FESTIVAL TOUR: Add an extra special element to your Egyptian holiday by combining it with the magical Abu Simbel Sun Festival. The legendary Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx, felucca sailing on the Nile, the tomb laden Valley of the Kings and energetic Cairo all in 11 unforgettable days!
Monday 18 Oct 2021. Welcome to Egypt! Arrive Cairo, included transfer to 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.
Location: Pyramids of Giza
Today visit to the stunning 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. Continuing to 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.
Cairo - Aswan. Today we have a guided tour of the Egyptian Museum, which houses a incredible array of ancient artefacts including the treasures of King Tutankhamun and his famous solid gold funerary mask. 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 now 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.
Aswan - Abu Simbel. After arrival at Aswan and hotel check-in, we visit the Temples of Philae, dedicated to the goddess Isis. Upon returning to Aswan we visit a perfume oil emporium. Spend the rest of the day at leisure; shop in the colourful souqs or simply kick back and relax. <br/><br/> 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 await the first rays of sunlight to touch the temple gate signifying the start of the Sun Festival of the mighty King Ramses II.
Location: Abu Simbel
22 October. Abu Simbel - Aswan - Nile Felucca Cruise. Possibly the most awe-inspiring temple of all ancient Egypt, with its gargantuan rock-cut façade, the great Sun Temple of King Ramses II at Abu Simbel was created to revere the mighty pharaonic ruler King Ramses II. Ramses the Bold, Ramses the Great, Ramses the Narcissist are perhaps all apt titles for one of ancient Egypt’s most powerful rulers. Celebrating a life that spanned nearly a centenary, Ramses had plenty of time for his more than 200 wives and concubines who produced him some 96 sons and 60 daughters. <br/><br/> Built by Ramses II to demonstrate his political clout and divine backing to the ancient Nubians, Abu Simbel is an awesome self-tribute. 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, which sit majestically staring out across the desert. 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 only a small part of the rest of the colossal temple peeked above the desert sands. It wasn’t until the British happened upon Abu Simbel and starting excavating, that the full glory of the temple of Abu Simbel was revealed to the modern world. <br/><br/> The temple was dedicated to the deified Pharaoh, King Ramses II, known also as the great builder and the gods Amun-Re, Re-Herakhte and Ptah. In a fit of precision and architectural egotism, 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 <b>Sun Festival of King Ramses II</b>. Crowds pack into the temple before sunrise and 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. <br/><br/> 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 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. <br/><br/> Upon returning to Aswan around noon, we board our <b>[[traditional Nile felucca|122461]]</b> for our 2 night voyage downstream on the River Nile. <br/><br/> If sailing by felucca is not your style, consider upgrading to a 5 star luxury Nile Cruiser version of this tour, which includes staying on a <b>[[5 star luxury Nile Cruiser|130530]]</b> in place of the <b>[[ felucca|122461]]</b>, please see the “prices & departures” tab above for details.
Location: Felucca Cruise
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.
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.
Luxor - Cairo. On day 8, we 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. <br/><br/> Day 9 is a free day for you to explore the wonders of Luxor independently or take advantage of the facilities at the hotel that include a relaxing pool with swim up bar and health and fitness facilities. Tonight, we return by overnight train to Cairo.
This morning we arrive back into Cairo and transfer to our hotel. Today is at your leisure to independently explore Cairo, or you could book locally our optional visit to the exotic Khan el Khalili Bazaar where you can pick up a few souvenirs.
Thursday 28 Oct 2021. Our Egyptian adventure comes to an end today. Included departure transfer to the airport later today in time for your international flight.
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