Day 1 - Cairo
Salaam Aleikum! Welcome to Egypt. Wonderfully chaotic and always colourful, Cairo is an intriguing mix of the modern and ancient. You can arrive at any time today, as there are no activities planned. You will meet your group and leader at 8 am on Day 2. For those who arrive early and have free time, there are plenty of things to see and do. Travel along the river by felucca, head out to explore the markets, or, if the hustle and bustle of the city is too much, catch the metro into the oldest part of the city, the Coptic Christian sector. The latter is a haven of peace and quiet, with narrow cobbled streets and beautiful old churches.
Day 2 - Cairo/ overnight train
This morning at 8 am you will meet your leader and the rest of the group. Explore the amazing Pyramids of Giza which have stood tall for 4,500 years. Afterwards, make your way to the Egyptian Museum, home to one of the world's great collections of antiquities. Wander the treasure-filled halls of the museum, and be sure to check out the Mummies Hall (optional) for a close encounter with some of the country’s most important queens and pharaohs. You'll have plenty of time to explore the sites today (approximately 3 hours for the pyramids and 3 hours for the museum). In the evening you will board an overnight train to the southern city of Aswan (approximately 13 hours).
Day 3 - Aswan
Arrive in Aswan in the morning. Here the Nile runs deep and fast between granite rocks as the desert encroaches on the river. Even to travellers in ancient times, Aswan was known as the legendary gateway to the kingdom of Nubia. Today it is still something of a frontier town, where the Arab Middle East meets black Africa. Visiting the packed bazaar is highly recommended – here you'll find exotic spices, carpets, leather goods and countless other wares. Enjoy the sights of donkey carts and men in flowing robes and turbans. In the afternoon there may be time to take a taxi out to visit the Temple of Isis at Philae (optional). There are many other sites to be seen around Aswan and your leader should be able to organise some excursions – perhaps a camel ride or a trip to the Unfinished Obelisk. In the evening you will take a trip across the river to a Nubian village and enjoy dinner at one of the local houses.
Day 4 - Nile Felucca
Perhaps rise early to visit the magnificent temples of Abu Simbel. Alternatively, you can take a camel ride to St Simeon's Monastery for an authentic desert experience. Both of these activities are optional. Later on, you and your family will board feluccas (traditional wooden boats with broad canvas sails) to spend a day out on the Nile river and then a night under the stars. Watching the sun set across the Nile is unforgettable, and this part of the trip is sure to be a highlight. Your Nubian sailing crew will prepare all meals. While there's no cabin or enclosed section on the felucca, a canopy offers shade and protection from the elements. Conditions are basic, and you will sleep outside on the deck on a mattress. While blankets are provided, a sleeping sheet is recommended. There is a very clean toilet on board. During the colder months (October to March) it can get very cold at night (as low as 5°C) so a sleeping bag is highly recommended.
Notes: Slight alterations to the Nile itinerary may be necessary throughout the year, depending on winds and currents. As the felucca is a sailing craft without any outboard engine, if there's no wind it won't travel very far!
Day 5 - Luxor
This morning you will visit the temple at Kom Ombo. The temple is dedicated to two gods: Haroeris (Horus the elder) and the crocodile-headed Sobek, the Egyptian god of the Nile. Check out the many mummified crocodiles on display. On the east bank around Kom Ombo, reclaimed land is fed by canals to keep the desert at bay. It supports not only crops of sugar cane but also a large Nubian community displaced from their homeland by the rising waters of Lake Nasser. Transfer by bus to Luxor (approximately 4 hours), tracing the path of the Nile northward. Upon arrival you'll have time to look around the town's monuments and museum, and it may be possible to visit Karnak temple to witness the memorable sound and light show (optional) which relates its history in dramatic fashion.
Day 6 - Valley of the Kings/Luxor
Visit the ancient tombs of the pharaohs in the Valley of the Kings. Rising early, cross the Nile and drive to the secluded valley where 63 pharaohs were buried as part of their journey to the afterlife. In the company of a local guide you will explore (for approximately 2 hours) some of the exquisitely decorated tombs of these rulers of long ago. It is here that the burial site of the boy-king, Tutankhamun, discovered by British archaeologist Howard Carter in 1922, can be found. This visit to the Valley of the Kings brings to life much of what you saw in the Egyptian Museum. If you'd like to organise a visit to King Tut's tomb today, this can be arranged with advance notice – ask your leader for details. On your way back to the river you can see the funerary temple of Queen Hatshepsut, Egypt's first female ruler, and you'll spend about an hour here. This afternoon you are free to explore Luxor or perhaps just relax by the hotel pool.
Day 7 - Hurghada
Early this morning, take a horse-drawn carriage to the historic temple of Karnak (approximately 1 hour), which you will explore with a local guide. Explore the magnificent Karnak Temple, perhaps the most impressive of all the ancient Pharoahs' monumental works. In the afternoon, bid farewell to the Nile and drive east to Hurghada (approximately 5 hours). The green Nile valley is soon left behind as you head out into the barren Eastern Desert. Passing through rocky hills, the glittering waters of the Red Sea soon come into view and the rugged bulk of the Sinai Peninsula looms through the haze on the opposite shore. A vibrant beach resort, Hurghada is by no means a typical 'adventure destination', and snorkelling here is a great way to round off the trip.
Day 8 - Hurghada
Take to the waves this morning, heading to some offshore reefs where you can swim and snorkel to see the abundance of vividly coloured marine life that inhabit these waters. You'll have around four hours to explore this underwater world. The young ones will love this part of the trip. Afterwards, enjoy some free time to relax. If you've had enough of the sea and sand, you might like to take this opportunity to explore town. In the northern part of town you'll find the proper Egyptian part of the city – this is where the souq is. It's a good place to mingle with the locals and get a sense of everyday life.
Day 9 - Hurghada
You adventure comes to an end. There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart your accommodation at any time. Please check the 'Finishing Point Hotel' section for checkout times and luggage storage possibilities.
Accommodation, Food (as stated), Transport, Selected Activities
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