Cairo Tour Guides

Old Dec 24, 17, 12:58 am
  #1  
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Cairo Tour Guides

RAMASSIDE TOURS

Ramasside came highly recommended, so I booked them for a two day stop in July 2017, while I was on an ex-CAI RTW mileage run.

I posted a lengthy review of Ramasside on Trip Advisor; however, they apparently reported it to Trip Advisor as fraudulent and had it removed. Now I know why they have so many superb reviews! So I rewrote it and am posting it again now. I have all of my correspondence with Ramasside as well as the ticket receipt from EgyptAir to back up my review.

Great Guides: I had only two days in Egypt, so I chose to spend one in Cairo, then flew down to Luxor on the morning of the second, flying back at the end of that day. My guide in Cairo was Moustafa. We saw the Giza Plateau and the Egyptian Museum. I like to take my time seeing antiquities, so that was all there was time for, and I still could use more time at both places. Moustafa picked me up at my hotel (Le Méridien at the Cairo airport) right on time, and we drove through Cairo and across the Nile to Giza and the pyramids. Moustafa provided thorough explanations of everything we saw along the way as well as some interesting discussion of Egyptian history and culture.

We spent most of the time at the Great Pyramid (of Cheops). Moustafa was both patient and knowledgeable. He had good ideas for where to take pictures, but was never pushy about it. He waited outside while I went into the pyramid up to the burial chamber. Once I was back out, we walked around the base of the pyramid a bit, Moustafa explaining various things to me. I took my time, and Moustafa was patient, never tried to rush me. We then drove around to a place behind the pyramid of Menkaure where there is a scenic overlook great for pictures. I declined the proffered camel ride, no pressure at all. I did not go into the two other pyramids (which I will do on my next trip).

Then on to the Egyptian Museum. We did not really stop for lunch because I didn’t want to waste the time, given my very limited time in Cairo. We grabbed a snack from a street vendor near the museum. Moustafa took me through the museum at my pace; and I saw what I wanted to see, skipping much due to time constraints. Again, he seemed knowledgeable and happy to go at my pace. After the museum, Moustafa and the driver delivered me back to my hotel.

On the second day, I flew down to Luxor (more on this trip further down) where I was met at the airport by my guide for the day, Amin. Amin was very much like Moustafa with regard to the way that he managed the day. When we were at a historic location, he explained it to me and then let me go at my own pace. Both were exactly the type of guides I want.

A note about the guides: The guides are not Ramasside employees; they are independent contractors who work for guide services as needed. They may be at Ramasside one day and another tour company the next. In fact, as far as I can tell, Ramasside (and presumably the other guide services, as well) is little more than a booking agent.

Dishonest Management: As I mentioned at the start, I wrote a more lengthy review shortly after my trip in July; but Ramasside didn’t like it and apparently reported to Trip Advisor that it was a fraudulent review and that I had never been a customer; so Trip Advisor eventually removed it. I still have both my correspondence with Ramasside as well as my EgyptAir receipt to back up what I say in this review. It’s easy to get good reviews when you have negative ones removed. Easy, but fundamentally dishonest.

Incompetent Management: Two things happened which led me to question the abilities of management. First, on the second day, when I was flying to Luxor for the day, my flight was scheduled for 8 a.m. departure (MS 485). Ramasside told me that someone would be at my hotel to pick me up at 6:30 a.m. Remember, the hotel was directly across the street from the airport, and there is an enclosed walkway/bridge from the hotel directly into the airport.

At 4:30 that morning, I was awakened by the hotel phone ringing. It was the Ramasside representative calling from the lobby telling me that we had to leave right away for the airport. I reminded him that I was supposed to be picked up at 6:30 and that the flight wasn’t until 8:00; but he said, no, that Ramasside told him that I had to leave for the airport at 4:30. Very quick shower and rush downstairs to the lobby to find the Ramasside rep relaxing on a sofa. He told me that there had been an error in the office, and we didn’t have to leave for the airport until 6:30. Well, OK, everyone makes mistakes, but I'm paying them to manage the logistics, and expect some attention to detail. Anyway, I could hardly go back to sleep at that point, so I went back to my room and did 90 minutes of catching up on email and the like.

The second incident occurred in Luxor. Around 2:20 in the afternoon, Amin (my guide) told me that the tour was complete and that he was taking me back to the airport. Ramasside had scheduled my flight for 8:25 that evening (MS 360). I asked Amin if Ramasside knew that the tour would conclude around 2:30, and he said yes, that was the standard time at which the one day tours normally finish. We went back to the airport and I assumed that I would just try to get on an earlier flight. But there was no earlier flight. To anywhere. In fact, Amin had to negotiate with airport security just to allow me inside the air conditioned terminal, as it was nearly 110º outside. Eventually, after much discussion and a detailed examination of my passport and ticket, I was allowed into the airport to wait the four hours until the ticket counter opened.

If Ramasside had told me that I would have six hours to kill at the airport with nothing to do, I might have opted to stay the night in Luxor and fly back to Cairo the next morning. But I wasn’t offered that choice. It’s my opinion that planning a one day sightseeing tour which includes six hours of dead time at the airport is incompetent and amateurish.

Ripoff Pricing: When I first inquired of Ramasside by email, I asked about a one day Cairo tour including the Giza Plateau and the Egyptian Museum. They responded quickly with comprehensive and detailed information and quoted a price of USD $90. Later, when I realized that I could work an extra day into my schedule, I asked them to add a day in Luxor including roundtrip air between Cairo and Luxor. Now the price jumped to $540. So, if we assume that the cost of the guide for the day in Luxor was approximately the same as the cost for the guide for the day in Cairo (USD $90), that means that Ramasside was charging me $360 for the plane ticket. But the cost of the ticket was only EGP 3,599 including all taxes and fees, which converts to approximately USD $202. (Remember, I still have the ticket printout from EgyptAir reflecting the actual price.) So they marked up the plane ticket nearly 80%?!?!?! They nearly doubled the cost of the ticket! Sure, they’re entitled to make a profit, but this strikes me as predatory pricing, fundamentally unfair and a ripoff.

Overall, while I liked the guides a lot, i must recommend that you AVOID RAMASSIDE. The incompetence and inattention to detail coupled with the predatory pricing make this company a no go for me. And since the same guides are available from numerous other guide companies (since they are all independent contractors), there's no reason not to select one of those other companies.


Update: I have been contacted by the owner of Ramasside, Mohamed Yousef. Through several email exchanges, he said that he spent some time reviewing what happened to me and speaking with his staff about it, and, as a result of what happened to me, has let several of his management staff go, including replacing the General Manager. Additionally, he refunded the entire cost of my tours with Ramasside. Even further, he has offered to personally make any arrangements I would like on my next trip to Egypt. I appreciate his reaching out to me, and his concern for the unfortunate experience I had with his company.
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Last edited by Dr. HFH; Jul 12, 19 at 1:20 am
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Old Dec 26, 17, 7:45 pm
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Sorry to hear you had a bad experience with that company. I too was also in Cairo for two days prior to an ex-CAI RTW trip in June 2017. I used Memphis Tours and was extremely satisfied with them. I stayed at the St. Regis on the Nile (incredible hotel for less than US$150 per night) and was picked up at the airport at midnight with no problems, toward the pyramids in Giza then down to Memphis for a full day, then back to the airport early the third morning for our BA flight. Their guides were extremely knowledgeable and were employed by Memphis Tours so there was never any confusion. Although I never felt unsafe at all anywhere in Cairo they even provided an armed security guard for the day we went out to Giza and Memphis.

Also, I'm in a wheelchair and their van is wheelchair accessible which is a huge plus for me! I highly recommend Memphis Tours and their coordinator Ahmed was fantastic and the prices were all reasonable. I've linked their website above and they have prices for many longer tours, but simply email Ahmed and he will quote you something for a short tour within the city.
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