Want to see everything that Egypt has to offer?! Then this is the trip for you! This encompassing adventure leaves nothing to the imagination and guides you all over the incredible nation of Egypt. See the Pyramids of Giza, venture to ancient Aswan, cruise the Nile on a Felucca, visit Luxor and the valley of the kings and finally rest in Dahab and unwind amidst the beautiful setting of the Red Sea!
Day 1: Cairo. Welcome to Egypt! Once you have got your visa and met our representative, you will be transferred from the airport to our joining hotel in central Cairo. If you have arrived early or a day or two previously, today you are free to explore the bustling heart of this fantastic city. If you’re not sure where to start, ask our representative who will be able to advise you on how to make the most of your time. Overnight Cairo.
Day 2: Overnight Train (Cairo-Aswan). In the morning you will meet your tour leader, who will complete a few formalities and brief you on the tour. The tour entrance fees and tipping kitty (which excludes the optional tip for your Tour Leader and driver) will be collected at this point before heading out for a day of sightseeing. Now it’s off to the Pyramids and famous Sphinx at Giza! One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Pyramid of Cheops stood as the tallest, man-made structure for over 3800 years.
That’s an impressive feat, especially when you consider that in order to have built it in the twenty years it took, 800 tonnes of stone would have to have been laid every day. Most of it was locally quarried but to add to this jaw dropping achievement, the granite in the Kings Chamber came from Aswan which is more than 5000 miles away! Not bad, considering the construction was complete by 2560 BC. We leave the Giza and maybe visit the Papyrus Emporium where you can pick up some authentic papyrus.
Next we visit Saqqara, the necropolis or burial ground for the Ancient Capital of Memphis which is approximately 10.5 square kilometres. Here we find Djoser’s step pyramid, so called due to its rectangular base. Djoser is a well-known Pharaoh of the Third Dynasty of Egypt and rightly so: his was the first of the Pyramids. Later today, having had dinner, we board an overnight train to Aswan (optional sleeper cabin upgrade is available) (Overnight – train), (B1).
Day 3: Aswan. Arriving in Aswan, we check into our hotel, relax a while and then freshen up ready for an excursion to Lake Nasser, the world’s largest artificial lake, and the High Dam which accounts for its creation. We then hop aboard a boat to visit Agilika Island and the Philae Temple which was built for the goddess Isis over an 18 year period from 380 BC. Later in the day, take the opportunity to relax and unwind or why not investigate the shopping opportunities of the local souks and markets. Overnight Aswan, (B2).
Days 4-5: Felucca (Aswan-Kom Ombo). This morning there is an optional trip (by air) to Abu Simbel where you will find two unbelievably huge temples carved in to the rock face. Built during the reign of King Ramesses ll, the magnificent monuments were actually relocated in full in 1968 when Lake Nasser was created. Marvel at the sheer scale of the construction as the benign image of King Ramesses ll stares out over you into the desert – to call it impressive would be something of an understatement! If you opted to stop in Aswan, you won’t be at loss for things to do.
Investigate the shoreline, go shopping or just relax for the morning. We regroup this afternoon to embark on a two night felucca cruise up the Nile, headed for Kom Ombo. A felucca is a traditional sail boat which holds 5-10 people: they have been in use on the Nile since the times of the Pharaohs. We will visit the Temple of Kom Ombo but en route will visit other places of interest and make plenty of stops for a swim and/or toilet break (there are no toilets on board). This really is a wonderful part of your adventure but the timing and therefore the number of stops is, of course, dependent on the winds so please bear this in mind.
You can buy drinks on board; there are cushions for comfort and a canopy to protect you from the sun. As dusk approaches, the feluccas moor up on the riverside and we relax and look forward to a night sleeping under the stars. You’ll need to bring a sleeping bag and towel for this part of the tour. (B 3&4, L 1&2, D 1&2 ) If you are unable to swim, do make your tour leader aware before departing and remember to pack a day bag because your main luggage will be stored beneath the deck.For those that have booked on the 5* Nile Cruiser, you will be given details of your departure in Cairo but the cruise is 3 nights departing either Day 3 or Day 4.
Day 6: Luxor. We disembark the felucca at Kom Ombo and head for Edfu and the Temple of Horus. The temple is one of the last monumental temples built on such a scale and it was constructed in reverence of Horus, one of the most important Egyptian deities. You will see the deity symbolised in the statue of a bird within the grounds. It is excellently preserved and provides a real insight to the architecture of the time. We board the bus again and join a police convoy for drive north to Luxor, the 4000 year old home of the legendary Valley of the Kings and Temple of Karnak. Once we arrive, you can chose to rest up and relax or there is an optional visit to Luxor Temple in the evening which is impressive as it is lit up making for a very evocative mood (this is payable locally). Overnight Luxor, (B5).
Day 7: Bus (Luxor-Dahab). Starting early to avoid the midday sun, we visit the Valley of the Kings on the West Bank. Don’t forget to take some water – we will depart after an early breakfast but the West Bank gets hot quickly. As we approach the West Bank you’ll see the huge Colossi of Memnon towering 18 m high. Then it’s on to the World Heritage Site of the Valley of the Kings, home of the tombs of Ramses ll and the famous King Tutankhamen. Set in the barren cliffs of the Valley, the tombs are decorated with religious images and text.
Get transported back in time as you witness the cunning architecture of the ancients that allowed royalty to be buried with their treasures without fear of being plundered by thieves. Explore some of the tombs before heading on to the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut. One of the most successful, long reigning Pharoahs, Hatshepsut (or ‘Foremost of notable Ladies’) established trade networks, instigated much construction and ordered many expeditions, one of which resulted in the first noted attempts to transplant foreign trees. Her temple is one the most photographed monuments in Egypt.
After Lunch we head to Karnak, a complex that is considered to be the largest ancient religious site in the world. It consists of temples, chapels and other buildings, erected in worship of the Theban gods and set apart from similar sites particularly by the period over which it developed – approximately between 2050 and 30 BC. After the Pyramids at Giza, this is the most visited and arguably impressive site Egypt has to offer. This evening we embark on an overnight bus ride to Dahab, via Hurghada. (B6)
If you would rather not take the bus, there is an optional flight that is available. There is only one flight per day however and therefore limited spaces. Do book in advance or expect to pay a surcharge if booking locally since your bus seat will have already been reserved and will not be refundable.
Days 8-11: Dahab. We arrive in Dahab this morning and are provided with various possibilities to explore, get active or just relax. Optional activities available over the next few days include an excursion to the summit of Mount Sinai and Saint Katherine’s Monastery or for those of a more aquatic disposition; why not opt for the optional excursion to the awesome ‘Blue Hole’ for some snorkelling? (book and pay locally) The Mount Sinai excursion leaves early in the morning during the summer months so that you can enjoy a beautiful Egyptian sunrise at the summit of this sacred mountain.
In the winter months (01 Oct - 30 Mar), this activity is offered as a sunset trek where you visit St Katherine’s Monastery en route to a gorgeous sunset at the summit. Alternatively, you can spend the time enjoying the many bars and restaurants that Dahab has to offer and unwind, reflecting on the tour so far and enjoying the views of the Red Sea. If the snorkelling isn’t enough and you would like to spend more time diving, consider the Red Sea Learn to Dive bolt on: it’s a great way to get even more from this tour! (B 7, 8, 9 & 10).
Day 12: Cairo. Early this morning (about 6 am) we say goodbye to Dahab as we leave to return to Cairo. Once we are there, we visit the Egyptian Museum where you will find treasures abound in one of the most impressive collections in the world. Highlights of the 120, 000 odd pieces include 9 royal mummies (including that of Queen Hatshepsut) and the Gold Mask of King Tutankhamen that he wore upon his burial and is said to actually represent his true identity. As we approach the end of the tour you are free now to relax or hunt down some last minute souvenirs, perhaps at Khan el-Khalili, the local bazaar. Lose yourself in the sights, scents and sounds for the final few hours. Overnight Cairo, (B11).
Day 13: Cairo. Your tour officially finishes after breakfast when you are free to check out of the hotel and get transferred to the airport. (B12) Please note, entrance fees, the tipping kitty and optional activities purchased in Egypt are payable in Egyptian Pounds (EGP) only. Please also note that this tour is operated in conjunction with another company.
Visa Information: All travellers to Egypt must have at least a single entry Eyptian visa prior to entrance (please also ensure your passport is valid for 6 months after your return date). In some cases it's possible to obtain visas on arrival in Egypt, at a cost of $15 USD but to be sure and avoid lengthy ques we advise you organise them in advance of your departure. In addition, all visitors going on to travel in Jordan and then returning to Egypt after must obtain a multi entry visa which, actually has be obtained prior to arrival in Egypt at a cost of $29 USD.
This is very important to organise, but if you do forget there is a final option of obtaining 2 single entry visas on arrival in Egypt instead. You must at least get these as no visas can be obtained in Jordan to get back into Egypt! Once you have obtained your visas simply place them in your passport for your arrival/s. Finally, some passport holders and in particular South African passport holders are actually obliged to obtain an Egyptian visa prior to their departure. Failure to do so will result in them being denied boarding by their carrier. Please also note, visa procurement is the responsibility of the passenger and not Nomadic.
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