Who better to take you on a journey through Egypt’s history than a born-and-bred local and qualified Egyptologist? Ahmed, your local leader, has worked registering hieroglyphic texts on the Pyramids of Giza plateau, and was an inspector in charge of the Cheops and Chephren’ s pyramid complex. Just tell us there aren’t some stories there!. This trip packs an impressive number of highlights in without compromising on comfort and relaxation. A day spent among the incredible Pyramids of Giza is only the beginning.. Karnak is one of the most fascinating temple complexes in the world; by exploring with Ahmed gives you an incredible insight into this structure.. Visit the famed tomb of King Tutankhamun during free time at the Valley of the Kings.
If you’ve ever had a fascination in the ancient gods, goddesses and tombs of Egypt, this in-depth, off-the-beaten-track trip is for you. Beginning and ending in energetic Cairo, stop by the tombs of nobles in Aswan and Luxor, mingle with friendly Nubian locals, visit the rock temples of Abu Simbel and see the final resting place of Osiris – God of the Underworld – at the Abydos Temple. From the famous pyramids of Giza to the less-known Red and Bent Pyramids in Dashur, through the Old Kingdom capital of Memphis and along the winding Nile, your local guide Ahmed (a knowledgable Egyptologist and history buff himself), will take you on a journey through Egypt’s incredible past, landscapes and mythology.
Breakfast Included: 13 Lunches Included: 3 Dinner Included: 6
Welcome to Egypt! When you arrive at Cairo International Airport, you'll be met and transferred to your hotel. As this is simply an arrival day, you may arrive at any time (although please note that hotel rooms are generally only available after midday). While the day is free to explore the city, you'll need to be at the hotel for an important welcome meeting at 6pm with your leader and group. Check the hotel reception for details.
Cairo is one of the great cities of antiquity and its history can perhaps be symbolised by two imposing landmarks – the Pyramids of Giza and the Mosque of Mohammed Ali. In your free time, get out and explore the busy streets of this city of contrasts.
After breakfast start your tour of the Pyramids. The Saqqara complex is located 30 kilometres south of Cairo city. The ancient burial ground is home to the world's oldest step-shaped pyramid. Imhotep constructed the Pyramids for his king Djoser (c.2667-2648 BC) to help his soul ascend to the northern stars.
Drive on to Dahshur across the agricultural plains next to the Western Desert. The area features the famous Bent and Red Pyramids; with its smooth sides, the Red Pyramid marked an important departure from the step-shaped pyramids before it. You'll visit both today.
Continue on to Memphis, which functioned as the ancient capital of Lower Egypt and of the Old Kingdom of Egypt. The modern towns of Dahshur and Saqqara lie within its administrative borders.
Today will be another full day of sightseeing. Our first stop is Giza, home to perhaps the greatest iconic structures ever created by man – the Pyramids and the Sphinx. Instantly familiar yet retaining a mystique and power, these pharaonic tombs are incredible to see up close. There's the option of going inside the Great Pyramid of Khufu (or Cheops), although occasionally it may be closed to visitors.
Next visit the Egyptian Museum, home to one of the world's great collections of ancient treasures. Your expert guide will take you through Egypt's fascinating dynastic history. Afterwards you'll have some free time to explore on your own. You may wish to visit the Royal Mummy Room (this is optional and at extra cost).
Return to your hotel, freshen up, pack your things and transfer to the station for your overnight train to Aswan(approximately 10 hours).
Notes: Sleeping berths (beds and linen) are provided in private cabins and an airline-style dinner will be served. It is worth bringing additional snacks; your tour leader can help you arrange this. Facilities are located at the end of each carriage.
Today you will discover Elephantine Island, situated in the Nile River near Aswan. See the ancient Nilometre, once used to measure the water level of the river, and examine the Egyptian names inscribed into the granite rocks. The best part of visiting the island is walking through Nubian villages, admiring the colourful blue houses and waving hello to the friendly locals.
On the high cliffs opposite Aswan visit the Tombs of the Nobles, a cluster of graves cut into the western bank of the Nile and dating from the Old Kingdom onward.
In the evening you will be invited to visit a Nubian village and enjoy the warm hospitality (and cuisine) of these locals. It|s a unique experience to gain some insight into the daily life of the local people and the chance to become fully immersed in the local culture.
Explore Aswan today, Egypt's southernmost city. Its easygoing charm is due in no small part to its large Nubian population. You might like to visit the beautiful Temple of Isis that was rescued from the rising waters of the Nile and relocated on Philae Island. It's a marvel of decorative pylons featuring some of Egypt's finest carvings – definitely one of the real gems of Upper Egypt.
The rest of your day will be free to wander. The Nubian Bazaar is a must, while the excellent Nubian Museum is recommended by many. The waterfront promenade, or Aswan's 'corniche', runs alongside one of Nile's most appealing stretches and is the perfect place to stop for a mint tea. Watch the waterfront come alive at dusk, as families are out strolling, socialising and relaxing along the corniche.
This morning take a short flight (approximately 45 minutes) from Aswan to Abu Simbel, where you’ll explore some magnificent temples. Built by Ramses II,
With the four gargantuan statues of Ramses guarding the Great Temple, this is one of Egypt's most memorable sights. Return from Abu Simbel and transfer to meet your Nile cruise boat. Enjoy a fantastic mix of relaxation and organised sightseeing on an iconic Nile River cruise to Luxor.
Morning finds you moored near Komombo. This morning take a short walk around the Temple of Sobek (the crocodile-headed god). Sitting picturesquely on the river's edge, the temple provides an interesting insight into the Greco-Roman period.
Later visit the temple of Edfu, a beautifully preserved temple dedicated to Horus, the falcon-headed god. Disembark and explore the temple, then get acquainted with the lively town centre. Returning to the cruise boat, continue travelling upriver, relaxing on the sundeck and taking in the surrounding sights – desert hills forming a backdrop to lush riverbanks, fishermen casting their nets and farmers working the land.
Today there is plenty of time to relax and take in the sights along the nile. You will arrive into Luxor late this afternoon.
EGYPT HOT-AIR BALLOON EXCURSIONS
Notes: Audits were carried out on balloon operators within Egypt to confirm the safety of their operations. Unfortunately we were not able to ascertain the safety standards of these balloon operators - therefore, we are not able to recommend or assist in the booking of any balloon excursions.
This morning, disembark the cruise boat and check into your hotel. Later in the day, transfer to Karnak, one of the world's most celebrated temple complexes which was built over a period of some 200 years. A guided tour of the temple will reveal its finest sections.
Continue to Luxor temple, dedicated to the Gods Amun, Mut, and Khonsu. Luxor Temple was the focus of one of the most important religious festivals in ancient Egypt - the annual Opet Festival
Although the mud brick houses and palaces of ancient Thebes have long since vanished, the stone temples are a poignant reminder of what life would have been like in Pharonic Egypt and very much a part of the skyline of Luxor. Stay for sunset and enjoy the changing colours of the temple and ambiance of the modern day Nile cornice.
For the rest of the evening you are free to relax, shop in the bazaar (open until quite late) or perhaps experience the atmosphere of a local tea house.
Rise early this morning and head into the Valley of the Kings. Buried under the arid hills here are over 60 tombs of pharaohs, many richly decorated with reliefs and paintings. Tutankhamun's final resting place is also located here, and you'll have free time to visit it. Your guide will explain the funerary rites of the ancient Egyptians and significance of the many paintings and hieroglyphics. You'll visit three royal tombs and then continue to the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, set in a spectacular natural amphitheatre. Your final stop is the Colossi of Memnon – giant statues that were once part of an impressive colonnade.
Later in the day, visit the West Bank of Luxor, home to the Medinet Habu Temple. Dating back to the New Kingdom, it was one of the earliest temples where the ancient Egyptian god Amun was worshiped.
Today, drive north of Luxor (approximately 3 hours) to the Abydos Temple, the place where Osiris – god of the Underworld – is believed to be buried. The temple was built by King Seti I, probably one of the least known pharaohs of the New Kingdom period. Despite this fact, Abydos is among the best preserved and most impressive religious structures in all of Egypt.
Later we also visit Dendera and the Temple of Hathor, located approximately 60km north of Luxor. Dendera was an ancient healing centre, similar to a Greek Asklepion or the Catholic Lourdes.
The temple has retained much of its colour and also contains one of the most facinatiing roof chapels dedicated to Osiris with signs of the zodiac on the upper part of the temple.
Visit Deir al-Medina, an ancient village located on the West Bank of Luxor. During the 18th to 20th dynasties of the New Kingdom period, it housed the artisans and workmen who built and decorated the royal tombs of the nearby Valley of the Kings. The workers also built their own – much smaller – tombs in the area.
Another remarkable site on the West Bank are Luxor's own 400 Tombs of the Nobles. The inscriptions inside the tombs are taken from the Book of the Dead in order to guide the nobles through to the afterlife. Later in the day, transfer to the airport and take a short flight back to Cairo with your group.