You are welcome to arrive in Cairo at any time, as today is a designated arrival day with no planned activities. Please make sure that you have informed your G Adventures sales representative or travel agent of your flight arrival details so we can arrange for your arrival transfer to our joining hotel. See Joining Instructions for more information. Please note that there will be an important welcome meeting this evening at our joining hotel. Please check the hotel notice board for more information on the location of this meeting or ask at reception. Please bring your passport and travel insurance documents to this meeting, as you will be required to fill out some important pre-trip admin documents.Your tipping kitty will be collected as this time (please refer to the "tipping" section of these notes for more information) . After learning more about our tour and plans for the following day, you are welcome to join our leader and your travelling companions for an optional dinner nearby. If you arrive early there are plenty of things to see and do in this amazing city. Visit the Saladin Citadel of Cairo one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city, or to really get a feel for the place, get lost in the bazaars and join the locals for a coffee in a local cafe.
Begin the day with one of the real highlights of any trip to Egypt, a visit to the three pyramids of Giza. While once located in remote desert, they now touch the suburbs of modern Cairo. No matter how many photos or documentaries you have seen, your first glimpse of these marvels of the ancient world will take your breath away. As a qualified Egyptologist, your tour leader is able to expertly explain the facts and myths behind these three mammoth works of art. You will also visit the mysterious Sphinx with its lion’s body and man’s face. Time permitting there might be the chance to see inside one of the two smaller pyramids, take a ride around the pyramids on camel back or visit the fascinating Solar Boat Museum with displays on one of the pharaoh’s funerary barges - it may just be the oldest boat in existence! (NB. Extra entrance fees apply to all of these sites/activities) In the evening we transfer to the railway station to board our overnight train to Aswan. Accommodation on the sleeper train is in comfortable twin-share bunk-bed compartments with lockable doors. The beds convert into seats when not in use and luggage is stored under the bottom bunk. Bedding is provided and there is a small wash basin with soap and a towel provided. Shared toilet facilities are at the end of each carriage. A simple “airline style” dinner is provided, but most guests prefer to eat before boarding the train. Non Alcoholic Drinks are available to purchase and there is a bar car for socialising. In the morning you will be brought a simple continental style breakfast around two hours before arrival. Overnight on sleeper train. Estimated Travel Time: Cairo to Aswan, 12hrs (overnight train)
Our train is due to arrive in Aswan early in the morning, but as ever, we should be prepared for "Egypt time"! Aswan has a distinctively African feel to it. Small enough to walk around and graced with the most beautiful setting on the Nile, the pace of life is slow and relaxing. Enjoy some free time in the morning to perhaps browse in the souk, full of the scent and colour of spices, perfumes, scarves and baskets or take a walk along the Nileside corniche and admire the scenery. In the afternoon we board a local boat known as a felucca, to explore this area of the Nile from the water. Crossing to the West Bank, it's time to board our camels for a short hour-long ride to view the ruined sixth century monastery of St. Simeon. Once again boarding our felucca, we sail past the Agha Khan Mausoleum and make a stop at the botanical gardens on Kitchener Island. Later, we visit a Nubian village, where we'll take a walk around the community and there may even be the chance for you to peek into a school, before we enjoy a traditional dinner at a local home. This is a great chance to meet some of the kids of Elephantine Island who will be very happy (and curious) to meet you. There is often music in Nubian houses and your leader may be able to organise some drumming for you. An option on Day 4 is a very early start to head out to the magnificent temple of Abu Simbel. Leaving Aswan at around 4am you travel deep into the desert to the site of these enormous temples, on the shores of Lake Nasser. You can spend around two hours at the temples and then return to Aswan by about 2pm. The round trip drive is around 5 hours. There is also the option to fly to the Temples. Please ask your tour leader for more information on both of these options. With the rest of your day, it is possible to take a half-day tour to visit the Unfinished Obelisk, the High Dam and the island Temple of Philae. You may like to visit the modern Nubian Museum to learn more about Aswan's local people. Ask your tour leader for more details. Overnight in Aswan (2 nights).
This morning we will make our way by private vehicle to Luxor. Our first stop will be Kom Ombo, where you will have the option to explore this scenic temple. Located, right on the banks of the Nile, Kom Ombo was dedicated to the Crocodile God and you can still view the remains of an ancient mummified crocodile, which was worshipped here thousands of years ago. There is also the option to visit the wonderful temple of Edfu. Located in the middle of a bustling village, Edfu Temple, is perhaps the most completely preserved temple in all of Egypt and thus fascinating to wander through. When we arrive in Luxor we will have some time to settle in to the hotel and maybe even a quick dip in the pool before sunset when we jump aboard our horse and carriage for an orientation tour of Luxor. There is an ancient temple right in the centre of Luxor and you'll be able to see how beautiful it looks lit up at night. On Day 6, it's time to cross to the West Bank and have a turn at travelling by "Egyptian Mercedes"- otherwise known as a donkey! You'll be amazed by the huge Colossi of Memnon, giant statues that are all that remains of an ancient temple. Then we head off into the desert, to the Valley of the Kings. Get ready for some narrow passageways as we head down into the Pharaohs' burial chambers. There many wall paintings relate mostly to the Egyptian afterlife. You won't believe how bright the paint is after so many centuries - it could have been painted yesterday! Queens were powerful too in ancient Egypt and the impressive Temple of Queen Hatsheput seems to rise right out of the surrounding rocky stone. We enjoy our lunch at a local restaurant with great views over the Nile before heading back to our hotel in Luxor. Spend the afternoon playing in the pool or go shopping for bargains in the bazzar. On the morning of Day 7, we will find out all the gory details of how mummies are made at the Mummification Musuem. The rest of the day is yours to take a stroll along the Nile Corniche, visit the majestic Karnak Temple or just spend the afternoon playing in the pool at our hotel. In the evening, your tour leader will take you to a local cafe and teach you how to play the game of backgammon, a fun board game, while the older members of the family can take the chance to enjoy an Egyptian coffee and perhaps indulge in smoking a sheesha pipe. Overnight in Luxor (3 nights).
After enjoying an early breakfast, we will travel by private minibus to the Red Sea town of . Upon arrival we'll check-in to our beach resort and the remainder of your time here will be free to relax or enjoy some water sports such as swimming, scuba diving, wind surfing or snorkelling. You might want to head into town for a spot of shopping. Your time is yours to do as little or as much as you and your family decide. Overnight in (3 nights). Estimated Travel Time: Luxor to, 5 hrs
Today we take a short flight back to Cairo. We can't miss the famous Egyptian Museum where we'll get a chance to check out the treasures of Tutankhamun's tomb and you can see what a mummy looks like without its bandages! Khan El Khalili bazaar, in Old Cairo is a bit like Aladdin's cave and a great way to go home with a few treasures as a reminder of your fantastic adventure. On our final night, why not finish up a wonderful adventure with dinner and entertainment sailing on a cruise boat on the Nile. Overnight in Cairo . Estimated Travel Time: Luxor to Cairo, 1hr (flight time)
You are free to depart at any time today. Please note that check-out time from the hotel is normally mid-morning, but luggage storage facilities are available. We are able to organise extra post-trip accommodation if you wish to extend your stay for a few more days. Please ask at the time of booking.