This action-packed trip takes in some of the world's most remarkable archaeological sites including the Pyramids and Great Sphinx of Giza, as well as a chance to discover the buzz of the capital; Cairo, explore the Valley of the Kings and journey down the Nile. Ancient history - See the pyramids, temples and sphinxes for which Egypt is famed Nile cruise boat - Watch the sun set over the Nile on a luxury cruise from Aswan to Luxor Egyptian life - People watch over a strong coffee in the bustling cities and wave at the curious children playing in the water as you sail down the Nile
Arrive in Cairo, Egypt's vibrant and exhilarating capital. A welcoming place that is home to the best Pharaonic, Coptic and Islamic sites in Egypt; there is an incredible amount to discover here. There are no activities planned today, so you are free to arrive in Cairo at any time. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you'll need to arrive into Cairo International Airport (CAI), which is a 30-45 minute drive to the hotel. As most flights arrive into Cairo late evening, our welcome meeting will take place in the morning of day two at 7.30am after breakfast. If your flight arrives earlier in the day, perhaps you might choose to catch your first glimpse of the mighty Nile River, visit the capital's medieval market at Khan el Khalili or walk down the Nile promenade.
This morning, after our Leader does an inital welcome meeting, we make our way to Giza, where we see the Pyramids and Sphinx; among the most impressive man-made spectacles in the world. We explore the pyramid complex, which includes the Sphinx, a crouching lion with a human head carved from solid rock and the splendid Granite Temple, with a local guide. After the Pyramids, we visit a papyrus institute, where we will learn about the ancient methods of paper making in the Egypt of the Pharaohs. We'll then have a picnic lunch before visiting the Egyptian Museum; a spectacular repository of over 120,000 items encompassing all aspects of ancient Egyptian life, including ornate jewellery and towering granite statues, mummified remains and, of course, the remarkable golden treasures of Tutankhamun himself. This evening we enjoy a traditional meal in a local restaurant.
Today is a free day for optional trips in the capital. This morning there is the opportunity to visit Saqqara, the impressive steppe pyramid/necropolis of Zozer (Djoser) - the earliest of the pyramids of Egypt; whilst this afternoon you can take a trip to Islamic Cairo to visit the illustrious Citadel, one of Saladin's many strongholds during the Crusades period. There will also be the chance to enter one or more of the medieval mosques of Cairo. Alternatively you could use this free time to revisit the vast Egyptian Museum. This evening we depart for Aswan on an overnight train in sleeper compartments. The individual compartments contain a bench seat which converts into bunk beds. The carriage steward sets this up and provides bed linen, blankets and pillows. Each cabin is lockable and has a night light and cupboard that houses a small sink, shelf, mirror, towel and power socket plus there is a removable table top that folds into the wall. Dinner and breakfast are provided by the carriage steward who delivers the meals directly to you. Two western style toilets are located at the end of each carriage and there are is a communal lounge carriage with a bar serving soft drinks.
Aswan is Egypt's most southerly city, traditionally regarded as the frontier post of Upper Egypt. Sited on the east bank, it stands just below the First Cataract and is the meeting point of Arab culture with Nubia and black Africa. Today we have time to explore Aswan and the surrounding area. Our early arrival allows us time to take an optional excursion to the High Dam, Philae Temple marooned on a picturesque island, and the Unfinished Obelisk. Returning to our hotel around lunch time there is time to relax this afternoon and enjoy independent sightseeing. This evening there will be the opportunity to take a motor boat journey to a traditional Nubian village for a home cooked dinner with a family who have been friends for many years! Please note: If visiting the Nubian village, you may like to bring some small gifts for the children such as notebooks and pencils. However, please do not give sweets or money.
After breakfast we offer an optional excursion across to the West Bank to St Simeon's Monastery. We travel here by boat and camel as we head out across the desert. One of the largest Coptic monasteries in Egypt, St Simeon's was built in the 7th century and abandoned in the 13th century. It now sits in isolation at the end of a desert valley, an impressive sight. A 45 minute camel ride brings us to the monastery where we will meet our local guide. After the visit we remount and return along the bank to our boat. We return to Aswan and board a river cruise boat, our home for the next three nights, just in time for lunch. This afternoon is free for you to enjoy the facilities on board and relax, or alternatively take a traditional felucca boat and sail around the Aswan islands including a visit to the Botanical Gardens. This evening's meal is served back on board. Princess Sara II M On board the Princess Sara II M, you'll definitely be travelling in style. The entire top deck is a large seating area with swimming pool, providing a great place to relax and take in the stunning Nile views. The interior comprises several large communal areas; the lounge and bar is a great place to socialise with other passengers. The spacious cabins are spread between three floors - each hosting a king or twin beds, en suite facilities, a TV and mini-bar. All are fitted with air-conditioning and wifi (chargeable). There is also a large restaurant, reading area and several shops on board. Evening entertainment is provided on one night during your cruise.
Today you may like to take a very early morning trip by bus or air to the fabulous rock-hewn temple of Abu Simbel. Cut into the rock face, this enormous structure was raised 61m to save it from floods created by the Aswan High Dam. The 20m high statues represent Ramses II, known as the great builder. We return in time for our cruise to begin and start sailing, heading north (downstream) towards Kom Ombo where we disembark. Situated on the banks of the river, this temple is particularly unique because it is dedicated to two gods; Haroeris and Sobek, the crocodile god. It is thought that this part of the Nile used to have a large crocodile population, hence the dedication to Sobek. This evening, we continue upstream to Edfu city where we overnight.
After breakfast we disembark and visit the extraordinary Temple of Edfu, dating from the time of the Ptolemies (3rd -1st century BC). A sacred falcon-headed god guards the Temple of Horus, which is in almost perfect condition. We return to our boat and sail on to Luxor, arriving in the late afternoon which allows some free time to wander around the souks and busy streets before dinner. Tonight there is the opportunity to experience the Sound and Light Show at Karnak Temple, an incredible display where Karnak and the story of Egypt comes alive.
This morning we disembark for the final time and drop our bags at the hotel before taking a traditional calesh ride (horse drawn carriage) to the Temple of Amun at Karnak, the labour of numerous pharaohs. Built around 2000 BC, this vast temple was still in progress during Cleopatra's reign during the 1st century BC. This afternoon is free to relax after a busy few days or you may like to visit the Workers Tombs and Habu Temple.
Arguably Egypt's most well known site, this morning we visit the Temple of Hatshepsut and the Valley of the Kings. Pharaoh Hatshepsut is believed to be the most successful reigning female power of Egypt, no mean feat during Ancient Egyptian times, and was buried alongside her male counterparts in the Valley of the Kings. Historians throughout modern history offer contrasting information about her reign but walking into the shadow of Hatshepsut's immense temple, which is built into the limestone rock face on Luxor's West Bank, is a key symbol of her achievements. The structure is unexpectedly modern by design and was once linked directly with Karnak Temple on the East Bank. We will then transfer on to the world-famous Valley of the Kings, most well known as the burial site of Tutankhamun discovered in 1922 by British Egyptology Howard Carter, along with another 62 royal tombs. Our visit includes entrance to three of the tombs which will be decided on the day, as many are periodically closed for resting and renovation to protect them. After the three, there will be an option to pay a supplement to visit Tutankhamun's. We arrive back to our hotel in time to relax for the rest of the afternoon, or you may like to take a stroll to the Luxor Temple and Museum, both of which are within easy walking distance of our hotel.
The trip ends after breakfast at our hotel in Luxor. There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart from Luxor at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel, if you wish to explore more of the city before you depart. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you need to depart from Luxor International Airport (LXR), which is 20 minutes\ drive from the hotel.
9 Break Fast(s) 3 Lunch(es) 4 Dinner(s)
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