Day 1: Arrive Cairo. Arrive at Cairo International Airport under your own arrangements (We recommend the flights offered by bmi and British Airways from London Heathrow). You will be met by our representative then transferred to your hotel. Accommodation: Stay for 3 nights at the Mena House Oberoi (Pyramid View Room, Garden Wing)/Villa Belle Époque (Standard Room).
Day 2: Pyramids and Sphinx. Tour the pyramid complex at Giza this morning with your private Egyptologist guide, then visit the Museum of the Solar Boat and see the enigmatic Sphinx - said to portray the image of the 4th dynasty Pharaoh Kafre. The afternoon will be at leisure.
Day 3: Cairo. After breakfast visit the Egyptian Museum with its incredible collection of antiquities which include the golden treasure of Tutankhamen and the elaborately wrapped mummified Pharaohs in the Royal Mummy Room. This afternoon enjoy a heritage walking tour through the bustling colourful lanes and alleyways of medieval Cairo and the Khan el Khalili Bazaar: a real immersion into the Middle Eastern experience. Next, visit the beautiful mosque of Ibn Tulun Mosque and the little known Gayer-Anderson Museum – a historic house dating from the 18th century.
Day 4: Fly to Luxor, Visit Karnak & Luxor Temples. Today, fly to Luxor with Egypt Air. On arrival you will be transferred to the Winter Palace Hotel – a grand building full of character and old world charm dating from 1882. In the afternoon commence you Luxor sightseeing with a privately guided tour of the stunning temples of Karnak and Luxor on the east bank of the Nile. Accommodation: Stay for 1 night at the Sofitel Winter Palace Hotel (Classic Room, Garden Facing)/Sofitel Winter Palace Hotel (Luxury Room, Garden Facing).
Day 5: Valley of the Kings, Esna Temple, Board Dahabiya. This morning there will be a privately guided visit to the necropolis of Luxor located on the west bank of the Nile. Here you will see the Colossi of Memnon; visit the famed Valley of the Kings; the rock-carved temple of Queen Hatshepsut, and the small beautifully painted sepulchres at Deir el Medina. Next, drive to Esna and board your deluxe Dahabiya.
Following lunch onboard there will be a walking tour to see Esna’s Temple of Khnum. Note on Dahabiya cruise: Sightseeing from the Dahabiya is on a shared basis and is accompanied by an Egyptologist. Boarding and disembarking the Dahabiya requires negotiating small gangways, making the cruise potentially unsuitable for passengers who require assistance or have difficulties with mobility. Overnight: Esna. Accommodation: Stay for 5 nights at the Agatha Christie Dahabiya (Standard Cabin)/Armonia Dahabiya (Standard Cabin).
Day 6: Sail to Edfu, Edfu Temple. Sail to Edfu viewing the tombs and site of El Kab from deck en route. Following lunch onboard, arrive at Edfu, the site of the mythological battle between the gods Horus and Seth. The Temple of Horus here is the best preserved and most complete in Egypt, and is reached by traditional horse-drawn carriage. Late this afternoon sail upstream from Edfu and moor for the night.
Day 7: Gebel Silsila, Arrive Meneh Island. Today there will be a leisurely day’s sailing watching the banks of the Nile go by; green and leafy on one side, and wide with desert hills on the other. This is the timeless and stunning scenery of Upper Egypt. Stop for a BBQ lunch on a Nile island, then continue your journey to Meneh Island. En route view the sandstone quarries and 18th dynasty Speos of Horemheb at Gebel Silsila from deck. Overnight: Meneh Island.
Day 8: Kom Ombo, Arrive Kobaneya Island. Sail to Kom Ombo and visit the temple dedicated to the crocodile-god Sobek and the falcon-headed Horus the Elder, god of the morning sun. In ancient times drugged crocodiles used to slumber here beside the banks of the Nile. After the visit continue your unhurried journey south stopping en route on a Nile island for a BBQ lunch and a chance to swim in the Nile. Overnight: Kobaneya Island.
Day 9: Arrive Aswan, Philae Temple. This morning sail to Aswan. On arrival there will be an excursion to visit the Aswan High Dam and the ‘unfinished obelisk’ lying in the ancient granite quarries of the Pharaohs. Continue your sightseeing at the beautifully located Philae Temple – known as the ‘Pearl of Egypt’ and dedicated to the goddess Isis. The afternoon will be at your leisure in Aswan. Overnight: Aswan.
Day 10: Aswan. Disembark from your Dahabiya for the last time this morning and visit the Nubia Museum. Next, check in at the luxurious Old Cataract Hotel – a grand palatial property designed in the Moorish style and dating back to 1898. The afternoon will be at leisure to relax, enjoy the wonderful view and facilities, and perhaps have tea on the Old Cataract’s famous terrace. Accommodation: Stay for 1 night at the Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Hotel (Premium Garden View Room, Palace Wing)/Sofitel Legend Old Cataract Hotel (Cataract Nile Facing Suite, Palace Wing).
Day 11: Abu Simbel, Fly to Cairo. This morning fly to Abu Simbel with Egypt Air for a guided visit of the enormous rock-cut temples built by Pharaoh Ramses II over 30 centuries ago. For many Abu Simbel is second only to the Great Pyramid in its impressiveness. Following your visit fly with Egypt Air to Cairo. On arrival transfer to your hotel. Accommodation: Stay for 1 night at the Mena House Oberoi (Pyramid View Room, Garden Wing)/Villa Belle Époque (Standard Room).
Day 12: Farewell to Egypt. Transfer to Cairo International Airport and check-in for your onward flight.
*Note on Dahabiyas & sailing itineraries. (i) All sailing programmes are subject to change depending on navigational conditions and the decision of the captain. An element of flexibility with overnight stops, and sailing schedules is the essence of a Dahabiya cruise itinerary and one of its great attractions and selling points. Through being flexible your captain can pick the optimal locations and make sure you enjoy the best possible cruise experience. (ii) Dahabiyas usually do not travel exclusively under sail power and are often towed by a small tug. (iii) Dahabiyas are not licensed to sell alcoholic drinks, although they are permitted to serve them. Two bottles of local wine per couple together with 5 local beers per person a day while on the Dahabiya have been included in the holiday cost. (iv) The cruise itinerary shown is for the Agatha Christie Dahabiya (Sapphire option). The Armonia Dahabiya (Diamond option) operates a slightly different programme of excursions between Ensa and Aswan. Full details are available on request.
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