Nile and Beyond (21n/22d)

Saint Catherine Monastery at the base of Mount Sinai

Saint Catherine Monastery at the base of Mount Sinai

Day 1 – Cairo
Upon arrival to Cairo, you will be met by local representative and transferred to your hotel for overnight.

Day 2 – Cairo
After breakfast, your private Egyptologist tour guide and driver will pick you up and start your tour. Drive to Giza and visit the Pyramids. See the Great Pyramid, the Royal Burial Chambers and the Sphinx. Transfer to Cairo railway station to take the Overnight train to Aswan. The journey takes Approx. 14 hrs.

Day 3 – Aswan
Upon arrival to Aswan, you will be met by local representative & transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day is free to explore the beautiful city of Aswan.

Day 4 – Aswan/ Abu Simbel
A full free day to explore this vibrant Nubian city. Option to visit the temples at Abu Simbel. * OPTIONAL EXCURSION TO ABU SIMBEL. Upon arrival to Aswan, you will be met by local representative and transferred to your cruise for lunch and begin sailing to Luxor. Visit the Aswan High Dam, Egypt’s contemporary example of building on a monumental scale. Proceed to the Granite Quarries, which supplied the ancient Egyptians with most of the hard stone used in pyramids and temples, and still hold a huge Unfinished Obelisk. Possibly intended as a companion to the Lateran Obelisk, originally at Karnak but now in Rome, it would have weighed over 2.3 million pounds/1100 tones and would have been the worlds largest piece of stone ever handled. Then take a short motorboat ride to visit the romantic and majestic Philae Temple dedicated pre-eminently to Isis, sister-wife to Osiris, and patroness of the Ptolemaic rule, on the Island of Agilka. Return to your cruise for dinner & overnight.

Day 5 – Aswan
After breakfast, take a ride on a Felucca, a typical Egyptian sail boat, around Elephantine Island, largest of the Aswan area islands, and is one of the most ancient sites in Egypt, with artifacts dating to predynastic periods. Elephantine is Greek for elephant. In ancient times, the Island, as well as the southern town, was called Abu, or Yabu, which also meant elephant. It is believed that the island received it’s name because it was a major ivory trading center. Continue sailing around Kitchener’s Island, or Lord Kitchener’s Botanical Garden or also(Plant Island, Gizirat al-Nabatat, Plantation Island, Gizirat al-Bustan). The Island was given to Lord Kitchener for his campaigns in the Sudan, and he moved there and created his garden, importing exotic  plants and trees from all over the world, and the Mausoleum of the Agha Khan. It is a very elegant pink granite structure of late 1950 origin. Dinner & overnight on board.

Day 6 – Kom Ombo
Continue sailing to Kom Ombo and visit the Temple of Kom Ombo, the temple of duplications, a part for Horus and the other part for Sobek (the crocodile-headed god of fertility and creator of the world).The temple stands at a bend in the Nile where in ancient times sacred crocodiles basked in the sun on the riverbank. Sail to Edfu to explore the largest and most completely preserved temple in Egypt, the extraordinary Temple of Horus, dedicated to Horus also known by Haroeris (The falcon-headed solar war god), using horse carriage to reach the temple and back. Dinner & overnight on board.

Day 7 – Nile Cruise
After breakfast, visitMedinet Habu, its ancient Egyptian name was Djamet, meaning “males and mothers”. Its holy ground was believed to be where the Ogdoad, the four pairs of first primeval gods, were buried. It was both a temple and a complex of temples dating from the New Kingdom. On the way back to the river Nile, your road passes by the famed Colossi of Memnon, two gigantic statues, 20 meters (66ft) high, one thousand ton statues of Amenhotep III. known in ancient Greek times for their haunting voices at dawn. Though damaged by nature and ancient tourists, the statues are still impressive. Dinner and overnight on board.

Day 8 – Luxor
After breakfast, disembark from the ship. Transfer to your hotel for check-in. In the afternoon, visit the East Bank of the Nile starting with the especially graceful Temple of Luxor, built by Amenhoteb III, and Ramses II for ritual and festivals and dedicated to the god Amun. Proceed to the North of Luxor to Karnak Temple. Some would call it the “Temple of Temples” and the largest worship place ever built. Karnak is actually the site’s modern name. Its ancient name was Iput-isut, meaning “The Most Select (or Sacred) of Places”, built over more than 2 thousands  years by generations of Pharaohs.  The great “Hypostyle Hall” is an incredible forest of giant pillars, covering an area larger than the whole of Notre Dame Cathedral. Return to your hotel for overnight.

Day 9 – Luxor/ Hurghada
Get up before sunrise for a donkey ride to the Valley of the Kings, a vast City of the Dead where 62 of Egypt Pharaohs have their magnificent royal tombs graved  into the desert rocks richly decorated, and filled with treasures for the afterlife by generations of Pharaohs. Rising out of the desert plain in a series of terraces, the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, beautiful monument to the reign of the only female pharaoh, merges with the sheer limestone cliffs that surround it, as if nature herself had built this extraordinary monument. On the way back to the river Nile, your road passes by the famed Colossi of Memnon, two gigantic statues, 20 meters (66ft) high, one thousand ton statues of Amenhotep III. known in ancient Greek times for their haunting voices at dawn. Though damaged by nature and ancient tourists, the statues are still impressive. In the afternoon, travel by convoy from Luxor to Hurghada. Approx 5 hrs driving.

Day 10 – Hurghada/ St. Catherine
Early start for transfer to the Port, take the ferry to Sharm El Sheikh and drive to St. Catherine.

Day 11 – Mt Sinai/ Sinai Trek
Wake up early to climb Mountain of Sinai (optional), then return and prepare for your trek with local Bedouin. The trek starts with a tough walk across the sand with wonderful views of the Gouna Mountains. Then enter the secluded White Canyon through narrow openings in the mountains. There’s time to stop for photos and to enjoy tranquility of the Canyon.

Day 12 – Sinai Trek
In the morning, start walking along Wadi Rum, and into Sugar Canyon through a series of narrow passageways. There’s time to explore the place before heading to Naqb Mountain. The trek involves walking on soft sand, with some ascents. Later in the day, go trekking along rocky mountain passes. All this can be tough on the legs, but you will be rewarded with some stunning views! Overnight in the beautiful Wadi Ghazala. Approx. 6 hrs walking.

Day 13 – Trek/ Dahab
Take a short walk to meet the bus. After bidding farewell to your Bedouin guides, drive to Dahab to stay in beach campsite. You may choose to relax, swim, or snorkeling amongst some of the Red Sea’s beautiful marine life. Approx. 2 hrs driving.

Day 14 – Dahab
A whole day to relax on the beach. You can swim, snorkel or perhaps enjoy some diving.

Day 15 – Dahab – Cairo
Drive back to Cairo. Approx. 8 hrs driving. Transfer to your hotel for overnight..

Day 16 – Wadi Natrun – Marsa Matrouh
Drive via the desert road to the Coptic Monasteries at Wadi Natrun, where monks have lived since the 4th century. Follow the Mediterranean coast past El Alamein to Marsa Matrouh to spend the night. Approx. 5 hrs driving.

Day 17 – Siwa
Deep into the Western Desert to the isolated oasis of Siwa. In the afternoon, take bicycles for a tour of the old city and the many hot springs. Approx. 4 hrs driving.

Day 18 – Siwa
A day to explore this fascinating oasis. There is also the opportunity to take a jeep safari into the desert.

Day 19 – Siwa/ Alexandria
Drive through the Western Desert back to Alexandria. The afternoon is free to explore the beautiful Mediterranean city of Alexandria. Approx. 7 hrs driving.

Day 20 – Alexandria
Free day to explore the Bride of the Mediterranean.

Day 21 – Cairo
Return to your hotel in Cairo with the opportunity for some last minute shopping or a horse ride by the Pyramids. Approx. 3 hrs driving.

Day 22 – Departure Flight
After breakfast, transfer to Cairo airport for your departure flight.

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