Egypt: Nubian Treasures and Pharaohic Legacies

“This is an extremely in-depth program covering the best Egypt has to offer on the Nile between Lake Nasser and Alexandria.  When people go on a typical Egypt trip, they see the highlights of Cairo and travel the Nile between Luxor and Aswan.  Here, I have added a dimension that most others do not – a Lake Nasser cruise to explore its Nubian temples and the Temple of Dendera north of Luxor.  My clients look to me for new ideas and experiences that reach beyond the ordinary.  I believe that this itinerary does just that, and shows Egypt at its finest.”  –  Gisela Polo, Senior Destination Specialist



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Price starts at $600 Land per person, per day, double occupancy.



Tour Highlights/Full Description

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  • Set sail for a four-night cruise of Lake Nasser that explores the Temples of Amada and Derr, the Tomb of Penout, viceroy of Nubia, and El Seboua with its temple that Ramesses II  had built in Nubia
  • Enjoy a four-night cruise on the Nile, from Aswan to Luxor, that takes you to the classic Nile sites such Abu Simbel and the unique twin temples of Kom Ombo
  • Travel to Dahshur to see the first true pyramid, the Red Pyramid and the Bent Pyramid, which is older than the great pyramids of Giza
  • Explore the ancient city of Alexandria, founded by Alexander the Great in 331 BC
  • Experience Cairo from the distinguished Museum of Antiquities, including its fascinating Mummy Room, to old Coptic Cairo, to the famous shops of Khan El Khalili

Day 1:  Arrive Cairo, Egypt
Welcome to Egypt, a land of fascination and the source of inspiration to travelers for thousands of years.  The capital, Cairo, offers great culture along with the ancient wonders that attract millions of travelers each year.  On your arrival in Cairo, you are met by a Big Five representative who will escort you to your hotel.  The remainder of the day is at leisure.  Please try to arrive before 6:00 pm as tomorrow your touring will begin very early.  Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza – Nile View Room

Day 2:  Cairo – Dahshur / Memphis / Saqqara / Giza
Early this morning, you tour nearby Dahshur and its “Bent Pyramid,” which is older than the great pyramids of Giza.  You will also see the first true pyramid – Dahshur’s Red Pyramid.  You will have the opportunity to enter the pyramid and see its amazing corbelled ceilings, which form three large rooms.  Continue to Memphis, the site of Egypt’s first capital where the remnants of colossal statues and temples are the only visible relics of the city’s golden age 5,000 years ago.  Nearby is Saqqara, home of the world’s oldest stone structure, the famed Step Pyramid of King Zoser.  Drive through lush date palm groves to the pyramids of Giza.  Guarded by the mighty Sphinx and listed among the Seven Wonders of the World, much about these soaring structures remain an enigma.  You will also visit the Solar Boat Museum and venture out on a camel ride from the Giza Plateau to the base of the Pyramid of Menkaure.  Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza – Nile View Room (B,L)

Day 3:  Cairo / Aswan / Abu Simbel / Lake Nasser Cruise
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Abu Simbel where you will explore two temples.  The Greater Temple of Ramses II is one of the many relics erected by the pharaoh.  The facade is guarded by four statues of Ramses II, each 20 meters high.  North of the Greater Temple, the Temple of Nefertari was carved in the rock by Ramses II’s workers and dedicated to the goddess of Love and Beauty, Hathor, and to his favorite wife, Nefertari.  At the end of your tour, you board your Lake Nasser cruise ship and settle into your accommodations.  Return to Abu Simbel to enjoy a fantastic sound and light show, followed by a candlelit dinner on board your cruiser.  M.S. Eugenie – De Maria Suite (B,D)

Day 4:  Lake Nasser Cruise – Kasr Ibrim
This morning, you are on your own to relax, catch a spectacular sunrise at Abu Simbel or enjoy an early morning visit to the temples (entrance ticket not included).  Lunch is served on board as you sail to the temple of Kasr Ibrim, where only the higher fortress is visible.  The remainder is underwater.  The temple is not accessible but you learn about it from your ship’s sundeck.  M.S. Eugenie – De Maria Suite (B,L,D)

Day 5:  Lake Nasser Cruise – Amada / Wadi El Seboua
After breakfast, you sail to Amada to visit the Temples of Amada and Derr as well as the Tomb of Penout, viceroy of Nubia.  Sail on to Wadi El Seboua and its temple, which Ramesses II had built in Nubia.  It was built of stone except the sanctuary is carved into the bed rock.  The temple consists of a sphinx avenue, an entrance, three pylons, three courtyards, a hypostyle hall and inner sanctuary.  The walls of the temple are decorated with many religious scenes and important relief.  You will also take in the temples of Dakka, and Meharakka.  M.S. Eugenie – De Maria Suite (B,L,D)

Day 6:  Lake Nasser Cruise – Kalabsha / Beit El Wali / Aswan
This morning, you will sail to Aswan.  Along the way, you will cross the Tropic of Cancer.  After lunch, discover Kalabsha Temple, Beit El Wali, and the Kiosk of Kertassi.  This evening, your ship is docked in Aswan for your final night.  M.S. Eugenie – De Maria Suite (B,L,D)

Day 7:  Lake Nasser Cruise / Aswan / Nile Cruise
Disembark your cruise ship in Aswan this morning.  Today’s focus is Aswan’s classic sites that include the monumental High Dam, the graceful island Temple of Philae, and the Unfinished Obelisk in the granite quarries of the pharaohs.  Proceed into town, where you will check into your deluxe cruise accommodations for your three-night journey down the Nile.  Later this afternoon, you will experience a sunset felucca sailing around Elephantine Island.  Sonesta St. George I – Presidential Suite (B,L,D)

Day 8:  Nile Cruise – Kom Ombo / Edfu
This morning, you cruise to Kom Ombo to see the unique twin temples of Kom Ombo, dedicated to Sobek, the crocodile god, and Horus the Elder.  Return to your ship for afternoon tea as the ship sails to Edfu.  Travel through the streets of Edfu to the Temple of Horus in the heart of town.  It is Egypt’s best preserved temple, so it takes little imagination to envision the secret rituals and great festivals of the Ptolemaic era that took place here.  You will learn about the legend of Horus, his wife Hathor, and his wicked uncle Seth.  The Temple of Horus actually has served as a base for squatters over the centuries after the decline of the Greco-Roman Era.  Return to your cruise ship and sail to Esna.  Sonesta St. George I – Presidential Suite (B,L,D)

Day 9:  Nile Cruise – Esna / Luxor
Your ship travels through the Esna Locks and on to Luxor, the ancient city of Thebes and the site of the Middle Kingdom pharaohs’ glorious temples and burial places.  This afternoon, you will be enthralled by the great Luxor and Karnak Temples, which evolved over a period of a thousand years.  Return to your cruise, where you are treated to a wonderful dinner and a traditional belly dance performance.  Sonesta St. George I – Presidential Suite (B,L,D)

Day 10:  Nile Cruise / Luxor
Disembark your cruise ship.  Today you will be completely captivated by the West Bank, from the Colossi to Hatshepsut’s sublime cliff-side temple, to the fabulous desert tombs of the Valleys of the Kings and Queens.  The remainder of the day is at leisure at your hotel.  Sonesta St. George Hotel Luxor – Royal Club Room Full Nile View (B)

Day 11:  Luxor / Cairo / Alexandria
This morning, you fly to Cairo.  Upon arrival in Cairo, your driver will pick you up for the three-hour journey north through the Nile Delta to Alexandria.  You will check into your hotel after arriving in Alexandria.  The remainder of the evening is at your leisure.  Four Seasons Hotel Alexandria at San Stefano – Sea View Room (B)

Day 12:  Alexandria
Few cities in the world lean so heavily upon legend as Alexandria.  It was founded by Alexander the Great in 331 BC, and was where his embalmed body was laid to rest eight years later after his conquest of Asia.  It subsequently became the capital of Egypt under the Ptolemaic dynasty until the last of the line, Cleopatra, ended her life, and the city was conquered by the Romans.  Today, Alexandria is Egypt’s second largest city.  Spend a fascinating day exploring remnants of the city’s glorious past, including the National Museum and Pompey’s Pillar, towering 93 feet over the site of the ancient Serapeum, the 2nd century Roman Amphitheater with its elegant marble terraces, and Al Montazah Palace, residence of the former royal family.  Also step into the eerie tomb chambers of the 2000-year-old Kom el-Shugafa Catacombs, the last major construction in the Ptolemaic tradition.  You can see the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, which was inaugurated in 2002 near the site of the ancient Library of Alexandria, which burned down in about 48 BC, probably by Julius Caesar.  Four Seasons Hotel Alexandria at San Stefano – Sea View Room (B,L)

Day 13:  Alexandria / Cairo
Return to Cairo to explore the finest sites of Islamic Cairo.  You will begin at the mosque and madrasa of Sultan Hassan, where students used to live and study.  Here you will see open-air classrooms around the imposing yet beautiful courtyard as well as the mosque’s large stone minbar.  Drive to the mosque of Ibn Tulun with its unusual minaret.  This is the oldest mosque in Cairo.  Legend claims that this was the site where Noah’s Ark landed.  Here you will also find the Gayer Anderson Museum, which houses the private collection of Major Gayer-Anderson as well as furniture, glassware, crystal, carpets, silks and embroidered Arab costumes.  Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza – Nile View Room (B)

Day 14:  Cairo
A spectacular, full day exploration of Cairo begins at the world-acclaimed Museum of Antiquities.  The 300-year reign of the pharaohs is vividly brought to life in the wealth of art and artifacts here, including the Tutankhamen Collection of golden tomb artifacts; and exhibits of small, lifelike statuary from the early dynasties.  You will visit the fascinating Mummy Room.  Delve further into old Coptic Cairo with visits to the Church of St. Sergius and Ben Ezra Synagogue, built on a site where legend holds the baby Moses was found in the bulrushes.  Take in the hilltop Citadel with its grand city views and ethereal Mohammed Ali Mosque.  Then stroll with your guide through the Khan El Khalili, a vibrant warren of shops where you can bargain for rugs, copper and leather crafts, perfumes, and other goods both exotic and familiar.  Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza – Nile View Room (B,L)

Day 15: Cairo / Depart
Say goodbye to the land of the pharaohs as you transfer to the airport for your departing flight home.  (B)

Land price, per person, double occupancy: From US $600 per person per day  Departures:  On Saturdays


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