King Ramses Sun Festival - 13 days

FROM USD $1,629

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!

Day 1: Cairo
Saturday 18 October 2014. Welcome to Egypt! Upon arrival at Cairo airport you will be met and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day is free for you to spend at your own leisure. Overnight - Cairo
Today visit to 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. 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 (B)
King Ramses Sun Festival - 13 days Go Guide : :Check out the go guide for details of the tour, info on visas, climate, money, what to bring and more!
King Zhoser's step pyramid at Saqqara
Day 3: The Egyptian Museum
Cairo - Aswan. Today we embark on a guided tour of the Egyptian Museum, acclaimed for housing the treasures of King Tutankhamen and his famous solid gold funerary mask. After we offer an optional visit the exotic Khan el Khalili Bazaar. It's a top spot to browse and bargain for authentic Egyptian souvenirs, from ornate free-standing tobacco pipes and pharaonic tat, to belly dancing costumes and spices and carpets. Later there will be a chance to have dinner before boarding our overnight train to Aswan, 1st class recliner seats. Sleeper cabin upgrade available. Overnight - Seated Train (B)
Aswan - Abu Simbel. Upon arrival in Aswan we transfer to our hotel for check-in. A visit out of town takes us to the mighty High Dam – a modern feat of engineering, which resulted in the creation of the world’s largest artificial lake, Lake Nasser. This afternoon's highlight is a leisurely boat trip to picturesque Agilika Island where we enjoy a guided tour of Philae Temple - dedicated to the goddess Isis. As the sun sets, there is free time to shop in the colourful souqs and markets or simply relax and watch an amazing sunset in Egypt's southern most town.

In the early hours of the morning we board our coach and travel by convoy to the Grand Temples of Abu Simbel. Upon arrival we will await the first rays of sunlight, which will signify the start of the Sun Festival of the mighty King Ramses II. Overnight - Aswan/Coach journey to Abu Simbel (B)
The rock cut temple of Abu Simbel
Wednesday 22 October 2014. Abu Simbel - Aswan - Nile Felucca Sailing. 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, and in the afternoon we board our wind-powered Nile felucca for a 2-night voyage on the River Nile upstream to Kom Ombo. Felucca’s are simple sailboats based on a unique design and have plied the mighty Nile since ancient times. 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 (B, L, D)
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. Overnight - Felucca Cruise (B, L, D)
Day 7: Kom Ombo & Edfu Temple
Kom Ombo - Edfu - Luxor. Disembarking our felucca, we visit the riverside Temple of Kom Ombo and continue onward to the Temple of Horus at Edfu, before driving north to Luxor. Home of the legendary Valley of the Kings and Temple of Karnak, 4000 year old Luxor is ancient Egypt at its best. After check-in there will be free time to relax and enjoy the hotel's facilities. In the evening there will be an optional excursion to the Temple of Luxor, beautifully illuminated against the night sky (book and pay locally); alternatively spend the evening at your own leisure. Overnight - Luxor (B)
Some of Egypt's beautiful ancient sculptures
Luxor. 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 can lose yourself wandering around the stone papyrus columns. Spend the rest of the evening at your own leisure. Overnight - Luxor (B)
Giftun Island - a great snorkelling spot in Hurghada
Luxor - Hurghada. Departing Luxor we head east to Hurghada part of the beautiful Red Sea Riviera for 3 days on the beach! Overnight - Hurghada (B)
The beautiful harbourside of Hurghada
Days 10 - 11: R&R beachside
The next 2 days are free to spend exploring Hurghada or simply relaxing. There is the option to go snorkelling on day 10 but the rest of the time it's up to you!

Hurghada is one of the Red Sea's most popular resorts and it is easy to see why. Hotels and expanded infrastructure provide holidaymakers with excellent aquatic facilities for sail boarding, yachting, deep-sea fishing, SCUBA diving and snorkeling. Hurghada’s central location provides a gateway to prime offshore reefs, some of which are of the finest in the world. Hurghada also has plenty of good nightlife to choose from. For retail therapy, the town has lots of shops selling knock-off bags and tees, snorkeling gear and suchlike. Just outside Hurghada is an ancient Roman quarry called Mons Porphyritis and Port Safarga – a famously windy place and windsurfer's paradise. Overnight - Hurghada (B:1)
Hurghada - Cairo. After a leisurely breakfast we depart Hurghada and head back to Cairo. The evening offers free time for you head out and explore. Cairo is a hive of activity at night, with most shops, cafes and restaurants staying open till the early hours of the morning. Overnight - Cairo (B)
Day 13: Cairo
Thursday 30 October 2014. Cairo - breakfast. Hotel check out and included onward transfer to airport. (B)

Short on time?

Take a look at our Glory of light tour which takes in the impressive Abu Simbel Sun Festival, the legendary Pyramids of Giza, felucca cruising, Aswan and Luxor - home to the Valley of the Kings and mighty Karnak Temple - all in 9 action packed days!
Tour Details
  • Starts in: Cairo / Ends in: Cairo
  • Departs: 18th October 2014 & 2015
  • No local payment required
  • Breakfast:11, Lunch: 2, Dinner: 2
  • Hotel Rating: 4 - 5 star
  • 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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