Egypt—known for its ancient civilization, hieroglyphics, mummies, and pyramids—is a must for travelers wanting to experience new cultures and ancient wonders. On this marvelous vacation, experience the highlights of what Egypt has to offer. In Cairo, marvel at King Tutankhamun’s treasures and masterpieces of ancient art, stand in awe at the Great Pyramids of Giza, see the enigmatic Sphinx, and visit the statue of Ramses II in Memphis. Then fly to Lake Nasser and embark your 4-night cruise on this man-made lake created when the Aswan High Dam was built. On this cruise, visit the magnificent temples built by Ramses II in Abu Simbel, the temples of Amada and Derr, as well as the temples of Dakka and Meharakka. On the way to Aswan, sail across the Tropic of Cancer.Disembark your cruise in Aswan and see the granite quarries that supplied ancient Egypt with its hard stones for the pyramids. You’ll also visit the Aswan High Dam and the Temple of Isis, the most romantic of Egypt’s monuments. Then board your vessel for your 3-night Nile cruise. Cruise highlights include a walk among the pillars of the colossal Temple of Amun-Ra and along the Avenue of the Sphinxes, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; sailing across the waters by felucca; and a visit to the temple of Horus, built in the time of Cleopatra roughly 2,000 years ago. Before flying back to Cairo for the conclusion of your trip, visit the Valley of Kings and the Valley of Queens, where generations of pharaohs and nobles were buried in great splendor. All of this and more await you on this fabulous vacation highlighting some of the best sights Egypt has to offer!
Day #1 Arrive in Cairo, Egypt. A welcome drink awaits you at your hotel; settle in and start soaking up the atmosphere of this exciting city.
Day #2 Cairo. Meet your Egyptologist and traveling companions at 8 am. Sightseeing in and around Africa’s largest metropolis starts at the ancient Egyptian capital of MEMPHIS, where you can admire the 40-foot statue of RAMSES II and the ALABASTER SPHINX. On to Sakkara, a vast desert necropolis built for kings and nobles, and its “STAIRWAY TO THE SKY,” the oldest of all pyramids. In the afternoon, drive south to the now-famous Tahrir Square and visit the EGYPTIAN MUSEUM with Tutankhamun’s fabulous treasures and many other masterpieces of ancient Egypt. Tonight, enjoy a SOUND & LIGHT SHOW at the pyramids that will put these wonders of the ancient world into an easily understandable historic context. (B)
Day #3 Cairo. Today, visit one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Take a close-up look at the daunting GREAT PYRAMIDS of Giza. Cheops, with an original height of 496 feet, is the most colossal pyramid ever built. A little farther away you find the mystic guardian of the pyramids, the enigmatic SPHINX. Drive back to Cairo to Saladin’s 12th-century citadel, whose robust walls and towers were constructed with stones stripped from the pyramids at Giza. Visit the ALABASTER MOSQUE OF MOHAMMED ALI, built completely in Turkish style and making no attempt to incorporate the Egyptian architecture of the time. In Coptic Cairo, see the Hanging Church where the Virgin Mary and Jesus stayed while in Egypt, then walk to see the oldest synagogue in Cairo, founded in the 9th century. There is still time for a visit to the labyrinthine Khan el-Khalili SOUK before returning to your hotel. How about an optional Nile River dinner cruise tonight? (B)
Day #4 Cairo–Abu Simbel, Lake Nasser (Embarkation). This morning, fly up the Nile Valley to Lake Nasser, created in the 1960s when the Aswan High Dam was built. The lake was named after Gamal Abdel Nasser, Egypt’s President from 1956-1970. At Abu Simbel, on the southern end of the lake, your elegant cruise vessel awaits your arrival. (B,L,D)
Day #5 Abu Simbel–Kasr Ibrim. A special experience this morning (weather permitting): watch the sunrise over Abu Simbel. Later, visit the magnificent TEMPLES built by Ramses II, the mightiest of the pharaohs. In 1968, the temples were dismantled and raised higher up an artificial hill to save them from submersion in Lake Nasser due to the construction of the High Dam. This afternoon your ship docks in Kasr Ibrim in sight of the ancient citadel, the only Nubian monument that still exists in its original location. Entrance to the citadel site is not permitted. (B,L,D)
Day #6 Amada–Wadi el-Seboua. This morning, sail to Amada to visit the Temples of AMADA and DERR, as well as the TOMB OF PENOUT, the viceroy of Nubia under Ramses VI. Over lunch, sail to Wadi el-Seboua, which means “Valley of Lionesses” and is named for the sphinxes guarding the rock TEMPLE built in honor of Ramses II. Nearby is the Temple of DAKKA, where, if you are feeling energetic, you can climb the Pylon for an amazing view over the surrounding area, as well as the smaller MEHARAKKA Temple. (B,L,D)
Day #7 Aswan. On your way to Aswan today, sail across the Tropic of Cancer. In the afternoon, visit KALABASHA TEMPLE, the rock-cut temple of BEIT EL-WALI, where several reliefs detailing the Pharaoh’s victory over the Nubians can still be seen, and the tiny Roman KIOSK OF KERTASSI. Arriving in Aswan, there’s time to visit the SOUK. (B,L,D)
Day #8 Aswan, Lake Nasser (Disembarkation)–Aswan Nile River (Embarkation). After breakfast, say goodbye to your Lake Nasser cruiser. In store for you today: the GRANITE QUARRIES that supplied ancient Egypt with its hard stones for the pyramids in Giza. Then, see the famous unfinished obelisk, still in the quarry. On to the turn-of-the-century OLD DAM—to this day, the widest dam in the world—and the gigantic Aswan HIGH DAM, completed in 1970. Board a motor launch to the island of AGILIKA, situated between the two dams, and visit the TEMPLE OF ISIS, the most romantic of Egypt’s monuments, transplanted from the submerged island of Philae. The crew of your Nile cruiser now welcomes you, with time to freshen up and enjoy lunch on board. Later, board a FELUCCA and sail across the blue waters of the river. En route, see the ancient “nilometer” on Elephantine Island, Kitchener’s lush BOTANICAL GARDENS, and the splendid Aga Khan Mausoleum on the left bank. (B,L,D)
Day #9 Aswan–Kom Ombo–Edfu. Today, dock at KOM OMBO for a short walk to its bluff-top twin temples. The right side is dedicated to the crocodile god, Sobek-Re, while the left side is dedicated to the falcon god, Horus. This is where you will also find man’s first calendar. Later, while sailing to Edfu, learn more about this ancient civilization during an exclusive lecture by your Egyptologist. After dinner tonight, it’s time for some fun and an onboard GALABYA PARTY. (B,L,D)
Day #10 Edfu–Luxor. This morning, visit the TEMPLE OF HORUS with its menacing black stone statue of the falcon god. Built in the time of Cleopatra about 2,000 years ago, it is recent by Egyptian standards and beautifully preserved. Sail on to Luxor and visit the stunning monuments of LUXOR and KARNAK, the greatest cities of ancient Egypt that had a combined population of more than one million. To walk among the pillars of the colossal TEMPLE OF AMUN-RA and along the AVENUE OF THE SPHINXES, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is an experience you will treasure the rest of your life. (B,L,D)
Day #11 Luxor (Disembarkation)–Cairo. After breakfast, disembark and set out to visit the VALLEY OF KINGS and VALLEY OF QUEENS on the west bank of the Nile, where generations of pharaohs and nobles were buried in great splendor in crypts cut into the cliffs. Sixty-two royal tombs have been uncovered so far, of which only the tomb of Tutankhamun was nearly inviolate when discovered in 1922. Visit DEIR EL-BAHRI, Queen Hatshepsut’s monumental rock temple. Stop for pictures at the two COLOSSI OF MEMNON guarding the valleys. Later today, fly back to Cairo and enjoy a special FAREWELL DINNER. (B,D)
Day #12 Cairo. Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)