night Nile cruise (full board) without missing any sightseeing for an additional cost of US$500 per person.
  • All three offers are subject to T&C and availability.  Limited availability, especially on cruise option
  • subject to availability, T & C, E and OE.
  • normal prices quoted above are quite likely to rise as changes keep occurring in the Egyptian economy.

Not Included: 

  • international flights
  • flights Cairo to Luxor and Aswan to Cairo

Add Extra Tours in Cairo to your basic 9 nights itinerary :

Extra tours in Cairo are best added at the beginning or end of your trip.  For the extra tour days, you would get better value for your money by combining visits to more than one site per day.  If planned wisely, it is possible to get more than two sites in on any given day without stress or exhaustion.

Embark on the most captivating and rejuvenating journey of your lifetime through Egypt with Mara House. Rest assured, you won’t have to lift a finger, make a single decision, or even watch the clock—our dedicated and dependable team will handle everything and then some.  With a proven track record of seamlessly orchestrating  transitions between locations, our expertise of over two decades and level of care is unrivaled.  Don’t take my word for it.  See what others who took our 9 night package thought below.  Your pleasure is our paramount concern.   Secure your spot now and experience Egypt like never before.  Email me now and let’s get started planning your amazing trip to Egypt.  Alternatively, think about going on an exclusive group trip with Mara in person; check out the details on our Group Trip page

Visitors can now book Private Time/Visits to Egypt’s monuments

Please be aware when dealing with agents and online booking platforms that what they offer under the heading of “private tours.” is totally different from what we term “private visits” or “private time.” I have written a post to explain the difference “Private Tour in Egypt .v. Private Time or Private Visit”

I am currently offering to coordinate private visits between tourists to cut the cost

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  1. Our whole experience with Mara House was excellent. We did the 9 day Egypt tour and were in good hands the entire trip. Mara completely put me at ease about traveling in the winter (in the event we had flight delays on our end) and was happy to answer any questions I had. Her blog posts are VERY helpful for planning the trip and to also understand the locals and customs.

    I am so glad that Mara included visits to Abydos and Dendera temples, and to the nobles tombs and workers village in the itinerary. They were so beautiful and not to be missed! Ahmed took care of us in Cairo and gave us great advice on how to navigate the city upon arrival (including getting across traffic). He made sure we had everything we needed, knew our schedule for each day, and handed us off to our very capable guides while in Cairo. (We had so much fun with Suzy!) Arriving in Luxor was a breath of fresh air compared to the bustle of Cairo.

    Mara House itself is clean, quiet and beautifully decorated. Amr took great care of us during our stay and all of the food was delicious. Do not miss out on the salahadeen feast! I don’t know where we will find Egyptian food in the states, but it will be a quest well worth it. Mo was our guide for the last half of the trip and was very knowledgeable about all the sites and happy to answer any questions we had. He was great at helping us navigate the busy sites and gave us plenty of time to explore on our own too. We appreciated that he would take the time to point out things that were unique to each site.

    I still think that there are parts of the trip that are still sinking in. It was a once in a lifetime trip, and Mara House made sure that the whole experience was unforgettable!

    Teresa Glick USA. Travelled as couple. Feb 2019. 9 nights Egypt package. Reviewed on Google Maps and TripAdvisor

  2. Amr, thank you for such a lovely stay! You have been so helpful and kind and have made our stay very stress free. The breakfasts and feast was delicious.

    Thanks to Mara, Ahmed and Amr for organising our 9 day Egypt tour – absolutely fantastic!

    Matt & Amelia, Sydney, Australia. Traveled as couple. Jan 2019 9 night Egypt package (From Mara House Guest Book)

  3. My partner and I stayed at Mara House for four nights and went on tours of Luxor and Aswan for 5 days. Mara House is very clean, food is delicious, and the service is wonderful. Amr, who is the chef at Mara House, serves delicious food and is very kind and helpful. We really appreciated his kindness and the wonderful feast he prepared for dinner.

    Our tour guide Mo was very kind, knowledgeable and smart. We learned so much about ancient egyptian history and all of the famous temples, tombs and landmarks from Mo.

    This is a fantastic company and place to stay. Very professional and organized and trustworthy. You really need a tour guide to understand what you are seeing in Luxor and Mo is the best.

    Mara House will look out for your safety and make sure you see everything and are not ripped off.

    The team at Mara House is very professional and kind and you’ll be very happy you stayed there.

    Travelled as a couple Jan 2019. booked 9 nights package Reviewed on TripAdvisor 11.01.19

  4. Five Star. Egypt it could be argued is patriarchal. Mara, in a magical way, is well networked and has earned respect. The people that were part of her team were professional, well educated, groomed, polite. The trip for me was surreal, in that the culture was foreign, the ancient architecture interesting. I had booked with Mara 6 months previous and did not know what to expect leaving details in her expertise, I finish with thoughts of satisfaction.

    Ted, Canada, Oct 18-28 2018. Travelled solo, 9 Night Egypt Holiday. Review Ted emailed to Mara 3 Nov 2018

  5. Where to begin? Thank you so much for helping me realize a childhood dream. This trip was amazing from start to finish. Ahmed, Mohamed and Susie were great in Cairo. Amr and Mohamed in Luxor went above and beyond to make sure I was not only delighted with the tours but to make sure I did not miss out of Luxor experience.

    Mara House was clean and well looked after, perfect for relaxing after 43 degrees C days at the Temples and Tombs. Amr’s feast was phenomenal and service you will not find in many places.

    My favourite sites in Luxor -Tombs of Ramses III, IV and IX, Sety I and the Hypostyle Hall of Dendera. In Cairo, it was Saqqara and climbing inside the Great Pyramid.

    Thanks to Mara for excellent communication to make all this happen. Hope you are in Luxor next time I come so I can thank you in person.

    David R (Mara House Guest Book 2 Oct 2018) Egypt Holidays package

  6. Where to begin? Thank you so much for helping me realize a childhood dream. This trip was amazing from start to finish. Ahmed, Mohamed and Susie were great in Cairo. Amr and Mohamed in Luxor went above and beyond to make sure I was not only delighted with the tours but to make sure I did not miss out of Luxor experience.

    Mara House was clean and well looked after, perfect for relaxing after 43 degrees C days at the Temples and Tombs. Amr’s feast was phenomenal and service you will not find in many places.

    My favourite sites in Luxor -Tombs of Ramses III, IV and IX, Sety I and the Hypostyle Hall of Dendera. In Cairo, it was Saqqara and climbing inside the Great Pyramid.

    Thanks to Mara for excellent communication to make all this happen. Hope you are in Luxor next time I come so I can thank you in person.

    David R (Mara House Guest Book 2 Oct 2018) Booked Egypt Holidays 9 Nights package

  7. It has been a dream of mine to come to Egypt since I was a little girl. When we were deciding on a honeymoon location, it was a “no-brainer” So glad we stumbled across Mara House and the programs you offer.

    Throughout our trip we have felt so well taken care of and looked after. Mara and Amr, you have been one step ahead the whole time making sure we have the best experience possible and we can honestly say we have.

    We will be back to Egypt and to Mara House
    H & J – New York, USA. 15 Sept 2018 (Mara House Guest Book) Egypt Holidays package

  8. It has been a dream of mine to come to Egypt since I was a little girl. When we were deciding on a honeymoon location, it was a “no-brainer” So glad we stumbled across Mara House and the programs you offer.

    Throughout our trip we have felt so well taken care of and looked after. Mara and Amr, you have been one step ahead the whole time making sure we have the best experience possible and we can honestly say we have.

    We will be back to Egypt and to Mara House
    H & J – New York, USA. 15 Sept 2018 (Mara House Guest Book) Egypt Holidays package

  9. Dear Mara, Amr and Ahmed,

    Thank you so much for your hospitality! We could not have picked better hosts for our time in Egypt. Thank you for sharing your love for this beautiful country with us.

    The Salahadeen Feast was, hands-down, the best meal we have had in Egypt!!! Everyone needs to try this once in their lives. Wish we could hire Amr as our personal Chef forever! 🙂

    A & K , Canada/Singapore. 25 Aug 2018 (Mara House Guest Book) Egypt Holidays package

  10. Honeymoon, and Literally a Dream Come True

    My wife and I were planning our honeymoon in January. Initially we were thinking about touring the British Isles. But then I asked her: “Is this the one place you’d like to go in the entire world, if you could choose any destination? Because this may be our only opportunity.” She replied, “I’ve always wanted to go to Egypt, ever since I was a little girl. But I guess it’s too dangerous.” Being a graduate student of middle eastern history, I have kept abreast of current events in the region and therefore immediately dismissed her fears. (If that is a concern, let me tell you that I felt safer there than I do walking around Denver.) I then proceeded to research Egyptian tourism. Mara House came up once I got away from the major booking websites. Encouraged by the reviews I found on numerous travel websites and the descriptions on of the tour packages she offered (and seeing that she has the same last name as me, which is utter coincidence but I saw it as a sign), I requested information on the 9-day tour package she offers. The moment I saw the price my jaw literally dropped and I immediately booked the trip. We arrived the last week of May.

    Everything went incredibly well, and our expectations were either perfectly met or —more often than not— wholly exceeded. Her staff was courteous and attentive, going above and beyond to make our stay in Luxor absolutely joyous. Mara has spent years vetting the people with whom she entrusts her clients and that was evident in every way. The hotel in Cairo and the cruise ship Mara booked for us were more luxurious than I’m used to. The tour guides were extraordinarily knowledgeable — and believe me, I tested them with some rather esoteric questions, particularly during the Medieval Cairo portion of the tour since that’s in my wheelhouse. For that reason I’m confident that the entire tour presentation was based in fact, as opposed to some tours whose guides, I think, would prefer to make something up rather than admit they don’t know the answer. If they were expressing an opinion or didn’t know the answer to a question (which was rare) they said so. Moreover, they were excellent at running interference and warning you about unpleasant encounters with locals who, and this is no secret, can be very aggressive. It simply can’t be avoided so be prepared, but also know that the guides won’t leave you to be harassed if you follow their recommendations. Or you can just be a total mark like myself and end up buying way too many souvenirs… I mean, gifts for all my friends back home because I totally intended to do that.

    The group we were in was small; the difference that made on the experience was apparent when we encountered other groups at the sites comprising dozens of people following around one beleaguered guide. And I will say this: when booking, you have to decide if you want cooler weather or fewer crowds. The peak season is from October to April. Personally, I can attest to the fact that the heat was difficult at first, but you do get used to it quickly and there are strategies for coping with the heat that really help. Regardless, the tour buses and drivers Mara arranged for us all had powerful air conditioning, as did her hotel in Luxor, the cruise ship, and the Cairo hotel.

    Now I’ll address some concerns from other reviews I’ve read.

    First, if anyone complains about Mara House itself, they must not have looked at the website very closely because Mara does not conceal anything. The hotel is very nice, clean, and has a really authentic feel. Breakfast is served before the tours and it’s terrific in my opinion. On one evening you will be served a traditional Egyptian feast and it was the best meal of the entire two weeks my wife and I were in the country. And, if you just got married a couple of days before arriving, the staff may surprise you with a small little something special, but that’s just me saying that so you better not insist that “well this guy on TripAdvisor said….” My point is just that the staff is simply terrific and will go well out of their way to make your stay very enjoyable, even magical. Our room did not have a television, and we weren’t expecting one because nowhere on does she say that the rooms have TVs. Just as well anyway; why would you want to watch TV on a trip like that? Mara House is not in a central, touristy area. Its pretty much right in the middle of a densely populated residential area. Honestly, my wife and I liked that better than the super-mega-luxury hotel in Cairo (though I’m certainly not complaining about that either.) It is not in a “construction zone,” as some people complained about years ago. The bathroom was just fine, very spacious, and exactly as described. Everything in the room worked and it was, of course, as clean as can be.

    Next, things than be a bit complicated concerning arriving at the airport, traveling throughout the country, local customs, tipping; etc. Mara gives you everything you need to know up front. If anyone was caught off guard by any part of the process, it was their fault for not reading her informative emails carefully enough or for failing to do their own research and consequently having completely unrealistic expectations. For instance, if you think that tipping is not a part of the expenses of traveling in a place like Egypt, you have only yourself to blame if it surprises you. Seriously; who travels to a foreign country like Egypt without doing their due diligence and finding out what to expect before they go? Fortunately, that is one of the things about which Mara provides detailed instructions, and for that I was extremely grateful. I don’t want to have to guess at things like that.

    Mara herself was not in the country when we were there, which was a bit disappointing simply because my wife and I were looking forward to meeting her as she had been so helpful in planning our trip. However, she and I had some terrific conversations on facebook messenger during our time there, sharing my posts on her page and what have you. She is perfectly accessible even if she isn’t there in person (she was in Ireland, which I plan on visiting someday myself) and as someone pointed out, if the staff is extraordinarily capable then what does it matter if the owner of the hotel isn’t present? All of her staff speak perfectly adequate English. Amr, Fatma, Ahmed, they speak better English than many people born and raised in America. Some minor changes were made to the itinerary (that honestly worked out better for my wife and I, but I can see how that might be an annoyance) but they weren’t done out of convenience or sloppiness; there were legitimate reasons why they needed to be made and basically out of the hands of Mara House.

    Upon our return to Colorado, everyone wanted to hear about the trip. The most accurate thing I could say was that it was indescribable, and then proceed to describe it as best I can. I’ll just say the same thing here: Egypt is indescribable. The next thing I say to people is that seeing as how there is no other place like it in the world, if you have even the slightest inclination to go I strongly suggest that you do, and don’t hesitate. You never know how future events may prevent you from taking the opportunity, whether they be political events in Egypt or here at home, or just in your own personal life. And then I tell everyone that they should contact Mara in Luxor. I cannot possibly conceive of a better way to experience Egypt. If you would like to hear from me directly, find me on Facebook.

    – Justin Vaughan in Colorado. Reviewed on TripAdvisor. Deleted by TripAdvisor 25.10.2018 Egypt Holidays package

  11. My husband and I recently enjoyed 10 days in Egypt on Mara’s 9 night tour. We couldn’t have been happier with our decision to forgo the ‘tour companies’ in favour of the private tour we had with Mara’s team. The itinerary was so well planned and the logistical organisation faultless. Cars, boats, calash and camel rides appeared just as we needed them and we never had to queue for tickets or deal with the obvious language barrier. We felt safe and welcomed the entire time; due to the confident and calming presence of our tour guides, the careful manoeuvring of our drivers, and the talented chef and manager at Mara House. Communication with Mara prior to the trip was personal, efficient and helpful. Communication whilst on tour was also exemplary. Given we both have management/organisational jobs in Sydney, it was so wonderful to be able to truly relax whilst in Egypt and totally entrust our days to this impressive team. Our motto to each other was “Let go and let Mara!”
    It’s a formula that works.
    We highly recommend booking your Egyptian tour through Mara House. We are certainly glad we did.

    Moira and Jamie Loader
    Sydney, Australia.
    Travelled May 2018. Egypt Holidays package

  12. Best way to experience the wonders of Luxor and Egypt

    My husband and I just returned from the most wonderful journey and experience all thanks to Mara and Mara House. Mara is the maestro who will help organize everything for you. All the pre-planning communication is timely, clear and smooth. Her team at each stop is superb and the coordination is excellent. Our journey started in Cairo where we were greeted at the airport and taken to our hotel. For 2 days her guide Mohamed escorted us to the famous as well as the lesser known sights. His in-depth knowledge, insights and humor enriched every stop.

    Then it was off to Mara House in Luxor for a truly unique and authentic experience. Mara House is a gem. It’s a unique and charming oasis.The accommodations are much better, more personal than a big name hotel. Ahmed the manager is warm and caring, very attentive to any needs. The rooms are really suites with comfortable beds and a separate sitting room with a well stocked refrigerator and literature about the area. The breakfasts were delicious and the Sahaladeen Feast on Friday night was outstanding. Our schedule was well managed and coordinated to maximize our experience and not have us wilt in the heat.

    Our guide in Luxor, also named Mohammed was amazing. He brought the Egyptian history of the Pharoahs and their gods to life with vivid imagery and relevant comparisons to life today. He also accompanied us on our 3 day Nile cruise from Luxor to Aswan. Again taking us to the best sites along the way and revealing their history, meanings and secrets. At the end, he made sure our airport connections home went smoothly.

    My husband and I can’t say enough good things about Mara House and her whole team. So if you’re thinking about traveling to Egypt, this is the way to go.

    Reviewed on TripAdvisor – couple – May 2018 booked 9 night package

  13. I Was Treated Like a VIP

    Visiting cities vastly different from one’s own, especially when traveling solo, can lead to a sense of imbalance, so it’s important to stay somewhere comfortable and safe. Upon my arrival in Egypt, Mara House was that place for me. Hungry, stressed, and exhausted when I arrived, I realized quickly I was in excellent hands with Ahmed, the manager, who helped me get oriented and called a taxi to take me to a nearby restaurant. Later, after a hot shower, I settled into my cushy, comfortable bed and enjoyed a great night’s sleep. The following morning, after a delicious breakfast, I felt completely renewed, energized, and ready to enjoy the splendor of Luxor’s temples.

    I’ve looked at some of the negative reviews and noticed they fall into two categories: Those who misunderstood something/ didn’t read information sent to them, and those who expect the street and facilities to be like home. Yes, the neighborhood looks very different from my own: Well-off Egyptians spend money on extravagances inside their homes and keep the outside very modest-looking. But the area is safe and provides the chance to see how Egyptians live. For me that made it more special. If you aren’t looking for that kind of authenticity, a chain hotel might better suit your needs, but you’ll be missing out on the unique charm, outstanding customer service, and excellent food at Mara House.

    The facilities and service exceeded my expectations in a number of ways. I normally travel far more modestly, but prices in Egypt are currently so reasonable I was able to afford more. The house is beautiful, spacious, and impeccably clean, and my suite felt luxurious. I was treated like a VIP. Ahmed was incredibly kind and responsive to any question or request. And one evening, after a long day of sightseeing, I enjoyed one of Amr’s sumptuous dinner feasts; Cleopatra herself never ate so well!

    Other touches I appreciated: The bottled water (a must for visitors) and snacks in the kitchen area of my suite cost the actual prices one would pay in an Egyptian shop instead of the usual 3-4 times as much. Also, Mara’s binder of practical information (in your room) is very helpful. She really does think of all the details so you don’t have to.

    If you are considering traveling to Egypt, DO IT! It is a safe and friendly country, and you will be amazed by all the temples. It was the most fascinating trip I’ve ever taken. And while in Luxor, do yourself a favor and stay at Mara House.

    Room Tip: The call to prayer is part of the Egyptian experience, but it may wake you at an ungodly hour! Bring earplugs.

    Stayed: March 2018, travelled solo – reviewed on TripAdvisor 09.04.18

  14. Grand Tour with 8-Year-old

    We’re just back from 9 full days in Egypt, totally planned by Mara of Luxor’s Mara House. Wonderful experience for both me (67) and my granddaughter. Mara’s guides were all excellent, knowledgeable and helpful. Other reviewers have praised Fatma and Mohamed in Cairo, as well as Mohammed in Luxor. I totally agree. I would also like to add freelance guide Hassan Mostafa, who accompanied us on our 3-day Nile cruise. Added to his skills as a guide was a playfulness and connection to kids that made it all more fun for my granddaughter. Hassan also showed us Karnak and Luxor Temples.

    I had been nervous about visiting Egypt, and especially taking a child into what might be a potentially dangerous country. Mara had been very reassuring, and I’m so glad that I listened to her. I always felt we were in good hands, and quite as safe as possible in today’s world.

    Our schedule was packed so little time to improvise. It would have been nice to have more time for shopping and just walking around. We were limited by having the parameters of Spring Break. We did squeeze a short visit to the beautiful Luxor Museum, which I highly recommend. Also, after our visit to the Valley of the Kings, I asked if we could see some local artisans at work. Mohammed took us to an alabaster workshop, which was quite interesting.

    Mara House itself is like a little museum, with high quality art works an integral part of its charm. Manager Ahmed was an impeccable host. A very comfortable place to stay. We loved our spacious suite.

    I don’t know if I’ll make it back to Egypt one day. I would like to. The people are open and friendly, and the magnificence of its attractions can’t be exaggerated.

    Stayed: March 2018, travelled with family – reviewed on TripAdvisor 09.04.2018

  15. Great Experience

    The idea of going to Egypt scares a lot of people these days, but Mara house provided a wonderful and safe experience at a reasonable price. Mara house is a boutique hotel in Luxor that caters to foreigners and acts as a travel agent, booking trusted private drivers and guides for the duration of your stay. They also provide information on how to navigate Egyptian social interactions on your own.

    Our experience: the accommodations were second to none (in Egypt), the staff was fantastic, and the trip went very smoothly. We didn’t love our guides in Luxor, but we’ve seen much worse, and my guess is that they were actually the best available. We did, however, LOVE Ahmed Dahab, our guide in Cairo (ironically, this was the first time Mara house had used him). I actually taught high school world history, so my questions tend to be advanced, and Ahmed was very able to understand the precise nature of my questions and respond to them very intelligently (he had a master’s in Egyptology). I highly recommend Mara house and Ahmed to anyone.

    Allorikshaw, Denver, Colorado Travelled as couple – May 2017 – Used the Egypt Holidays 9 nights package

  16. The crew at Mara House are some of the most hospitable people we have ever encountered travelling. We were made to feel very special and the service was exemplary. The tours are high quality and thoughtful, accommodation is high class and the food is top restaurant quality and authentic.

    Whilst other supposedly cheaper tours take you to shops where they get kickbacks and refrain from telling you admissions are extra, Mara House includes everything and only has in mind providing the best service and best time spent for the whole trip. We packed an enormous amount into 10 days but never felt rushed or uneasy. The guides, drivers and all the staff were so friendly and immensely competent making us feel always at ease and intrigued but the beauty of this uniquely interesting country.

    We felt completely safe too the whole trip, I only wish we could have stayed longer so we will be back and will be coming to Mara House again.

  17. We saw and did everything that we wanted to see and do in Egypt with Mara and her wonderful team of guides, house hosts and drivers. We felt safe, comfortable, well cared for and well-informed the whole trip. Mara House in Luxor is fun, interesting, elegant and comfortable. The food and service is excellent. Mara was v. helpful in arranging an extra day for us to go to go to Abu Simbal on top of the 9 day itinerary which was excellent. Everyone went over and above to treat us well – it was great that you all round. They are a lovely team providing excellent customer service. The Egyptians are fantastic people, full of life and wonder. What a country! We had a ripper beaudie time from beginning to end and we thank you all very much. David and Denise from the Blue Mountains in Australia.

  18. We just came back from a 10 days trip in Egypt with “Mara”, we did the itinerary proposed by Mara from Cairo to Luxor and the cruise on the Niles to Aswan. I don’t think there is a better way to visit Egypt. The tours and the entire 10 days were perfectly organized, and we did not worry at all during the entire trip.

    From beginning to end we were very pleased with the guides, the drivers and the housekeeper. Mara house in Luxor is a fabulous oasis. The room are spacious, the food is amazing and the staff very helpful and friendly. When I think of my trip in Egypt all I think of is “luxury”. For a SAFE and a REAL vacation in Egypt, if you are eager to learn and visit the best of Egypt I highly recommend everyone to book with Mara.

  19. We are a same sex male couple who recently travelled to Egypt.

    Mara House Luxor is off the beaten tourist track in a safe and respectable part of Luxor, Egypt is a country of contrasts and to really experience how Egyptians live, book your stay at Mara House and live amongst those who rely on working in the tourist areas. Simple.

    The staff are unbelievably flexible and are totally dedicated to helping you to have a “Mara House Experience”. Seriously dedicated. Not a fault in sight in this regard.

    If you yearn for Ancient Egyptian monuments and mystery, this is an ideal place to pursue your desires in this regard. Mara and her extremely capable staff have connections with some extremely knowledgeable local guides such as Mohammed and deserving of particular mention (for us anyway), Ahmed, whose mastery of story language will have you mesmerised on the Nile temples and itching to visit the next temple/site. Mohammed is like a walking encyclopedia on the Luxor sites, ask him any question and he will happily provide the information for you.

    You can’t do all this without the support of the stupendous drivers such as Mahmoud (if he likes you you get to call him by his nickname – much easier to wrap those western vowels around, but you have to earn it), whose road mastery was a lesson in diligence and safety. He knows those roads backwards, he has some great shortcuts that will give you photos no-one else could provide. Bonus if you are a smoker and ask to stop in the middle of the desert!

    If you yearn for an ‘authentic’ experience, this is also a place for you. Just discuss with Mara or Ahmed what it is you would like to do and hey presto it is done. An enviable thing to arrange things in Egypt so quickly! If you ask for the moon, be prepared for at least a 12 hour wait while Ahmed and Amr organise it for your next day! Truly amazing.

    The food and service and feeling of secure safety more than compensates for any supposed inconveniences westerners may feel by having a wet room as part of the bath rooms. Don’t compare to western style five star hotels, you will not enjoy yourself if you do, and that will be your own fault, not theirs. Toughen up and focus on why you are there. Mara House becomes your bolt hole from which to experience both Modern AND ancient Egypt. Vital to your stay. Location is great for quiet walks where you can say good morning to the neighbours, have a local coffee and chat with real Egyptians.

    Did we mention already, the food. Incomparable Amr has a real gift of his heart when he prepares your food. My partner was taken shopping in the local markets to gather the ingredients for our feast that evening. That experience alone is more than enough excuse to visit. The food is to die for, really. There are not enough superlatives to describe it, you must visit to experience genius, good simple and wholesome food. (I had a cold while there, was given the ‘cold’ drink – next day boom I felt fantastic.) We in the West seem to have forgotten this and rely on pills and ‘modern’ medicine. The Egyptians have been doing this for millenia, tried and tested.

    Again, did we mention the food ?

    Seriously, Ahmed and Amr were welcoming and we were treated as part of their family. Having a local with you while you walk the streets is invaluable to help you communicate and learn (also to help you avoid being taken advantage of when trading – listen to their advice – it works). As Mara says you gotta walk like an Egyptian – watch how you are then treated compared to westerners who perhaps don’t. Much more respect and people are much more likely to invite you for Shisha or tea, without the hassle. A great chance to kick back, relax, watch life and have some GREAT international conversations that lead to better understandings between the West and Egypt. Ask questions and be prepared to answer questions, it will be revealing I am sure, if you have an open mind and heart.

    Again, did we mention the food ?

    Seriously worth considering, read terms and conditions and have no expectations when you arrive for a mind blowing and memorable experience of Egypt.

    You should know that a mosque is close by so take your good earplugs that first call to prayer in the morning is loud!!

  20. Mara House is a truly special place in the world and much more than a place to lay your head. We have travelled to over 35 countries in Asia, Africa, Middle East, and Europe and have not experienced a better staff, guides, food, and accommodation. It is truly a home away from home.

    The Saladin Feast is one of the best meals We’ve ever had. The cook, Amr, comes from a background of 5 star hotels and personal chef for Egyptian leaders. The host, Ahmed, is personal, professional, kind, knowledgeable and willing to help out in any way possible to make your stay enjoyable.

    Guides Fatma, Manar, and Mohammed are exceptionally knowledgeable (like walking encyclopedias), friendly, kind, and became truly friends. Egyptology is complex and can be overwhelming, but these guys made it entertaining and so much fun to learn the layers upon layers of Egyptian history while visiting the temples and museums.

    Go to Egypt and experience the magic of Mara House! You will be amazed.