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Advice wanted please (1 Viewer)

Reader

Well-known member
Hi Robert

I am veering towards the Nile Option at the moment. I have to get a quote for it but if it is cheaper than the other quote that is the one I will probably go for.

It looks like some good birding can be done within the confines of where the itinerary takes us, which is a bonus. Whatever I get in and around Hurghada will be an added bonus.

I just need to find some information about sites near the Hurghada area. If I change my mind and revert back to my original thoughts I will look to the taxi's option as that's bound top be far cheaper than hiring a car.

John

I strongly recommend using taxis. In another thread, I posted the contact info to a reliable taxi driver in Sharm el Sheikh both my brother and I have used: http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=182454

And the new edition of Birds of the Middle East was what I used as FG. But mostly, the "Collins" should do for that area. Not sure about the rest of Egypt.
 

Reader

Well-known member
Hi Niels

I have looked in the Collins book and the Thick-knee is in it (but judging by Jos' comments not likely where I will be). The Skimmer isn't but I don't think I will have much of a problem identifying one of those.

There are two forms of L.Whitethroat (other than curruca) in Collins and they are halimodendri & althaea.

I will try and find a species list for the area I am going to and see if Collins includes any, or all of them.

Would a Sooty Falcon be around as early as April? If so that would definitely be a target species for me.

John

I have not been to Hurghada so cannot comment on that, the trip I was on combined the cruise with Sharm el Sheik in Sinai.

I remember on the Kom Ombo stop going up to the temple and having the first Sooty Falcon of the trip come overhead, so if you include the temples, do bring your binoculars (and the historical sites do tend to blow you out of the water even as a dedicated birdwatcher).

I used a combination of the Lars Jonsson guide with Beaman and Madge (this second book stayed in my suitcase, the first in my backpack), and what was not in the first was in the second. I know that Collins have more species than Jonsson without knowing which, but check specifically for Senegal Thick-knee and the Skimmer; if those are included, then probably most other interesting species will also be. Also check for presence of drawings of eastern subspecies of Lesser Whitethroat, I remember those as major confounders (I was there in migration time).

Niels
 

Reader

Well-known member
Thanks Jos

I just need to find out what is around Hurghada for the final seven days but I am favouring this trip at the moment over the one I originally priced up.

Do you have any more info about the area around Hurghada?

John

March and April should both be fine, though I would lean towards April as migration should be in fuller swing. You are also likely to see far more migrants in general taking the Nile option over the Sinai option.

South African guide is basically a waste of time in Egypt, virtually nothing overlapping. Collins is fine for everything, including the few specials of Egypt (also could take 'Birds of the Middle East', but little reason in Egypt (or indeed in Israel or Jordan) as Collins covers them well enough.

Car hire would not be necessary anywhere in the Nile Valley, and taxis not so often. Note, Senegal Thick-knee does not occur widely in the Nile Valley - basically only in north and west of Cairo, or thereabouts. I think no chance on your proposed route. Nile Valley Sunbird however is a doddle in the Aswan area.
 

Jos Stratford

Beast from the East
Thanks Jos

I just need to find out what is around Hurghada for the final seven days but I am favouring this trip at the moment over the one I originally priced up.

Do you have any more info about the area around Hurghada?

John

Hurghada itself nothing special, but I am sure the hotel gardens will attract migrants (the only vegetation in the area), but the coast is very good, especially some of the offshore islands - breeding gulls and terns, Sooty Falcon, etc (but check dates the latter returns).

If seven days around Hurghada seems excessive, local bus can take you back to Luxor where budget accommodation is available, cheap and okay.
 

njlarsen

Gallery Moderator
Opus Editor
Supporter
Barbados
Would a Sooty Falcon be around as early as April? If so that would definitely be a target species for me.

John

John, I honestly don't know, as I was there in the fall. However, the reports I read said it should not have been there at that time either (and I saw a few more), so definitely keep your eyes open.

One important source of information is reading trip reports from the same area, and best from the same time of year.

Note, Senegal Thick-knee does not occur widely in the Nile Valley - basically only in north and west of Cairo, or thereabouts.

There might be a difference in time of year, but we saw a few of those from the boat - and the reports I had read had led me to expect that.

Niels
 

Jos Stratford

Beast from the East
There might be a difference in time of year, but we saw a few of those from the boat - and the reports I had read had led me to expect that.

Okay, I guess I am mistaken - I have only seen them further north and somehow also thought they were restricted to the northern area. That said, I have never taken a Nile cruise.
 

McMadd

You should see the other bloke...
Hurghada itself nothing special...If seven days around Hurghada seems excessive, local bus can take you back to Luxor where budget accommodation is available, cheap and okay.

I did 3 weeks in Egypt & Jordan in '93 so hardly current gen but I'd have to say if you are a non-diver/swimmer Hurghada has limited appeal...it seemed even back then to be geared to the snorkelling type...but I'd agree that taxis & buses aren't hard to find and use...if only I'd been a bit more "back in the game" in those days...just "waking up" from long phasing period...so definately missed some specials due to lack of gen / ignorance!

Go for it and enjoy the archaeology too...it's MEGA!

br
Mark
 

Reader

Well-known member
I would love to do snorkelling but I have major ear problems if I do.

I would have to find out the ferry prices to the islands nearby as they may turn up trumps, plus find out what can be reached by taxi.

John

I did 3 weeks in Egypt & Jordan in '93 so hardly current gen but I'd have to say if you are a non-diver/swimmer Hurghada has limited appeal...it seemed even back then to be geared to the snorkelling type...but I'd agree that taxis & buses aren't hard to find and use...if only I'd been a bit more "back in the game" in those days...just "waking up" from long phasing period...so definately missed some specials due to lack of gen / ignorance!

Go for it and enjoy the archaeology too...it's MEGA!

br
Mark
 

Reader

Well-known member
I have just had a long chat with the holiday company and given them a few extra dates starting from April 20th through to mid may. They are going to ring me back on Sunday afternoon (after the Blues v Villa game) to let me know what the best deals are.

One thing I have noticed is that the car hire is twice as expensive in Hurghada than it is in Sharm El Sheikh.

I will have to check some trip reports to see what is around and determine what can be done by taxi.

John
 

Jos Stratford

Beast from the East
I would have to find out the ferry prices to the islands nearby as they may turn up trumps

There are no ferries, these are sand islands amongst the coral reefs. The easiest way to get to them are to join the snokelling trips that are offered everywhere, checking they go to or near one of the islands (they often, at least used to, stop for lunch on the islands). You do not need to snorkel, just go on the boat and watch the fsh over the side and the birds out and about.
 

Barred Wobbler

Well-known member
John, if the ear problems are your main issue with snorkelling, I wouldn't worry too much, you don't need to dive or submerge at all, being able to swim is sufficient to get you sights you'd never forget. The photos I put on my earlier reply were taken from the surface. If I'd tried really hard, I wouldn't have got the top of my head wet!

The main body of the reef I was on wasn't more than about 4 feet beneath the surface (and I think this is pretty general). If it wasn't for the coral itself it would have been possible to stand up.

I'm attaching a photo of a reef at a snorkelling site at Ras Mohammed to show what I mean. There's typically a level reef just below the surface which runs to a sudden drop-off to deep water.
 

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Reader

Well-known member
Any idea how expensive they are Jos?

John

There are no ferries, these are sand islands amongst the coral reefs. The easiest way to get to them are to join the snokelling trips that are offered everywhere, checking they go to or near one of the islands (they often, at least used to, stop for lunch on the islands). You do not need to snorkel, just go on the boat and watch the fsh over the side and the birds out and about.
 

Reader

Well-known member
I can swim and would love to do a bit of Snorkelling as well.

I was going to check out what was around Hurghada today but I'm off down to near London in a minute after a rather rare Slaty-backed Gull that has just been identified. I will check the Hurghada area out tomorrow to see if there are any sites that can be reached using a taxi.

John

John, if the ear problems are your main issue with snorkelling, I wouldn't worry too much, you don't need to dive or submerge at all, being able to swim is sufficient to get you sights you'd never forget. The photos I put on my earlier reply were taken from the surface. If I'd tried really hard, I wouldn't have got the top of my head wet!

The main body of the reef I was on wasn't more than about 4 feet beneath the surface (and I think this is pretty general). If it wasn't for the coral itself it would have been possible to stand up.

I'm attaching a photo of a reef at a snorkelling site at Ras Mohammed to show what I mean. There's typically a level reef just below the surface which runs to a sudden drop-off to deep water.
 

Sandra (Taylor)

Registered User
Supporter
I wouldn't be interested in the excursions but the places we are visiting could be good for birds. What do you think, especially what looks like two days at Aswan.

John

################


John - you must be interested in the excursions! We've been to Luxor 3 times - Bob has also been twice on his own. We've never hired a car - don't drive in Cairo whatever you do!

We had good birds. Had Senegal thick-knee on Crocodile Island where the Movenpick (Now the Jolie Ville) Hotel is - a 20 mins (?) taxi ride from Luxor. But this yer (Bob got back just before Christmas) there's a lot of remedial work taking place at the hotel and birds weren't as numerous as they had been.

I'm sure you'll make the right choice for yourself

Best wishes

Sandra
 

Reader

Well-known member
If the car prices are anything to go buy they will be twice the price as those in Sharm. Still it could be good value if it turns up something good.

John

The ones in Sharm were starting at around 200 EGP, if I remember correctly.
Not sure what that says about Hurghada,... :)
 

Reader

Well-known member
Hi Sandra

I might be interested but seeing sites like that has never done anything for me before, with the exception of Ephesus in Turkey, but that was way back in 1992 before I took up birding.

When Bob went on his own where did he go and how did he get around?

John

I wouldn't be interested in the excursions but the places we are visiting could be good for birds. What do you think, especially what looks like two days at Aswan.

John

################


John - you must be interested in the excursions! We've been to Luxor 3 times - Bob has also been twice on his own. We've never hired a car - don't drive in Cairo whatever you do!

We had good birds. Had Senegal thick-knee on Crocodile Island where the Movenpick (Now the Jolie Ville) Hotel is - a 20 mins (?) taxi ride from Luxor. But this yer (Bob got back just before Christmas) there's a lot of remedial work taking place at the hotel and birds weren't as numerous as they had been.

I'm sure you'll make the right choice for yourself

Best wishes

Sandra
 

Reader

Well-known member
Having looked at the itineraries and suggestions from BF members, and looking at various trip reports on other sites, the ideal combination would seem be to do the Nile Cruise sometime around Mid March but to then try and get to Sharm El Sheikh for seven days instead of Hurghada.

I have tried to find the best way of doing that and it seems that the ferry from Hurghada to Sharm has been suspended. Does anyone know if that is true?

John
 

NicoleB

Nature addict
I have tried to find the best way of doing that and it seems that the ferry from Hurghada to Sharm has been suspended. Does anyone know if that is true?

John

That ferry is a very insecure (is that the right word?) thing to begin with, even if it runs.
If you need to be back in time at some place, do NOT take it.
If the weather turns bad, they stop running it and you are stuck.
(You could take the public bus back in that case, it would only take you around 8-10 hours ;))
 

Reader

Well-known member
Thanks Nicole

Best not think of doing that then.

John

That ferry is a very insecure (is that the right word?) thing to begin with, even if it runs.
If you need to be back in time at some place, do NOT take it.
If the weather turns bad, they stop running it and you are stuck.
(You could take the public bus back in that case, it would only take you around 8-10 hours ;))
 

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