There's no better way to feel the pulse of Egypt than to drift lazily along the Nile in a traditional sailing boat. This great little trip is a fantastic low-cost way to experience the highlights of the Nile Valley, visiting the key sites while still allowing plenty of time to make your own discoveries.
In Cairo we explore the pyramids and Sphinx before heading south to Aswan where we visit the incredible temples of Ramses II at Abu Simbel - one of the highlights of our trip.
Boarding our traditional 'feluccas' we then sail with the warm winds that sweep in from the Western Desert, spending three nights on board with plenty of time to kick back, relax and observe life along the banks. Along the way we visit the romantic Temple of Sobek, at Komombo, and a couple of days later we reach Edfu, where we visit the Temple of Horus. In Luxor we ride our donkeys into the Valley of the Kings - always great fun - and explore the tombs of the Pharaohs.
Day 1 - CairoYour trip starts today in Cairo. No activities are planned so you may arrive at any time. Rooms are generally available after 1.00 pm. If you have not pre-booked an arrival transfer you will find taxis available on arrival at Cairo Airport. Make sure you agree the price before you set off into town! Your tour guide may make contact tonight, otherwise you will see him/her tomorrow morning at the tour briefing, which usually takes place after breakfast. When you arrive in Cairo you are thrown headlong into the hustle and bustle of this wonderful city. As you wander the streets your senses will be assaulted on all levels – an endless cacophony of noise with cars tooting donkeys braying and the muezzin calling the faithful to prayer; the mix of smells like the aroma from cooking pots bubbling with 'foul' (pronounced 'fool' - a local bean paste dish that we will certainly get to sample); the delicious taste of mint tea as you sit in a shaded café to relax; and the endless river of life that you can watch roll past you – women haggling in the bazaars, men talking whilst enjoying a traditional sheesha pipe, cars vying for space on the crowded roads, camels ambling serenely along and children playing in the back streets. There are many things to do in Cairo, from visiting the fantastic Egyptian Museum to the bazaars of Khan al-Khalili.
Day 2 - Cairo - overnight trainToday we enjoy a guided visit to the Great Pyramids and the Sphinx at Giza. The Pyramids really do have to be seen to be believed! To get there we weave our way through the manic Cairo traffic, out into the suburbs and then, suddenly, there they are. Huge majestic tombs rising out the desert, towering above the modern city of Cairo, they are an incredible testament to the immense achievements of the Ancient Egyptians. Built over 5000 years ago the Pyramids are the only one of the seven wonders of the ancient world that is still standing. We explore the Pyramids and the Sphinx with our Egyptologist guide who can explain all the mysteries surrounding their creation – were they built by aliens or are they aligned to the stars? We also have the opportunity to climb inside the Great Pyramid (optional) and see for ourselves the burial chamber inside (not for the claustrophobic!). Later there is the option to visit the Egyptian Museum with an Egyptologist. What a museum, what a collection! This museum houses the world's greatest collection of ancient Egyptian artefacts including many of the treasures discovered in the tombs of pharaohs, the amazing golden mask of Tutankhamun and a large number of mummies. To put that in perspective, if you spend just one minute at each exhibit it would take more than nine months to see everything! In the evening we catch our overnight train and travel south to Aswan. The journey takes about 13 hours and we will be travelling in 1st class reclining seats. Our air-conditioned carriage has large, comfortable seats (similar to business-class seats on a plane) that recline to about 45°. A simple dinner and breakfast are served on board. There is a toilet located at the end of the carriage.Breakfast | Dinner
Day 3 - AswanAswan is one of our favourite places. Despite the fact that it is Egypt's third largest city, it has an easy-going, laid-back atmosphere that belies its size. There is certainly a lot to see and do. For those keen on visiting as many great sites of antiquities as possible, we highly recommend a visit to the exquisite Temple of Isis at Philae. Alternatively you can take a sailboat across to the Botanical Gardens on Lord Kitchener's Island and then continue to the other side of the river, where you can take a fun camel ride up to the Monastery of St. Simeon. Your tour guide will give you all the information you require. At any time of the day the Nubian Bazaar, which snakes through the back streets of town, is a hive of activity.Breakfast
Day 4 - Abu Simbel - Nubian village - AswanRising early we travel by road to Abu Simbel, one of the most impressive temples ever built and one of the highlights of our visit to Egypt. We follow the shores of Lake Nasser and generally arrive at the temple just after sunrise, a perfect time for photographs. Located deep in the heart of the desert and miles from the nearest habitation, this site is a gigantic monolith out of which are carved four colossal statues – each one the seated figure of Ramses II, one of Ancient Egypt’s greatest pharaohs. Built in the 13th century BC, the temples remained totally hidden by sand until 1813 and were almost destined to be submerged again 150 years later by the rising waters of Lake Nasser – a man-made lake formed due to the construction of the Aswan High Dam. Remarkably, a massive UNESCO project dismantled the entire temple and the cliff out of which it is carved, and reassembled it on higher ground, redirecting the magnificent stare of Ramses II across Lake Nasser's blue waters. It is still possible to see just how close they came to being submerged by the watermarks around the base of the statues. We enjoy a tour of the site and later return to Aswan, arriving around midday. In the late afternoon our Nubian sailors meet us and we travel by boat to their village for dinner. We enjoy a variety of traditional dishes and it's a great chance to meet their family.Breakfast | Dinner
Day 5-6 - Felucca CruiseBoarding our feluccas we set sail, travelling with the current towards Edfu. Sailing down the Nile is a magical experience, lying on thick mattresses, watching the dark waters glide past. We stop off at Komombo where there is an optional visit of the classic Greco-Roman Temple of Sobek (the crocodile-headed god) overlooking the river and the rest of our time is spent relaxing and enjoying timeless scenes of local life, as we travel slowly down the Nile. Nights are spent sleeping on board and our crew provides simple, healthy meals. Feluccas are simple sailing boats, no more and no less. They have no engines and no toilets. There is a single deck on which you can stretch out during the day under a shade awning. It is an extremely relaxing way of travelling down the Nile, however many people find the pace very slow, especially when contrasted with a busy life back home. We strongly recommend you take books, magazines, card games, mp3 players and any other items which might help to while away your time on board. Meals are simple. They are prepared by your Nubian crew and include chicken, rice, local breads and vegetables. Each evening your crew pulls into the shore. They generally find a flat, sandy area for the night. Toilet facilities are very basic. Note that, during the winter months (Oct-Mar), it be very cold on the river at night so you should bring thermals and a fleece. A sleeping bag is required.Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner
Day 7 - Edfu - LuxorReaching Edfu we say farewell to our Nubian friends. We have time to explore the Temple of Horus - one of Egypt's finest temples (optional), before travelling by bus into Luxor. The rest of the day is at leisure to explore the town and there’s certainly a lot to see and do. The bazaar is extensive and it can occupy you for several hours. Alternatively you can visit the exquisite Luxor Museum – or take a stroll around Luxor Temple, which dominates the centre of town. Entrance fees for these two options are listed below. Another popular activity is to take a horse-carriage ride to Karnak Temple, dedicated to the great God Amon, and considered one of the greatest of ancient Egypt's monuments. Our tour guide can help organise the carriages.Breakfast
Day 8 - Luxor-CairoToday we rise early to cross the Nile where our donkeys are waiting to take us into the Valley of the Kings. After matching up donkeys and riders we head off, just as the sun begins to rise in the eastern skies. It’s great fun and one of the highlights of our visit to Egypt. We return to the east bank where the afternoon is free to explore the town further. In the evening we take the overnight recliner train back to Cairo, with dinner served on board.Breakfast | Dinner
Day 9 - CairoArriving back in Cairo we are transferred to our hotel and the rest of the day is free to explore. In the older part of the city there is a lot to see, including some beautiful old mosques and, of course, the fantastic Khan al-Khalili bazaar – an amazing mix of shops and stalls that have traded goods and gossip since the Middle Ages. There’s time for everything and our tour guide can help organise taxis: but be prepared to bargain! Tonight we can enjoy a final evening together.Breakfast
Day 10 - CairoYour trip ends today, after breakfast. Check-out time is usually around 12.00 noon and you are free to leave at any time. Additional accommodation can be pre-booked if you wish to spend more time exploring Cairo.Breakfast
What to Know
An experienced English-speaking local tour guide, all transportation, 2 night felucca sail with an amenities boat, accommodation, meals and sightseeing as indicated.
- International flights, arrival & departure transfers, visas, airport taxes, additional meals, drinks, optional sightseeing tours, insurance, tips and items of a personal nature.
Trip Dates and Prices
Start Date – End Date Trip Status Price 24 Jun 2013 - 03 Jul 2013 7+ Available US $770 Book Now 22 Jul 2013 - 31 Jul 2013 7+ Available US $770 On Sale Sale: US $578 Book Now 19 Aug 2013 - 28 Aug 2013 7+ Available US $770 On Sale Sale: US $578 Book Now 16 Sep 2013 - 25 Sep 2013 7+ Available US $875 Book Now 14 Oct 2013 - 23 Oct 2013 7+ Available US $875 Book Now 11 Nov 2013 - 20 Nov 2013 7+ Available US $875 Book Now 23 Dec 2013 - 01 Jan 2014 7+ Available US $875 Book Now 30 Dec 2013 - 08 Jan 2014 7+ Available US $875 Book Now 06 Jan 2014 - 15 Jan 2014 7+ Available US $875 Book Now 03 Feb 2014 - 12 Feb 2014 7+ Available US $770 Book Now 03 Mar 2014 - 12 Mar 2014 7+ Available US $875 Book Now 17 Mar 2014 - 26 Mar 2014 7+ Available US $875 Book Now 31 Mar 2014 - 09 Apr 2014 7+ Available US $875 Book Now 14 Apr 2014 - 23 Apr 2014 7+ Available US $875 Book Now 28 Apr 2014 - 07 May 2014 7+ Available US $875 Book Now 12 May 2014 - 21 May 2014 7+ Available US $875 Book Now 26 May 2014 - 04 Jun 2014 7+ Available US $875 Book Now 09 Jun 2014 - 18 Jun 2014 7+ Available US $770 Book Now 23 Jun 2014 - 02 Jul 2014 7+ Available US $770 Book Now
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