Few places on earth capture the imagination of both young and old the way Egypt does with its parched desert landscape dissected by its one eternal river. It’s time to tick some items off your travel bucket list. See the riches of Tutankhamun’s tomb in the Egyptian museum, travel to the pyramids of Giza and cruise the Nile. Egypt is a country of great diversity, from its stunning landscapes and ancient history to the vibrant culture of its cities.
Cairo - Cairo
Arrive at Cairo International Airport where you will be met at the luggage claim by our representative who will lead you through customs and escort you to your waiting vehicle; transferring you to your hotel for an assisted check-in. The rest of the day is at leisure. In the evening there will be a group welcome dinner. D
This morning, we will be greeted by our Egyptologist and head to the Giza plateau where we’ll begin our sightseeing, marveling the sight of the three Great Pyramids of Giza, Cheops (Khufu), Chephren (Khafre), and Mykerinos (Menkaure). One can only imagine the impact these massive structures would have had on ancient travellers seeing them for the first time!
In the afternoon, we will visit The Step Pyramid in Saqqara, a vast and ancient burial ground, and hear about Imhotep, an Egyptian chancellor who was the probable architect of the oldest-known complete stone building in history. Next, we visit Memphis, the capital city of Egypt during the Old Kingdom, founded by the Pharaoh Menes. Look upon the Sphinx, a limestone statue of a mythical creature with the head of a human and the body of a lion, and the immense statue of Ramsesses, also known as Ramesses the Great, who is often regarded as the most celebrated and most powerful pharaoh of the New Kingdom. BL
After Breakfast, we will explore the Egyptian Museum, home to one of the finest collections of Egyptian antiquities in the world. Amongst the museum’s many treasures are those discovered by Howard Carter in 1922 from the tomb of Tutankhamun. Continue to the Citadel that dominated Cairo from its high vantage point on the Mokattam Hills. The Citadel houses several museums and mosques and it’s one of the most visited tourist attractions in Egypt. The highlight of this visit is the great Muhammad Ali mosque, built to imitate the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, it is known for its outstanding beauty and 52-metre high dome.
In the afternoon we’ll walk to Khan El Khalili, which is considered as the largest and oldest Bazaar in Cairo. Built in 1382, it was also known as the Turkish Bazaar during the Ottoman period. Khan El Khalili is a Bazaar lined with tiny shops selling gold, silver, gems, spices, perfume oils, carpets, and leather goods - where bargaining is the name of the game.
This evening we will partake in a cooking class where we will make local food for everyone and then sit down to enjoy our feast together. BLD
Checking out after breakfast from our hotel, we’ll head to Cairo airport for our morning flight to Luxor that will take about 80-90 minutes.
Upon arrival into Luxor Airport we will be transferred directly to our hotel to settle in. The rest of the day is at leisure.
In the evening, we will attend the Sound and Light Show at the Karnak Temple which highlights the dramatic history of ancient Thebes. Walk through the temples as Pharaohs arise to tell their stories of their lives as music and lights flow through the ancient city. B
Early this morning we take a hot air balloon over Luxor exploring this from the air, showing there is more to Egypt than desert. Mid-morning we will head to our cruise vessel and embark on our Nile Cruise, we’ll check-in and have lunch on board.
Afterwards we’ll visit the treasures of Luxor’s East Bank starting with Karnak Temple and its huge hypostyle hall consisting of 134 columns and labyrinthine passageways. BLD
Today we’ll explore the incomparable Valley of the Kings. Walk through the tombs of the ancient Pharaohs and see where the new excavations of tombs for the sons of Ramesses the Great are. Tour the extremely famous, yet rather modest Tomb of the boyking, Pharaoh Tutankhamun (not included), which was made famous by Howard Carter’s discovery in 1922. Visit the valley of the Queens located on the West Bank at Luxor (ancient Thebes). There are between 75 and 80 tombs in the Valley of the Queens, or Biban al-Harim. These belong to Queens of the 18th, 19th and 20th Dynasties of Egypt. Then we’ll continue to the beautiful, almost neo-classical temple of Queen Hatshepsut, the second historically confirmed female Pharaoh. It is magnificently situated at the foot of the sheer cliffs fringing the desert hills, the light-coloured, almost white, sandstone of the temple standing out prominently against the golden yellow and light brown rocks behind. After this sightseeing, we will continue sailing to Esna and sleep overnight onboard in Esna. BLD
Cruise along the luxuriant Nile to Edfu to visit the Temple of Horus and enjoy a short ride by a horse-drawn carriage where you can study the layout of these fabulous Pharaonic structures. Built on the site of an earlier temple, it was dedicated to the sun god Horus, Hathor of Dendera and their son the youthful Harsomtus. Of all the temples in ancient Egypt, the Temple of Horus at Edfu is the most complete and best preserved. The reason is that the temple had been totally submerged under the desert sand except for the very top of the pylon entrance. A small amount of stone had been removed from the exposed part, but when excavated it was found to be in near-perfect condition. Enjoy the fun of “haggling” with the local merchants as you walk from the temple. We’ll then continue sailing to Kom Ombo. And visit the temple, Kom Ombo shared by the two gods, Sobek and Haroeries. Be sure to see the mummified crocodiles and the Nilometer where the priests determined the current year’s taxes! This temple is actually two temples consisting of a Temple to each god, Sobek and Haroeries . It contains two entrances, two courts, two colonnades, two hypostyle halls and two sanctuaries. There were probably even two sets of priests! Afterwards we will sail to Aswan and sleep overnight onboard in Aswan. BLD
Today we visit the High Dam, the granite quarries & the Unfinished Obelisk, and beautiful Philae Temple.
Situated between the Northern border of Egypt and Sudan, the world-famous High Dam was an engineering miracle when it was built in the 1960s. It contains 18 times the material used in the Great Pyramid of Cheops and today it now provides irrigation and electricity for the whole of Egypt. The High Dam added a whole new aspect to Egypt and a new environment as well. The lake is some 500 miles long and at the time it was built, if not now, was the world’s largest artificial lake.
Afterwards continue to the granite quarries. These are the quarries that supplied the ancient Egyptians with most of the hard stone used in the building of the Pyramids, temples and a huge unfinished Obelisk. Then we will cross Lake Nasser by motorboat to the Island of Agilka to see Philae Temple which was dismantled and moved here after it was at risk for being submerged in the rising waters of the Nile. The romantic and majestic aura surrounding the temple complex of Isis on Philae is a must-see for all travellers to Aswan. In the afternoon we will sail by Felucca and view of Agha Khan Mausoleum.
After breakfast, we will disembark from our Nile cruise vessel and be transferred to the airport for a flight to Abu Simbel to visit the superb temples. Pharaoh Ramses II ordered two sun temples to be carved from the limestone mountains at Abu Simbel dating between 1290 and 1124 BC. Here, on the face of the cliffs, stonemasons cut giant figures of the king that radiated power, dominated the landscape, and with their ceaseless stares subjugated all who dared to enter Egypt. Between 1964 and 1968 the entire site was carefully cut, dismantled and relocated to save the temple from the rising waters of Lake Nasser. This temple was positioned in such a way that the rays of the sun would shine upon the sanctuary and illuminate the sculptures on the back wall, except for the statue of Ptah, a god connected with the Underworld, who always remained in the dark. In the afternoon we fly back to Aswan, where we will have a tour of a Nubian village, a place that holds remnants of its ancient people and their traditions. Soak up their history and relax with a traditional Nubian dinner. BD
This morning we fly to Cairo and then enjoy a private coach transfer to Alexandria with our guide. B
Today, we visit the National Museum of Alexandria and then continue to Pompey’s Pillar, this massive yet impressive 25-metre high pink granite column. This single column marks the site of what was once a huge and elaborate temple decorated with precious metals and marble. Afterwards we continue to visit the Catacombs of Kom ash-Shuqqafa, these Catacombs are the largest known Roman burial site in Egypt and were discovered in 1900. They consist of three tiers of tombs and chambers cut into the rock to a depth of about 35 metres. Constructed in the 2nd Century AD, probably as a family crypt, they were later expanded to hold more than 300 corpses. There is even a banquet hall where grieving relatives paid their last respects with a funeral feast. This evening we will have our farewell dinner. BD
After breakfast we will be transferred to Cairo international airport for your forward journey. B