Welcome to Egypt! Arrive in Cairo at any time. You will be met at the airport and transferred to our start hotel. As today is an arrival day, no activites are planned until you meet your guide this evening. In the meantime, be sure to get out and explore one of the Middle East's most fascinating cities.
Begin the day with one of the real highlights of any visit 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, the owner of a lion’s body and a man’s face. Depending on time, there may 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 which displays on of the pharaoh’s funerary barges and it may just be the oldest boat in existence! (extra entrance fees apply to all of these sites/activities) In the afternoon we have a guided tour of the Egyptian museum.With over 10,000 pieces from every period of Egyptian history, including the treasures from the tomb of Tutankhamun, the display can be a bit daunting. Your guide will direct you to the most important and magnificent items. There is also plenty of free time for you to explore on your own, including a chance to visit the famed Mummy Room where you can view the ancient remains of some of Egypt’s most important rulers. (extra entrance charges apply) In the evening transfer to the rail station to board an overnight seated train to Aswan. The seats are comfortable and resemble business class airline seats. Lights stay on all evening so you may wish to being an eye-mask and ear plugs. The toilets are at the end of the carriage. Snacks and drinks are available for purchase on board. The journey from Cairo to Aswan usually takes around 12 hours. Overnight on overnight seater train. Estimated Travel Time: Cairo to Aswan, approximately 12 hours by overnight train.
Our train is due to arrive in Aswan early in the morning, but as every be prepared for "Egypt time". Aswan has a distinctively African atmosphere. 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 color of spices, perfumes, scarves and baskets or take a walk along the Nileside cornich and admire the scenery. In the afternoon we board a local sailboat, a felucca, to explore this area of the Nile tour. 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 before enjoy a traditional dinner at a local home. An option on day 4 is a very early start to head out to the magnificent temple of Abu Simbel. You will leave Aswan around 4am and travel deep into the desert to the site of these enormous temples, on the shore of Lake Nasser. Spend around two hours at the temples and then return to Aswan by around 2pm in the afternoon. The round trip drive is around 5 hours. There is also the option to fly to the Temples. Please ask your tour representative about both of these options. With the rest of your day, it is possible to take a half day tour which visits the Unfinished Obelisk, the High Dam and the island Temple of Philae. Ask your tour leader for more details. You may like to visit the modern Nubian Museum to learn more about Aswan's local people. Spend nights three and four in a hotel in Aswan.
From Aswan, we travel by van to the town of Kom Ombo where there is the chance to visit it's famous Temple. In a scenic location, 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. We then continue to Luxor, stopping on route at the town of Edfu. In the middle of a bustling village, Edfu Temple is the most completely preserved temple in all of Egypt and thus fascinating to wander through. On arrival in Luxor this afternoon, we check-in to our hotel and the remainder of the afternoon is yours to explore. Why not hire a horse and carriage (calèche) and take yourself off for an orientation tour. Perhaps take a wander through the bazaar or just relax at a cafe with a small, strong local coffee. Approximate travel time today between Aswan and Luxor including time at the temples is around 4 hours. On Day 6 it's time to cross to the West Bank and travel by "Egyptian Mercedes"- donkey!Be amazed at the mammoth eighteen-metre high, Colossi of Memnon, which are all that remains of an ancient temple. Descend down the narrow rock-hewn corridors and experience the magnificent decoration and design of the tombs of the Pharaohs' at the Valley of the Kings.(entrance fees not included) Testament to the power of the queens in ancient Egypt, the impressive funerary Temple of Queen Hatshepsut seems to rise out of the surrounding limestone outcrops. Spend this afternoon exploring some of what Luxor has to offer. Karnak Temple was the centre of all religious life in ancient Egypt. Built and extended by successive generations of rulers, you can't help but be awed by the massive columns and painted hieroglyphs. Luxor temple, located near the Nile and right in the centre of downtown Luxor is spectacularly lit in the evenings and well worth a visit. Choose to learn all there is to know about the ancient art of embalming by exploring the world's only Mummification Museum, and the small but beautifully presented Luxor Museum, is also well worth a visit. We return to Cairo on the evening of Day 7 by overnight seater train, a journey of approximately 9.5 hours. Overnight Days 5 and 6 in Luxor Overnight Day 7 on overnight seater train Estimated Travel Time: Aswan to Luxor, approximately 4 hours including time spent at temples Luxor to Cairo, approximately 9.5 hours by overnight train.
Our tour concludes on arrival at Cairo train station. **Please do book any international flights out of Cairo until 12:00 noon or later on this day. If you have extra time, take the time to explore this exotic city. Revisit the Egyptian Museum, explore Khan al-Khalili bazaar and watch the world pass by from one of our favourite coffee shops, or perhaps head up to Alexandria - an easy 3 hour train ride from Cairo. We are able to organise extra post-trip accommodation and post tour airport transfers if you wish to extend your stay for a few more days. Please ask at the time of booking.