Saturday 18 February 2017. Welcome to Egypt and the start of your holiday. Arrive Cairo airport and included transfer to your hotel.
Cairo - Aswan. Today we visit the stunning pyramids and the iconic 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. Leaving the pyramids behind, we visit a government supervised 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. Later there is a chance to relax, freshen up and have dinner before boarding the overnight sleeper train to Aswan.
Overnight: Sleeper Train | Breakfast
Arrive Aswan and transfer to our hotel. Spend the day at leisure, enjoying the facilities of the hotel. Later, free time to explore Egypt's southern most city on your own. This evening we'll head to the colourful local souq (market) for a little bargain hunting. The lively night market offers comic entertainment as the sellers go about the business of hocking their wares. The market also offers an extensive array of cotton products, spices, wooden and copper ornaments, alabaster statues, beaded jewellery and mother of pearl trinkets at some of the best prices in the country.
Overnight: Aswan | Breakfast
Aswan - Abu Simbel. Today we enjoy a short boat trip to Agilika Island where we visit the picturesque Philae Temple, dedicated to the goddess Isis.
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: Overnight – hotel/ coach journey to Abu Simbel | Breakfast
22 February 2017. 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 downstream 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 Nile Cruise with our Nile Cruise Upgrade. Our Nile cruise upgrade is offered from day 4 (prior to travelling to Abu Simbel) and ends on day 7.
Overnight: Felucca | 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.
Overnight: Felucca | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Kom Ombo Temple & Edfu temple
Nile Felucca Sailing - 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
Upon arrival in Cairo we transfer to our hotel for check-in. In the mid-morning we depart for our guided tour of the Egyptian Museum. See the famous Tutankhamen Gallery and opt to see the Royal Mummies. This afternoon is free for you to further explore the city.
Overnight: Cairo | Breakfast
Monday 27 February 2017. Cairo. Our tour concludes after breakfast, hotel check out and onward departure transfer to the airport.
Upgrade to a 5 star Sun Festival tour!
Ramses Sunrise - 11 days | Staying in some of Egypt's smartest hotels and cruising aboard a luxury 5 star Nile cruiser, you'll see the best of legendary Egypt and witness the grand Sun Festival of King Ramses II at Abu Simbel!
Prices & Dates
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!
Oasis Hotel, Cairo
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.
Helnan Aswan, 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. The hotel has an excellent location on the Corniche in the heart of Aswan, just a few minutes from the Nile.
Felucca Cruise, Felucca Cruise
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.
Steigenberger Nile Palace, Luxor
The Steigenburger Nile Palace is a grand hotel and stylishly furnished. The hotel has a health club with massage rooms, sauna, steam room and fitness room and there is a tennis court on the roof. The hotel is situated on the banks of the Nile, with the train station is 1.5 kilometres away and the airport 10 kilometres away.
Sonesta St. George Hotel, Luxor
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.
Radisson Blu Hotel, Cairo
Radisson Blu offers a rooftop pool with panoramic Cairo views. Providing spacious, well appointed guest rooms, the hotel is the perfect oasis for guests visiting the city.
Le Meridien Heliopolis, Cairo
Just a short drive from Cairo’s Old Town and international airport, the 5-star Le Meridien Heliopolis combines comfort with convenience. The guest rooms are spacious and equipped with air-conditioning, satellite television and a minibar, plus there’s complimentary WiFi throughout the property. Dining options include a choice of four on-site restaurants, serving Egyptian and international cuisine. Guests can also enjoy live entertainment and cocktails at The 51 Bar. During the warmer months hotel guests can take a dip in the outdoor pool or relax on a sun lounger on the terrace. There’s also a fitness centre and tennis courts for those who like to stay active whilst on holiday.
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.
Not enough space here. Dino was a fantastic guide.Answered all of my questions, (yes lots of them) satisfactorily. His humor is an added bonus. Fun. Very well spoken. Picked up on our Aussie lingo easily and actually understood it. Very entertaining and informative. The tour was well organised. I got to live a dream. ”