The Pyramids of Giza
Leah Cox italktravel Rutherford
How long have you been a travel agent?
Where was your first overseas trip?
My first overseas trip was on the sea with a P&O cruise in the South Pacific but my first trip was actually in Australia and was up to the Northern Territory on the Ghan with a stop in Alice Springs and Uluru.
The Abu Simbel Temples
What is your bucket list place/trip?
I have a hard time narrowing my favourite trip to just one but South Africa and Italy would be the top two I think. There are many things on my bucket list still but Tibet is a must for next year, the gorillas in Rwanda, New Orleans are also 2 I would love to do sooner than later.
Egypt is BACK!!!! For over 2000 years Egypt has been a must see destination for many travellers and in fact was one of the first travel destinations of the world.
In recent years it has faced many challengers and tourism has been greatly affected. After travelling in Egypt for 10 days with Bunnik Tours, I can tell you first hand, add it back onto your bucket list!
Safety Concerns… so many clients asked me prior to leaving “do I feel safe heading to Egypt” and I had no hesitation as Bunnik have operators there and they would know best but now after being there I am much better equipped to answer client questions.
Ballooning over Luxor
As the world is changing for travellers it is a hard question to answer in absolutes but I can definitely say I felt just as safe here in Egypt than any other country I have travelled to in the last couple of years.
We travelled along the Nile from Cairo to Aswan. Cities and areas visited included Aswan, Luxor (my favourite), Giza, Dahshur, Edfu, Philae, Kom Ombo and Abu Simbel.
I had the pleasure of flying with Emirates via Dubai from Sydney, even though we departed at 6am it was well worth the effort of getting to the airport at 4am as the plane was not full and we had the room to stretch out.
This flight is a favourite of mine to sell to clients as this is often the case. Although the other flights were quite full the staff were wonderful and the food is endless. Internally we flew from Cairo to Aswan and then Luxor to Cairo with Egyptian Airlines, these were small domestic flights always quite full but quite short.
From Aswan to Luxor we cruised along the Nile on the Royal Lily and the evening stops in the temples was amazing.
About the tour
I travelled with Bunnik tours for the first time which included a Movenpick 3 night cruise on the Nile.
From the first moment we touched down and made our way to the customs area of Cairo Airport we were looked after by the ground staff from Bunnik, they helped all of our group with the visa on arrival, with all our luggage and made us feel very welcome and safe.
Although the pyramids are a big reason that travellers are attracted to Egypt there were so many hidden surprises, I see why people go back over and over to discover more.
Our Egyptologist who travelled with us throughout our itinerary gave us not only the history both ancient and recent, but also gave us a glimpse into the everyday lives of the locals, how water policy effect every Egyptian and showed us the hidden surprises I mentioned earlier.
Gotta take a selfie of the River Nile...
These included where to buy the perfumes and oils from, where to try a local dish like Koshari and in the privacy of the coach what is the best buys in the local market.
What I loved
My highlights were so many but the best 3 were Abu Simbel, as you walked around the corner and saw the temple for the first time, the size, the detail and the mammoth task in raising it up the cliff face, I was awestruck.
The balloon ride in Luxor we were well rewarded for the early start the winds were perfect and as we floated up into the sky just before sunrise we breezed over the Valley of the Nobles, the photos say it all.
The last highlight was the Movenpick Nile cruise, every detail was thought of, the food, the shore visits and the entertainment on board was terrific.
Tell us about your favourite meal, what, where, when & why
Food is also becoming a large part of what attracts travellers to a destination and the foodies will not be disappointed.
Many meals had a Middle Eastern influence, meat and breads, so be prepared to add a few more kilograms while away.
My favourite meal was definitely at our last hotel, Cairo Marriott Hotel & Omar Khayyam Casino and they had an Egyptian Garden restaurant, with the smell of the apple Shisha and the open air kitchens I was in heaven from the moment I walked in.
I asked our waiter what was the most powerful smell I could almost taste so before ordering he took me over to all the cooking stations and I could pick what to order from the smells.
The Sphinx with the stunning Pyramid backdrop
Top tip for someone doing this trip
Tip when travelling to Egypt, go with Bunnik Tours as they did not leave the country when many other operators pulled out they now currently still have a great relationship with hotels, Cruise operators and have the best Egyptologists to ensure the experience is the best it can be.
Anything you would do differently next time
I would definitely add Jordan and head up to Alexandria for the war history. In Cairo we saw the area in which the troops marshalled before heading to Gallipoli and there were some gum trees marking the area.
Would you go back?
I feel I have checked it off and we packed so much in that I believe I have a good feel for the destination and I definitely never say never but it is a trip you can see a lot in the one go.
Have you got another trip planned and where to?
Yes I will be doing Tibet with G Adventures in April 2018, so watch this space for my next instalment.
How can I find out more?
Call italktravel Rutherford on 02 4932 9244
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