Egypt Sacred Tour
English speaking only
March 25 – April 1
English speaking & Japanese translation
French speaking & English translation
Watch the replay recording of the Egypt Q&A Webinar for current information and answers to many questions.
Additional Questions Answered from the Webinar
Can you pay the visa cost with a credit card, or is it required in cash? If cash, what countries’ cash is accepted?
They will only accept USD and EUR. No credit cards
If a flight gets delayed and arrival is different from what was sent how do we communicate that to someone?
The tour company will be tracking your flights and aware of any changes. They will be there holding a Sai Maa Trip sign whenever you arrive.
If we arrive a day or more early, I understand the tour guide will meet us at the airport. Will they then take us to the Marriott Mena?
The tour company will help you through customs and applying for your visa. You will have to Uber to the Hotel Mena.
Who should we contact at our arrival at the Cairo airport?
There will be someone from the tour company waiting for you with a sign that says Sai Maa Trip in the passport control area.
If we arrive the day before, stay at the airport hotel, can we return to the airport on day 1 to get a ride to Marriott Mena?
Does the Le Meridien airport hotel have an airport shuttle if we arrive early?
It is connected to the airport so you can walk there through a tunnel.
How do I book additional nights at the hotel?
You may go online and book what you need.
How are roommates determined if I don’t know anybody going during my dates?
We will be matching up participants.
Dress code for the cruise?
You may dress modestly. There may be a gala dinner one night and you are welcome to dress up for this occasion.
What kind of shoes do we need?
A good tennis shoe will be sufficient for the days we are walking.
Does the participant give the $80 to the tour guide or is this given to Sai Maa staff?
Sai Maa’s staff will tell you at the orientation meeting when you need to turn in your $80. Do not give it to anyone before then.
Can you pay for meals with a credit card?
How many meals are we on our own?
How much cash do you recommend for the full trip?
You have to pay for your visa – $25 USD, and tips for the various events – $80 USD in cash. Additionally, cash may be needed for the market and individual tipping (toilets, hotel staff, etc). There will be ATMs available throughout the tour.
Are we the only ones on the cruise?
Is it okay to wear a bathing suit?
Is bottled water included?
The tour company has an endless supply of bottled water.
How will Sai Maa be interacting with us?
We don’t know for sure. There is plenty of space on the top floor of the cruise for gatherings.
What activities will Maa attend with us?
There is no schedule yet.
Is there an official telegram group for this tour?
There will be. This information will be emailed to you soon.
The Tour Company
If you would like to use the tour company for help with additional travel, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with your requests.
Arrival & Departure
Arrive in Cairo Airport (CAI) on Day 1 (first day)
Schedule your flight to arrive before 5pm
Departure from Cairo Airport (CAI) on Day 8 (last day)
You are welcome to extend your trip on your own personal time and expenses.
Physical Components for Egypt Sacred Tour
This will be a physically demanding tour. If you do not meet all these physical requirements, there may be portions of the tour you will not be able to participate in, including going into the pyramid or the walks to the temples. On the boat cruise portion, you can stay on the boat while the rest of the group walks to the temples.
- Can walk long distances at a brisk pace
- Can walk on sand (not flat surface; can be rocky also)
- Can walk/climb in the pyramid while bent/stooped over – cannot stand up straight for several hundred feet
- Can walk a few dozen feet in a narrow tunnel
- Can handle tight spaces without getting claustrophobic (some paths/tunnels in the pyramids are narrow)
- Can handle excessive heat, as it can be very hot inside the Pyramids
- 24 hours after registration – Photocopy of your passport with your photo page & signature uploaded here
- 24 hours after registration – Roommate Request Form completed (if not already done)
- Wednesday, March 1 – (after registration) Provide the details of your arrival and departure flights to/from the Cairo Airport here
Egypt Tourist Visa Required
You will need a visa and passport to enter the country.
You can purchase an Egypt Tourist Visa in the Cairo Airport. To do so, please bring a valid passport for at least 6 months past your return date with at least 1 blank page. Visa on arrival fee is 25 USD in cash.
Important Documents to Have When Traveling
- A copy of your visa, passport, and round trip flight itinerary. Make sure your passport is signed and has not expired and valid at least six months after your date of return in Egypt.
- Bring the credit card, or copy of the credit card your plane tickets were purchased with. If the ticket was purchased with someone else’s card, have a letter from that individual/organization stating this, along with a photocopy of the front and back of the credit card that was used.
- Immunizations are not required. Please consult your healthcare provider for his/her recommendations regarding immunizations and any medical advice. It is advisable to bring a printed copy of any allergies to medications.
Travel Information for Egypt
Weather: During the month of March, the average temperature is 63°F and April it is 70°F
Language: Egyptian Arabic – Here’s a link to some useful phrases. https://www.fodors.com/language/arabic/basic-phrases
WiFi: Free WiFi will be available in the hotel and on the cruise.
Money: Egyptian Pound (EGP) – The current exchange rate is $1USD to 27.20EGP. You can check the exchange rate here. https://www.xe.com/currencyconverter/convert/?Amount=1&From=USD&To=EGP
US dollars are accepted as well. You can withdraw money from the ATM or exchange money at the hotel. Credit cards are accepted at most places with the exception of the markets/street vendors. Let your bank and credit card company know you are traveling abroad before departure.
Also, make a copy of all your cards (both sides) and put in a separate location from your wallet. In the event that your wallet is stolen, you will have a copy of all the cards in it to cancel and replace them. Most of the expenses are pre-paid on the tour, but you will need some cash for gifts, snacks, tipping etc.
Plugs: Egypt has two types of plugs – C and F. You will need a plug converter to plug in your electronics. However, these do not convert the voltage. Egypt uses 220V and 50Hz. Make sure your electronics will adapt the voltage from 110V to 220V or you will need a voltage converter. Most cell phone, tablet, and laptop chargers run on either voltage, so you will only need a plug converter. All the hotels (and cruise) have hair dryers, but if you bring additional hair tools, you’ll need to check the voltage. Here’s a good resource. https://www.worldtravelplugadapter.com/egypt/
Cell phone: You can buy a local SIM card at Cairo airport for around USD20. If you would like to add an international plan with your service provider before departure many providers offer this option.
Clothing: Bring casual clothes that are comfortable and provide protection from the sun. It is suggested to bring quick drying, UV protection clothing for the day and casual clothes for the evenings at the hotel.
Dress conservatively – Cover shoulders, cleavage, and knees and bring a scarf to cover head inside mosques. Comfortable footwear is essential – hiking boots/sneakers for trekking through the sand and sandals/flip flops for the hotel. Below is a packing list. You can send out laundry at the hotels which will take a day to be returned. Laundry is also available on the cruise, for an additional charge of $3-$5 USD per piece.
Passport: Your passport must be valid for 6 months after your date of return. Make a copy and store it separately from your passport in case of emergency.
Vaccinations/Testing: Not required to Enter Egypt.
Arrival in Cairo/Visa: When your flight lands in Cairo, you will follow the signs to the passport control area. Here you will be met by a representative of the tour company holding a sign SAI MAA TRIP, who will help you purchase your visa. You will need $25USD and your passport. Then you will be escorted through passport control and onto baggage claim. Once you have your luggage, you will be transported to the hotel.
Security: There is a security guard who will travel with us at all times. This is standard practice in Egypt. We will always have a driver, guide, and security guard with us. All of the sites in Egypt have police and military presence to protect the site and the tourists. When you enter a site or hotel, you will walk through a metal detector and bags will go through an x-ray machine or be inspected. Also, we will drive through security checkpoints on the roads.
Toilets: There is a toilet on the bus and toilets at the entrances to most sites. For the public toilets, bring your own toilet paper/tissues. You will need to tip the attendant 5 EGP to use the toilet.
Tipping: The tour company will collect tipping money from each of us (as mentioned in the itinerary) and distribute as appropriate. Please bring $80 USD for the gratuities/tipping.
Photography: Photos outside/inside are permitted. Please do not take any photos of Her Holiness Sai Maa without first receiving permission.
Food/Drink: Egyptian food is a delicious blend of Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and African cuisines. There’s fresh fruit (pomegranates, guava, dates), vegetables (tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant), legumes (chickpeas, fava beans, lentils), hummus, kebab, falafel, pita bread, baklava, and hibiscus tea. Our tour guide’s favorite dish is koshari, a chickpea/pasta/rice/tomato sauce casserole. Avoid raw unpeeled vegetables or fruits since they could have been washed in water. It is better to eat cooked vegetables and fruits or those that can be peeled. Only drink bottled water from sealed bottles and use it to brush your teeth as well. Do not order ice for drinks. When showering or washing your face, be careful not to drink the water or get it in your eyes. Most meals are included in the tour, however, you may want to bring some snacks.
Shopping: At the markets and with street vendors, haggling is expected. Keep in mind that this is the seller’s livelihood, but be prepared to bargain. At the stores, the prices are set. There are lots of unique gifts to purchase: papyrus scrolls, scarabs, gold cartouche with your name in hieroglyphs, alabaster items, spices, healing oils, cotton clothing, rugs, chocolate, jewelry, and inlaid wood items. Our Guide will help you also to get the quality gifts.
Patience: Sometimes, things change. Just be patient and know that it will all be sorted out by the tour company. We are going to have a fabulous adventure!
Travel Packing List
Itinerary for 8-day Tour
4 nights on the Nile on our own luxury cruise ship – M.S. Mayflower
1 night at Le Meridien Cairo Airport Hotel
- Day 1 – Arrival – Cairo
- Day 2 – Giza Pyramids / Sphinx / Egyptian Museum Cairo
- Day 3 – Fly to Luxor, Visit Karnak & Luxor Temples – Cruise Day 1
- Day 4 – Valley of the Kings & Hatshepsut Temple – Cruise Day 2
- Day 5 – Edfu & Kom Ombo Temples – Cruise Day 3
- Day 6 – Abu Simbel Temple / Felucca Rise – Cruise Day 4
- Day 7 – Disembarkation / Philae Temple / Fly back to Cairo – Cruise Day 5
- Day 8 – Departure – Cairo
Included in the Tour Package
- Meet and Assist by tour company representatives at all Airports.
- Domestic flight tickets Cairo to Luxor and Aswan to Cairo.
- Private Luxury air-conditioned vehicles throughout.
- All Airport Transfers as mentioned.
- Baggage Transfers.
- 2 Night’s accommodation at the 5* Marriott Mena Hotel in Cairo.
- 4 Night’s accommodation in 5* Nile Cruise M.S. Mayflower based on Full Board.
- 1 Night accommodation at the 5* Le Meridien Cairo airport hotel.
- Complimentary shuttle from the airport hotel to airport terminal for departure.
- Entrance Fees to all the sites mentioned in the itinerary.
- Private Visit to the Pyramids.
- Private Visit to the Sphinx.
- Private Visit to the Isis Temple.
- All meals on the cruise and breakfasts in Cairo.
- Service of an Egyptologist guide on a private tour throughout your trip.
- Unlimited bottles of water during the sightseeing and meals.
- 24 hour “Emergency” Hotline.
- All Taxes and VAT.
Not Included in the Tour Package
- Flights to and from Egypt.
- Entry visa to Egypt of $25 USD.
- Any extra meals or drinks that are not mentioned in the itinerary.
- Travel & Health Insurance & Items of personal nature.
- Gratuities/Tipping, approximately $80 USD per person (collected by the Tour company after arrival).
A Few Articles to Read