Abu Simbal is awesome. Try and go on the second flight instead of the first. There are a lot fewer people on that second flight. At least, that is what we found. 3/4 of our group went on the first flight. A bunch of us had confirmed for the trip and been told it was cancelled, so they got us on the second flight. Comparing the two trips, ours was a lot better.
I am going to guess that tourism is down enough that you will have many of the temples to yourself.
I don't think you will be allowed to go off on your own. At least, we were not. We even had to take a guard with us when we went to the Hard Rock in Cairo. There are rules on how many foreigners are allowed on buses, to prevent the bus from being targetted, and in public places. We were accompanied by a guard with a poorly hidden automatic rifle at all times. After a terrorist attack in the region, our bus was tailed by several cars filled with military and we had more guards on the bus.
With all that is happening now and an overall desire to avoid bad PR in the West, I will be very surprised if you are allowed to wander on your own.
Last edited by ProfCrash; 11-14-2012 at 10:10 AM.