Guide in Egypt


My husband, my parents and I departed on Dec. 16, ’02, for an 18-day trip to Egypt that included sightseeing around Islamic and Coptic Cairo; the Sakkara necropolis; the Giza pyramids; several days in Luxor to visit the temples and West Bank; a cruise down the Nile; the Aswan area; Abu Simbel, and diving in the Red Sea.

David Musfeldt and Jan’s father in Karnak temple. Photos: Musfeldt

As we travel, we are always interested in local culture, history, art, unusual architecture, religion, geography and native plants and animals. Egypt does not disappoint in this regard.

We were fortunate to hire an extraordinarily knowledgeable private guide, Ibrahim Morgan. Through extensive discussion by e-mail, he helped us plan our trip and made all of the arrangements, then personally showed us the well-known sights of Egypt and answered our many questions, particularly about the art, mythology and architecture of various temple complexes.

Egypt is a magical country. The time of the pharaohs, for which Egypt is so justly famous, witnessed an explosion of new works, all directed at the preparation for and understanding of the afterlife. The temple and tomb art is fascinating, the building was done on a grand scale and, thanks to a number of restoration and reconstruction efforts, everything is in great shape. In addition, several centuries of attention from the archaeological community have molded Egypt into a place where a great deal of the history is known.

Our cruise down the Nile aboard the Nile Odyssey deserves special mention. It was true bliss to sit on a sunny deck and watch rural Egypt slip by. The stops at various temple complexes along the way were wonderful punctuation for the dream.

For divers, the Red Sea offers a very healthy reef system. The coral was vibrant and the marine life plentiful and colorful.

The first pylon outside of Karnak temple.

Whispers of the pharaonic age mingle with Roman, Coptic and Islamic traditions in Egypt today. The mix is fascinating. To this end, Egyptian people are both knowledgeable about and proud of their heritage. They also are very friendly. Considering the current political climate, it’s worth noting that we felt safe at all times.

The food was plentiful and delicious. None of our party was sick.

Prices for our trip were quite fair, on the order of $2,400 per person, including hotel, ground transportation, tours, Ibrahim’s services and airfare within the country. International airfare was additional (about $1,800 per person). We started and ended in Cairo.

We could have saved money with somewhat less expensive hotels or a lesser Nile cruise, but we elected not to do so, instead staying at more unique or convenient hotels. As a guide, Ibrahim charges $75 per day (8 a.m.-4 p.m.).

Ibrahim gave us excellent recommendations in every case, and we were very satisfied with his efforts. Traveling alone would not have gone as smoothly, and it certainly would have been much less educational. We highly recommend his services. You can reach Ibrahim Morgan by e-mail at morgan_eg@yahoo.com.

Egypt is a wonderful country. We cannot wait to return.

JAN MUSFELDT
Knoxville, TN