Day 1: Cairo
Saturday 17 February 2018. Welcome to Egypt and the start of your holiday. Arrive Cairo airport and included transfer to your hotel.
Day 2: Pyramids & Saqqara
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.
Day 3: Treasures of the Egyptian Museum ( overnight in Sleeper Train)
This morning is free for you to further explore Cairo. After check out we depart for our guided tour of the Egyptian Museum. See the famous Tutankhamen Gallery and opt to see the Royal Mummies. Later there is a chance to relax, freshen up and have dinner before boarding the overnight sleeper train to Aswan.
Day 4: Aswan - Egypt's southernmost city
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.
Day 5: Philae Temple ( overnight in Overnight – hotel/coach journey to Abu Simbel )
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.
Day 6: Sun Festival at Abu Simbel ( overnight in Felucca)
22 February 2018. 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 this 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 5 (prior to travelling to Abu Simbel) and ends on day 8.
Day 7: Felucca Sailing & Kom Ombo Temple ( overnight in Felucca)
Nile Felucca Sailing - Kom Ombo. 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. In the afternoon we dock near Kom Ombo and take a motorboat to visit the temple before returning to the felucca for the night.
Day 8: Edfu Temple & Luxor
Kom Ombo - Edfu - Luxor. This morning we disembark and drive 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.
Day 9: Valley of the Kings ( overnight in Sleeper Train)
Luxor - Cairo. This morning we set out to explore 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.
Day 10: Cairo
Monday 01 March 2018. Arrival Cairo and transfer through to our hotel for breakfast. Morning use of rooms to freshen up and free time to further explore Cairo before hotel check out and onward departure transfer to the airport.
Please note: Departure flights need to be arranged to depart Cairo after 2pm today.
Touring with On The Go Tours
Group tours are their speciality. It's what they do well. They started with one trip to Egypt and their Middle East and North Africa portfolio now includes Jordan, Israel and Morocco. Featuring exotic destinations in Europe like Turkey, Iceland, Croatia & Russia, and the colourful countries of India, Sri Lanka and Nepal in the subcontinent, they're now very much a Southeast Asia specialist too, with Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand proving very popular. Japan was recently added as a group touring destination to complement China in the Far East. And Peru, Costa Rica and Mexico are their top picks in Latin America.
Visiting exotic far flung places across the globe, their group tours, which generally consist of between 16-18 people, strike a balance between well-planned itineraries which include key highlights and spare time to do your own thing as well. They include unique travel experiences and there’s lots of real local interaction too, giving you a true flavour of the countries you visit. They organise everything to make your holiday seamless; your transportation, complimentary airport transfers, sightseeing, guiding and some meals. Your tour will be lead by their expert and passionate tour leaders. Captivating, informative and caring, they will ensure your holiday is fun and hassle-free. And, with international English speaking guests and no upper age limit, their tours make for a really fun, unique and eclectic group mix.