Day 1: Welcome to Cairo, Friday November 4th, 2022
Once you land at the airport, a representative with our sign will be waiting for you to assist you through immigration and customs formalities and then drive you to our Cairo hotel.
Cairo is the largest city in Middle East, one of the largest ten in the world with a population of 20 million. Dinner and overnight at the 5-Star Mena House hotel which boasts an incredible view of the Pyramids of Giza.
Day 2: The Great Giza Pyramids
Today after breakfast with a view of the pyramids, you will go for a journey back in time to the Pyramids of Giza. The Great pyramid is one of the seven wonders of the ancient world and considered the greatest man-made construction on earth was built to be the tomb of King Khufu. It was built using over 2.3 million blocks of limestone weighing 6 million tons which can build a wall around the country of France that’s 3 feet high.
After an amazing lunch with a breathtaking view at the 9 Pyramids lounge we will visit the GEM Grand Egyptian Museum, the newest and one of the biggest museums in the world where we will view the amazing golden mask of King Tut Ankh Amon.
After that we will visit a Papyrus gallery where we will learn how the Egyptians made the first paper ever in history from this papyrus reeds, from where you can get some of this hand painted art in papyrus.
Back to our hotel by the late afternoon to relax and enjoy the sunset over the Pyramids before we head out for dinner at Felfela. Which is located in Cairo downtown. Begun in 1959, Felfela offers completely authentic Egyptian food at its best. The falafel and meze are award-winning!
Day 3: Luxor and the King of the Gods
This morning we will take a short flight to Luxor, (known as Thebes) the capital of ancient Egyptian Empire. Luxor is home to a third of the ancient monuments of the world. Here we will visit the Karnak Temple, the largest religious building in the world on an area of 62 acres. It took over 2000 years to build the temple, which was dedicated to the king of god, God Amon.
Later we’ll visit the temple of Luxor, built by two pharaohs. Amenhotep III of 14th century BC and King Ramsiss the great.
After touring, we enjoy lunch at Sofra Restaurant , one of the classic restaurants in Luxor situated in a house dating back to 1930 with most its original design intact. Then we’ll cross the Nile to the west bank of Luxor to check into our lovely boutique hotel near the Valley of the Kings, Al Moudira hotel .
A cartouch, is an oval shaped name plate engraved in hieroglyphs made famous by the Pharaohs. You too can be like a Cleopatra and get your name engraved on a gold or silver cartouch when we visit the jewelry shop in Luxor that specializes in them. A perfect souvenir from your time in Egypt.
This evening we’ll take our repas in another boutique hotel, the Marsam hotel which is owned Sheikh Ali, who started this location as a meeting place for Egyptologists and artists from around the world.
Day4: Valley of the Kings & Pharaohs
This morning we have the option of a hot air balloon ride over the west bank of Luxor to appreciate the sunrise view while flying over the mountains of the Valley of Kings with the monuments below us.
After breakfast we will check out of our hotel, so we can discover the vivid colors of the tombs of the Valley of the Kings. Here is where most of the famous pharaohs are buried such as Ramsiss II and Tut Ankh Amon. There are a total of 63 tombs discovered here, most of them were royal. ‘
The main industry in west bank of Luxor is sculpture, the ancestors of the locals who built the temples and colored their tombs still possess the same skills. So, we’ll be going to see one of the Alabaster galleries where we can watch how a craftsman by only using his simple tools can transform a block of alabaster into a beautiful vase.
Then we will head over to Queen Hatshipsut’s temple, one of the strongest and most important women in history who ruled Egypt during the 15th century BC yet dressed and ruled as a man. We simply must make a stop for photos before leaving by the huge colossi of Memnon.
By late afternoon it is time to catch our luxurious Dahabiya sailboat. We will actually be sailing on a brand new boat, built to look old and historic, like the one you see at the link. The enterprise is owned by an Egyptian Captain and his partner, a lovely lady from Germany. We will set our sails heading upstream to El-Hegz while we have our lunch as the scenery of the Nile Valley passes by us. This afternoon will be saved for unpacking, resting and reading before nightfall when we’ll enjoy cocktails star gazing and dinner served onboard.
Day 5: Edfu Temple & the God of the Sky
After breakfast on the boat, we will cruise to El-Kab, once the capital of Upper Egypt before unification. Here we will visit the tombs of the governors of the ancient city, some of the most ancient ruins in all of Egypt, cut into the mountain rocks.
Back onboard we’ll savor our mid-day meal while sailing to Edfu. Here we’ll catch a horse and carriage to visit the Edfu temple, the second largest and the best-preserved temple in Egypt.
Modern Edfu the northern most city of Aswan state, is famous for growing sugar cane. It’s necessary to grow quite a lot because the Egyptians have a serious sweet tooth!
Tonight, we’ll have the pleasure of a Nile-side BBQ dinner on Fawaza Island where we’ll anchor for the evening.
Day 6: A Village Visit
After breakfast we’ll sail to El Ramadi Island where we will relish a real Egyptian experience by visiting a working farmer’s village. We will even have a chance to meet the villagers and help them bake their traditional bread. This village is known for its sugar cane, banana and hibiscus.
Lunch while under sail to Djebel Al-Silsila on the west bank of the Nile where we’ll see the chapel of King Hormohep. This chapel dates back to the 14th century BC and hosts seven shrines dedicated to seven local deities. This place was also the main quarry for the sandstone which built the Egyptian temples.
Back aboard our floating home we’ll sail on enjoying a delightful dinner onboard.
Day 7: Of Crocodiles & Falcons
Coffee and breakfast will be taken this morning while sailing to Kom Ombo. This temple dates back to the Ptolomic era, 2nd century BC. This unique temple was dedicated to two gods, the crocodile god Sobek and the falcon god Haroeris. The temple stands on a promontory at a bend in the Nile, where in ancient times sacred crocodiles basked in the sun on the banks of the river.
Get ready this afternoon for a swim in the Nile where it’s safe and refreshing. After we’ll sail to Aswan while enjoying our lunch. Time to relax, read and nap this afternoon. Dinner onboard and overnight in Aswan city.
Day 8: A Nubian Village & King Ramesses
This morning we will say goodbye to our helpful crew after a fantastic and relaxing ride, and drive for 3.5 hours south to see the Abu Simbel temple, one of the most impressive buildings not just in Egypt but the whole world. This temple was built out of a single piece of rock and is cut into the rock mountain, its facade decorated with four statues of King Ramesses.
Back in Aswan city we’ll check into the Legendary Old Cataract hotel. This is where King Fouad once entertained, and Agatha Christie sipped cocktails and stayed for an entire year in 1937 when she wrote “Death on the Nile”.
The majestic hotel sits on a pink granite cliff overlooking the world’s longest river. This ravishing and iconic place had a fabled guest list of royals and dignitaries. This where we will enjoy our lunch, as well as time to lay by the pool and rest before we meet again for afternoon tea before watching the sun going down.
This evening we are going to visit a Nubian village. The Nubians are natives of southern Egypt and possibly the kindest of all the Egyptian tribes. Here we will have a meal in a Nubian home owned by Ola, a friend of our guides and a single mother supporting herself and her family on her own. She opens her home to guests introducing them the Nubian culture and Nubian food as well as the opportunity for an encounter with the locals. After dinner we will dance with the kids in the village accompanied by Nubian drums.
Overnight back at the hotel.
Day 9: The Myth of Isis & Osiris
After breakfast we’ll explore one of the most stunning temples in Egypt, the Philae temple, built on an island which witnessed the love story of the goddess Isis and her husband Osiris. The temple dates back to the 3rd century BC during the Ptolomic era.
The ancient Egyptians used to extract the essence of the Lotus flower which is the symbol of Upper Egypt and of love and used that nectar for purification and as an offering to the gods. They used different type of essences for medical purposes, which we will learn about when we visit that essential oil gallery run by the local Nubians in Aswan.
Spices are also important in Aswan, so don’t forget to bring some home from Aswan market.
Today’s lunch will be at El Masry restaurant which offers a large range of traditional Egyptian food.
This afternoon we’ll fly back to Cairo where we’ll check into the Villa Belle Epoque Hotel located in the residential area of Maadi popular with expats.
Dinner tonight will be at our hotel.
Day 10: The Many Faces of Cairo
After breakfast, our first stop on our Cairo tour will be Coptic Cairo, which dates back to the 4th century AD. Here we will visit the Hanging church which was built over the ruins of a Roman fortress. We will also get to see the crypt where baby Jesus and the Virgin Mary stayed for six months after they escaped from the Romans.
Then we’ll head to Islamic Cairo where we will visit the oldest mosque in Egypt dating back to the 9th century AD. The mosque of Ibn Tulun, the biggest in Cairo is where we can climb its minaret to enjoy a spectacular view of Cairo. Later on we’ll walk the streets to the Khan El-Khalili Bazar to buy some Egyptian souvenirs.
Lunch today will be at the Najeeb Mahfouz restaurant . The restaurant is a tribute to the Nobel Prize winner and Egyptian novelist of the same name
Time to head back to our hotel for relaxation and refreshments.
Our farewell dinner tonight will be at Abou El Sid Restaurant located in the island of Zamlek in the heart of Cairo one of the most luxurious area in Cairo. Tonight, we’ll toast to 10 days of discovery as well as lasting friendships made.
Overnight at the hotel.
Day 11: Departure Day
After breakfast, we will drive you to Cairo airport flying home with wonderful memories of a journey of a lifetime.
Or go on for an extension trip to the Red Sea for a Relaxing Few Days of Swimming and Snorkeling in crystal clear waters.
Extension trip to relax, snorkel and swim in the sparkling clear waters of the Red Sea.
Red Sea Extension, Staying in Paradise
Day 1 (Day 11 of the Egypt trip): This morning we will drive to the Cairo Airport to fly to the city of Sharm Elshekh, a short 1-hour flight. Upon arrival we will drive for 1 hour to the small city of Dahab. Dahab in Arabic means Gold, Dahab city, is a true oasis in the desert located on the peninsula of Sinai, the land of the prophets. Dahab is considered by the well-travelled to be Egyptian hipster paradise, an eclectic fusion of Bedouin and Rasta culture with an artsy beach atmosphere.
The Red Sea is well known for its crystal waters considered one of top places known for scuba diving and snorkeling. Here we will be introduced to the Bedouin culture, native to the area.
Our hotel, the Dahab Paradise faces the gulf of Aquaba in the Red Sea. As you might expect from a place called paradise it is surrounded by the beach with mountains behind with a relaxing pool which awaits right outside your bedroom door. Today’s agenda is a relaxing one. We’ll have lunch at our hotel while enjoying stunning views of the Red Sea.
Later we’ll go on a stroll through the little town of Dahab to orient ourselves. We’ll check out the port and the lighthouse as well as the market and some good souvenir shops. The town is famous for seafood so our dinner will be at one of the best local restaurants, Ali Baba. Back to hotel for star gazing around our swimming pool.
Day 2: This morning after breakfast we will head to our diving shop. For extra fee you can scuba dive even if you don’t have a certificate. You can do an introductory dive with a 1 on 1 instructor. At the shop we’ll gear up and head to the most popular diving spot in the area, the Blue Hole, one of only 2 blue holes in the world, the other one being in Belize. The one in Dahab is much easier to get to than the 2nd one. Later on, we’ll head for more snorkeling at a different spot called the Canyon.
After swimming we’ll head back to our hotel for lunch and perhaps a cocktail by the pool. This afternoon is for relaxation and recuperation.
This evening we have the pleasure of experiencing a Bedouin BBQ dinner, in a small valley away from the city by about 20 minutes. An outdoor spot will be arranged just for our group where there is no light pollution except candles placed in the rocks around our spot. We’ll revel in the night sky and thousands of stars above our heads. We’ll dine in Bedouin style on carpets placed on the ground with lots of comfortable pillows. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 3: This morning after breakfast, we are going out to do more snorkeling at the three pools, another popular diving spot famous with its stunning coral and colorful fish. Or choose an alternate itinerary and go with our guide to visit St. Catherine’s Monastery built between 548-65, one of the oldest functioning monasteries in the world.
Today’s lunch of fish tajine will be cooked in Bedouin style and served seaside.
Back to hotel for a quick refreshment before heading out for another adventure.
We’ll take an exhilarating ATV ride through the mountains of Dahab to watch the sunset.
Back to the hotel to enjoy our final dinner together at our lovey hotel.
Day 4: After breakfast we’ll check out of our hotel and drive to the Sharm El Sheikh Airport to fly back to Cairo Airport where you can catch your connections home.