You’ll begin your expedition in an ancient land of pyramids, hieroglyphics, and arid deserts as you cruise down one of the largest rivers in the world. After that, you’ll discover the most modern and luxuriousbaech towns of the world, Sharm El Sheikh, a town one of its own kind where you’ll find camels on the beaches. You’ll be fortunate to experience both Arabic and modern culture while here as you traverse this mighty land. Begin your trip in one of the oldest civilizations in the world, and finish in one of the newest game parks on the continent. Travel from the luxury of the Nile Goddess to the adventure of a high comfort private mobile camp. This trip is sure to meet some of your wildest expectations!
Upon arrival at Cairo International Airport you will be met by our representative and transferred in a private air-conditioned vehicle to your luxurious five star resort. Originally the resort was built to accommodate the delegation of royalty and Heads of State during the grand opening of the Suez Canal. The resort retains its royal atmosphere and was recently ranked among the top hotels in Africa by Travel + Leisure readers. Our rooms all offer views of the pyramids of Giza, giving you your first dramatic glimpse of Egypt’s ancient treasures.
This afternoon and evening you are free to relax after your travels and enjoy the grounds of this beautiful & romantic city. Overnight in Cairo.
Awake this day to delicious breakfast as you set out for the best-known sites of Cairo with this city tour. Today, immerse yourself in the awe-inspiring treasures of Egypt’s Old Kingdom. The pyramids we see today represent hundreds of years of development in building styles.
We first explore Sakkara, the world-famous step pyramid of King Zoser, the oldest known of Egypt’s 107 pyramids and the world’s first freestanding stone structure. We next explore nearby Dahshour, built by Sneferu, the father of Cheops (of Giza’s Great Pyramid). Explore this “bent pyramid” whose shape was radically altered three times during its construction, and the Red Pyramid, the fourth-highest ever built in Egypt. These curious structures are evidence of the transition period between the step pyramid at Sakkara and the Great Pyramids of Giza.
After lunch, we return to Giza and embark on an unforgettable tour of the Great Pyramids of Giza. The only present-day survivors of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, they are among the world’s greatest tourist attractions and never lose their ability to inspire and overwhelm visitors. Your tour today includes an opportunity to enter inside one of these fabulous monuments and explore the mysteries of its ancient past.
Overnight in Cairo.
This morning, depart Cairo on a flight to Luxor, home to a vast collection of ancient sites from the Middle and New Kingdoms. Upon landing, you’ll be met by our representative and transferred to our private dock to board our luxury Nile cruise boat, the Nile Adventurer. Each cabins offers large picture windows, not portholes, framing beautiful views of the river.
After lunch on board and time to enjoy the boat, set out with a small group from the boat and your Egyptologist guide to explore the East Bank of Luxor, starting with the Temple of Karnak, built over more than a thousand years by generations of pharaohs. The great “Hypostyle Hall” is an incredible forest of giant pillars, covering an area larger than Notre Dame Cathedral. It is truly a site to behold.
Next, visit the strikingly graceful Temple of Luxor, dedicated to the god Amun. Strolling through the main road into the temple it is fascinating to see the passage of time – a mosque built on the remains of the temple, and frescoes depicting scenes from Christianity painted over ancient hieroglyphics.
Later this afternoon we have an opportunity to mingle with other cruise guests and the Boat Manager during an introductory cocktail reception, before enjoying our first gourmet dinner on board followed by entertainment of an Egyptian-style belly dancer and whirling dervish. Nile Adventurer, Luxor. All meals included.
For those who would like to waken very early, there is the option of a hot air balloon ride over the West Bank. To drift above these ancient sites at sunrise is not an experience you’ll soon forget. Please discuss this option with Boundless Journeys before you travel, or with your guide early in your trip, if you are interested in arranging this.
For those who opt not to go hot air ballooning, we enjoy breakfast on board before boarding a water taxi to cross to the West Bank of Luxor, meeting those who opted for the morning adventure. As the setting sun represented the end of life, the Nile’s West Bank was traditionally a place for burials, whereas the East Bank – where the sun rose – represented life and therefore was home to temples honoring the ancient gods.
We begin our day in the renowned Valley of the Kings where magnificent tombs were carved into the desert rocks, decorated richly, and filled with treasures for the afterlife by generations of pharaohs. Few remained unplundered through the centuries, but the tomb of Tutankhamun remained famously unfound until – local legend has it – Howard Carter’s horse stumbled on the entrance. Explore various tombs, including the relatively modest tomb of Tutankhamun, where his mummy remains on display, and the impressive tomb of Ramses VI. We will also explore the Valley of the Queens, and visit the reconstructed Hatshepsut Temple, rising out of the desert plain in a series of terraces in honor of ancient Egypt’s only female pharaoh. We’ll also make a brief stop for photos at the Colossi of Memnon, known to the ancient Greeks for their haunting voices at dawn (caused by winds in the cracks between the stones).
We return to the boat this afternoon for lunch and to begin our cruise to Esna. There is plenty of time this afternoon to enjoy the amenities of the boat, and simply watch the shoreline pass by, green with palms, while the sandy desert hills loom beyond the water’s reach. Nile Adventurer, Esna. All meals included.
This morning we walk from our ship to the small but interesting Temple of Esna. Now excavated and set far beneath the roads of the more modern Esna of today, the temple illustrates that there must be dozens, if not hundreds, of such ancient sites still buried beneath the Nile’s ever changing banks. Restoration projects are ongoing here to remove centuries of pollution damage, revealing beautiful colors in the carvings underneath.
Later this morning we cruise onward to Edfu Temple, the largest and most completely preserved Pharaonic (albeit Greek-built) temple in Egypt. This extraordinary temple was dedicated to the falcon-headed god, Horus. Today’s cruising is truly pleasant, with plenty of time to relax on the upper deck, enjoy the swimming pool, and watch the feluccas and kids cooling off in the wake of our boat.
After lunch and our visit to Edfu Temple, the ship’s chef offers a cooking demonstration, teaching us a few simple but delicious North African and Middle Eastern recipes, such as hummus and baba ghanoush.
As we cruise to Kom Ombo this evening we enjoy dinner and an “Egyptian Night” party for all guests, with a chance to dress up in a traditional “galabeyya.” Dinner will be a lavish spread of Egyptian specialties, followed by music and dancing for everyone. Even the crew gets in on the fun!
Nile Adventurer, Kom Ombo. All meals included.
This morning we walk from our ship to the temple of Kom Ombo, dedicated to the crocodile-god Sobek. The temple stands at a bend in the Nile where in ancient times sacred crocodiles basked in the sun on the riverbank. We explore the temple, its unique carvings depicting surgical instruments, and a “Nilometer” – a well-like structure used to measure the depth of the nearby Nile waters.
We continue on the final leg of our cruise journey, arriving in Aswan after lunch. This afternoon, we visit the Unfinished Obelisk. The granite quarries of Aswan supplied ancient Egypt with most of the hard stone used in pyramids and temples. A huge unfinished obelisk still lays nestled in its place, offering insight into the methods used to cut the enormous blocks of stone.
We’ll then take a short motorboat ride to visit the beautiful Philae Temple on the Island of Agilka. Philae Temple once stood half-submerged by the Nile after construction of the first Aswan Dam, until UNESCO stepped in to move it block-by-block to higher ground. The island setting is very natural, and the temple seems at home framed by lovely trees and views across the water. Overnight in Nile River Cruise.
In the evening transfer to the airport for your flight back home. The sights and sounds and tastes and experiences of the past two weeks will flood over you, leading you to smile in remembrance of times past and to plan for your inevitable return visit.