Enjoying Camels in Cairo
Jim and Mary Wood already had a "Follow in the Footsteps of Jesus" trip planned to Israel when they realized just how close they would be to Cairo, Egypt. When Mary decided she really wanted to ride a camel, they reached out to Michelle Stauch to help them plan the trip.
They spent four days in Cairo and had private transfers everywhere they went. Safety is often a concern when visiting Cairo, but Jim said the company that provided their transfers knew what they were doing and they always felt safe.
It was a pleasure hearing from Jim about their trip, and this is some of what he was kind enough to share...
Q: What was the best / most interesting part of your trip?
A: The camel ride. I didn't think it would be very educational, but my wife really wanted to ride a camel. There were hundreds of people at the site to ride camels. Our guide was very quacky and constantly made sure we were happy. Our guide rode the lead camel followed by Mary then myself. Our guide sang as he took us through the desert, then we turned around and came back, taking some pictures along the way. Once we returned, our guide's boss also made a point to ensure we were happy. We made sure to repeatedly let them know we were happy :)
We also spent some time at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. As soon as we arrived, a young girl was immediately drawn to Mary. We met up with her and her family later in the museum. Their connection was proof to us that love and friendship are universal languages, transcending different cultures and languages!
On our second day in Cairo we took an evening river cruise on the Nile. It was a floating restaurant with entertainment, and although we couldn't see much because it was dark outside, Cairo was very pretty at night.
We saw the Great Pyramid and the small museum on-site. They had a 70-foot wooden boat on display to show us what Pharaoh's boat would've probably looked like. After our camel ride, we went to see the Sphinx.
Q: Do you have any advice / suggestions for those wanting to visit Cairo?
A: You do have to purchase a visa to go to Egypt. You can purchase them at the airport for $25 each or you can buy them ahead of time from a company. We heard about long visa lines, so we decided to purchase ours in advance and they were $85 each. When we arrived in Cairo Saturday morning there weren't long visa lines, so we wasted some money there, but we were glad we had the security of having them purchased ahead of time. It took about seven days to get our visas from the company we purchased them from, so be sure to leave some time between when you order it and when you need to use it.
Most of the good hotels will have a computer and printer, so you shouldn't feel like you have to bring your laptop just to print travel documents.
The weather in Cairo was fine, but the weather in Jerusalem in February was a little bit chilly. Be sure you have enough layers when traveling.
You want to be able to explore Cairo and other parts of Egypt, but don't get too far outside of the ring of safety. Stay within the touristy areas.
Their currency is the Egyptian pound. It's best to have US dollars (especially singles) or you can convert your money. They also accept Visa and MasterCard.
Our private driver Ali definitely knew what he was doing and made us feel safe. There were very few traffic lights and stop signs, and many roads weren't marked with lane lines. Even when they were, people ignored the lane lines, street signs, and speed limits. But it works for them and there are barely any wrecks. We were so glad to have a driver who knew what he was doing.
Q: Is there anything you would've chosen to do differently?
A: We probably would've taken some side trips to Alexandria and the Aswan Dam.
We should've split [Israel and Egypt] into two separate trips. We lost the money we paid for our return flights to the USA from our group trip to Israel when we decided to go from Tel Aviv to Cairo. Michelle found us some really great flight prices to and from Cairo.
Q: How was your experience booking with Chima Travel?
A: We love Michelle, she's so sweet. She's very good at what she does and she bent over backwards to make sure we had a great experience.
[These are some of Jim and Mary's fun pictures from Israel of the Wailing Wall and Dead Sea.]
It's always a pleasure for us to help others plan their next great adventure. If you're interested in planning a trip, please give us a call, email us, or stop by. We look forward to sitting down with you! If you've recently returned from a trip we planned for you and want to tell the world about it, we'd love to feature you on our blog.