Ever thought of visiting Egypt or did you think it was inaccessible, well think again, I recently visited
Luxor for 14 days, booking a standard brochure holiday through Thomas cook, the hotel was not listed as being wheelchair accessible but a phone call confirms it was ok, other hotels in luxor are listed as being fine too, getting around the streets is not to much a problem, taxi drivers adapt well and are very helpful, most shops are on level ground and I encountered few steps into these.
Visiting the sites, this is where I employed the services of EGYPT FOR ALL who I found on the internet before leaving, I arranged via email with these a program of trips, much the same as are available by tour rep, the added bonus is these guys WILL get you around.
Sherif the guy who set up the company flew down from Cairo to meet me in my hotel, we arranged the times for the trips and had a drink with him later on in the evening (nice guy) I must say they were very well organised, this put me at ease with the plans ahead.
After a days relaxing at the hotel our program began, first we decided to start of slow with the smaller trips, remember one thing Egypt is very hot even in September, try to space out trips to avoid overkill, we decided to use the first week of our holiday to see the sites giving us the second week to relax and shop around the town.
Feluka on the Nile at sunset Ok off we go a sailboat on the Nile, no problem here the guys carried me in my chair safely onto the boat, they arranged for the boat to pick us up at the hotel jetty, this was very enjoyable and the best was to see the sunset on the west bank. (recommended)
Luxor temple This you could probably do by yourself with a helper or spouse, but using these guys leaves ree to enjoy the sites and not to be constantly coming to your aid getting over rough areas,
the guide was included and a driver and pusher, this leaves you free to take pictures or video. ( recommended)
Karnak and karnak light and sound This is split in two half's early morning visit to karnak temple with guide and pusher, Karnak is slightly more uneven ground than Luxor temple, the help of a pusher was handy enabling me to video the area guide was informative. We returned to karnak on the evening for the light and sound show, this is where you realise the help of these guys is needed, the show is split up into 4 stages, each moving forward to different areas of the temple, with the help of Egypt for all staff we moved in advance of the main crowd, there knowledge was invaluable, communication between temple staff would have been difficult without this help. (not to be missed)
Valley of the kings/Queens plus hachepsuts temple This is where I though I would encounter most of my problems, first we went to valley of the kings 3 tombs were accessible with help from the guys, guide was good also, king tuts is not but your companion can purchase a separate ticket and go see, we moved onto valley of the queens and entered one tomb, after a short drive we arrived at hachepsuts temple towering into the mountains behind, two huge ramps and stairways were easily climbed with the help of two pushers, one person would have serious difficulty getting you up here alone, the crew proved more than helpful on this trip enabling me to see more than I imagined I could. (Wonderful)
Abydos and dendera full day trip this one, starting with 6am pick up at hotel, meeting convoy at luxor town for 3 hour drive to Abydos , on arrival I entered the main temple after being carried down steps and up another set, all areas were accessible with help, at this point we ate our packed lunch after the temple tour, I needed to get into toilets and the guys carried me down the steps in my chair no probs, we continued on to Dendera which was also very good, the guys arranged a table to be set up outside the cafeteria for us after the tour to sit in the shade and have a drink. (Don't miss this)
Luxor museum 90% accessible only the lower gallery has steps, once again the guys from Egypt for all helped me into this area, no guides allowed in museum but the guys lingered around answering any questions we had. (Small but interesting museum)
Overall I was surprised how much of the area I actually got to see, if your thinking of going to Egypt be aware that most historic sites are littered with steps and on uneven ground, employing the likes of EGYPT FOR ALL is a must if you want to see the sites and not just sit waiting for your partner , these guys know where you can get, they also know the needs of the disabled traveller i.e. toilet stops etc.
EGYPT FOR ALL cover a wide choice of disabled tours in Egypt, they also can customise your package tour booked in the U.K , don't hestitate to contact them on anything you require from site seeing to diving in the red sea or even desert safari trips.
For any information on the above holiday please contact me for details on how I got on, Egypt is a worthwhile trip as long as you make plans before you arrive.
Mick Riley (paraplegic) phone: 01827 59142 or 01827 286973. for advice and info..
www.egyptforall.com or http://www.accessible-egypt.com/ firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com