Abu Simbel Sun Festival tour

Abu Simbel Sun Festival, Egypt
Queen's pyramid, Cairo, Egypt
Karnak Temple, Luxor, Egypt
Statues at Abu Simbel, Egypt
Feluccas on the Nile in Aswan, Egypt
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  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • What's Included
  • Dates
  • Encounters Travel

This unique 9-day Egypt tour starts in Egypt’s capital city of Cairo, before we head to the scenic cities of Aswan and Luxor. The tour is set to fall in line with the Sun Festival held at Abu Simbel’s Temples twice yearly. Abu Simbel was built by King Ramses II (c.1279-1213 B.C.E.). He wanted its internal chamber to light up twice a year – the first time on 22 February, on the anniversary of his ascension to the throne and the second time on his birthday on 22 October. In the early 1960’s, the entire temple complex was moved to higher ground when the Aswan Dam caused Lake Nasser to rise and inundate the area. The two temples were dismantled and raised over 60 meters up the sandstone cliff where they were reassembled, in the exact same relationship to each other and the sun, and covered with an artificial mountain. Now, every year, the temple faces east, and at the solstices – twice a year – the dawn sunlight is aligned to light the entire length of the temple entrance corridor, lighting up three of the four statues at the end of the corridor. Only the statue of Ptah, the god of darkness, remains in darkness. Once we arrive in Cairo, we’ll explore the Great Pyramids and the towering Giza Sphinx, before we make our way to Aswan to explore the island-based Philae Temple and the Aswan Dam. Our trip to Abu Simbel starts early, as we aim to be at the monument before sunrise. It will be busy, but it's very organised and everyone will have a chance to go inside to see this magnificent spectacle. After witnessing this unique experience, we’ll head back to Aswan as we set sail on a traditional felucca sailboat for a peaceful cruise on the tranquil waters of the Nile River, as we head to Luxor. A support boat will join us every now and then, which includes a welcome toilet, showers and a massage deck. An alternative upgrade to an extra night in the hotel in Aswan is available if you prefer. En-route to Luxor, we’ll stop to visit the Kom Ombo and Edfu Temples and once we arrive, we’ll visit the towering Karnak Temple, the tombs at the Valley of the Kings and Queen Hatchepsut Temple. You’ll also have some free time to explore the busy markets or relax at the hotel pool before we head back to Cairo. As an additional extra, you can add a visit to the Red Sea, please contact us for details as extensions are easily arranged from Luxor to Hurghada, and then back to Cairo from there.

Abu Simbel Sun Festival, The Pyramids & Sphinx at Gisa, Cairo's famous Egyptian museum, Philae Temple by boat, traditional felucca sailing, ancient Valley of the Kings, Karnak & Luxor temples
  • Middle East
  • Egypt
Tour Types
  • Cultural
  • History
  • River Cruise
  • Festivals
  • Singles
  • Adventure
  • Small Group

Day 1, Your Egypt tour begins in Cairo. Airport to hotel transfers included
Once you arrive at the airport, one of our staff will be there to meet you before taking you to your hotel, situated close to the Great Pyramids. We’ll have some time to settle in before being introduced to the local area and we’ll also arrange tomorrow’s collection time.
You have the rest of the day to explore Cairo independently. If you managed to arrive early, why not head out on an evening dinner cruise on the Nile River or enjoy a mesmerising sound and light show at the pyramids (both available to book locally on arrival).
Cairo hotel
Nile dinner cruise in Cairo, Extra day in Cairo (5-star) - pre-tour, Single room supplement

Day 2, Visiting the Great Pyramids and Sphinx of Giza
After your first night in the capital, we start the day driving to its outskirts to witness the Great Sphinx of Giza, one of the largest and oldest statues in the world. Archeologists believe that it was carved around 2500 BC.
Towering behind the Great Sphinx are three Great Pyramids of Egypt, the largest being the Great Pyramid of Khufu, which stands at 500 feet high and 750 feet wide, It's a man-made structure full of wonder and secrets yet to be discovered. Khafre and Menkaure’s pyramids are much smaller and simpler in design than Khufu’s massive structure. When first built, the pyramids were covered in white limestone much of which eroded over the years.
From the pyramids, we head to the Egyptian Museum in the heart of Cairo, which houses the Tutankhamun exhibit as well as a host of other ancient artifacts. This evening, we’ll head to the local station for the overnight sleeper train to Aswan (approx. 12 hours).
On board train
Breakfast, Dinner
Internal flights upgrade

Day 3, Aswan, Nubian Village and the Philae Temple
Upon arrival in Aswan we take a short transfer to our hotel overlooking the Nile. The river here is at its most scenic in Egypt, and is dotted with islands and felucca sailing boats. Aswan itself is an intriguing mixture of African and Middle Eastern cultures, and lies in part of the ancient region of Nubia. Many Nubian people still live here and work on the river, and we'll visit a Nubian village away from the main town where we'll walk through narrow alleyways seeing colourfully painted houses, friendly people, wandering animals and enjoy a traditional local lunch.
We continue our day with an afternoon tour to the Temple of Philae. This beautiful island temple is dedicated to Isis and was saved from the rising waters of Lake Nasser. It can only be reached by a scenic boat ride. We also drive to the massive Aswan Dam. The evening is free at leisure to explore Aswan's various markets and to walk up and down the Corniche on the banks of the Nile. There's also an option to ride a camel across the sands on the far banks of the Nile to St. Simeon's monastery. This evening aim for an early night to be ready for a very early start for our visit to Abu Simbel tomorrow morning.
Aswan - 5 star hotel
Breakfast, Lunch
Camel ride to St. Simeon's Monastery

Day 4, The Abu Simbel Sun Festival and a Traditional felucca cruise on the Nile River
This morning, we’ll visit the imposing Abu Simbel Temple complex, built by Ramses II. We’ll leave the hotel early so that we can reach the temple before sunrise. Once we’re there, we’ll head inside the temple while the sun is rising to see how 3 out of the 4 statues at the end of the tunnel are lit up, leaving Ptah, the god of Darkness in shadow.
We’ll return to Aswan this afternoon, boarding a traditional felucca and set sail along the Nile River, giving you time to relax and take in rural Egyptian life pass you by as you drift past. Our Nubian crew will be on hand to entertain and prepare meals for you, with a separate facilities boat joining up every now and then, which houses a welcome toilet a shower on board as well as a hygienic kitchen where your meals will be prepared.
We’ll overnight on the felucca, with mattresses, blankets and mosquito nets provided). You can upgrade your upcoming felucca sailboat trip to an additional night in the Aswan hotel, and in this case you'll spend tonight in Aswan and rejoin the group tomorrow morning when they leave the Felucca at Kom Ombo. All other touring remains the same.
On board felucca
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Upgrade from felucca to hotel in Aswan

Day 5, Exploring the Kom Ombo and Edfu Temples
We’ll have breakfast on-board the felucca before we say goodbye and head to the nearby temples of Kom Ombo and Edfu before we head to Luxor. Set on the east bank of the Nile River, Luxor is known for its ancient temple and its proximity to Karnak, Thebes, and the tombs of the pharaohs, queens, and nobles on the opposite (west) bank of the Nile.
Tonight, we’ll head out on a walking tour of the smaller Luxor Temple, which is lit up at night, making for spectacular viewing.
Luxor hotel

Day 6, Exploring the Valley of the Kings
We start early today, crossing the Nile River as we head to Luxor’s West Bank, which is home to the Valley of the Kings - a burial ground for the Pharaohs. In and around 1500 B.C. the Pharaohs decided to no longer construct great pyramids in which to be buried, but rather to be buried in the tombs we find here today. Our tour includes several of these Pharaonic tombs, as well as the temples of Queen Hatchepsut and Medinat Habu, and the huge Colossi of Memnon.
As an optional extra, you can enjoy a breathtaking hot air balloon flight over the west bank of the Nile River this morning (expect an early start to catch sunrise as the balloon rises).
You have the afternoon free to relax at your five-star hotel located on the banks of the Nile or explore Luxor independently, with a visit to its busy markets or its mummification museum. You can even head back on a felucca to visit the nearby Banana Island.
Additional sightseeing can also be arranged, such as a visit to the Rammesseum, Workers Village and Valley of the Queens on the west bank of the Nile. our tour guide will be happy to arrange any extra visits for you (an extra cost will apply to cover transport, entrances and the guide's services).
Luxor hotel
Hot air balloon in Luxor

Day 7, A visit to the Karnak Temple
You have the morning free to relax and sleep a little later - a welcome change from the early starts we’ve had previously.
We’ll have some lunch, before visiting the towering Karnak Temple, which once served as the religious centre of Thebes and Upper Egypt. Karnak is an open air museum, which consists of huge pillars, towering columns, massive avenues of sphinxes, and an obelisk that stands 97-feet tall and weighs 323-tons. Karnak's Hypostyle hall stretches for 54,000 square feet and featuring 134 columns - making it the largest room of any religious building on the planet.
Later this evening we transfer to the station for the overnight sleeper train back to Cairo (approx. 9 hours).
On board sleeper train
Breakfast, Dinner
Hot air balloon in Luxor, Internal flights upgrade

Day 8, Cairo, Khan-el-Khalili bazaar, Al Guri Sufi show
We arrive back into Cairo this morning and then you have time to explore Cairo as you choose or you may take an optional tour. These include a city tour visiting Coptic Cairo, the Citadel and Mohamed Ali Mosque, or a half day tour to Saqqara, Dashour and Memphis to learn more about the history and evolution of pyramid building. Other full day options further afield include a visit to the colonnial city of Alexandria on the Mediterranean, or a trip into the desert outside Cairo to see the World Heritage Site of the Valley of the Whales at Wadi Rayan.
In the late afternoon we take a guided walk through the back streets and bazaars in central Cairo. We'll walk through the huge Bab al-Futuh gateway and explore streets dedicated to metalwork, spices, pottery, fabric, jewelery and anything else you can imagine as we gradually enter the more touristy Khan-el-Khalili bazaar. We'll have time for a break to try some tea and a shisha pipe and perhaps enjoy an early dinner of Egypt's unofficial national dish, Kushari. Our tour then finishes with an evening highlight, the Al Guri sufi show, very popular with local Egyptians as well as tourists. This takes place at the Wikalat al Ghuri 16th century marketplace which has some beautiful Islamic architecture to form a great setting for the exuberant, colourful and entertaining performance. You'll see a medley of sufi dervish inspired dancing, eerie chanting and singing and vibrant percussion. Finally we transfer you back to your hotel.
Cairo - 5 star hotel
Cairo city tour, Saqqara, Dashour & Memphis

Day 9, Free time in Cairo. Hotel to airport transfers included
You have the day free to some last minute sightseeing and shopping before we transfer you to the airport to board your flight back home.
Extra day in Cairo (5-star) - post-tour

  • All accommodation in 5-star hotels
  • All transport and transfers in private AC vehicles
  • 24-hour airport arrival & departure transfer service
  • Overnight sleeper train in private twin-berth cabins (flight upgrades available)
  • Felucca support boat with toilet and showers
  • Sightseeing tours as detailed in the itinerary
  • Services of a local Egyptologist guide for all sightseeing tours
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary

Dates Price Single Availability
8 Nights
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Dates Price Single Availability
8 Nights
Standard Room View live deal View live deal
Dates Price Single Availability
8 Nights
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Touring with Encounters Travel

Encounters Travel specialise in creating imaginative, adventurous small group tours all around the world for the open minded traveller. They are always looking for new ways to add value and excitement to your travel experiences so that you see more than just the usual tourist spots, as well as having great fun at the same time. Their tours are designed to give you the best possible experience in each country, whilst at the same time providing good value for money without making compromises.

You will see and learn about local cultures and historic sites while enjoying some more adventurous activities along the way. They also try very hard to keep the overall style and inclusions/exclusions of their tours as consistent as possible from country to country, while taking into account the different highlights and activities available in each destination. Their escorted group tours are hosted by specially selected experts who bring their knowledge and skills to add an extra dimension to the tour.

Encounters Travel are committed to travelling responsibly, and leaving a positive impression and impact on the countries through which they travel.




tour details

This tour is operated by Encounters Travel

8 nights from pp exc.flights; per Night
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Suitable for: Over 9s
Meals:8 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 3 dinners
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