Jewel of the Nile Sun Festival - 11 days

FROM USD $2,299

Premium Tour. Staying in luxurious hotels and cruising aboard a five star Nile cruiser, see the best of ancient Egypt and get the rare opportunity to witness the grand Sun Festival of King Ramses II at legendary Abu Simbel on this first-class tour.

Day 1: Cairo
Tuesday 14 October 2014. Welcome to Egypt and the start of your holiday! Upon arrival at Cairo airport you will be met by a local representative and transferred to your hotel, located by the Great Pyramids of Giza. Overnight - Cairo
The step pyramid of Saqqara necropolis in Egypt
Cairo - Luxor. Today we visit the legendary pyramids and iconic Sphinx at the Giza Plateau. Sole survivors from the ancient Greek-listed Seven Wonders of the World, the pyramids are the planet’s oldest tourist attraction. Leaving the pyramids behind, we visit a papyrus emporium where you can buy genuine papyrus at quite reasonable prices.

Continuing to the necropolis of 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. Tonight we take an overnight sleeper cabin train south to Luxor. Overnight - Sleeper Train (B, D)
Jewel of the Nile Sun Festival - 11 days Go Guide : :Check out the go guide for details of the tour, info on visas, climate, money, what to bring and more!
Home of the legendary Valley of the Kings and Temple of Karnak, 4000 year old Luxor is ancient Egypt at its very best. Upon arriving in Luxor, we transfer to our hotel for check-in and some rest and relaxation. Later in the afternoon we visit the Temple of Karnak, a spectacular religious complex built on a gigantic scale, where you can get lost wandering around the stone papyrus columns. Tonight we visit to the Temple of Luxor beautifully illuminated after dark. Overnight - Luxor (B)
Luxor - Nile Cruiser. Take flight over Luxor with an optional hot air balloon ride early this morning before we venture to the tomb strewn Valley of the Kings. The massive pair of statues known as the Colossi of Memnon are the first monuments you’ll see during our visit to the West Bank of the River Nile. After touring the famed Valley of the Kings and the colonnaded Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, we return to Luxor for check-in aboard our Nile 5 star cruiser. Overnight - Nile Cruising (B, L, D)
5 star cruising on the River Nile at sunset
Days 5 - 6: The River Nile
Anchor's away! Pull up a deck chair and relax as we ply the River Nile, stopping off at the Temple of Horus at Edfu and the waterside Temple of Kom Ombo en route. On the evening of day 6 we arrive in to Aswan; spend the rest of the evening at leisure. Overnight - Nile Cruiser (B:2, L:2, D:2)
This morning we visit Philae Temple on picturesque Agilkia Island. Later after lunch, we make a stop at the High Dam before taking a felucca boat ride to Elephantine and Kitchener islands. As the sun sets, there will be free time to shop in the colourful souqs and markets of Aswan or simply relax and watch an amazing sunset in Egypt's southern most town. Overnight - Nile Cruiser (B, L, D)
Day 8: Aswan - free time to explore
Nile Cruiser - Aswan. Today we check out of our Nile Cruiser and transfer to our hotel in Aswan for check-in. The day offers free time for you to independently explore the city. Return to the colourful markets of yesterday evening, relax and sip on a cocktail by the hotel pool, or consider taking High Tea at the historic and delightful Old Cataract Hotel.

In the early hours of the morning we embark on our coach journey to the Grand Temples of Abu Simbel. Here we await the first rays of sunlight, signifying the start of the Sun Festival of the mighty King Ramses II. Overnight - Aswan Hotel/ coach journey to Abu Simbel (B)
Abu Simbel lit up at night
Wednesday 22 October 2014. Abu Simbel – Aswan - Cairo. Possibly the most awe-inspiring temple in all ancient Egypt, the great Sun Temple of King Ramses II at Abu Simbel was constructed between 1290 and 1224 BC to revere the mighty pharaonic ruler himself. Ramses the Bold, Ramses the Great, Ramses the Narcissist are perhaps all apt titles for one of ancient Egypt’s most powerful rulers.

Built by Ramses II to demonstrate his political clout and divine backing to the ancient Nubians, Abu Simbel is an incredible self-tribute. Guarding the entrance to the temple, hewn into the side of a mountain, are four colossal statues of the pharaoh himself. 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 a small part of the rest of the temple peeked above the desert sands. It wasn’t until the British happened upon the temple and started excavating that the full glory of Abu Simbel was revealed to the modern world. The other rock cut temple at Abu Simbel is the Temple of Hathor, which is fronted by six massive standing statues. Four of them represent King Ramses II, whilst the other two are of his beloved wife, Queen Nefertari.

In a fit of precision and architectural egotism, Ramses II had the Great Temple carefully angled and oriented in order that the sun’s rays would align 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 phenomenon provides for a most spectacular sight, which has come to be referred to as the Sun Festival of King Ramses II. Crowds assemble in to the temple before sunrise and watch the shafts of light slowly creep through the inner Hypostyle Hall and through to the Sanctuary. Significantly, the sun illuminates statues of Amun-Re, Re-Herakhte and Ramses the god, whilst the statue 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 watching this incredible event unfold we return to Aswan. Here there is time to relax and enjoy the hotel facilities before we board the overnight train for our journey back to Cairo. Enjoy a light dinner in the comfort of your sleeper cabin. Overnight - Sleeper Train (B, D)
Arriving into Cairo we embark on a guided tour of the Egyptian Museum with its impressive array of antiquities. Among the many exhibits are the treasures of King Tutankhamen. Leaving the Egyptian Museum behind we transfer to our hotel for check-in. The afternoon offers free time for you to relax and enjoy the hotel facilities or opt join us for an optional city tour visiting old Cairo and the Islamic citadel. Overnight - Cairo (B)
Day 11: Cairo
Friday 24 October 2014. Our tour concludes after breakfast and included onward departure transfer to airport. (B)

Cruise schedules & hotels

Cairo Accommodation: Your tour includes a first and second stay within greater Cairo. One stay (either first or second) will commence at a hotel located in the Pyramids area and the other will be undertaken in a downtown area. The choice as to which location will be used first and second will be notated upon your tour voucher.

 

 

Tour Details
  • Starts in: Cairo / Ends in: Cairo
  • Departs: 14 October 2014
  • No local payment required
  • Breakfast:10, Lunch: 4, Dinner: 6
  • Hotel Rating: 5 star Superior
  • Tour Guide: Yes, escorted by a tour guide
The On The Go Theatre
On tour in Egypt. Pyramids, Nile cruising, Abu Simbel & Red Sea!

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