This 9 day tour, starts and ends in Cairo, Egypt. This Egypt tour is designed to provide a great introduction to some of Egypt's best Pharaonic sites in Cairo and the Nile Valley, with a 3-night luxury Nile cruise and time by the Red Sea at Hurghada also included.
Upon arrival at Cairo airport, we will meet you and assist you with visa formalities and luggage collection, then transfer you to your hotel near the pyramids. Our rep will help you settle in, then the rest of the day is free at your leisure. If your flight lands early, then you could take a first look at the pyramids with an amazing sound and light show, or perhaps head into downtown Cairo for a Nile dinner cruise and show.
Our tour of Egypt begins with a drive to Giza on the outskirts of Cairo to visit the three great pyramids of Egypt and the Sphinx. You'll find your local Egyptologist guide a wealth of knowledge and full of enthusiasm about Egyptian history, and their country in general.
The Great Pyramid of Khufu (Cheops), an awesome man-made structure constructed of giant stone blocks, together with the smaller pyramids of Khafre (Chephern) and Menkaure (Mycerinus), the majestic sight of these enormous structures rising out of the desert is a breathtaking spectacle.
You will have the opportunity to climb down right inside the pyramids if you wish, though your guide cannot accompany you (a limited number of tickets are available for the Great Pyramid).
Following on from the Pyramids we then head to the Egyptian Museum in central Cairo. Home to the fantastic Tutankhamun exhibit and many of the New Kingdom royal mummies, the museum hosts a huge number of other ancient Egyptian artefacts.
In the evening we transfer to the airport for a domestic flight to Aswan, where we are met and transferred to our hotel overlooking the Nile.
We awake this morning on the shores of the Nile in Aswan. Aswan itself is a melting pot of African and Middle Eastern cultures, most easily experienced by wandering through the busy markets. You have some free time this morning to explore, walk along the Corniche on the banks of the river, or take a trip to the Nubian Museum, which has a collection of artefacts from the Nubian people.
We transfer to our Nile Cruise boat for lunch before our tour to the beautiful island temple, the Temple of Philae. Dedicated to Isis it was saved from the rising waters of Lake Nasser and can only be reached by a scenic boat. The rest of the day is free.
There is also an early morning optional visit to the UNESCO world heritage site of Abu Simbel. This amazing site was completely dismantled and rebuilt when Lake Nasser was flooded.
We spend the day today sailing down the Nile, enjoying our time relaxing on the sun deck and and watching rural Egyptian life pass us by. Our first stop is at the beautifully situated riverside dual-temple at Kom Ombo, the home of Sobek, the crocodile god, and Horus, the falcon god, who were worshipped in pre-dynastic times. We then continue sailing on to Temple of Edfu also dedicated to the falcon god, Horus.
This morning we explore the Temple of Horus, the best preserved temple in the whole of Egypt, it has many inscriptions in the Coptic language and is adorned with paintings. We then sail onwards to Luxor, passing through the Esna lock. Luxor is built on and around the ancient site of Thebes, and has the greatest concentration of ancient ruins in the Nile Valley, if not the world. Across the Nile lies the City of the Dead, with its mortuary temples and rock carved tombs. To the east stand the Temples of Luxor and Karnak.
After lunch we'll visit the massive temple of Karnak. It was linked to the town of Luxor by a long sphinx lined avenue. Inside the large courtyard are three temples. The much photographed Hypostyle Hall has an impressive 134 towering columns, each is carved with scenes of gods and pharaohs, and hieroglyphic inscriptions cover the walls.
In the evening we'll take a walking tour of the smaller Luxor Temple, which is in the centre of town and is colourfully lit up by night.
An optional sun rise hot air balloon flight over the west bank of the Nile is available in the morning from Luxor.
Today we cross the River Nile for an early morning tour of Luxor's West Bank. We first visit the Valley of the Kings, whose ancient tombs are one of most important archaeological sites in the world. We will visit several Pharaonic tombs, and then explore the temples of Queen Hatchepsut and Medinat Habu, before stopping at the huge Colossi of Memnon. In the afternoon we drive to the Red Sea resort town of Hurghada where we check into a 4-star resort. Your stay here is on a 'soft all inclusive' basis, with all meals, soft drinks and snacks included but not alcoholic beverages.
Today is free to relax and enjoy your time by the Red Sea. The Hurghada and Makadi Bay area is an excellent place for scuba diving and snorkelling. Other activities available include quad biking, wind surfing, camel rides, kite surfing, sea fishing trips and glass bottomed submarines. Hurghada also has an interesting marina and old town just waiting to be explored. We can also book extra nights in the resort in Hurghada/Makadi Bay if you wish to extend your stay - please contact us for details and prices.
We fly back to Cairo this morning.
In the late afternoon we take a guided walk through the back streets and bazaars in central Cairo. We'll walk through the huge Bab al-Futuh gateway and explore streets dedicated to metalwork, spices, pottery, fabric, jewelery and anything else you can imagine as we gradually enter the more touristy Khan-el-Khalili bazaar. We'll have time for a break to try some tea and a shisha pipe and perhaps enjoy an early dinner of Egypt's unofficial national dish, Kushari.
Finally we visit the evening Al Guri Sufi show at the Wikalat al Ghuri, a 16th centry market place with a domed roof and some beautiful Islamic architecture. A colourful and flamboyant show packs crowds of locals, and some tourists in here twice a week with displays of dervish inspired dance, Sufi vocals and vibrant percussion. This makes a thrilling and entertaining end to our time in Egypt.
During peak periods, when queues and waits to get in can be very long, we may have to arrange an evening event at a hotel or restaurant instead of attending this show.
Today is free for some more sightseeing or a spot of last minute shopping until we take you back to the airport for your departure flight. If you have an evening flight, then the Cairo City Tour and Saqqara, Dashour and Memphis tours can also be done today. Alternatively if you can add extra nights to your time in Cairo you can take a day trip to the colonial city of Alexandria which lies on the Mediterranean coast.