SUN FESTIVAL TOUR: Discover the ancient wonders of Egypt and experience the incredible Abu Simbel Sun Festival in February 2023, on this exciting 11 day tour. Marvel at the Pyramids of Giza and sail the Nile, explore Luxor's tomb-strewn Valley of the Kings and visit Aswan's beautiful Philae Temple. Topped off with an excursion to the incredible rock cut temple of Abu Simbel at sunrise.
Friday 17th February 2023. Welcome to Cairo! You will be met upon arrival and transferred to your hotel. Spend the rest of the day at leisure or those arriving early can opt to join our optional Backstreets of Cairo tour which departs the hotel at 10am. Tonight your Welcome Meeting will be held at 7pm.
Our Egyptian adventure begins with a tour of the legendary 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. Travelling on to Saqqara we explore the many 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 tour the new Grand Egyptian Museum, which houses a giant exhibition containing the treasures of King Tutankhamun. In this incredible 490,000 sq.m complex many of the exhibits are being displayed for the first time and artifacts have been brought together from across Egypt and the world. Then we head over to the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization to visit the fascinating Royal Mummies' Hall, where the mummies of ancient Egyptian kings and queens are on display. This incredible hall contains 20 mummies in total and some are so well preserved that they still have thick locks of hair, visible finger nails and smooth blackened skin.
Returning to the hotel, there's time to relax by the pool before we board the overnight train to Aswan this evening.
Overnight: Sleeper Train | Breakfast
Aswan - Abu Simbel. Arriving into Aswan this morning we enjoy a short boat trip to Agilika Island for a guided tour of the beautiful Philae Temple - dedicated to the goddess Isis. After the temple we visit a perfume oil emporium before spending the rest of the day at leisure.
Day 5 is free for you to shop in the colorful souqs, stroll around the town or simply kick back and relax by the hotel pool. At around midnight we depart for our coach journey to the Temples of Abu Simbel.
Overnight: Aswan Hotel/Coach Journey to Abu Simbel | Breakfast x 2
22 February. Abu Simbel - Aswan - Nile Felucca Cruise. Arriving at Abu Simbel we await the first rays of sunlight to touch the temple gate signifying the start of the Sun Festival of the mighty King Ramses II. With its gargantuan rock-cut façade, the great Sun Temple of King Ramses II at Abu Simbel is simply spectacular. The temple was built to revere the mighty pharaonic ruler King Ramses II and 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.
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. The temple was re-located further up from the shoreline of Lake Nasser in 1972 in order to avoid erosion and due to the move the sun now strikes a day later than Ramses had originally planned.
We gather in the temple before sunrise 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. After the event, there will be plenty of time to explore the Sun Temple of King Ramses II, the Temple of Hathor and take plenty of pictures.
Returning to Aswan around noon we board a traditional Nile felucca for our 2 night voyage downstream on the River Nile.
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 beautifully illuminated at night, alternatively enjoy the facilities of our hotel.
Overnight: Luxor | Breakfast
Luxor - Cairo. This morning we travel over to the West Bank of the Nile to explore the famous 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 27th February 2023. 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 14 day King Ramses Sun Festival Feb 2023 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 marked with a 'G' are operating. All 2023 dates are guaranteed to operate when there are 2 persons booked on the tour. In 2022 a departure is guaranteed with 4 persons. 'Twin Share' prices are per person when there are 2 people sharing a room. 'Single Room' prices are applicable to solo travellers or anyone wanting the privacy of a single room.
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 (not Nile View as standard) 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 travelling on an overnight train in Egypt, sleeper carriages offer the highest level of comfort. Cabins are equipped with two beds (one above the other), a basin, electric points and air conditioning. Freshly laundered bedding is provided and in the early evening an attendant will come round and make up your bed for you. The carriages have toilets at each end and there is a club car which serves snacks and beverages. In the morning a very basic breakfast is provided.
Sonesta Hotel Cairo, Cairo
The Sonesta Hotel & Casino is a sophisticated and luxurious hotel offering spacious, en-suit rooms with opulent furnishings. Enjoy a cocktail at the poolside bar or indulge in a relaxing massage or Turkish steam bath at the full-service spa. With 5 restaurants located within the hotel you'll be spoilt for choice over dining options.
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.
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