Hi Everyone, it’s Mara here, someone who’s been fortunate enough to call Egypt home since the year 2000. I must say, the current tourism boom we’re experiencing is quite unprecedented. It’s a double-edged sword, isn’t it? On one hand, it’s fantastic to see so many people wanting to explore the wonders of this ancient land, but on the other hand, I realize it can all feel a bit overwhelming for the visitor.
Trust me, I get it. The thought of crowded temples, bustling tombs, and swarms of tour buses can be enough to make anyone feel a bit jittery. But fear not! I’m putting pen to paper today to ease your worries, especially if you’re planning to take our shore excursions or other tours. We’re dedicated to making sure your Egypt adventure is as comfortable and enjoyable as possible, even amidst the hustle and bustle of these incredible sites.
Our Shore Excursions
If this is going to be your first visit to Cairo then the obvious sites you simply cannot miss are the Pyramids on the Giza Plaeau and the Antiquities Museum at Tahrir Sq. Full details here
You will visit a combination of the following: the best temple in Egypt which is Dendera Temple on the way to Luxor, then your Luxor sites will be 3 tombs in the Valley of the Kings, the Temple of Hatshepsut, the Colossi of Memnon, Karnak Temple and Luxor Temple. Click here for full details
Safety and Security on Egypt Shore Excursions
When it comes to our tours and our shore excursions, we want you to feel absolutely safe and secure. We understand that traveling in a foreign land can sometimes raise concerns, which is why we go the extra mile to ensure your well-being.
Mara House keeps our shore excursions to a maximum of 18 people, led by a dedicated guide. This keeps the tour on time easier than larger groups, and ensures personalized attention to your needs.
But it doesn’t stop there. We take safety seriously and follow all necessary and recommended security procedures. Much of the time, as a matter of course, we provide each group with a personal bodyguard in cooperation with the state security regulators. These individuals are no ordinary civilian security personnel; they are the elite, cream of the crop, highly trained state security individuals who undergo refresher training every 5 or 6 months. Their commitment to your safety, combined with the support of local authorities, ensures that you can explore Egypt’s wonders with peace of mind. Your safety is our priority, and we’re here to make sure your adventure is not only enriching but also secure.
Please also be aware that the presence of police and bodyguards for the buses is more an indication of how seriously Egypt takes your safety concerns rather than an indication you are in any danger. The convoys and protection details provided have been a normal state provision for about 30 years now. Also they clear the way in traffic for the convoys to move more easily and quickly between destinations and sites in order to ensure tourists are back at their Cruise Ships and Nile Cruise Boats. We remind our guests not to distract the security personnel during the trip, by asking them questions etc. Also please do not photograph them.
In terms of timing, we want to provide you with the best possible experience while also ensuring your safety and convenience. However, we must adhere to guidelines set by state security, port authorities, and the cruise ship team, which may vary from tour to tour and company to company. In my posts, I try to give information that will still remain valid with the passing of time, so I am not giving an exact timed breakdown of the tour day’s activities in this post. Rest assured, we’ll communicate to you the specific timing and meet-up location points, how to identify us, etc., before your tour dates, so you’ll have all the information you need.
Boat Pick up and Return Scheduling for Safaga Shore Excursions
For Safaga shore excursions, we plan to meet you at the pick-up spots between 7 and 9 a.m., depending on permission from port authorities and the ship’s schedule. Our team will be there before the ship doors open. In the eventuality of your ship docking earlier than scheduled, we will still be there waiting for you to make a departure as early as possible.
While ships can arrive later than scheduled, they can also arrive up to an hour earlier than advertised. Mara House shore excursions are designed for people who want to make the most of their time, not just pass the day. With that in mind, we kindly request our guests to be at the ship doors, prepared to disembark promptly, so we can be among the first to leave Safaga when allowed.
For the return journey, it will depend on if your ship is departing Safaga early or late on the same day. We will give you the maximum time we can – however, our priority when making that decision will be to get you back to your ship on time.
At Mara House tours, we strive for the best experience for our guests. You could say we aim for the sky, but in reality, we might only reach the top of the trees. During long shore excursions, many factors are beyond our control: ship disembarkation times, guests’ promptness, keeping up with the guide, traffic, police orders, ticket office queues, security checks, and more. We hope our guests understand this, in advance of booking with us, and accept that we may need to adjust our time at monuments as we aim to get you back to your ship on time.
Shore Excursions: Timing of Visits to Egypt’s Monuments
While it would be a dream to have the majestic temples, tombs, and monuments all to yourself for an hour, that privilege typically comes with a hefty price tag and can only be done at specific times of the day, so it is not an option for day tours from ports due to their arrival times at sites. But if you do ever want private time at any site in Egypt, including the Great Pyramid of Giza, you can always consider coming back for a longer stay with us so we can grant your wish. However, on your one-day trip with us, rest assured that we are committed to making your visit as personal, private, and enjoyable as possible without breaking the bank.
To achieve this, we do not rigidly set the order and timing of our visits to each site in advance. Instead, our experienced head guide will make those decisions on the day of your tour. He will have a good sense of how busy the sites are at specific times and when most other tour companies and buses tend to arrive on any particular day. By doing the opposite of the crowd, we aim to provide you with a more intimate experience.
There’s a careful balance we have to strike, especially when it comes to the Valley of the Kings. We do our best to avoid visiting there during the hottest part of the day, ensuring your comfort and safety throughout the journey.
How to Get Ready for a Day Tour from Safaga or Port Said
I want to help you be properly prepared for Egypt, so I recommend
- having breakfast before the tour, but if that’s not possible, either due to an early start or your personal eating habits, please bring snacks with you. Chocolate may not be the best because of the heat
- a large bottle of water. While most buses come equipped with a small fridge containing cold water, please be aware that drivers may charge for it, as they are typically responsible for purchasing the water. Additionally, I may not have personal knowledge of every driver, as drivers can change frequently with the transport companies we use
- remember to bring cash (my post on currencies) as well as cards to pay for lunch and anything else you might need. At many sites, the government has provided spaces for stalls selling clothing and souvenirs along the paths you must walk to get to the temples, tombs, etc. We don’t advise stopping at these shops, as it may delay the timing of the tour. However, they can be tempting, and I have seen tourists stop to make a quick purchase and then be disappointed because the vendor did not have card facilities
- read my post on “What to Take to Egypt”, it has my recommendations on what your “go-everywhere-with-me” bag might contain
- even if Egypt is only a few stops on your cruise or journey, you might consider my post on “What Should I Wear in Egypt“ of some value to you
- tipping is a subject that has baffled many tourists, including myself, since foreigners first set foot in Egypt, so I have written a rather long post on the subject in an effort to really explain why, who, and how to tip in Egypt. It also looks at some online recommendations on the subject and gives you my views on them. Tipping for the guide and driver is not included in our tours and is expected
- last but not least important – I recommend a read of my post on the infamous “Egyptian Tummy Bug“, how to distinguish it from heat exhaustion and how to avoid it.
We will take you to a good restaurant but lunch is not included in our tour prices. There are 3 reasons for this
- different personal dietary requirements; if you have dangerous allergies or feel the food provided could cause you problems, please bring sufficient snacks with you to see you through the day in comfort
- if something unforeseen occurs and causes a delay, lunch could be cancelled, and then dealing with refunds for a lunch not provided would be difficult for a guide with a group plus you may find the day stressful if this happens and you have not brought your own snacks.
- With your agreement, if the tour is behind schedule we may skip lunch in favor of snacking so, again, please bring snacks.
If you feel there is anything else I should have included in this post please let me have your input via email to firstname.lastname@example.org