Ancient Civilisations Explored

  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • Dates
  • Dragoman

As the title suggests, this trip really explores the ancient cultures of Northern Africa. It travels between Cairo and Addis Ababa, two of Africa's great modern day cities. But along the way it passes through the lands and history of three great cultures.

The most obvious is the land of Ancient Egypt, and we have over 18 days to explore the Egyptian Nile Valley and it's myriad of ancient relics, such as the Pyramids of Giza and Saqqara, Thebes, Luxor and the Valley of the Kings, Aswan and of course Abu Simbel. We also make time to explore the Nile by an overnight Felucca trip.

The next of the great cultures is the least known, the Kushite Kingdom of Sudan's Nubian Desert and this is where we really come into our own, as our overland vehicle and camping equipment, allow us to camp out in the desert at some of Africa's finest ruins. Finally, we have over three weeks to really get to grips with Northern Ethiopia, its mountains, deserts and its wonderfully ancient Christian culture.

Highlights
  • See the mummy of Rameses II in the Cairo Museum
  • Guided tour of the pyramids, tombs and other wonders of Egypt
  • Explore the ancient city of Alexandria
  • See the famous Suez canal
  • Relax on the beach of the Red Sea resort, Marsa Alam
  • Marvel at the incredible sights of Luxor
  • Explore the royal tombs in the Valley of the Kings
  • Guided tour of the Temple of Horus at Edfu
  • Enjoy an overnight trip in a traditional felucca on the river Nile
  • 2 days in Aswan to explore the history and sights
  • Marvel at the temples of Rameses and Nefetari at Abu Simbel
  • Wild camp in the Sahara desert of Sudan
  • Guided visit of the Meroe pryamids
  • Wander around the bustling and fascinating city of Khartoum
Tour Staff
Two Dragoman Crew Members, Local Guides where necessary
Transport
Overland Expedition Vehicle, Private Bus, Ferry, Boat
Destinations
  • Africa
  • Middle East
  • Egypt
  • Ethiopia
  • Sudan
Tour Types
  • Adventure
  • Overland
  • Discovery
  • History
  • Local Living
  • Cultural
  • Attraction-Based Hikes
  • Diving
  • Dolphin Watching
  • Eco
  • GAP Year
  • Trekking
  • Walking
  • Historical
  • Jeep & 4WD
  • Local Guide
  • Mountain Hikes
  • Wildlife
  • Overland truck
  • Sightseeing
  • Snorkelling
  • Walking Tour
Day Cairo

Border Information: if joining in Cairo, you will most likely enter Egypt at Cairo International Airport (IATA code: CAI).

There will be an important group meeting at 10:00am at the joining hotel - please look out at the hotel reception for a note from your leader with more details about this important meeting. Your leader will need to check your Sudanese visa or make sure the necessary preparations have been done to pick your visa up in Cairo or Aswan. They will also need to check the Ethiopian visas of anyone going beyond Khartoum.

In the afternoon we will have an included half-day guided visit to the Egyptian Museum. We will go to the museum by metro or by taxi, and be shown around the vast and breathtaking collection of historical relics and treasures, including the sarcophagus of Akhenaten, the mummy of Ramses II and of course the incredible golden mask of Tutankhamun!

Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Cairo before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Cairo.

Location: Cairo

Day Cairo

Today we will set off in a local chartered minibus for an included full-day guided tour to Memphis, the pyramids at Saqqara, the Great Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx.

We will aim to be back in Cairo for around 4:00pm today.

Location: Cairo

Day Alexandria

Today we will start our journey by travelling up to the Mediterranean coast to the bustling city of Alexandria, where will spend 2 nights exploring the sights.

Location: Alexandria

Day Alexandria

Today we will have the chance to visit the beautiful modern Alexandria Library, explore various historical sites, and to go diving in the Mediterranean.

Location: Alexandria

Day Port Said

Today we will follow the Mediterranean coast across the Nile Delta to reach Port Said, the town at the northern outflow of the Suez Canal.

Location: Port Said

Day Zafarana

Today we will travel south following the Suez Canal, then branch out into the Eastern Deserts, visiting the ancient Coptic Monastery of St. Anthony en route.

Location: Zafarana

Day El Quseir

Today we will travel down the stunning coast of the Red Sea to explore the Ottoman fort at El Quseir.

Location: El Quseir

Day Marsa Alam

Today we will complete our drive to the beautiful southern Red Sea village of Marsa Alam.

We will have 2 full days in Marsa Alam to relax on the beaches, enjoy many optional activities on the Red Sea, or to take an optional overnight camel safari out into the nearby deserts of Wadi-el-Gamal!

Location: Marsa Alam

Day Marsa Alam

Today we will continue to enjoy the activites on offer in Marsa Alam. There are plenty of options for once in a lifetime expereinces, both on land and in the sea!

Location: Marsa Alam

Day Marsa Alam

Our final day in Marsa Alam. This is the time to enjoy relaxation on the beach before we continue our journey towards Luxor.

Location: Marsa Alam

Day Luxor

Today we will head to Luxor, a beautiful modern town built on the site of the Ancient Egyptian capital of Thebes, where we will spend 3 nights exploring the incredible historical sites here. We will also try to visit the Temple of Hathor at Dendara en route (if accessible).

Location: Luxor

Day Luxor

On the second day we will have an included guided tour around the world-famous Karnak Temple, which is walking distance from our hotel. This temple contains some remarkably preserved painted walls and many awe-inspiring pillars and obelisks, and was the centre of religious life in Thebes. Our tour will last about 2 hours, and then we will have free time for the rest of the day to explore the temple independently, and to visit the other sites in Luxor such as the smaller Luxor Temple in the town centre, and the small but beautiful Luxor Museum, which is filled with priceless treasures from the area.

Location: Luxor

Day Luxor

On the third day we will have an included tour to the West Bank, which will encompass the Hatshepsut Temple and the phenomenal Valley of the Kings, the location of the tombs of the Pharoahs of the New Kingdom of Ancient Egypt.

Location: Luxor

Day Aswan

Today we leave Luxor and visit the incredible Temple of Edfu, an awe-inspiring temple dedicated to Horus built during the Ptolomaic era, which is considered to be the best-preserved cult temple in Egypt.

We will then continue on to the southern city of Aswan - here is where we will pick up the Sudanese visas of anyone who has arranged them to be processed here in advance.

Location: Aswan

Day Nile Felucca

Today we will board a traditional felucca sailboat for an overnight adventure exploring the Nile by boat.

Location: Nile Felucca

Day Aswan

We will return from the felucca to Aswan, where we will have 2 full days to enjoy to wealth of history and culture that Aswan has to offer, and to make optional visits to the Philae Temple, Elephantine Island, the Nubian Museum, and the Aswan Dam. If the group are keen to extend the felucca trip, we also have time to allow this possibility.

Location: Aswan

Day Aswan

Today we have full day in Aswan to visit as many of the historical sites as possible! Museums, Obelisks, Tombs and Temples are commonplace here. Which ones will you choose to visit?!

Location: Aswan

Day Abu Simbel

Today we will drive to the small village of Abu Simbel, where we will have an included visit to the phenomenal Temples of Ramses and Nefertari, with a possibility to visit the sound and light show after sunset (if it is running).

Location: Abu Simbel

Day Wadi Halfa

Border Information: Exit Egypt at Qustol, enter Sudan at Qustol.

Today we will take an early transport ferry across to the east side of Lake Nasser, and then head across the border where we meet our local facilitator who will accompany us in Sudan. We will then drive a short distance to the dusty northern Sudanese frontier town of Wadi Halfa, where we will spend the night.

Location: Wadi Halfa

Day Wawa

Over the next 2 days we will journey through the remote areas of Northern Sudan and the vast Sahara Desert. En route we will visit many ruined temples of the Kushite era, including the Temple of Soleb near Wawa, the Deffufa of Kerma near Dongola, and the pyramids at Jebel Barkal mountain near the town of Karima.

Location: Wawa

Day Karima

Today we continue on our journey visiting the relics of the Kushite era on our way.

Location: Karima

Day Naqa

Over these days we continue our journey into the heart of Sudan, visiting the incredible and haunting Nuri pyramids and Meroe pyramids of the Kushite era. We will then continue south to visit the Kushite ruins at the sites of Naqa and Musawwarat.

Location: Naqa

Day Naqa

We have the luxury of taking our time here. As we work out way towards Khartoum you can really feel yourself becoming one with Sudan as you spend time wandering through the ruins of bygone ages.

Location: Naqa

Day Naqa

Our final day travelling through the desert of Sudan. It will not be long until we are in the hustle and bustle of Khartoum. Enjoy the final hours of desolation and the final night of sleeping under the stars.

Location: Naqa

Day Khartoum

Today we will complete our journey to the Sudanese capital of Khartoum, where your tour leader will have to collect the passports of everyone in the group to register our visas.

Location: Khartoum

Day Khartoum

We will have the whole day to freely explore Khartoum, including possible optional trips to the impressive Grand Mosque and the bustling Omdurman market.

Location: Khartoum

Day Gedaref

Today we will drive from Khartoum to the small town of Gedaref, en route to the Ethiopian border.

Location: Gedaref

Day Gondar

Border Information: Exit Sudan at Metema, enter Ethiopia at Metema.

Today we have a full day's drive to cross the border into Ethiopia and reach the ancient royal city of Gondar.

Location: Gondar

Day Gondar

Border Information: if joining in Gondar, you will most likely enter Ethiopia at Gondar Atse Tewodros Airport (IATA code: GDQ).

There will be a group meeting at the joining hotel at 6:00pm. Please look out for a note from your tour leader at the reception when you arrive giving more details about this important meeting. If you are continuing to Kenya or beyond, your leader will need to check the validity dates of your Ethiopian visa.

Location: Gondar

Day Gondar

Today, we will have an included half day guided tour of the historical sites of Gondar, including Gondar Castle, the King Fasilades' Baths and the Debre Birhan Selassie church. 

Location: Gondar

Day Simien Mountains NP

Today marks the start of our 3-day excursion into the Simien Mountains NP. We will first drive to Debark, where we will have a briefing from our local mountain guide explaining the various trekking options we will have during our excursion, before heading into the NP.

The area is home to some of Africa's most jaw-dropping mountain scenery and is a great opportunity to enjoy some incredibly beautiful treks and breathtaking views!

The area is also home many indigenous animals, and during our time here we hope to spot Lammargeyer vultures, geladas, Walia ibex, and (if we are very lucky) klipspringers and Ethiopian wolves.

We will spend 3 nights in the incredible Simien Mountains NP. On each day we aim to provide an option for a long trek (of 5-8 hours), a short trek (2-5 hours) or no trekking.

On our first day, we aim to wild camp at the area of Sankaber. On our second and third days, we aim to wild camp at the area of Chenek (underneath Ras Bwahit, the second-highest mountain in the Simiens, which we hope to get the opportunity to summit).

Please note that we must keep a flexible itinerary in the Simien Mountains, as our options will largely be determined by the weather. 

Please also note that the camping areas in the NP are very basic, and are essentially wild camps with long drop toilets. Please also note that the food and provisions available in Debark and the NP are very limited, and it is also likely to be very cold at night (often dropping below freezing), so please be prepared! You will need to bring a suitable sleeping bag and mat with you from home to ensure you are ready for this environment.

Location: Simien Mountains NP

Day Simien Mountains NP

Today we once again have the choice between joining a short trek or a long trek. Each one will have a guide and a superb route showing off the best the Simiens have to offer.

Location: Simien Mountains NP

Day Simien Mountains NP

This is our final day of treking in the National Park. Once again there will be a choice between short and long routes as we soak in the final moments of the mountains.

Location: Simien Mountains NP

Day Simien Mountains NP

Today is our final day in the Simien Mountains NP, and we make our way back to Debark for the night.

Location: Simien Mountains NP

Day Axum

Leaving Debark behind us, we continue our journey with a full day of driving through the foothills of the Simien Mountains to reach the ancient town of Axum in the far north of Ethiopia. The roads here are very tough, but we are rewarded with more truly breathtaking scenery!

Location: Axum

Day Axum

Today we will have an included half day guided tour of the incredible historical sites of Axum, the capital of the once-mighty Axumite Empire - included in this tour will be seeing the Stelae Field, the Tomb of King Kaleb, and the Palace of the Queen of Sheba.

We will have a free afternoon to have the time to optionally visit other places such as the Church of St. Mary of Zion, the supposed resting place of the Ark of the Covenant.

Location: Axum

Day Mekele

Today we will continue through the breathtaking mountain scenery of the Adwa mountains and visit one of the famous rock-hewn churches of Tigray (either the Abraha Atsbeha or Wukro Chirkos church) near to Mekele.

Location: Mekele

Day Danakil Depression

After breakfast meet your 4 x 4 vehicles and drive to Hamed Ella. On the way you will pass through the beautiful Tigre Villages and the escarpment of the Afar depression, this is commonly known as the cradle of mankind and is part of the Great East African Rift Valley. Along the way you will see camel caravans going to the traditional salt mine or to the North Eastern highlands of the country, loaded with salt bars in the old traditional way. We will also stop at Brehalle where we will get our permits and scouts for the trip into the Danakil Depression.

Location: Danakil Depression

Day Mekele

On the second day we drive to Dallol. Here in Dallol you will visit the beautiful land covered by salt, sulfur and different minerals that gives the area a spectacular colour. We will then continue on to Lake Asale to witness the beautiful salt flats.

This is an extremely intense environment and a very adventurous three days, certainly a once in a lifetime experience. However, if you feel like your personal fitness can not withstand this pressure then there is a chance this may not be the trip for you.

Today we will make our way back to Mekele ending our time in the stunning Danakil Depression.

Location: Mekele

Day Lalibela

Today we will have a full day drive to the town of Lalibela.

Location: Lalibela

Day Lalibela

On our first day in Lalibela, we will have an included full-day guided tour of its world-famous 13th-century rock churches. Our guide will be able to explain the fascinating history of Lalibela and its churches, and there will be plenty of time to explore, absorb the haunting atmosphere inside the churches, and take plenty of photographs of the incredible architecture and the religious rituals within.

Location: Lalibela

Day Lalibela

On our second day, we will have a free day for further exploration or optional activities. We will have opportunity to hike up the nearby mountains to the Asheten Monastery, visit the Yemrehana Kristos cave church outside the town, or freely explore the Lalibela churches again at your own pace.

Location: Lalibela

Day Awra Amba

Today we will drive to the ideological village of Awra Amba. Run by the infamous Zumra Nuru the village operates with the belief that everyone is equal and should have a say in how their home is run. We will take a tour of the village and camp on the outskirts.

Location: Awra Amba

Day Bahir Dar

Today we will drive to Bahir Dar, a small town on Lake Tana, the source of the mighty Blue Nile.

Location: Bahir Dar

Day Bahir Dar

On our first day in Bahir Dar, we will have an included boat trip on Lake Tana to visit the famous old monastery of Gabriel Ure Kideth and to visit the spot where the lake outflows into the start of the Blue Nile. 

Location: Bahir Dar

Day Bahir Dar

On our second full day, we will head off in the truck to visit the Blue Nile Falls and take a short walk around the area to the historic Portuguese Bridge. We will have some free time in the afternoon to visit some other spots around Bahir Dar such as the 'Hippo bridge' and the Tigray war memorial.

Location: Bahir Dar

Day Debre Markos

Today we will continue our journey south towards Addis Ababa. We will break the journey with a nightstop in a basic local hotel in the small town of Debre Markos en route.

Location: Debre Markos

Day Addis Ababa

Today we will complete our journey to the bustling Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa. En route we will drive to the bottom of the dramatic Blue Nile Gorge and up the other side!

Location: Addis Ababa

Day Addis Ababa

Border Information: If finishing in Addis Ababa, you will most likely exit Ethiopia at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport (IATA code: ADD).

Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Addis Ababa. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the Sales Team if you are interested in booking extra nights of accommodation in order to fully explore and take part in some of the optional activities listed below.

Location: Addis Ababa

Dates Price Single Availability
17-Nov-2020 for 48 Nights On Request Visit Website
03-Mar-2021 for 48 Nights On Request Visit Website
16-Nov-2021 for 48 Nights On Request Visit Website
02-Mar-2022 for 48 Nights On Request Visit Website

Touring with Dragoman

Dragoman has a proud history, of nearly 40 years of pioneering overland adventures in their fleet of iconic, orange trucks. They aim to get you completely off the beaten track and really under the skin of the places that they visit, taking the road less travelled, mixing with the locals, learning about their culture, and ensuring that every part of the journey counts towards an amazing adventure.

Dragoman’s life changing overland adventures, visit over 55 countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America. Many trips are a convenient 14-21 days, offering a great snapshot of a region getting you off the tourist trail on a perspective-changing journey.

These short trips can also be combined to create epic journeys lasting several months be it along the fabled Silk Route, a trans-Africa expedition from Cape Town to Cairo, or travel the entire length of the Americas from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego. Or journey from Mongolia down through China, and South East Asia – or in India you can circle the continent. These are incredible journeys that will change your life!

Group sizes are limited to 22, creating a personal experience with the most popular tours having frequent departures so you can easily find a date to suit you. They guarantee more trip departures than comparable operators and strive to offer value with more inclusions, so you don't have to pay extra on the road.

{{shortLabel}}

tour details

This tour is operated by Dragoman

48 nights from pp exc.flights; per Night
compare Compare tour Add this tour to the comparison list. compare Compare tour This tour has been added to the comparison list. Cick here to view.
Visit website Enquire 40 years of pioneering overland adventures!
Group Size:0 - 22
Suitable For: 18 plus
Accommodation:Comfortable Hotel 15 nights<br />Basic Hotel 18 nights<br />Camping 1 night<br />Multishare Hostel 3 nights<br />Overnight Boat 1 night<br />Camping without facilities 10 nights
Difficulty:3
Meals:Breakfasts x 98, Lunches x 24, Dinners x 24
tourhound promise
tourhound promise
TourHound Promise
  • I compare from the largest selection of touring companies available.
  • It doesn’t cost you a penny to use me, or to book a tour through TourHound.
  • I never favour one operator over another and provide a totally neutral comparison.
Contact our partner

You can contact Dragoman directly by:

1 Email enquiry {{formText}}
Thank You, we've sent your enquiry. The operator will contact you in the next few hours.
2 Visit their website Visit website
tour hound
WIN £500 OFF YOUR NEXT TOUR
Terms and Conditions apply