Luxury Egypt Tour
Price starts at 900. Land per person, per day, double occupancy.
DAY 1: CAIRO, EGYPT
Welcome to Cairo Egypt International Airport, where you are greeted and assisted through passport and customs formalities before transferring to your hotel. FOUR SEASONS NILE PLAZA HOTEL
DAY 2: CAIRO
After breakfast, join your guide to begin your exploration of the fascinating Pyramids of Giza. The intriguing history of Egypt is powerfully evoked in the fabled pyramids. Rising from the desert, Khufu (Cheops), Khafra, and Menkaura symbolize the enigmatic tug of Egypt on our imaginations. The Great Pyramid of Cheops immortalizes the son of Sneferu and Hetepheres. Though little is known of this Pharaoh, his monument is the largest of the three. It comprises 2.3 million stone blocks, each weighing an average of 2.5 tons.
Enter the great pyramid and visit the chamber of the king. The Great Pyramid of Giza (also known as the Pyramid of Khufu or the Pyramid of Cheops) is the oldest and largest of the three pyramids in the Giza pyramid complex, bordering what is now El Giza, Egypt. It is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and the only one to remain largely intact. There are three known chambers inside the Great Pyramid. The lowest chamber is cut into the bedrock upon which the pyramid was built and was unfinished. The so-called Queen’s Chamber and King’s Chamber are higher up within the pyramid structure.
Later visit the colossal statue of the Great Sphinx, which has stood guard over the pyramids for more than 4,500 years. Carved from an outcrop of rock, the Sphinx remains the ultimate symbol of Ancient Egypt with its lion’s body and a human head. The history and the lifestyle of ancient Egyptian pharaohs come alive before your eyes through the professional narrations of our specialist guide.
Enjoy lunch at 9 Pyramids Restaurant before heading out quad biking at the pyramids area.
Experience the race of a lifetime riding on thrilling quad bikes zipping over sand dunes across the Egyptian desert of the Giza Pyramids, the only place in Egypt where you get to feel the thrill of an exciting way to discover all the ancient wonders through this unique experience that will make your holiday in Egypt unforgettable. Return to your hotel. FOUR SEASONS NILE PLAZA HOTEL (B, L)
DAY 3: CAIRO
Have breakfast and then meet at the hotel’s lobby to join our Egyptologist guide for a special tour at the first museum of civilization in the Arab world. The NMEC will present a comprehensive view of Egyptian civilization from prehistory to the present day, taking a multidisciplinary thematic approach designed to highlight Egypt’s tangible and intangible heritage. A museum of a new kind, unknown so far in Egypt and the entire Middle East region, the NMEC’s main goal is to share knowledge, to connect with the surrounding Egyptian society, and to offer international visitors richer and deeper insight into the meaning of Egyptian culture through the ages. Your guide will take you through cultural landmarks that span three millennia of Egyptian history. Beginning with the Citadel commanding a complete view of the city. Completed in 1183, the Citadel was surrounded by sturdy walls and towers to withstand attacks from Christian crusaders. Inside, you shall see the lavishly decorated Alabaster Mosque of Mohammed Ali.
Continue to Coptic Cairo, where we will visit the famous Suspended Church (Hanging Church), dating back to the late 4th and early 5th centuries. This basilica was named “Al-Mu’allaqah” because it was built atop the south gate of the Fortress of Babylon. Continue to the Church of St. Sergius, a 5th century Coptic Church. Built on the cave, the Basilica is where the Holy Family stayed and is regarded by visitors as a source of blessing. As you stroll along, you come to the recently restored Synagogue of Ben Ezra, which marks the place where Moses was saved from the water by the daughter of the Pharaoh and is the oldest Jewish synagogue in Egypt built in 882 AC. Then stroll with your guide through the Khan El Khalili, a bustling warren of shops where you can bargain for rugs, copper and leather crafts, perfumes, and other goods both exotic and familiar.
Later this evening you are met by your representative and transferred to the Wekalet el Ghouri to attend the Tannour show. Dinner is at Naguib Mahfouz restaurant at the Khan El Khalili After dinner, return to your hotel for the remainder of the evening at leisure. FOUR SEASONS NILE PLAZA (B,L)
DAY 4: CAIRO – EL FAYOUM – DAY TRIP
Today after breakfast you meet your guide who will transfer you by Jeep and car to El-Fayoum to visit the following.
The Magic Lake is an obscure beautiful lake located in Wadi El Hitan in Fayoum; it was named like that because it changes its colors several times each day depending on the time of day and the amount of sunlight it receives. The lake also contains minerals that help treat patients with rheumatism.
It is a brilliant place surrounded by the desert where you can sandboard beside the Magic Lake, ride or race cars through the desert, swim, or enjoy sitting by the amazing waterfall, it’s simply a magical place suitable for a magical trip.
Wadi El Rayan
The valley of Wadi El-Rayan is an area of 1759 km2, 113 km2 of which are the dominating water body of the Wadi El Rayan lakes. It is located about 65 km southwest of Faiyum city and 80 km west of the Nile River. The Wadi has been used for man-made lakes from agricultural drainage which has made a reserve of the two separate Wadi El Rayan Lakes. The reserve is composed of a 50.90 km2 upper lake and a 62.00 km2 lower lake, with waterfalls between the two. Among the springs, there are three sulfur springs at the southern side of the lower lake, with extensive mobile sand dunes. Wadi El Rayan Waterfalls are the largest waterfalls in Egypt.
Wai El Hitan
Wai El Hitan, a paleontological site in the Faiyum Governorate of Egypt, some 150 kilometers (93 mi) southwest of Cairo. It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in July 2005 for its hundreds of fossils of some of the earliest forms of whale, the archeocyte (a now extinct sub-order of whales). The site reveals evidence for the explanation of one of the greatest mysteries of the evolution of whales: the emergence of the whale as an ocean-going mammal from a previous life as a land-based animal. No other place in the world yields the number, concentration, and quality of such fossils, as is their accessibility and setting in an attractive and protected landscape. Therefore, it was added by UNESCO to the list of protected World Heritage Sites.
The terrain southwest of Cairo drops into a large depression often called the Fayoum Oasis. Within the area are several lakes, Egypt’s only permanent waterfall and the unusual Mudawara Mountain (Jebel al- Mudawara), located to the west of Al Fayoum Lake. Although it is more of a rock formation than a true mountain, there are three distinct summits, with another lower point or two to the west. Its layered appearance is beautiful, with a certain symmetry to the feature that draws your gaze to it. Interestingly, with Al Fayoum’s surface at an elevation of 118 feet below sea level, the top of the peak, if Google Earth is to be believed, is itself at slightly below sea level. The peak, nevertheless offers several fun scrambles, each affording a wonderful view of the surrounding terrain.
Mudawara Mountain; West Summit
Mudawara Mountain is located only a couple of hundred meters to the south of Wadi El Rayyan Road, just after it passes to the north of Al Fayyum Lake. It is about 150 km southwest of Cairo. Many enjoy the view parked at the edge of the road while others actually drive across the desert to the base of the formation.
After the tour, return to your hotel in Cairo. FOUR SEASONS NILE PLAZA (B,L)
DAY 5: CAIRO – DAHSHUR & SAKKARA – DAY TRIP
Today after breakfast, meet your guide to explore some of the desert antiquities dating from the beginnings of a civilization that arose more than 5,000 years ago. In the company of our Egyptologist specialist guide, we venture through the countryside to visit some of Egypt’s oldest sights. We first head to Dahshur, which is a royal necropolis located in the desert on the west bank of the Nile, approximately 40 kilometers (25 mi) south of Cairo. It is known chiefly for several pyramids, two of which are among the oldest, largest, and best preserved in Egypt, built from 2613–2589 BC. Building the Dahshur pyramids was an extremely important learning experience for the Egyptians (who were transitioning from step-sided to smooth-sided pyramids) before they could build the Great Pyramid of Giza. Two of the Dahshur Pyramids, The Bent Pyramid, and the Red Pyramid, were constructed during the reign of Pharaoh Sneferu (2613-2589 BC). The Bent Pyramid was the first attempt at a smooth-sided pyramid but ultimately wasn’t successful. One design flaw was that there was a very unstable base for it made of desert gravel and clay that has the tendency to subside when a large amount of weight is put on top of it.
Nearby, we visit the necropolis at Saqqara, where King Zoser’s step pyramid was “built to last ’till the ends of time”. This vast site in the heart of a desert plateau is the largest necropolis in Egypt. Extending for almost 5 miles, the complex forms a collection of pyramids, temples, and tombs that are fundamental to understanding the history of Ancient Egypt.
This evening, you will be joined by Farah Abuseif, who used to work for the United Nations defending women’s rights in Egypt, for a night in Cairo as locals do, followed by dinner. After dinner, you are transferred back to your hotel. FOUR SEASONS NILE PLAZA (B, L, D)
DAY 6: CAIRO / LUXOR
This morning after breakfast, check out of your hotel. You are then transferred to the Cairo domestic airport for your flight to Luxor. On arrival in Luxor, you are met and transferred to visit the west bank of Luxor. Madint Habu is the name commonly given to the Mortuary Temple of Ramesses III, an important New Kingdom period structure in the location of the same name on the West Bank of Luxor in Egypt. Aside from its intrinsic size and architectural and artistic importance, the temple is probably best known as the source of inscribed reliefs depicting the advent and defeat of the Sea Peoples during the reign of Ramesses III.
Ramessum: King Ramses II called his temple “The Temple of Millions of Years of User-Maat-Ra”, which was one of his titles that means ‘the Power of the Justice of Ra’. Work in the temple continued from the beginning of the reign of Ramses II until the 22nd year of his reign. But not long after the end of the New Kingdom, the Ramesseum was stripped of its wealth by hungry citizens and its buildings were used as quarries for the construction of other monuments. Tombs for major and minor court officials were put into the bedrock beneath it, small shrines built from its stones, and a Christian church built within the ruins. Today, the entrance to the temple is a narrow doorway in the northeast corner of the enclosure wall. The huge First Pylon (now badly damaged) is 67 meters wide and originally about 24 meters high. Similar to the scenes of many other monuments of Ramses II, those of the Ramesseum depict the wars of the King against the Hittites.
Deir el-Medina is an ancient Egyptian village that was home to the artisans who worked on the tombs in the Valley of the Kings during the 18th to 20th dynasties of the New Kingdom period (ca. 1550–1080 BC). The settlement’s ancient name was ‘Set Maat’(translated as ‘The Place of Truth’), and the workmen who lived there were called “Servants in the Place of Truth”. During the Christian era the temple of Hathor was converted into a Church from which the Arabic name Deir el-Medina (‘the monastery of the town’) is derived.
After the tour, you will be transferred to your hotel for check in.
In the afternoon, visit the East Bank. The Temple of Karnak is the largest temple in the world! The complex contains a group of Temples such as the Great Temple of Amon Ra, The Temple of Khonso, The Ipt Temple, The Temple of Ptah, the Temple of Montho and the Temple of Osiris. A 20-meter high, mud brick enclosure wall, surrounded all of these buildings. This great Temple of Amon Ra was known during the Middle Kingdom period as Ipt-Swt, which means the ‘Selected Spot’. It was also called Pr-Imn, which means ‘the House of Amon’. The name Al-Karnak in Arabic was derived from Karnak, which means ‘fortified village’. The temple of Luxor is close to the Nile and parallel with the riverbank. King Amenhotep III who reigned 1390-53 BC built this beautiful temple and dedicated it to Amon-Re, king of the gods, his consort Mut and their son, Khons. This temple has been in almost continuous use as a place of worship right up to the present day. It was completed by Tutankhamun and Horemheb and added to by Ramses II. Towards the rear is a granite shrine dedicated to Alexander the Great. This evening, enjoy a horse carriage ride in Luxor by night. After the ride, you are dropped off at your hotel. SOFITEL WINTER PALACE HOTEL (B)
DAY 7: LUXOR – ABYDOS & DENDRAH – DAY TRIP
Today after breakfast, you meet your guide and start your drive to the Sohag Governorate to visit the temples of Abydos & Dendrah. Dendera Temple complex is located about 2.5 km southeast of Dendera, Egypt. It is one of the best-preserved temple complexes in Egypt. The area was used as the sixth Nome of Upper Egypt, south of Abydos. The whole complex covers some 40,000 square meters and is surrounded by a hefty mud brick enclosed wall. Dendera was a site for chapels or shrines from the beginning of the history of ancient Egypt. It seems that pharaoh Pepi I (ca. 2250 BC) was built on this site and evidence exists of a temple in the eighteenth dynasty (ca 1500 BC). But the earliest extant building in the compound today is the Mammisi raised by Nectanebo II – the last of the native pharaohs (360-343 BC).
Abydos is one of the oldest cities of ancient Egypt, it is located about 11 kilometers (6.8 miles) west of the Nile. The city was called Abdju in the ancient Egyptian language meaning “the hill of the symbol or reliquary”, a reference to a reliquary in which the sacred head of Osiris was preserved. Today, Abydos is notable for the memorial temple of Seti I, which contains an inscription from the nineteenth dynasty known to the modern world as the Abydos King List. It is a chronological list showing cartouches of most dynastic pharaohs of Egypt from Menes until Ramesses I, Seti’s father. The Great Temple and most of the ancient town are buried under the modern buildings to the north of the Seti temple. Many of the original structures and the artifacts within them are considered irretrievable and lost; many may have been destroyed by the new construction.
After the tour, you are transferred back to your hotel. SOFITEL WINTER PALACE (B)
Day 8: LUXOR
Transfer to the west bank of Luxor to enjoy the balloon ride, followed by breakfast at one of the local restaurants. After breakfast, you will start your tour by visiting more sites on the west bank including the following.
The Valley of the Kings consists of the East Valley, where you can find most of the tombs of the New Kingdom Pharaohs, and the West Valley, which has only one tomb open to the public, and that is the tomb of Ay, who succeeded Tutankhamun to the Egyptian throne.
Tutankhamun was buried in a tomb that was unusually small considering his status. His death may have occurred unexpectedly, before the completion of a grander royal tomb, so that his mummy was buried in a tomb intended for someone else. This would preserve the observance of the customary 70 days between death and burial. King Tutankhamun’s mummy still rests in his tomb in the Valley of the Kings. On 4 November 2007, 85 years to the day after Carter’s discovery, the 19-year-old pharaoh went on display in his underground tomb at Luxor, when the linen-wrapped mummy was removed from its golden sarcophagus to a climate-controlled glass box. The case was designed to prevent the heightened rate of decomposition caused by the humidity and warmth from tourists visiting the tomb.
The tomb of Seti 1 is the longest tomb in the valley, at 137.19 meters, it contains very well-preserved reliefs in all but two of its eleven chambers and side rooms. One of the back chambers is decorated with the Ritual of the Opening of the Mouth, which stated that the mummy’s eating and drinking organs were properly functioning. Believing in the need for these functions in the afterlife, was a very important ritual. A very long tunnel, corridor K, leads away deep into the mountainside from beneath the location where the sarcophagus stood in the burial chamber. Recently, the excavation of this corridor was completed. It turned out that there was no ‘secret burial chamber’ or any other kind of chamber at the end. Work on the corridor was just abandoned upon the burial of Seti.
The valley of the queens is located near the better-known Valley of the Kings, on the west bank of the Nile across from Thebes (modern Luxor). This barren area in the western hills was chosen due to its relative isolation and proximity to the capital. The kings of the 18th dynasty, instead of the traditional building of pyramids as burial chambers (perhaps because of their vulnerability to tomb robbers), now chose to be buried in rock-cut tombs.
The tomb of Nefertari, QV66, is one of the largest in the Valley of the Queens. It is 520 square meters and covered with pictures of Nefertari. Her husband the pharaoh is not represented in any of the pictures. Nefertari can be seen wearing Greek silver earrings in one of the portraits (see picture). These would have been sent to her as a gift for diplomatic reasons. The tomb was robbed in antiquity. In 1904 it was rediscovered and excavated by Ernesto Schiaparelli. Several items from the tomb, including parts of gold bracelets, shabti figures, and a small piece of an earring or pendant are now in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Additional shabti figures are in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
The temple of Queen Hatshepsut of Dynasty XVIII was built just north of the Middle Kingdom temple of Mentuhotep Nebhepetre in the bay of cliffs known as Deir el-Bahri. In ancient times the temple was called Djeser-djeseru, meaning the ’sacred of sacreds’. It was undoubtedly influenced by the style of the earlier temple at Deir el-Bahri and Hatshepsut chose to site her temple in a valley sacred to the Theban Goddess of the West, but more importantly, it was on a direct axis with Karnak Temple.
The Colossi of Memnon are two huge, ruined statues, around 17m high, once stood at the entrance gate of the mortuary temple of Amenhotep III, though very little of the temple behind them remains today. They were cut from two massive granite blocks, brought from quarries near Cairo, and carved to represent the pharaoh Amenhotep III of Dynasty XVIII.
After the tour, you are transferred back to your hotel. SOFITEL WINTER PALACE (B)
DAY 9: LUXOR – ASWAN – OVERLAND DRIVE
Today after breakfast, you are driven from Luxor to Aswan, making stops at the Edfu temple and Kom Ombo temples.
The Temple of Horus at Edfu is the most well-preserved and the only one we know to have been completed. Built from sandstone blocks the huge Ptolemaic temple was constructed over the site of a smaller earlier temple, oriented east to west, towards the river. Visit the Temple shared by two gods Sobek & Haeroris in Kom Ombo. The Temple of Kom Ombo stands on the east bank of the Nile, right next to the river, about 4Km from the town. It was dedicated to two Gods, Horus and Sobek the Temple was mainly dedicated to the God Sobek, the crocodile God, together with his wife, in another form of the Goddess Hathor. The Temple is of Greco-Roman structure, dating back to the year 119 BC, when Ptolemy VI, who started the construction, built it out of limestone.
Upon arrival in Aswan, you will be transferred to your hotel for check in. SOFITEL OLD CATARACT ASWAN – (B, Boxed Lunch)
DAY 10: ASWAN
After breakfast, you are met by your Egyptologist guide to start your touring in Aswan. The High Dam of Aswan is an extraordinary project. In fact, it was one of the most important achievements in the last century in Egypt, for many years it was even a symbol of the New Era of the Revolution of 1952. It provided Egypt with water and electricity and secured the country from the risk of the destructive inundation of the River Nile. The Unfinished Obelisk lies, in its original location, in a granite quarry in Aswan. It is 42m in length and was most probably abandoned when some cracks appeared in the rock, during its construction. Had this obelisk been completed, it would have been the heaviest obelisk ever cut in Ancient Egypt, weighing nearly 1100 tons! It is believed that it was constructed and abandoned during the reign of Queen Hatshepsut (18th Dynasty).
The Temple of Isis in Philae is one of the remarkable Temples in Egypt and it occupies about a quarter of the island. It is the main Temple on the island, with its huge, complete, pylons and beautiful scenes. The Temple is built in the same style as the temples of the New Kingdom, as well as some other elements, which appeared in the Greco-Roman period, such as the Mamisi (the house of the divine birth of Horus), and a Nilometer, unfortunately, the temple became submerged after the first Aswan dam was built in 1906. Afterward you will visit a local restaurant near the Philae temple for lunch. Followed by the famous Nubian Village that is located on an island, the Nubians are ancient inhabitants of this region. The origin of the name of the island is still a mystery. First, it was called Khnum (khnemu), but since the Greek times it is known as the Elephantine Island and there have never been elephants here! Some historians say it is because there used to be an elephant market here; others say it is because there are large boulders in the river near the island which resembled bathing elephants.
Later, you are taken on a Felucca ride on the Nile around Kitchener’s Island. Followed by a horse carriage ride and a visit to the Aswan local market. After the tour, return to your hotel. SOFITEL OLD CATARACT ASWAN – (B, L)
DAY 11: ASWAN
After breakfast, you join your guide to hike to the west bank of Aswan where you visit Noble’s tombs, the monastery of St. Simon, Kalabsha temple, and the Nubian Museum.
The riverscape of Aswan is dominated by the sand-covered hills of the West Bank which is strewn with rock-cut tombs of high-status officials of the Old and Middle Kingdom. At the crest of the hill is the domed tomb of a Muslim prophet which gives the hill its local name, Qubbet el-Hawa or ‘Dome of the Winds’. At the northern end of the tomb area, a steep climb up several flights of stone steps leads to the upper level of the cemetery where there are around six or seven tombs open to visitors. The guide will usually begin at the southern end of the upper level where the most interesting tombs can be seen. These ancient tombs are roughly cut from the natural rock and though they are not as well preserved as some of those to be visited in the Luxor or Cairo areas, they are well worth seeing. Tombs of this period are usually inaccessible in most places south of Cairo and these show fine examples of hieroglyphic texts detailing the careers of their owners, as well as scenes of daily life in the earlier periods. Many of the tombs are linked together as family members added their own chambers.
Kalabsha temple was situated on the west bank of the Nile River in Nubia and was originally built around 30 BC during the early Roman era. While the temple was constructed in Augustus’s reign, it was never finished. The temple was a tribute to Mandulis (Merul), a Lower Nubian sun god. It was constructed over an earlier sanctuary of Amenhotep II. Due to the quantities of material recovered from tombs, temples, and settlements, UNESCO was encouraged in the 1980s to plan a new Nubian Museum in Aswan where the objects could be stored and exhibited. It was universally felt at the time that they should be kept as close as possible to their principal places of origin. Nearly twelve years later, the museum became a reality and opened its doors in November 1997. It was designed by the late Egyptian architect Mahmoud al-Hakim while Mexican architect Pedro Vasquez Ramirez designed the museum’s interior display. The Museum won the Agha-Khan Award of Architecture 2001.
Later this evening enjoy a felucca dinner on the Nile. SOFITEL OLD CATARACT ASWAN – (B,L,D)
DAY 12: ASWAN – ABU SIMBEL – CAIRO
Today you are transferred by flight from Aswan to Abu Simbel. Upon arrival in Abu Simbel, start your tour by visiting the temple of Ramses II and Queen Nefertari. The Temples of Abu Simbel are amongst the most interesting pharaonic temples. Located close to the southern border with Sudan, it is 280 km south of Aswan and consists of two, rock-cut Temples, which both date back to the reign of King Ramses II (1290-1223 BC). Unfortunately, these unique Temples suffered from the rising water of Lake Nasser while the High Dam was being built.
After the tour, you will take your flight back to Cairo where you are met and transferred to your hotel. FOUR SEASONS NILE PLAZA – (B)
DAY 13: DEPARTURE CAIRO
Today you are met by your guide and given a private transfer to the Cairo international airport in time to connect your international flight to your next destination. – (B)
End of Big Five Services
*For those who wish to charter the Dahabiya cruise over the Nile River, this tour can be tailored to your preference.
Land price, per person, double occupancy: Price starts from USD $ 900 per person per day, double occupancy. Dahabiya charter not included.