HOTEL MANAGER: Mohamed Redwan
Mohamed has done excellent jobs in hotel management for the past 12 years at the Beshmo and Hot Springs hotels in Bahariya. Mohamed earned his Bachelor's degree from the Faculty of Education at al-Azhar University in Cairo. After teaching at al-Azhar he returned to Bahariya to work in hotel management and teaching English. He has been with the Bedouin Castle since it opened in 2011.
IT MANAGER: Mahmoud Nasser
Mahmoud is an expert at website building and other various IT and hotel management. He earned his Bachelor's and Master's degrees from Hewan University in computer science and security. He previously worked for the government in Exports and Imports mainly from the United Arab Emirates and Argentina, as well as in the hotel industry working for 6 years at the Beshmo Lodge. Mahmoud is very familiar with Egypt's Western Desert as he served in the army's desert mapping project for 3 years. He is proficient in English, Spanish, and Arabic.
SAFARI MANAGER: Amer Ahmed
Amer has been taking people on desert safaris for the past 18 years. He is an expert driver and knows all areas of the Western Desert. He has a great personality, his English is fluent, and he is a terrific desert cook. His family is from Bahariya having moved here from Dakhla and Siwa.
CHEFS and COOKS: Ali and Hamooda
Ali has worked for over 10 years at Oasis hotels both in restaurant service and in the kitchen, while Hamooda spent several years working as chef in Oasis hotels and for the Greenland company, where he served over 200 people daily.
Erin moved to Egypt in 2004 after completing an archaeo-astronomical survey of 37 temples and beginning work as the Cairo Business Manager for Ancient Egypt Research Associates. As an archaeologist, she has been Field Director and surveyor in 4 surveys and excavations in Greece, Italy, Turkey, Tunisia and Egypt. She has earned her graduate and post-graduate degrees in the United States and England. Dr. Erin has extensive business and hospitality experience as she owned and operated an exclusive restaurant and nightclub in the San Francisco Bay Area, and organized and housed from 40 to 100 Foreign and Egyptian workers in her tenure as Cairo Business Manager. She is an excellent guide in both Egypt's deserts and Nile Valley antiquities.
Nadr and Dr. Erin have been working together designing, constructing, and furnishing the Bedouin Castle since 2010. Since then, Nadr and Erin have worked together assembling crews, training in hospitality and advertising. Nadr Kilani is an invaluable asset to the hotel as he handles all Egyptian promotion and Tour reservations and purchases for both the desert safaris and Nile antiquities tours. Nadr and his family for the past 4 generations have lived in the Bahariya Oasis. Nadr has worked in the hotel and safari business for many years after returning from Libya where he managed an Italian restaurant equipment manufacturing company.
Traveling in Egypt
– PASSPORTS: Before entering Egypt, make sure that you passport will be valid for 6 months begining from the first date of your visit.
– VISAS: Egypt requires a tourist visa for outside guests. Please check with your embassy to see what is required. For most Western travelers (US, Europe, Australia, Canada), a visa can be acquired at the Cairo airport upon arrival. Upon entering the terminal from your plane, there will be a series of kiosks who sell Egypt tourist visas. The cost is $20 US, and it is best to pay in US dollars; For example: if you pay in Euro, you will pay 20 Euros (general equivalent of $30 USD).
– VISA EXTENSIONS:Airport visas are good for 30 days. Extensions can be acquired at the Government building (Magamma) on Tahrir Square.
2. ALCOHOL, ILLEGAL DRUGS, AND PRESCRIPTION DRUGS
– HARD ALCOHOL: Visitors are allowed to purchase up to four bottles of imported liquor from the airport before you depart. If you leave the airport and still want to purchase imported liquor, you have 48 hours from the time of entry to Egypt to purchase at a Duty-Free shop in Cairo, Luxor, or Aswan. Egyptian liquor is available at all times, but we caution visitors to purchase the imports, as local liquor usually makes guests ill. The price of imported is usually less that what you will pay in England, for example. Both types of liquor are available at the bars of most large hotels.
– BEER AND WINE: Can be purchased in all large cities. The best (and least expensive) place is Drinkees.
– DRUGS & PRESECRIPTIONS: Do NOT bring illegal drugs or attempt to buy them in Egypt. Prescription drugs are OK but must come in pharmacy bottle (with label).
3. TAXIS, BUSES, AND CURRENCY
–TAXIS: Airport taxis to local hotels and other destinations are readily available at the airport; fares vary on destinations. Cairo airport to the Rameses Hilton is about LE 70; Cairo airport to Giza's Mena House is about LE 100. Taxis from Giza to the Egyptian Museum are about LE 70. Prices will differ based on gasoline cost (which has been steadily rising). MAKE SURE you bargain with your driver; if he doesn't set the price before you leave, then pay what YOU feel is correct at the end.
– BIG BUSES & MICROBUSES TO DISTRICTS OUTSIDE GREATER CAIRO: There are several different bus and microbus stations, Turgoman, Ramses, Moneeb, etc. At Moneeb, you will find microbuses on the west side of the station, and big buses (+ ticket booths) on the east side. Microbus fares are purchased directly from the drivers. Microbuses sit 17 people and do not leave on a set schedule, only when the bus is full. Cost for a foreigner from Moneeb to the Bahariya Oasis is LE 40 for both types of transportation. Once again, prices may vary slightly due to rising gasoline costs..
–MONEY & CREDIT CARDS: Credit cards (Visa, mostly) are accepted at most major hotels and shops catering to tourists. Carry cash at all times as Egypt is a cash-based economy. Traveler's checks are difficult to cash so it is best to bring your ATM bank card, which is best to use in big cities as local areas run out of cash.
– MAJOR & MINOR HOTELS & RESTAURANTS At major hotels, the tip is usually included in your bill for meals outside of a BB, or Half and Full Board packages. Check at the bottom for 'service charge.' For hotels giving you a BB, HB, or FB package, tipping for all employees is done when settling the final bill. It can be paid collectively to the manager, or personally to the employees.
– TRANSPORTATION TIPSAre not necessary for taxis, trains, microbuses, big buses, or when transportation is included in your travel package, except for safari jeep drivers. Remember: tips are "gratuities" – do not feel obligated to tip if you are dissatisfied.
– ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE TIPS While it is customary to tip your guide (no obligation if dissatisfied), on most archaeological sites there are pan-handlers who are very persistent for tips for no-service at all ("Look, that is a pyramid!" 5 pounds). If you tip them, then they – and others, will follow you everywhere.
– GENERAL:ALWAYS get a card from your hotel with its name, address, and phone number, preferably in Arabic, so if you go out on your own, the taxi driver will know where your hotel is. Do not carry a purse that can be easily opened by a pick-pocket. In all the ten years that I have lived here, no one has pick-pocketed me, and I have heard of few circumstances of this occurring. Stay in well-known, well-lit areas. Just use the same common sense that you would in most countries.
– SPECIFIC:Since 2011, I have not had a stranger or a group assault me. But I do certain things that ALL foreigners should follow: I stay away from demonstrations and do not get involved in any causes. I do not take pictures of angry people, demonstrations, or of women in traditional areas. In civilized areas I wear loose pants and shirts, that cover my lower legs and shoulders (its more comfortable and offers better "sunscreen" in hot weather anyway). Shorts are not a problem in the desert. The Bedouin Castle is constantly updated on any security threats in Egypt, and we take all of the necessary precautions to guide our guests out of security-risk areas.
6. WHAT TO BRING:
– Hats (sun), suncreen, dark glasses, flashlights, jackets or layered clothes from November to March (especially December through February), cameras (videos are welcome but sometimes there are extra fees at archaeological sites to use them), mosquito repellent, personal prescription drugs, zip-lock bags for electrical/computer devices (to prevent damage by sand), swimsuits (hotels/hot springs) and asprin if you need it (foreign brands are stronger than local brands).
Bedouin Castle: Hotel, Safari, Nile Tours © 2013