Sunday 18 October 2015. Welcome to Egypt! Arrive Cairo, included transfer to hotel and overnight.
Today visit to the stunning pyramids and the Sphinx at Giza Plateau. Sole survivors from the ancient Greek-listed Seven Wonders of the World, the pyramids are the planet’s oldest tourist attraction. Gaze in awe at Cheops (Khufu) - the largest of the three great pyramids. Constructed from over 2.5 million limestone blocks it is thought to have taken more than 20 years to construct. Continuing to Saqqara, we can explore the myriad tombs and temples at this site and see Zhoser’s step pyramid - constructed by Imhotep, the pharaoh’s chief architect in 2700 BC.
Overnight: Cairo | Breakfast
Cairo - Aswan. Today we embark on a guided tour of the Egyptian Museum, acclaimed for its treasures of King Tutankhamen and his famous solid gold funerary mask. Then we offer an optional visit to the exotic Khan el Khalili Bazaar. Later there will be a chance to have dinner before the overnight sleeper train to Aswan.
Overnight: Sleeper Train | Breakfast
Aswan - Abu Simbel. After arrival and check in in Aswan we head off to the grand High Dam - an impressive feat of engineering which resulted in the creation of Lake Nasser. Next we enjoy a boat trip to Agilika Island where we visit the Temples of Philae, dedicated to the goddess Isis. Spend the rest of the day at leisure; shop in the colourful souqs or simply kick back and relax.
Back at the hotel there will be time to rest and recuperate before departing in the early hours of the morning on our coach journey toward the Temples of Abu Simbel. Here we will await the first rays of sunlight to touch the temple gate signifying the start of the Sun Festival of the mighty King Ramses II.
Overnight: Hotel/Coach Journey to Abu Simbel | Breakfast
22 October. Abu Simbel - Aswan - Nile Felucca Cruise. Possibly the most awe-inspiring temple of all ancient Egypt, with its gargantuan rock-cut façade, the great Sun Temple of King Ramses II at Abu Simbel was created to revere the mighty pharaonic ruler King Ramses II. Ramses the Bold, Ramses the Great, Ramses the Narcissist are perhaps all apt titles for one of ancient Egypt’s most powerful rulers. Celebrating a life that spanned nearly a centenary, Ramses had plenty of time for his more than 200 wives and concubines who produced him some 96 sons and 60 daughters.
Built by Ramses II to demonstrate his political clout and divine backing to the ancient Nubians, Abu Simbel is an awesome self-tribute. Guarding the entrance to the temple (built between 1290 and 1224 BC) hewn into the side of a mountain are four famous colossal statues of the pharaoh himself, which sit majestically staring out across the desert. Over the centuries, the desert sands imperceptibly shifted until the temple was all but lost to humanity. It was rediscovered by chance in 1813 by a Swiss explorer called John Lewis Burkhardt. Only one of the heads of the pharaohs was showing and only a small part of the rest of the colossal temple peeked above the desert sands. It wasn’t until the British happened upon Abu Simbel and starting excavating, that the full glory of the temple of Abu Simbel was revealed to the modern world.
The temple was dedicated to the deified Pharaoh, King Ramses II, known also as the great builder and the gods Amun-Re, Re-Herakhte and Ptah. In a fit of precision and architectural egotism, Ramses II had the entire temple precisely positioned in order for the sun’s rays to align just twice a year, on the date of his ascension to the throne (21 February) and on his birthday (21 October) to illuminate the inner sanctum of the temple. This incredible natural phenomenon provides for a most spectacular sight, which has come to be referred to as the Sun Festival of King Ramses II. Crowds pack into the temple before sunrise and watch the shafts of light slowly creeping through the rock hewn inner Hypostyle Hall (replete with further statues of the king) and through to the Sanctuary. As we are lead through the temple there will be time to pause for a moment to watch the sun illuminating the statues of Amun-Re, Re-Herakhte and Ramses the god, whilst the statute of Ptah - the god of darkness - remains in the shadows.
Famously, the temple was re-located in a multi-million dollar operation in 1972, further up from the shoreline of Lake Nasser, which had threatened to erode the foundations of this monolithic temple complex. For this reason, the sun now strikes a day later than Ramses had originally planned, though the event this morning itself is no less stunning. After the event, there will also be plenty of time to explore the Sun Temple of King Ramses II, the Temple of Hathor and take plenty of pictures.
Upon returning to Aswan around noon we board our Nile felucca for a 2 night voyage downstream on the River Nile. Spend the afternoon relaxing on the deck and watching scenes of everyday life on the riverbanks.
If sailing by felucca is not your style, consider upgrading to a 5 star luxury Nile Cruise with our Nile Cruise Upgrade.
Overnight: Felucca Cruise | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Relax, go for a swim or just chill out in the sun on deck. Let your troubles melt away, as the felucca plies its route and Egyptian life carries on all around you.
Overnight: Felucca Cruise | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Kom Ombo - Edfu - Luxor. Disembarking in Kom Ombo we visit the temple before travelling to the Temple of Horus at Edfu, a huge complex that began construction in 237 BC. We then continue to Luxor. Home of the legendary Valley of the Kings and Temple of Karnak, 4000 year-old Luxor is ancient Egypt at its best. Enjoy some rest and relaxation. Tonight, an optional visit to the Temple of Luxor is available, alternatively enjoy the facilities of our hotel.
Overnight: Luxor | Breakfast
Luxor - Cairo. Take flight over ancient Luxor with an optional hot air balloon ride early this morning before exploring the West Bank of the Nile and the legendary Valley of the Kings. Marvel at Colossi of Memnon, the massive stone remains of the temple of Amenophis III, and explore the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut and surrounding tombs.
After lunch we visit the Temple of Karnak, a spectacular religious complex built on a gigantic scale, where you get lost wandering around the stone papyrus columns. Tonight, we return by overnight train to Cairo.
Overnight: Sleeper Train | Breakfast
Monday 26 October 2015. Arrive into Cairo and hotel check-in for day use rooms. The remainder of the day is free time for you to further explore or relax by the hotel pool. Included departure transfer to the airport later today in time for your international flight.
Note: Please ensure that you book a flight departing Cairo after 1pm. This will allow sufficient time to travel from the train station to the airport for those departing early. Alternatively consider booking a night of post tour accommodation. Contact us for further details.
Overnight: Cairo | Breakfast
King Ramses Sun Festival
If you have a little more time on your hands consider our 13 day King Ramses Sun Festival tour. See the mighty pyramids, witness the spectacular Sun Festival at Abu Simbel, then set sail down the Nile onboard a traditional felucca. Followed by sightseeing in Luxor and relaxation on the beach in Hurghada. Bliss!
For all our tours and tailor-made holidays we provide you with a clear categorisation of all hotels we use. The REGIONAL CATEGORY indicates the local rating of each hotel in each respective country. We have also rated each hotel using OUR CATEGORY, which will be in line with generally accepted western hotel grading standards.
Basic hotels and simple accommodation is a no frills option with an adventurous authentic feel.
Standard accommodation equates to a Western 3-star standard, always featuring en-suite rooms and usually a restaurant.
Superior accommodation equates to a Western 4-star standard, featuring en-suite rooms and usually a restaurant and often a swimming pool and/or a fitness centre.
Deluxe accommodation equates to a Western 5-star standard, usually featuring spacious, en-suite rooms, a restaurant, swimming pool and fitness centre and an array of amenities, excellent service and customer care.
Lavish accommodation equates to a Western 5-star plus standard - the creme de la creme. Featuring spacious, en-suite rooms, a restaurant, swimming pool and fitness centre and an array of amenities, this accommodation is a cut above the rest. Sheer opulence!
Just a stone's throw from the Pyramids, the Oasis Hotel is a classic Egyptian hotel with beautiful expansive gardens. Rooms are very spacious with comfortable beds and fantastic en suite facilities. Wi-Fi is available and the buffet breakfast offers a good spread. In the evening the outdoor pool and fountains are lit up making the restaurant and bar the perfect place to spend an evening sipping on a cold glass of beer. Well located in Giza on the Cairo-Alexandria Road. The pyramids and Sphinx are all close by.
When taking the train in Egypt, the most comfortable way to go is in a sleeper carriage. Cabins are equipped with 2 beds (one above the other), a sink, electric points and air conditioning. Each carriage has toilets at each end and there is a club car as well. In the early evening an attendant will come round and make up your beds for you. Cabins also come with interconnecting doors so perfect for families and groups of 4.
Set in manicured gardens, the Helnan Aswan is an elegant hotel with impressive views of the Nile. Guest rooms are spacious with modern interiors and located next to the beautiful pool. Wi-fi is available in the lobby and by the pool. There is also two restaurants and bars, a bowling alley, a swimming pool and a cinema. Why not relax by the pool before exploring the rest of Aswan. The hotel has an excellent location on the Corniche in the heart of Aswan, just a few minutes from the Nile.
Feluccas are simple, traditional Egyptian sailboats that have plied the Nile since ancient times. Feluccas carry between 8 - 12 passengers comfortably. The boat’s deck is draped with soft colourful cushions that serve as your lounging area during the day and as your sleeping area at night. A support boat travels alongside your felucca and is on hand if you need to use the toilet or wash. It is also where your meals are prepared and eaten. You'll need to bring a sleeping bag/sheet and a towel with you. The crew, as well as being experienced sailors, are responsible for the preparation of the included meals, though they welcome helpers!
A grand and classical hotel, the Sonesta is luxurious, ensuring you a comfortable stay. The hotel has a sweeping terrace with fantastic views of the Nile, a grand entrance of polished marble and handsomely appointed furnishings with exquisite detail and a beautiful health spa.
Tipping is not a natural part of many Western cultures and many of us feel uncomfortable, or unsure, about when, or how much, to tip. However, in Egypt, tipping makes up a significant part of many people's wages so it's important that we get it right. For this reason we've developed a very simple system to take all the hassle out of tipping. With our 'tipping made easy' policy, a nominal pre-determined amount is collected from all group tour participants to cover tips en route. This then saves you the hassle of when and how much to tip bellhops, luggage handlers, local guides and other support staff through the tour. Our 'tipping made easy' doesn't include a tip to your group tour leader. Naturally, though, the amount is up to you as tipping is an entirely personal gesture.
I just want to say thank you for everything.
That was the BEST trip I have ever been on. Ever!
We had Waleed as our tour guide and he is phenomenal.
We left three days later and he arranged our transfer for us
back to the airport. Gave us his personal phone number if we needed him...he was so concerned about our safety in Cairo.
Everything was a highlight of the trip for me, but I think
my Egypt moment was going into Abu Simbel when the sun
came up on the Solstice. IT WAS SO INCREDIBLE. With
the drums going and the whirling dervishes dancing there was
so much excitement at that place. Still gives me goose bumps
when I think about it!
Thank you again for everything and you be rest assured that
I will book On the Go for everything I can!! And I will be going
on another one in the future! Not one complaint came out of the
group that we had!!!! ”