Add an extra special element to your Egyptian holiday by combining it with the magical Abu Simbel Sun Festival. Pyramids and Sphinx, felucca sailing on the Nile, the Valley of the Kings and energetic Cairo all in 10 unforgettable days!
Cairo - Aswan. 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. 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 visit the Temples of Philae, dedicated to the goddess Isis. Upon returning to Aswan we visit a perfume oil emporium. 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.
If sailing by felucca is not your style, consider upgrading to a 5 star luxury Nile Cruise, please see the tab above for prices. For more information about Nile Cruising please click here.
Overnight: Felucca Cruise | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Nile Felucca Sailing. 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. In the afternoon we dock near Kom Ombo and take a motorboat to visit the temple before returning to the felucca for the night.
Overnight: Felucca Cruise | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
We disembark this morning and drive a few hours north too 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. On day 7, Today we explore 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.
Day 8 is a free day for you to explore the wonders of Luxor independently or take advantage of the facilities at the hotel that include a relaxing pool with swim up bar and health and fitness facilities. Tonight, we return by overnight train to Cairo.
Overnight: 1 night Sonesta St George Hotel & 1 night Sleeper Train | Breakfast x 2
Monday 28 Oct 2019. Our Egyptian adventure comes to an end today. Included departure transfer to the airport later today in time for your international flight.
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!
Prices & Dates
Departure dates noted with a 'G' are guaranteed to operate. All other departure dates are guaranteed with a minimum of 2 persons. Prices shown are per person when there are 2 persons sharing a room. The 'Single supplement' applies for single travellers who require their own room and needs to be added to the per person price.Read More
The hotels listed below are ones which we frequently use on this tour. We reserve the right to substitute these hotels to ones of a similar standard.
Holiday Inn Cairo Maadi, Cairo
Overlooking the Nile and offering distant views of the Great Pyramids of Giza, this Holiday Inn provides the perfect location for your stay in Cairo. Each guestroom features a balcony and is well-equipped with modern amenities including free WiFi. Evenings can be spent enjoying international or Egyptian cuisine and unwinding with a cocktail at one of the hotel’s bars. Thanks to the friendly hotel staff, you’ll soon feel at home. And with panoramic views of the city from the rooftop lounge and pool, there’s no better place to base yourself for exploring Egypt’s ancient wonders.
Sleeper Train, Cairo
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.
Mercure Cairo Le Sphinx, Cairo
In a great location for the Pyramids, the Mercure Cairo Le Sphinx is a contemporary hotel with excellent amenities. Guest rooms are well furnished with modern interiors and en suite facilities. Wi-fi is available in the lobby and there is a beautiful outdoor pool, which is perfect for relaxing by. Why not head to the restaurant on the roof for a delicious meal and impressive views of the Pyramids.
Steigenberger Hotel el Tahrir, Cairo
Ideally located in the heart of downtown Cairo, the Steigenberger Hotel El Tahrir is right by the lively Tahrir Square. Guestrooms offer peace and quiet away from the high-energy of the city, with contemporary decor and sound-proofed windows overlooking views of Cairo. The wellness facilities are state-of-the-art, including a fitness centre, outdoor pool and sauna and massage rooms. Be sure to take advantage of the poolside bar and delicious hotel restaurant, or enjoy the option of 24-hour in-room dining.
Basma Hotel, Aswan
Situated on Aswan’s highest hill, the Basma Hotel offers a commanding view over the river Nile and offers comfortable rooms, a lively Nubian bar and an excellent restaurant.
Tolip Hotel, Aswan
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 are 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.
Felucca Sailboat, Felucca Cruise
Feluccas are simple, traditional Egyptian sailboats that have plied the Nile since ancient times. Feluccas carry between 10 - 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. The support boat is also where your meals are prepared and eaten. You'll need to bring a sleeping bag/sheet (or hire for a nominal cost) and a towel with you. The crew, as well as being experienced sailors, are responsible for the preparation of the included meals.
Sonesta St. George Hotel, Luxor
An elegant and luxurious classical hotel, the Sonesta's sophistication will ensure 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. All its rooms offer views of the city or the river, complemented by a wide range of restaurants and cafes. Just minutes away you will find the temples at Luxor and Karnak, home to two of ancient Egypt's most famed sanctuaries.
Steigenberger Nile Palace, Luxor
The Steigenburger Nile Palace is a grand hotel and stylishly furnished, with many rooms overlooking the Nile River. The hotel has a health club with massage rooms, sauna, steam room and fitness room, and a tennis court on the roof, not to mention a riverside pool. Its four restaurants offer a choice between Nubian, Lebanese, Italian, and Thai cuisine.
Prices & Dates
This tour is available with a 5 star Nile Cruise Upgrade. The departure dates and prices below relate to the Nile Cruise Upgrade tour. For details of the Nile Cruise Upgrade tour please refer to the Trip Notes below the tour dates.Read More
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Visiting Egypt had been a lifelong dream of mine and my trip with On the Go exceeded all of my expectations. The ancient sites we visited, the felucca ride and all of the other experiences along the way are things I will never forget. Our guide Alam, an Egyptologist, was extremely knowledgeable, organised and above all a great person. He went above and beyond to ensure the trip ran smoothly and everybody in our group was looked after. Alam really made our trip, he is a wonderful tour guide. Overall I felt very safe in Egypt and would encourage everybody to experience this beautiful country. ”