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All reviewstrain stationindependent travellerstour guideboutique hoteldaily lifea great place to stayegyptian historyno elevatorrooms are largeancient egypttemples and tombsabu simbelegyptian experiencemini barrooftop terracehorse carriagenile cruise
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Reviewed 7 June 2018

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.

Thank you again, Mara, for inviting all of us on the tour to your Mara House for that lovely (exceptional) dinner that night in Luxor. Really good to see Mara House, and to experience its cuisine.

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

  • Stayed: May 2018, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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1  Thank Chip K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 June 2018

My wife and I had booked a cruise from Singapore to the Middle East and when we realised that Cairo is only 3 hours flying time from our last cruise port we thought why not visit. Well I am glad we did because our visit to Egypt was the unexpected highlight of our trip! Mara’s pre-trip information was excellent and her team in Cairo were the best. Fatma met us at the airport on arrival and her driver transported us to the comfortable Steigenberger Hotel in the heart of the city. Fatma had already visited the hotel and negotiated a great room on our behalf. Fatma stayed with us through the check in procedure to make sure the process was smoothly handled and this set the tone for the rest of our visit to Cairo. Fatma is a very knowledgable guide as well as a very nice person. Nothing was too much trouble as she expertly guided us through the unbelievable history of Cairo. Together with the assistance of Reham, an expert Egyptologist we were provided with fascinating insights to the pyramids and later at the Egyptian museum. This was a very memorable trip for us and we can unreservedly recommend Mara and her team (particularly Fatma) for a private tour of Cairo.

Stayed: April 2018, travelled as a couple
1  Thank Chris H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 June 2018 via mobile

I traveled with a group of 15 with Mara and her Egyptian guides for a 12 day tour. It was truly amazing. We saw all the major attractions- the Great Pyramid, the Sphinx, Valley of the Kings and many of its tombs, and sailed on the Nile for four days. We spent a few days in Cairo, Aswan and Luxor where we enjoyed a superb feast at Mara House prepared by Mara’s resident Egyptian chef. We went to many temples, churches, museums and historical houses not seen by many tourists. Shopping in Cairo was an incredible if chaotic experience and not something you could undertake without Mara and her Egyptian guide’s thorough knowledge and experience to guide and advise. I can highly recommend touring with Mara and her Egyptologists for a full on Egyptian experience that will immerse you in the culture and rich history of this amazing country. Mara House is absolutely gorgeous inside with big comfy bedrooms and recreation areas. Thank you Mara! From Cecily Allan Australia May 2018

Stayed: May 2018, travelled as a couple
Thank Jucily M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 June 2018

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

We had an awesome and delicious "Salahadeen Feast" at Mara's House, included in the tour price, the best and most authentic food I had in my entire time in Egypt (and it was homemade by her chef)! That included lounging in the huge and luxurious living room area getting to know other group members while having drinks and more than two dozen types of Egyptian sweets.

We also had a tour of Mara House and I was amazed at how well Mara built and decorated the Egyptian-themed huge suites, it was definitely like a comfortable and welcoming home not a hotel.

It totally makes a difference seeing all the sites in Egypt in person vs just reading about it from afar (and dreaming about going "someday"). Everything in Mara's tour 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 made sure everyone's preferences were heard and the Itinerary was graciously adjusted according to need and group consensus. I loved and really benefited from this perk!

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!

  • Stayed: May 2018, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Thank Eileen W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 June 2018

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 and the accommodation was fantastic. 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

  • Stayed: May 2018, travelled with friends
    • Value
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1  Thank amfraser2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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