Our touring in Egypt begins at the oldest structures in existence and one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the amazing Great Pyramids of Giza. We'll visit the nearby Great Sphinx, with the body of a lion and the head of a king, often referred to as the national symbol of Egypt. Our tour will also take us to visit a weaving workshop, with an opportunity to purchase a locally made Egyptian carpet. We'll also discover the ancient capital of Memphis and the Step Pyramid of Sakkara, believed to have been designed by the famous vizier of King Zoser, Imhotep.
Special Experience: Tour the historic Serapeum of Sakkara, the burial place of the Apis bulls. Optional Excursion Taking place on the Giza plateau, you will hear the story of Egypt as seen through the eyes of the Sphinx over the ages and see the breathtaking sight of the floodlit pyramids lit up under the stars. Please Note: you may not be permitted to use video cameras during this performance. 1 hour – from $55pp US. (B)
We'll transfer to Cairo airport today, for a short flight to Aswan, gateway to the incredible history, temples and monuments of Upper Egypt. On a half day tour we visit the High Dam, the picturesque Philae Temple on Agilkia Island and the Unfinished Obelisk. We'll also visit a local store which produces an assortment of aromatic perfumes and oils, along with ornate accessories, all available for purchase. This afternoon we'll relax on a cruise along the Nile on board a traditional felucca sailboat, observing life along the banks of the river as our boat takes advantage of the gentle winds and currents.
Optional Excursion A magical experience visiting Philae Temple at night for the Sound & Light Show. Walk through the dramatically lit temple as its history is narrated. Please note you may not be permitted to use video cameras during this performance. 1.5 hours – from US $55pp (B)
An early start this morning as we cross the desert to Abu Simbel. Our destination is the incredible UNESCO listed twin temples of Abu Simbel. The temples were originally carved out of the mountainside during the reign of Pharaoh Ramses II in the 13th century BC, as a monument to himself and his queen, Nefertari. We will spend a few hours exploring the temples before returning to Aswan to embark the Nile cruise ship. We'll enjoy lunch on board and the afternoon is at your leisure before a Nubian Show this evening.
Optional Excursion Travel by motorboat to a local village, visit a Nubian family and enjoy tea in their home, discovering their simple and natural way of life. The Nubian language is solely a spoken language and is the common feature that characterises Nubian of today and is the centre of their identity. 3 hours – from US $52pp (including camel ride) / US $42pp (without camel ride) (B/L/D)
We'll arrive in Luxor after breakfast. Located on the east bank of the Nile River, the city surrounds two huge, surviving ancient monuments. Our sightseeing begins at the fascinating Karnak Temple, dedicated to the Pharaoh Amun. Approximately 30 pharaohs contributed to the temple's structure over time, which explains its monumental size! We'll then visit Luxor Temple, once connected to Karnak Temple by a 3-kilometre-long Avenue of Sphinxes. Luxor Temple is also home to a 25-metre-tall pink granite obelisk, which was part of a matching pair until the 1830s when one was given to France. It now stands in the centre of the Place de la Concorde in Paris. We'll visit a local gallery to appreciate the ancient artform of papyrus craft, with an opportunity to purchase the artwork to take home.
Special Experience: Tour of Deir El Medina, one of the most well-preserved ancient settlements in Egypt and visit the Nobles tombs of the great dignitaries from the middle & new kingdom dynasties. Optional Excursion Experience the beauty of the Temple of Karnak illuminated against the darkness of night as the pharaohs of the New Kingdom take you on a narrated journey into Ancient Egypt. Please note: you may not be permitted to use video cameras during this performance. 1.5 hours – from US $55pp (B/L/D)
Today we disembark the Nile cruise ship after breakfast and set off to explore the West Bank - the world's largest open-air museum! On a half day tour, our first destination is the Valley of the Kings. Carved deep into the limestone rock, each tomb has a similar pattern of three corridors, an antechamber and a sarcophagus chamber. We'll be able to descend into some of the tombs to see examples of the elaborate and well-preserved hieroglyphic paintings.
Next, we explore the Temple of Hatshepsut. Queen Hatshepsut was one of only a few women to be given the title of pharaoh. We then visit the Colossi of Memnon, a historic landmark consisting of two massive statues of the Pharaoh Amenhotep III. We'll stop at a nearby alabaster workshop to learn how the locally quarried stone is carved and crafted and can purchase a souvenir piece to take home if so inclined. The rest of the afternoon is free to enjoy at leisure.
Optional Excursion Discover the incredible temple complex of Dendera and see one of the best-preserved temples and most important sites of ancient Egypt, the Temple of Hathor (the goddess of pleasure and love). Learn why this iconic deity is represented as a cow with a woman's head. You will see the mud-brick walls that enclose the temple and date back to the Roman era and venture into the Coptic Basilica and the Temple of the Birth of Isis. Learn of the additions made to the structure during Greek, Ptolemy and Roman periods, and the intriguing history of this truly significant place. 5 hours – from $72pp US.
Optional Excursion Don't miss this opportunity for incomparable views of Luxor's famous temples! Enjoy a hot-air balloon ride directly of the Nile River's West Bank. Away from the crowds in the peaceful glow of dawn, your flight over Egypt's ancient monuments promises to be a highlight of your visit. 1.5hrs (includes transport from your hotel) – from US $160pp (B)
Today marks the end of our incredible adventure across Egypt and Jordan. We bid farewell to Egypt and begin our journey home. We hope you leave with fantastic memories! Please note, in order to undertake the following optional tours additional post tour accommodation in Cairo may be required. Please check with your Travel Specialist for details.
Optional Excursion Discover the ancient sites & culture of Coptic Christians throughout Old Cairo. Visit the Hanging Church, possibly the oldest Christian church in Egypt & Abu Serga, a place where the Holy Family rested after fleeing Israel from King Herod. See Ben Ezra Synagogue, one of the oldest synagogues in Egypt. 3 hours - from $52pp US.
Optional Excursion Visit the Gayer Anderson Museum - two houses from the 16th & 17th century built with a unique architectural style & filled with antiques from all over the Middle East. Nearby is the Ibn Toulon Mosque, one of Cairo's biggest mosques, built in the 8th century with strong Persian design influences. The final stop is the El Sultan Hassan Mosque, built in the 13th century & considered one of the best examples of Islamic architecture from that era. 3 hours – from $52pp US.
Optional Excursion Dahshur forms the southernmost area of the Memphis Necropolis & contains a number of pyramid complexes & monuments. This site was used as funerary grounds beginning in the time of the Fourth Dynasty, where King Senefru built two of his three pyramids: the 'Bent' pyramid, named for the angle of the sides, & the 'Red Pyramid' named for the red limestone used in its construction. 2 hours – from $63pp US. (B)
Unlock the mysteries of Egypt's ancient civilisation