Jan 8 2023 Jewels of the Nile tour

** Good: Tour is excellently managed with chartered flights and transportation on time. Coverage of pharonic sites terrific. Mena house, St Regis and the old cataract house exceptional hotels. Tour director more than fantastic, For many people this was their 5 or 6th Tauck tour .
** Bad: Although we wore our masks and washed our hands frequently, I would say most of the people on the trip got an energy draining URI with cough brought from home by other guests. The ill ones did not wear masks to slow spread of illness. Most of guest thought the few of us wearing masks were crazy (before we got ill and afterwards). Unfortunately for the guests that got sick this made the fast pace of the tour a miserable experience. I do not think Tauck could have asked those ill guests to be courteous and wear mask and avoid others as the majority when they got sick did not wear a mask to help slow the spread of the illness. I think the Tauck clientele have a certain mindset. But I guess a winter trip has its risks. There were many nights we just skipped dinner and went to bed.Before ill we had lots of surplus energy.
**Highlights of trip for us:
- Nancy Davies tour director, all of the pharonic sites and special Tauch touches- charters, after hours in the Valley of the kings, sitting on our balcony at the Old Catact enjoying the Aswan NIle view
-The Q&A about non pharonic Egypt with the Cairo guide and the Nile cruise guide
- Our self arranged pretrip 3 nights in London. As we were on west coast time did so to help jet lag. No jet lag until got sick.
- The 2 extra nights pre tour at the Mena house with self arranged tour to Sakkara, Dashur pyramids and Memphis city by" tours by locals" and theexcellent lunch with them. The National Museum of Egyptian Civiliation. It is not the Gem but the 20222 "mummy " museum. Note: the Mena house can arrange car and driver for 4 hours-$82USD. That day was n Egyptian holiday and trouble getting an uber ride.
-Our post trip to the White desert and Bahariya Oasis including a night camping with the Bedouins in the White desert. Bring a duffel/backpack full of warm clothes- hat, gloves and wool socks. Food some of the best on the trip. Tauck said did not offer so went with Marsaalam tours
-What I would have done differently:
You do not have to eat at the "Tauck" tables. Even though I would have missed getting to know some of the people on the trip, I would have chosen to eat away from the group. Being sick and exhausted really detracted from our trip.


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    edited January 2023

    Could you provide more detail about what you saw in Saqqara, Dahshur, and Memphis? Was this a private, custom tour? What tombs or pyramids did you enter and did Tauck also take you to any of the same ones?

    Those three sites are a lot to see in one day! We spent the entire day just in Dahshur and Saqqara.

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    DebbyLA, we are leaving on this trip Jan 31, and the tour starts on Feb 5. THANK YOU for your insights. I will follow your advice and keep myself out from the group, but this will be difficult because it's not our nature. Loved reading your post. Please feel free to add any more details you can think of.

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    AustinGirl -- Don't feel that you have to distance yourself from the group. I've been on several Tauck trips since the world reopened after Covid and I've loved meeting the many friendly, interesting people on the tours.

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    I guess my question is more about whether or not ill guests were asked to test for Covid. An honest cold is one thing, something my H has right now as a matter of fact, but if people are just pretending they don’t have covid or aren’t being tested to accommodate ego over safety would be pretty concerning to me considering the protocols they say they have. Our trip isn’t until March, but I think Im going to stock up on Zicam, which definitely helps a cold but will do absolutely nothing if it’s covid.

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    @MrsMolly - I don't think they can force you to take a Covid test. They would have to have a policy that if they asked you to take a Covid test and you refused, they'd remove you from the tour. I don't think they want to do that.

    I was on a cruise recently and there were people who almost certainly had a mild case of Covid and just continued on. The problem with reporting it to the ship's doctor is that you get quarantined to your cabin until you test negative. I suppose those people felt okay, even with Covid, and didn't want to miss any of the excursions.

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    edited January 2023

    We are on a tour right now, lots of horrible coughs getting more common as the tour goes on, it’s not Covid, it’s RSV, only one of the people is wearing a mask, the others are just coughing away. It really is Everyman for himself.

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    it’s not Covid, it’s RSV

    How did you make your diagnosis?

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    Dear Alan,
    I think Tauck covered the Saqqara highlights well.
    We had wanted to see Dashur, Memphis, apis bull Serapeum and some of the other pyramids and mastaba so arranged a private tour with "tours by local" Alaa Neel $195 for up to 7 persons. It worked out very well, She is highly educated as are her parents. She just got engaged so we got to hear about engagement and marriage customs as the husband has to own a house before proposing marriage. We also enjoyed hearing about a woman's view of Egyptian society.
    We saw all the things on the Tauck tour and in addition a t the Step pyramid saw the western side of the chapels of the Sed festival and north and south egypt temples, saw the mastaba of Kagemni,
    Dashur- bent, black and red temples up close.
    Burial chamber Serapeum of the apis bulls with its sarcophagi
    Memphis open air museum- statuary up close enough to touch including Hathor with cow ears, Stunning enormous alabaster Sphinx reported to have the head of Hatsheput and and indoor pavilion with a 34 foot long statue of Ramses II lying on its back- can walk around or see from a gallery above.
    You cannot see everything in Egypt in one trip. I think Tauck covered this well in an afternoon!
    It is the 29 of Jan and we have finally stopped needing to sleep 12 hr a day (maybe some due to jet lag) and just stopped blowing our noses constantly. Our friends here in LA said it was going around here when we were gone. They never miss work and many said too tired to go to work for a week or more. Not Covid. Oh well, so is life.

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    Thanks Debby!

    We spent an entire day at Dahshur and Saqqara and still didn't see it all. In Dahshur, we decided not to walk from the bent to the black pyramid since it is not open (it has a number of burial chambers, the only pyramid with chambers for the king and his queens) and I got decent shots of it from the bent pyramid. When we were about to leave Dahshur for Saqqara, our guide asked if I wanted to enter the bent pyramid. I hadn't planned on it but said, why not! It was a climb!- I had to back down the whole way because the long, deep entrance tunnel was steep and had a low ceiling. I read both the access and burial chambers are similar to those in the red pyramid.

    We saw almost everything I had planned in Saqqara, and more. Just south of the step pyramid, I was surprised to see a section of Unas' pyramid-valley temple causeway that had a section with the roof intact. I also saw what looked like two boat pits like those in Giza. We confirmed it after close examination- our guide didn't know they were there! You can see all three features in Google Maps Satellite view (see photo and link below.) I had wanted to enter the step pyramid, too but it was too late. Upon further research I learned it has over 3 mi. of subterranean corridors and chambers so we would only have been able to see a small fraction of them. We would have also gone to Memphis if we finished early at Saqqara, not even close! I could spend another day or more there!

    Causeway, Pyramid of Unas, Saqqara

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